Bristle Worms

stacey_112217

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How do I get rid of them? My tank is infested I am relatively new to the hobby, I have only had the tank for a little over a year and found the little worms about 6 months ago but everyone kept telling me it was OK and normal and it would not harm my tank but then my Sand sifting star started to get smaller and smaller about two months ago and then died I think the worms ate all the food available and it starved but they said it was not the fault of the worms. But now my tank is just crawling with them and harmful or not I want them gone.
 
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SDK

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Do a google search for “bristleworm trap”. There are commercial and diy versions out there. You can also get a Coral Banded Shrimp or Arrow Crab if either of those will work with your current livestock.

You will most likely not be able to eliminate them, only reduce the numbers. They are a great part of your clean up crew.

One other note is to watch how much food you are adding. Bristleworms getting to infestation levels are a sign of possible overfeeding
 

Billdogg

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Arrow crabs are very opportunistic feeders. They will eat bristleworms, sure, but they will also eat anything else they can get their claws on.

Many wrasses will hunt for BW's and make good reef fishes.

IME, an overabundance of bristleworms is a direct result of too much food being available to them. If you limit their food source their population will self regulate. Stop overfeeding, clean your sand regularly, etc
 
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SDK

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We have these locally in our waters. Are they known to pick at corals too? Never considered one as a cleaner

Mine never bothered corals. They are a tough fit in a tank community though. They will prey on smaller/slower fish, and large fish will prey on them.
 

McDam

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An overabundance of them is probably due to overfeeding which allows them to be sustainable in larger numbers. If there is a lot of food available on the sandbed and in the rock then it will support a larger population of them. Be a little more careful about feeding and the worm numbers will manage themselves. Until then they are a beneficial detritivore and they are keeping your system clean. If you do anything too drastic it may throw off the system balance.

If you read more on sand sifting stars, they are simply not sustainable for the long term in most aquariums. The system and sandbed can not supply enough food for the animal to thrive. They will often, as you said, starve and wither away.
Trying to feed them is often futile, and in this case, it just supported a larger number or bristle worms to thrive. But the bristle worms played no part in the demise of the starfish.
 
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Leadfooted

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Mine never bothered corals. They are a tough fit in a tank community though. They will prey on smaller/slower fish, and large fish will prey on them.
I have a 30G Frag tank with no fish and a few mammoth bristle worms (I don't mind the numerous small ones).

I often need to move frags around , usually bare handed. When a 3-4" BW crawls onto my fingers or I accidentally touch one I just about kill over every time lol. I don't know what my problem is but I can't get past the creep factor. I switch to my 24" tongs for a few days after what I call an "event" lol. If these arrowheads are usually friendly to corals I'm very interested!
 

LC8Sumi

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I feed 1 cube of frozen mysis every 2 days in my 70g, fish eats them all, but still have a huge (ie: not healthy) BW & Vermetid population. Not sure if it's directly related to overfeeding.
 

Strawberry

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I got an arrow crab to get rid of my bristle worms when I first got my tank, but he started eating other members of my clean up crew and even picking at my corals. Bristleworms are harmless. Just control how much you are feeding and clean your sand each time you do a water change to remove settled detritus.
 

LC8Sumi

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I forgot to mention, but I also have a bare-bottom tank. Anyway, I'm just saying, that BW infestation as a direct result of overfeeding might "just" be anecdotal & maybe not always the case
 

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