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Old 12-16-2013, 10:32 AM   #1
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Worms! Good or Bad?

Just noticed my first "worm" today...actually two of them, which means there are probably more. They are so tiny that they will probably be hard to identify. I'll attach a pic as a second post because I have to use the phone to upload. Its a very clear shot, but they are so tiny that you have to zoom quite a bit to get a good look at them.

Regardless of whether or not we can ID what they are, I've got a general question: do most worms fall under the good category or the bad category? Should you remove any worm you see, or leave them alone for the most part?

And while we are at it, the ONLY reason I discovered these guys is because they were on this dark spot on my rock. Does that look like coralline to y'all?
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:34 AM   #2
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Here's the pic!
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:55 AM   #3
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I've seen those as well and I have no clue what kind of worms they are ?
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:29 PM   #4
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Does anyone know what they are?
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:05 PM   #5
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I have them too and have not gotten anyone to ID them. I forgot to check at my LFS the last time I was there but will ask the next time I go.
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Old 12-21-2013, 08:30 PM   #6
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I have them too and have not gotten anyone to ID them. I forgot to check at my LFS the last time I was there but will ask the next time I go.

@callen I went to my LFS today and they believe I have spaghetti worms. They pointed out some in their tanks and they look the same. I'm not sure if the ones in your tank are as well.
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:47 AM   #7
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So, these worms are difficult to identify largely because of size. You'd need a macro lens to give us a clear enough shot to be 100% sure.
That being said, the vast majority of worms you'll see in a reef tank are beneficial scavengers that work hard so you don't have to. Bristle worms, spaghetti worms, peanut worms, etc. all play a vital role in breaking down waste and detritus to keep tanks from being polluted. But they are so efficient that they have gotten a bad rap historically. There was a time not so long ago when it was difficult to keep sessile and even many motile invertebrates alive for long in tanks. Usually lighting issues. Anyway, what would usually happen is things would die in the middle of the night and fall to the sand bed. The hard working worms immediately begin consuming the corpse, preventing a tank crash. But then the lights come on in the morning and the hobbyist sees a dead anemone covered with worms and thinks they killed it. The poor things have never recovered from this misunderstanding.
So celebrate your worms! Be glad! You have worms! Yay!
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Old 12-22-2013, 01:53 PM   #8
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So, these worms are difficult to identify largely because of size. You'd need a macro lens to give us a clear enough shot to be 100% sure.
That being said, the vast majority of worms you'll see in a reef tank are beneficial scavengers that work hard so you don't have to. Bristle worms, spaghetti worms, peanut worms, etc. all play a vital role in breaking down waste and detritus to keep tanks from being polluted. But they are so efficient that they have gotten a bad rap historically. There was a time not so long ago when it was difficult to keep sessile and even many motile invertebrates alive for long in tanks. Usually lighting issues. Anyway, what would usually happen is things would die in the middle of the night and fall to the sand bed. The hard working worms immediately begin consuming the corpse, preventing a tank crash. But then the lights come on in the morning and the hobbyist sees a dead anemone covered with worms and thinks they killed it. The poor things have never recovered from this misunderstanding.
So celebrate your worms! Be glad! You have worms! Yay!

There is so much conflicting information out there making it quite difficult for newbie reefers like me. Plus it's so hard to ID the critters, even with picture references. I researched further and saw some posts on forums that claimed that similar critters were hydroids.
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Old 12-22-2013, 06:19 PM   #9
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Well, definitely not colonial hydroids, but maybe the stringy type. Again, difficult to tell without a much closer picture. If it's a hydroid then it's bad. If it's a worm, it's probably good.
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Old 12-24-2013, 11:02 AM   #10
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I think they are digitate hydroids based on pictures I found on what seem to be reputable sites. And of course the info about what to do or not to do with them is conflicting.
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Old 12-24-2013, 11:10 AM   #11
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Those worms are not hydroids. I think they are of the family Syllidae. They are nothing to worry about.
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Old 12-24-2013, 11:17 AM   #12
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Worms! Good or Bad?

Hers a pic of the ones that are in my tank. I removed this skeleton but later they showed up on other rocks. I'm not sure if the pic is clear enough to ID but they are about 3" long, a thin as a strand of hair, appear to be white, have smaller feather like strands coming off of the main strand (almost barb-like), and the tip seems slightly round.
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If the attached pic is too fuzzy to clearly ID I can try to capture a new one with a better camera.
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Old 12-24-2013, 02:51 PM   #13
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As a rule, Mr_X knows his stuff.
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:24 PM   #14
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I have these same worms along with a few other types. They are not spaghetti worms as they have many "arms" reaching out like a bowl of spaghetti. I haven't had any ill effects from these particular worms as they just catch particles out of the water column.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:27 AM   #15
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Well I missed this conversation when it was actually happening. Got a chuckle out of Mac's celebratory advice. My worms not near as long as keitha's , but the have the same skinny tail/ body and larger elongated head. Most of what I read said most worms are good, do I won't sweat it to much. Ill just keep wondering until they get bigger and I can get a better photo!
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:56 AM   #16
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Angry

I believe that they are digitate hydroids I've been target killing them with boiling water per advice I've read. I hope it doesn't get out of control and start harming my coral. My tank is only about 2 months old and it would be sad if they take over, especially since this is my first saltwater tank.
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:42 PM   #17
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You may be right. The second picture of the coral skeleton looks a lot like one.
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