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Old 03-03-2021, 09:52 AM   #1
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Bristle worm Ďfirewormí infestation gone bad (health concerns)

As I asked here how to rid the tank of detritus worms, I found someone to say the term bristle worm. The local fish store as well spoke with me on it. For years Iíve transferred the same live rock from tank to tank with run of the mill harmless detritus worms here and there, but somewhere along the way I must have picked one up. Long story short no one told me to wear gloves that they sting and could be dangerous to humans. Now the VA hospital (my only insurance) do not have a clue how to address my stings but Iím on 3 different antibiotics and other symptom relievers (7 total prescriptions) and daily the sores are still increasing. I never pulled out the stingers because didnít see them as I was working so hard and was unaware of what was going on. I thought the light stings I was feeling were tiny abrasions due to live rock handling mixed with salt burn, so I kept working with the bare handed scrubbing them then dipping them etc before placing in new aquarium. The next day two fingers were infected. 3 days later blisters all over my hands and up both arms, one lightly, one severe. I get the worst blister drained today and they will send a lab off to see what it is. Here are the pictures of what happens when you donít know you are dealing with a dangerous worm infestation.
(Prazipro didnít phase them)
I now have a worm trap with worms in it, how should I safely dispose of them? Toilet? Outside ditch? Trash can? Burn them!?? What! I have two tripped and one laying outside of trap halfway inside one hole. Click image for larger version

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Old 03-03-2021, 01:25 PM   #2
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Sorry this happened! That looks painful! Sounds like you are having an allergic reaction to the worms bristles as Iíve never seen sores like that and Iíve been stung a couple times by them.

To get rid of them just flush em or chuck em outside either way will kill them. While technically harmless cuc to fish they can still give us humans a nasty sting.

Just to educate further as your title has (fireworm) in it, these are different polychaetes then the carribean fireworm which is very uncommon to find in the hobby and which packs a much more potent sting then your normal bristle worm.

Hopefully the antibiotics help and it gets better soon! Sorry!
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Old 03-03-2021, 06:15 PM   #3
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This is all new for me. Thank you for letting me know. I just assumed due to the severity it was. Noted

Iím incapable of finishing my work with the new tank for six weeks. I managed to start trapping them but with what I saw this morning I honestly wish I would have just started with new dry rock had I known how this would play out. The tank is empty other than the live rock and the worm trap. Will they all starve and die out in that time frame?Click image for larger version

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Old 03-03-2021, 09:00 PM   #4
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If you are trying to get rid of them, it'll be almost impossible unless you can either add a natural predator into the tank like a wrasse...or to remove and replace all of the sand in the tank along with dunking your rock in a freshwater dip to purge out the rocks before adding them back to the tank. But you can add them back in extremely easily, gloves are usually the easiest solution.
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Old 03-04-2021, 03:09 AM   #5
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My wife had similar issues with the medical guys not having any idea what to do a few years ago. Been snorkling in The Philippines and she got stung on the foot by something, a sea urchin she thinks. She got the stingers out scraping with a credit card and vinegar i think. A few days later though, back in the UK she has a similar reaction to yours, and its obviously nothing they have ever seen here. Took a bit of Google research by the medical guys and they got her fixed right up a within a few days. Yay for free healthcare.

Hope your guys can sort you out too.
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:15 AM   #6
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Ouch!!!
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Old 03-05-2021, 02:32 PM   #7
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The antibiotics are finally starting to work I think. My finger is black purple and way more mutated by this surgery than I would have dreamed. I would share a picture but itís pretty gross and could be offensive to people with weaker stomachs. I can only look at it through pictures myself. Sorry to hear about you wife having a similar issue. Makes my ambition to learn to dive in Bali more to consider.
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Old 03-05-2021, 05:06 PM   #8
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Glad to hear itís healing! I got poked by a long spine urchin in the carribean and had some swelling but glad I didnít have an allergic reaction! It was already painful enough. Man saltwater animals are sketchy lol
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Old 03-09-2021, 03:11 PM   #9
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So hereís the picture of my finger almost a week after the surgery procedure to fix the issue as the VA saw forth. I almost wonder if it would have healed better in its own! He Warren me he had to remove some nerves and Iíll have forever numbness which scares me as a professional guitarist all my life! This is scary. View of you not squeamish: https://gyazo.com/cac408c41f897854a6c043c5cc8e9197
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Old 03-09-2021, 06:05 PM   #10
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Oh man... is that your fret side hand?
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Old 03-09-2021, 06:24 PM   #11
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Ouch sorry all this happened to you!
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Old 03-14-2021, 08:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brookster123 View Post
Oh man... is that your fret side hand?

Exactly yes itís the fret hand. Would rather it been other hand big time. Why it always have to be the left hand? Sighs haha. Still in pain, still in a splint with stitches and nasty wound with nerve damage from his Ďtissue sampleĒ he took. This has been really bad. Still stopped all progress on the tank. I still have not got my clowns and I still have t dealt with the worms etc due to the finger issue. (Canít wear gloves over a splint) so bummed
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:14 AM   #13
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Update... (the picture is the blue light just before lights out but pretty to me) Well, the last of the scab from the surgery just came off. I still canít play guitar with that finger for probably another month or so. My fish are thriving... tank looks fine. Just the regular cycles of crap. But I still wish someone would have warned me those things sting! Apparently I was allergic to the stings. Anyway here is my tank now:Click image for larger version

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Old 05-02-2021, 05:54 PM   #14
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Ouch!

Hope it heals well.

My Coral Banded Shrimp ate up all of mine. I actually saw him grab and devour one. Never knew it would happen.
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Old 05-02-2021, 11:08 PM   #15
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Sadly, for most of us they are just a tad annoying. It isn't usually something people think about unfortunately, but the flip side of coin usually comes from people thinking all of their bristles are fireworms due to their neglect. Just glad it all worked out for you and that you've found a nice pair of gloves to work in the tank.
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