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Old 03-03-2021, 09:52 AM   #1
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Bristle worm ‘fireworm’ 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 I’ve 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 I’m 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 didn’t 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 don’t know you are dealing with a dangerous worm infestation.
(Prazipro didn’t 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 I’ve never seen sores like that and I’ve 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

I’m 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 it’s 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 it’s healing! I got poked by a long spine urchin in the carribean and had some swelling but glad I didn’t 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 here’s 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 I’ll 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 it’s 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 ‘tissue sample” 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. (Can’t 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 can’t 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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Old 06-16-2021, 11:50 PM   #16
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Bristle worm ‘fireworm’ infestation gone bad (health concerns)

Well... finally able to play guitar again. It's painful with the new baby skin and nerve damage but it is what it is. I also finally made a bristle worm trap. I wish looking back I wish I would have thrown that old Fuji rock away like I was advised. And started 100% fresh.
I have gfo in the reactor and a bag in my media basket and running lights (full) only a few hours a day yet the Biocube algae curse is back with a vengeance. So anyway, this is my bristle worm trap. Not sure if they will stay in there. In order to get it heavy enough not to float the tubes are too close to the aquarium rock I bought to ballast it. I may try the PVC pipe method next. Sighs. I'm so tired of dealing with this. Click image for larger version

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Old 06-17-2021, 12:35 AM   #17
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So glad to hear you are healing up, though not exactly as hoped at least you can play. I was told that the tannins in the black teabag after heating with boiling water, then cooled first - can help tan your hide. (Info from older Veterinarian - Used this with a stray cat which had infection, fur separated from skin that it would help the bare skin toughen and the bare skin healed quickly and fur grew back too. Not that you are a cat. But I read up more and it IS used by humans for a variety of things.) You might see if there are any reports of how to do that and for how long.

I would try mid size still young Coral Banded shrimp for the worms, the guy I had ate all but a couple tiny ones, at least only saw 2 - 1/4" size when moving my tank recently
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Old 06-17-2021, 12:40 AM   #18
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Bristle worm ‘fireworm’ infestation gone bad (health concerns)

Oh wow! Thank you! I'll look into that! I'm looking tonight for species. I'm working on raising a low ph atm, but soon as it gets back up, yeah I'll grab a coral banded shrimp if I can find one. I'm also considering a six line but live aquaria is out off stock on both. I may end up trying a hawkfish, as they are in stock. (Arrow crabs eat them too but... nope! Look like spiders too much )
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Old 06-17-2021, 12:51 AM   #19
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Spiders, true!

My Coral Banded shrimp learned how to catch pellets and wafers. Not every time but if he knew it was coming he usually would catch one. He was very fun to keep. And beautiful.
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:39 AM   #20
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Bristle worm ‘fireworm’ infestation gone bad (health concerns)

My Fuji rock is 10 years old. It's fairly nasty due to the last tank my inexperienced mom took some care of for a year. I just read that they are there 'because the nutrients are there' Which I knew, but it MUST be on the rock! I started not feeding my clowns soon as I set it up, not letting any hit the ground etc, and one started dropping weight not doing well even, so feeding more... but my question.... if I irradicated them fast somehow, the question was brought up... what's going to happen with all that detritus? Good question? Should I replace all my Fuji rock with new dry rock? Would the cycle be too harsh for my clowns?

Idea 2... buy an algae cleaner kit (creams e-mails) from Live aquaria, and a dottyback and longnose hawkfish and emerald crab (in my cart as I type) and then use that trap for the larger worms, then the ones that stay in hiding from those two fish are doing their job cleaning detritus. ?

Will they survive while I'm working on bringing my low ph up with a co2 scrubber I'm getting soon?


3? Sell my pets I've had 10 years and retire? Lol just kidding... I've spent $1200 on this cube and skimmers, reacted, ato soon a scrubber etc... to try to provide a good home for them... I'M TRYING!!!)
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