View Full Version : I saw a bristle worm in my tank

Atlanta Aquarium
10-07-2006, 8:57 AM
I believe it was the bad kind. It had a feather like at the end of its mouth when it open to collect foods. What is the best way to get it out?

10-07-2006, 9:19 AM
there are bristle worm traps, but Ive never used them. I always did well with tweezers and nighttime with a flashlight. Good way to use a light at night, cover the lense with a red film, critters really cant process the red light.

10-07-2006, 10:28 AM
if youre going worm hunting it might not be a bad idea to put on some gloves too...

Atlanta Aquarium
10-07-2006, 10:45 AM
yeah, I heard that some of these bristle worms pack some potent sting. Will Pseudochromis solve the bristle worm problem? If so, which of the Pseudochromis will do the best job?

10-07-2006, 10:51 AM
if you don't know what species worm it is, you really cant get very far. The vast majority of the worms in our tanks are harmless (not to say that there cant be a bad one, its just not as likely).
The first thing I would recommend is to get a valid ID the worm, then find a solution after that point.

10-07-2006, 10:59 AM
what color is it?

10-07-2006, 11:01 AM
having a picture would be best... or finding a picture of one on the net that youre absolutely sure is the same worm.

Atlanta Aquarium
10-07-2006, 11:22 AM
Actually I got two types of bristle worm. One looks like the Hawaiian lined bristle worm and the second one a brown-greenish body with feathery like feeding plume extended from it's mouth when feeding.

Does anybody have any luck with some wrasses or arrow crabs to cotrolled the bristle worm population? I saw in a picture where the arrow crab is shown munching on a fireworm. Some said that the arrow crab will feeds on all types of bristle worms. Is this true?

Atlanta Aquarium
10-07-2006, 11:24 AM
How do you attach pictures with a post? I tried before but I got an error message saying that the attach file is too large. Well I thought most of the pictures files are large to begin with. Am I doing something wrong with my attach files?

10-07-2006, 12:10 PM
here you go rit.

i just found a coral eating worm in my tank.the ones that grow to 20 feet. he ate up my large kenya tree.

10-09-2006, 3:38 PM
Someone at my local fish store said that a 6-lined wrasse would get rid of my bristle worms. He lied. I think that he just happens to move aoound the tank so much it keeps them at bay. At night they come out. and a couple of mine are big. So, if you get a wrasse to get rid of them don't try a 6-lined. I have seen several arrow crabs eating them at the Fish Store in Buckhead. I would just check on their compatability with other inverts, etc. Best of luck.

10-09-2006, 9:57 PM
Someone at my local fish store said that a 6-lined wrasse would get rid of my bristle worms. He lied.

I have no doubt that many wrasses will eat bristle worms if they are hungy enough and the worms small enough. I heard humans eat liver and onions... not me... but if I were hungry enough, I would! :)

10-10-2006, 4:37 AM
I heard humans eat liver and onions... not me... but if I were hungry enough, I would!
Ummmmm.....I would have to starve!

Atlanta Aquarium
10-10-2006, 6:59 AM
Platy, seem like the crabs is the way to go but I'm very leary of them. They are scavengers. They may eat more things in my tank than I want them to.

10-10-2006, 8:32 AM
I had a six line wrasse that ate bristle worms. Unfortunately he committed suicide(left the top off). But then again I had a Lawnmower blenney that turned carniverous and quit eating algea and started eating my snails.

10-10-2006, 8:43 AM
Banded Coral Shrimp are also voracious eaters of bristleworms when they can find them. I've always maintained at least one in my tanks for just that reason.

They are teritorial, though, so if the tank is too small for everyone to have their own territory, it could end badly for one of them.

Atlanta Aquarium
10-10-2006, 8:54 AM
Yes, banded coral shrimps are very territorial. I found that out the hard way. Bought 4 pairs and now just only have one pair left. I have 265 gallon tanks. I thought it would be large enough for more than a pair but it turn out not to be so.

10-10-2006, 9:59 AM
Two questions:

1) Are bristleworms harmful to reef stuff in the first place? I have a few in my tank but was never too concerned about it.

2) Would a banded coral shrimp kill a peppermint shrimp in a 30 gallon tank?

Atlanta Aquarium
10-10-2006, 10:14 AM
Certain type of the bristle worm (the larger spicies) and the larger one will harm your reef tank. These guys will eat just about anything. Some said that they may even eat little fish. I never seen one doing it and don't want to find out.

Banded coral shrimp will eat the peppermint shrimp. They even will kill and eat the own kind. Banded coral shrimps are very territorial.

10-10-2006, 12:46 PM
I wouldn't say they definitely will kill another shrimp. It is true that you should only have one banded or a mated pair, but no more. I have seen extended detente between a like-sized banded and a skunk. Not sure about peppermint. They seem to be the "victims" of the invert world, IMO.

For bristleworms, my general rule is that if I see it somewhere besides in the sand (where the beneficial ones are), it's gotta go.

10-11-2006, 9:40 AM
blah i have the same problem too! bristle worm and fire worm (2 different kind) and they all hide in my rocks!
my worms looks like those:

bristle worm:

i've heard the first 1 is the bad kind, should i get a wormtrap? both kind of worms are still tiny (the first kind are less than 1 inch, the second kind are less than 4 inch)
thanks very much!
p.s. sorry to hijack your thread :D

10-11-2006, 9:45 AM
Keep the last pic. Not sure about the first pic.

10-11-2006, 12:38 PM
Top one is nasty. Not good. Verbotten.

It's gotta go. In the Tony Soprano way "gotta go".

Atlanta Aquarium
10-11-2006, 1:54 PM
The snail that is next to the bristle worm on the top picture, is it a good snail to have in the tank? I have similar one that I saw in my tank laying on my acro.

10-11-2006, 1:59 PM
look like cerith snail. Good clearnup snail

10-11-2006, 2:02 PM
Here is how I was very successful at removing bristleworms in my tank before I realized they were doing no harm:

1. Get a long piece of rigid airline tubing, long enough to reach any part of your tank where a worm may be.
2. Attach a piece of flexible airline tubing to one end.
3. At night, stake out the tank with red light (so as not to scare them back into hiding.
4. insert rigid end of pipe into water, and start a syphon at the other (flexible) end into a bucket. once the syphon has started, pinch a section of flexible tubing to slow or stop the flow
5. now that your bristlewormextractor 5000 is "loaded", locate the offending creature. as you bring the end of the pipe close to him, let go of the pinched tube so the syphon resumes, and slowly move it closer until the suction catches him. If you've been sufficiently sneeky, he won't have cralwed back from whence he came, but instead will be stuck to your pipe, or inside it, or in the bucket even if he's small enough.

athaga mor
10-28-2006, 8:49 PM
I have the second worm pictures above.

I've been fairly concerned about these the last couple days. I just setup a 28 gallon coral reef tank (no fish) and observed these guys rock cracks in the corners during the day and becoming more abundant at night. At first I saw one, now I've noticed closer to 10 (without doing the ninja-night-stalker approach).

***I observed a small one munching on my frag of green star coral tonight***

I'd prefer to go the "natural" route for getting rid of these, as opposed to traps. So far I've seen mention of:

1) Arrow Crabs
2) Banded Coral Crabs
3) Some Wrasse

I've seen mention of arrows munching on tube worms... Here's what I have in my tank:

2 feather dusters
1 green star coral
1 red polyp coral
1 toadstool
8 mushrooms
some random polyps
1 bluish stag coral
3 blue legged hermits

any thoughts? Suggestion would be appreciated.


athaga mor
10-28-2006, 9:09 PM
here's a online source for homemade traps:

As one way to get around the plastic container (something my local shop said), you can use panty hose (wash them with dechloronated water first) - ball the panty hose up with the bait inside...apparently the worms' bistles get stuck. (no retreat possible)

10-28-2006, 9:55 PM
***I observed a small one munching on my frag of green star coral tonight***

are you sure it wasn't eating detritus???

athaga mor
10-29-2006, 11:33 AM
well I can't say for certain since I didn't use a magnifying glass, but it was right at the tip of one of the tubes and that tube isn't open this morning.

I guess it's possible it wasn't munching on it and the tube is just closed in response from being touched...

Either way, I feel somewhat compelled to err of the side of caution and evict these worms unless you're absolutely sure these worms are okay to leave in the tank.

10-29-2006, 12:12 PM
I'm 110% sure that you want those in your tank. On a recent thermos swap, I sent those for the other guy since he hadn't seen any in his tank. Also on the site, those are in the breeding program.

Those are great scavengers for a reef tank and soooo beneficial.

athaga mor
10-30-2006, 10:58 AM

I'm sure you know more than me on this subject (this is my first marine tank) so I'll go with what you're saying. I checked out the site you linked to too. If these worms keep multiplying, I may have to go into the breeding business. :D

Also (not to hijack the thread), I assume these are good as well (also in the breeding program). I've seen several tiny ones in my tank, and I just saw one that was substantially bigger (1/4" or so). Are these scavengers/waste eaters too?

10-30-2006, 8:34 PM
yup those are pods and most of them are good. It's uncommon to get the bad ones....

They are excellent fish food when your fishies want a little snack. :)