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Old 09-08-2004, 01:24 AM   #1
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Bristleworm damages coral

I didn't believe it until I caught him in the act. This bristleworm was sucking on one of my corals (well..I think it's a coral...if you know what it is, please tell)

He can't really bite off a piece, so he just latches onto a peak and sucks on it for an hour or so. He can only attach on the peaks.

The "coral" in question is yellow/orange and "C" shaped in this photo. It is difficult to see, but the bristleworm is attached to the coral near the top of the "C" You can see his earlier damage as white areas on the lower part. The spot where his is attached in this photo now looks exactly like those other white spots, so he is definitely the culprit.

You can also see where the coral looks more whitish in the areas where the bristleworm has recently crawled. As it crawls over, the coral withdraws it's spikes and loses it's yellow colour.

I'm not going to hurry to try to remove all the bristleworms from my tank...they're part of the ecosystem and that's what they do. My advice: Keep them well fed.
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Old 09-08-2004, 01:35 AM   #2
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Wow, I have more than a few in my system. Good thing I don't have coral.
Will keep this in mind. Thanks!!
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Old 09-08-2004, 02:28 AM   #3
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That's also not your common bristleworm, it's a fireworm and they are well known for damaging corals. They are very opportunistic feeders.

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Old 09-08-2004, 06:01 AM   #4
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Ok, now I am concerned. I assumed that a fireworm had some red on it. But I think I saw one over the weekend. Is there a was to positively ID them? And If it is what is the best way to remove them?
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Old 09-08-2004, 06:25 AM   #5
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A few links about the fireworm and bristle worms.
http://www.thekrib.com/Marine/bristle.html
http://www.msnusers.com/MarineReefAq...stleworms.msnw

Good picture on this one.
http://www.malawicichlidhomepage.com...inetank58.html

I have seen arrow crabs munching on bristle worms and they seem to be a natural part of their diet.
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Old 09-08-2004, 11:37 AM   #6
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The links provided by Indy will help alot but the easiest way to ID a fireworm is by their more prominent setae. The "bristles" will be longer and somtimes bushier than common worms.

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Old 09-08-2004, 11:44 AM   #7
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rats..i have at least 1 fireworm in my tank! next time I see him, he's a gonner!
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Old 09-11-2004, 01:25 PM   #8
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careful not to touch it, I was stung and i could feel the spine in my finger for over a day.
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Tank: 18 gallon tall reef
Filtration: Aqua Clear mini, power head, 20 lbs LV, live sand, no skimmer
Water: Ocean Water from Scripps SD
Lighting: 36 watts power compact
Change: 20% water change per week
Coral: Green LTA, Xenia, Hammer, Star Polyps white and green, Shrooms, Brain, zoos, & more
Fish: False clown & bicolor
Notes: Tank established 5 years ago

pics of tank:
http://www.kintera.org/htmlcontent.asp?cid=40352
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Old 09-12-2004, 12:29 AM   #9
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You will need all the luck you can get, they are fast and swell up in their holes and break real easy. Mine came with LR I caught about 20 total. I then noticed that 1 live rock seemed to "house" more than the rest of my LR I removed about a 5# piece of rock broke it open and could not count how many worm in that one piece. Worm traps did not really work for me but its a option. So I tried to catch them at night with a red lens flash light and forceps. Just a newbee 2 cents
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Old 09-12-2004, 12:49 AM   #10
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The damage done by that particular bristleworm is healing reasonable quickly. It takes about 1 week for the coral pictured to recover.
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