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Bristleworm

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Indu View Drop Down
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    Posted: July 21 2015 at 6:46pm
I think I spotted a bristle worm (about 2" long) in my clownfish tank. It was over and about one day, but couldn't capture on the camera. Should I try to eliminate it or is it harmless?

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Indu
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AcroNem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 21 2015 at 7:21pm
My tanks are full of them, most species are great scavengers but just have an unfortunate defense mechanism haha. I've never taken any out that I've seen.
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Thirteenth year keeping reefs, always here to talk fish.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Indu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 21 2015 at 8:40pm
Ya.. I am scared to put my hands in the tank now although there is just one to my knowledge. I hope they can't hurt my clown babies or anemones.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AcroNem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 21 2015 at 8:53pm
Never hurt anything in my tank, only me ;) I'd bet there are many in there just take a look at night when it's dark that's when they're usually out and about.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hogie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 21 2015 at 10:46pm
If there's one, there's more than one! If they bug you, pull them out, but they don't do any harm. In one of my nanos, it was mainly a coral tank with 1 firefish. The bristle worms got to crowed in there that when I'd feed the fish (even though it was hardly nothing) them would come from everywhere and it looked like the ground was alive! They never did any harm though. If you get a sixline wrasse or something like that, it will keep the population in check.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fishy43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2015 at 3:53pm
I have quite a few, they are not the best looking things, but don't seem to bug anything, I am going to just let them be.  The one on the glass is the biggest one I have seen in my tank, you can see another on the rock behind it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2015 at 9:04pm
I have found that Bristleworms are awesome scavangers and play important roles in biofiltration and in the feeding of coral. They eat leftover food and their spawn are released into the water where they are captured and eaten by coral, so I always enjoy seeing them in all my systems.

Fortunately, but also unfortunately, a Bristleworm population increases to a level of overpopulation if the tank is overfed. As the two pics below illustrate, an overpopulation is easy to remove with a wad of Bridal Veil material wrapped around a bit of shrimp. The worms crawl through to get the meaty food and cannot get out as the mass is removed and tossed into the garbage.

My advice to any hobbyist that is overfeeding is "Stop feeding for 5 days and feed half as much thereafter."

I mean no offense, but my experience tells me that the tank in the pic above could do well to use that advice. How can I see that? 1) Several types of Algae over-growing on the rock. 2) a deflated RBTA, 3) Bristleworms out roaming during the day. All of this indicates too much food, too little biofiltration and too much Nitrogen pollution in the water(Algae loves pollution - Anemones do not). I would also recommend adding many more Snails and Hermits to that tank before the hair algae blooms out of control.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug






Edited by Mark Peterson - July 22 2015 at 9:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fishy43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2015 at 10:00pm
Good observation, you were pretty much spot on! You helped me realize that I have been overdoing it with the brine shrimp and krill as of late. I cleaned the canister filter and replaced the carbon earlier today and it was quite dirty, so I am sure the water quality is suffering a bit. I have had a decent amount of algae growing recently, so I picked up 6 snails, but am thinking I could use about 10 more and a few more crabs since I only have three small ones (I have been hesitant to add because I think my snowflake eel has munched a few already). The anemone on the left had just eaten some krill, but I am not sure that would be causing it to be deflated, it does that off and on, I also have a torch that has been shrunk and unhappy for the last few days too. Doing a 10% water change tomorrow and will try your feeding advice. Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2015 at 6:40am
Glad to be of help. 
Another phrase I use a lot especially for new hobbyists is, "Snails Snails and more Snails." 

Herbivorous fish can help control algae too. If there are none, such as if the tank is too small for Tangs/Rabbitfish, or if they are not wanted, a good option is to grow Macroalgae such as Caulerpa in the display. Caulerpa loves to eat fish waste/pollution, competes with nuisance algae and is easy to harvest periodically as is grows.

I like to start tanks with Caulerpa and let it take over, then add Tangs and/or Rabbitfish and let them enjoy grazing. It helps them be fat, happy and healthy, like a cow grazing on a grassy field.

Sorry Indu for hijacking your thread.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug


Edited by Mark Peterson - July 23 2015 at 6:46am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Indu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2015 at 7:24am
Thanks guys for sharing the information. If I happen to have that many worms, I am sure my chickens will enjoy them.

Mark, no problem at all. Keep it coming. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsol12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 08 2015 at 11:12pm
Was just going to post and ask what is this evil thing, but saw this thread, and I think it appears to be a bristleworm too??  It was in a rock with a coral frag I picked up yesterday.  It seems from this thread that most people like them, at least they are beneficial...but having a big worm in my tank gives me the heebie jeebies.  Maybe if I put it in my sump I can deal with it.  But eww.

Also, I thought dipping corals was supposed to eliminate hitchhikers/pests.  Am I misinformed? 
150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2015 at 11:45am
Sorry, but where there is one, there are many more of those lovely worms hidden in the rocks and sand. Smile
Bristleworms are tough buggers and too large to be killed by a dip. Besides, they are so useful that most hobbyists just leave them alone to do their "nighttime janitorial job". We can't help but appreciate their spawn for the benefit they serve as coral food.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hogie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2015 at 12:37pm
While bristleworms may be good scavengers, I don't like the creepy looking centipedes-of-the-ocean because they pack a sting and it always seem like they are under every rock or frag when I move it to sting me. So, I pull mine out when they get bigger. I leave them in my nano because I rarely get in it, but in my shallow 45, out they go! I also have a 6 line wrasse that has a pallet for them as well. I call him the Exterminator because he eats all the pests in the tank! It's awesome.

Edited by Hogie - October 09 2015 at 12:41pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2015 at 11:08pm
Yeah, I get some bristles left in my fingers every so often.  The good thing is, a 5-10 minute dip in white vinegar dissolves them completely away.

Arrow Crabs also keep them in check, but to me, Arrow Crabs look even creepier than Bristleworms. Stern Smile

Aloha,
Mark  Hug

P.S. Hawaiian centipedes are the things nightmares are made of. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Softplan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 11 2015 at 12:56pm
Arrow crabs are a way of controlling the population. Arrow crabs are real cool looking.

http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=497+501+616&pcatid=616
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Edited by Softplan - October 11 2015 at 12:57pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsol12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 11 2015 at 10:02pm
I think arrow crabs are just about as terrifying as bristle worms.  But this video I watched on you tube when I was learning about pests and hitchhikers, etc. made me squirm, it is the worst thing I've ever seen.
It is SO gross! So maybe it's payback for Mark bringing up the Hawaiian centipedes, because I just googled that and now I won't able to sleep tonight thinking of these creepy crawlies, so thanks for that.LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2015 at 10:47am
That is a very cool video. 
I once had a tank in a system of coral farming tanks where I decided to leave it alone for 2 months without feeding because there were no fish and few coral, only macroalgae. The bristleworms came out 24/7 looking for food. I saw them ingest sand to digest the organic matter off of it. They were acting a little like sand sifting cucumbers. Clown

Aloha,
Mark  Hug
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