What are these milipede/slug/worm things (w/pic) - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-28-2008, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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What are these milipede/slug/worm things (w/pic)

First off, hello! Newbie here.

I have a 55 gallon saltwater w 1 tang, clownfish, live rock and huge infestations of these milipede/slug/worm things. The largest (in pic) is about 4 inches long. Some are so small you can barely see them. They dont seem to bother anything and my H20 quality is great,I have had thois set up for almost 2 years. I have lots of them crawling around my live rock. I cant find info on them anywhere! Are they good/bad?!?! Theyre kinda creepy looking.....

I appreciate any advice,


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post #2 of 5 Old 01-28-2008, 09:32 PM
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Welcome to Fishforum.com.

Gurl, those are bristleworms. Remove anything that are over 3-4 inches in size as they may harm the other invertebrates and fish. Do not remove by bare hands. Using tweezers or pulling out the entire rock until they can crawl out are better alternatives. If using tweezers, be careful not to touch them as their bristles act like needles which will be difficult to remove from your skin as they lodge in it.

Good luck.

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post #3 of 5 Old 01-28-2008, 10:02 PM
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I wish I had better information but this all I could find in my searching for the same look. The first one is the closest I could find. Hopefully someone will be able to identify them more readily as I am not a salt person, not yet anyway.
Digitate Hydroid
Bristle worm
Fire worm
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-29-2008, 07:51 AM
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They are a common bristle worm, Harmless scavengers, and in most cases, a benefit to a reef tank as they will consume the corpses of anything that dies where you cant see/reach it. Untill they grow to exceed 6", there is little cause for concern as far as damaged corals. I have on numerous occasions, watched these buggers crawl in, on, and around a number of different corals without consequence. Your fingers however are and entirely different story. You should be wearing rubber gloves any time you reach into the tank anyways.

Originally Posted by SKAustin
That is a bristleworm, a very common hitchhiker on live rock.
Many will tell you this is a pest. If you touch it, your fingers will
agree that it's a pest. It is, however, NOT A PEST. Until this thing
gets as big around as a pencil, it is fine. They are actually a
formidable asset in cleaning up the carcases of livestock that
might die off in a back corner or behind your rock, where you
cannot easily reach. They do not bother your corals or fishes
unless they're dead. Several species of Wrasses, Copperbanded
Butterflyfish and Arrow Crabs are all suppose to eat bristleworms.
The coral banded shrimp are also said to eat the bristleworms.
I have seen this on occasion, but not in any abundance. There are
also special traps that can be purchased from most LFS. They are
inexpensive, and relatively simple to use. But again, your tank will
benefit from these scavengers. Their over-abundance in your
system could be an indication of overfeeding.

In the event you ever accidentally touch a bristleworm, your
fingers will look like this:

Carefully remove as many of the bristles as possible with a piece
of duct tape, then Soak your hands in vinegar or rubbing alcohol
for a few minutes and the remaining bristles will begin to desolve.
The lesson you will have learned the hard way is;

Always wear gloves when reaching in you tank. :D

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post #5 of 5 Old 02-12-2008, 02:30 PM
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Bristle worm?

now im kinda new to tank creatures, but im pretty sure that that is a bristle worm and from my understanding they aren't good to have, but you might research on them a little more to really find out. Hope this helps!

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