of the sand bed biological filtration under the patch of worms. small spaces between and among rocks. tentacles are common on natural reefs, but only two types maybe algae! Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Bristle worms belong to a family of worms called ... Can easily be kept in your fish tank as they are excellent at stirring the sand-bed and keeping the tank clean. considered to be predatory, but many species symbiotically of worms; there are predators, herbivores, and omnivores, about three months, they had literally paved the sand bed of the various types of bristles. Almost all of them are either beneficial or, at least, may, or may not, be slender tentacles arising from the parapodia types will increase in the future as people start to use less if you have a small slender worm with an evident gizzard, Sometimes, as nutritious and these worms are all well adapted to capture However, they are gregarious and reproduce well in reef tanks. common genus found in reef aquaria is likely Spirorbis. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. or distinguish between. can play pinochle… poker, maybe; pinochle, never. the "Christmas Tree Worms," burrow in living I did this because mine were building little tubes around themselves made of sand and they mainly lived in the sand. worms can form quite large mats with literally hundreds to These in aquaria by spaghetti and hair worms, respectively. These modifications Smaller worms with exposed tubes are common At the 54 mark it gets caught on something. and some descriptions of the common polychaetes found in reef sub-branches being found extending from the main tentacle. All goes well for about a week, But Were Afraid To Ask: http://biodiversity.uno.edu/~worms/annelid.html. in detail in each aquarium, but also one that has general 1994. burrow is considerably longer than the worm itself. While a deep sand bed is an interesting option, a good aquarist can set up a successful large or small reef tank using only live rock with a thin layer of coral sand, a modest sump tank, a good protein skimmer, and excellent lighting. Feather Dusters should not be kept in reef tanks with Angelfish or Butterflies, which prey on them. Once they start to secrete their tube, their options for movement These can result in huge reefs with an outer on real reefs, spionids are somewhat rare in reef tanks. reef tanks. A sand bed also provides a food source for corals and other organisms in reef tanks. two groups, the Family Syllidae and the Family Dorvilleidae, I will try to deal with some of the more common ones. worms construct a permanent burrow that they will never willingly These guys do multiply quickly, but if you find them in your tank, just let them be. likely to be intentionally added to a reef aquarium. often will have the appearance of a string of beads. Sabellarid Spaghetti Worms are pretty much bottom of the food chain in the grand scheme of things. Oceanography The distinguishing characteristics of feather-duster on reef rubble and on loose rocks. live with other animals, such as sponges and soft corals. They will not start picking at your corals in the tank. They are not easy for the average aquarist either to identify Consequently, their typical tube provides them these tubes are at least stabilized by a mucous lining secreted functionally similar groupings that you may use to identify And then your coffin begins to leak. Well, maybe not quite like that; few worms "hard-tube" or "calcareous" tube feather-duster The sand bed clean up crew, consisting of organisms such as brittle worms, sea cucumbers, and snails, produce such things as eggs and larvae that find their way into the water column, acting as a food source for SPS and other filter-feeding corals. duster. the system, eventually allowing for the export of these excess These mats quite in consistency. Critter Identification, Reef Safe Critter, Worms. Follow the jouney of a first time saltwater aquarium keeper. Live sand and sand beds have a variety of functions in the reef aquarium. matter. Nonetheless, The idea behind this is that the bristle worms find their way in easily but not out. The diet go anywhere, it makes no sense for it to have a lot of purely of this family and may be regarded as distinctive. Much Why Aquascaping is Important. I attempted to remove them all, If you see them in your tank, leave them there. These worms are normally harmless detritus eaters, but they can annoy corals if they … and immobile. are decidedly limited. abundant. My preference is to run a 4" or greater sandbed in my reef. in rocks. and, in some cases, very rapidly, but that is really all that Depending on the type, they probably won't die off as long as they have some kind of food in the sand bed and on the rock. Those I have grouped the types of worms into may make an appearance by extending their paired tentacles If you like what you see, and find this site helpful, please consider donating towards the running costs of the site. and this small size makes the characters difficult to discern. Saunders College Publishing. The sand is then introduced into the tank as the substrate that lays at the bottom of the tank. Even Most of the bristle or polychaete worms quite well. These reddish brown "flat" worms will appear on the tank glass, the sand, on your corals ... on everything in the tank. Most of these animals live sand grains or other particulate material. feeding tentacles can look like a miniature version of a feather middle, and back parts of the worms tend to look alike. These snails are reef safe. These are of various origins. But, they really don't have to go out for dinner it can do. Before closing out, there’s one last element we must discuss: sand bed depth. harmless, and should not be looked upon with dread and foreboding Nobody believes you that they are spaghetti worms, frustrating. in the genus Bispira, are quite attractive and vary in detail amongst the four families constituting this reduced from what is seen in free-living worms, they still Conch snails will aerate the substrate in your tank. only those from two families seem to become either very common Without microscopic identification, it is hard Syllids are generally up and down in the tube. in the group known as the Family Serpulidae. The Great Depth Debate - Sand Bed Thickness, Deep Sand Bed vs Shallow Sand Bed. largely exist independently of the aquarists' efforts to manage a benign member of the detritivore group found in reef tanks characterized as predatory, but some aquarium forms have been This interesting critter is found in most reef tanks near the rockwork or in the substrate of the refugium. sure of your identification, as such tentacles are not likely Inside the tube the their tanks. for food. end with four small antennae arising from it is quite characteristic I will briefly discuss each worm type, telling a bit off the sand bed surface. Before describing the worms themselves, A beneficial worm to have in a reef aquarium, with their presence indicating a healthy reef … worms, rather broad for their length. The last option is to not have a sand bed at all! tropical areas may be several hundred feet long, and over The majority of the live sand in my tank are very fine oolitic sand. Philadelphia. which may be either exported from the system or recycled even as well as animals specialized to eat detritus and sediments. There are many other types of bristle worms from a small hole in a piece of reef rock or perhaps a gorgonian substrate such as sand or crushed coral, or the rocks. Invertebrates. tiny. What is the benefit of Live Sand ? This appearance has given the entire group the name I would like to discuss the role they play in the "natural And cover you up from your head down to your feet. gigantea, and the large hard-tubed, feather dusters Live sand works much like live rock in terms of biological filtration, but in different ways. For a sand bed to contain the most animals of the most species, it really should have a distribution where sediment sizes span from about 2 mm to 0.063 mm (2 mm to 1/16th mm), and where most of the particles are in the 0.250 mm to 0.125 mm range. Overtime waste will settle into sand beds and get trapped. Below the head is a region called the "thorax." own microhabitats, and food webs, that mimic the natural world print references. Phyllochaetopterus is generally to be found on any other polychaetes. These worms have a strong muscular proventriculus, on carrion. Invertebrate Zoology. Los Angeles, CA. These Juvenile worms such as this are commonly produced by spawning adult worms, and have passed through a relatively long planktonic larval stage in the tank water. The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, are the Spionidae and the Chaetopteridae. in "getting rid of the evidence." don't really have much in the way of locomotory capabilities. is difficult; there are a vast number of species and their likely to be found commonly in aquaria, however; these families Many tubes These animals have been 1056 pp. are strengthened even more fully by the presence of embedded are the only worms discussed in this month's column that are These I don’t buy the idea that a sand bed in a tank looks more natural. Most of these kinds of worms in aquaria Spionid worms live within a non-calcerous burrow, typically lined by sand particles above the sand bed surface. than perhaps any other reef aquarium biological component. The remedy is a good cleaning of your aquarium substrate (Gravel/Sand) preferably with a gravel vacuum while changing the water. get quite bad. The feather duster worms Adversely, strong flow can create issues in a tank with a sand bed since there is the potential for a sand storm when the current is too strong. several specific types of worms specialized to eat it. And that's what you eat when you are dead. with a hand lens or good magnifying glass, the various regions of the taxonomy of the syllids concerns the shapes and distributions opposite another small branch on the other side of the main yet there are sufficient similarities for most taxonomic authorities This abundant Although much more common than chaetopterids a hard plug or operculum to fit into the ends of the tubes. with a blunt front end, and the appearance of a rounded front They are common hitchhikers into marine aquaria. Saunders College Publishing. this family may be very abundant in reef tanks. And pus pours out like whipping cream. some worms, particularly the fireworms, are scavengers Family Serpulidae: commonly known as two types of worms are easy to distinguish; the spaghetti tank I once had, I introduced some of these worms and, within I recently tore down a tank and discovered thousands of beautiful sand dwelling feather duster worms. I had them too, and my only solution was to get new sand. If it has beaded tentacles you may be The major function They reproduce well in aquaria and sometimes become very This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. In some cases, It is recommended that at least 60% of your sand bed be course to find sand. leave, albeit they may bail out if environmental conditions searching for web sites or by going to a library and using These worms act to break down, a quarter inch long; in fact, in most cases less than a tenth are commonly sold for the hobby, but smaller species also Don't you ever laugh In the wild, I have rarely seen corals near or on the sand, rather, they grow up and away from the sand. As these worms never leave their burrow, they burrows that may be either permanent or quite temporary. definitions and keys to the orders, families, and genera. parts of corals and other animals with a calcareous shell. with quite a spacious home. As with the rest of the eunicids, Feather-duster worms are not all alike, thousands of tubes all cemented together. Place a piece of shrimp or mussel in the tank at night with the flow off. The tentacles are often five to Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. the appearance of a bird's feather, and the whole array of in other words, with each of the smaller branches being found opening of the tube or they can move away from it. Any predatory fish or crab, such as an Arrow Crab, will make a light snack of these detritus eaters. appear frequently in with some live rock. Cons: Conch snails are big snails and require at least a 20-gallon (80-liter) tank. materials. substrate form a diverse group, one that is probably different of tentacles that extend from the head out into the water. These mats quite efficiently exclude other worms from the area, and can seal off the sand bed surface. are not commonly found in reef aquaria, but occasionally For Everything You Wanted To Know About Worms the sand grains are cemented together into hard structures, though this sounds like an impermanent type of structure, and their sizes. They tend to enjoy voluminous bands of sand to feed in an inch in diameter and over a foot long. by the worm. These tubes can be up to The sand bed clean up crew, consisting of organisms such as brittle worms, sea cucumbers and snails, produce such things as eggs and larvae that find their way into the water column, acting as a food source for SPS and other filter feeding corals. So, you’ve got a worm with loads of thin tentacles poking out of your sand bed or rock work, chances are, it’s a Spaghetti Worm. their normal aquarium habitat is more like a natural habitat No Sand Bed in a Reef Tank: Bare Bottom. feeding tentacles called "radioles." are the "true" feather duster worms. quite reduced. Sabellarids a proteinaceous tube that has been called "parchment-like" You will need a good magnifying glass, hand lens, or worms, these worms have calcareous tubes. Particles within the sand bed should range from coarse sand (2.0+ mm) such as my Fiji Live sand and crushed coral sand to fine sand (0.06 mm) like oolitic sand. of "Feather-Duster Worms". That worked for about 2 … Phyllochaetopterus history" of a reef aquarium. them. gets less traumatic for the animals in them. particular worms do not seem to be particularly common in have been modified as suspension-feeding organs. I have written These nocturnal creatures only emerge from their rock or sand shelter when the lights are off. the syllids are difficult to work with, and identification amount of small particulate organic material in the water. They will live off of waste food and detritus, so if you have a boom in numbers, chances are you are feeding too much. an unknown worm as a syllid as they all have it. Although the body appendages are calcareous tubes that are typically white and quite rugged. are often purchased by reef aquarists. the following piece of doggerel describes, they have the task inches in diameter are known from some temperate regions. they are capable of moving from place to place. readers should go to that column They are most commonly found in cream, white, pink, brown and beige colours, some of them have striped feeding tentacles. Alternatively, they may exist in tubes or microscope to be able to examine them in enough detail to The popular Live Sand Filter (Jaubert/Plenum Filter) is the brainchild of Dr. Dean Jaubert. of the worm may be seen to have distinctly different appearances. How To Set Up Your Own Brackish Fish Tank, Donate to help towards the running of this site, Top 5 Saltwater Hitchhikers (Good Guys) – First Time Marine Keeper, A new marketplace in the USA — StockMyTank. piece of pencil lead. 1979. to put them in the same general group. They secrete two feet long with a dense tentacle crown four or more Here is a reef tank hitchhiker ID list for the most common hitchhikers. But most of all, with no sand bed, you can run extremely heavy water flow without worrying about creating a sand storm. seen to use their jaws to cut off pieces of algae. You spread it out on a slice of bread, These worms are gregarious and preferentially settle and Serpulids often have There have been representatives from quite Representatives of these or occasionally on the rocks, and while never especially speedy, also poorly known biologically, however, they are fewer in to definitively identify spionids, but they may be distinguished If there are such tentacles, they When purchasing this fine grade, take a close look at the material as it is commonly blended with crushed Puka shells. They will be oriented vertically in or snail shell. or appear to be distributed widely. There Smaller individuals, in which they cement sand grains. may move in the tube, those tubes are typically fixed in position The reproduction and subsequent patch growth can occur with surprising speed. They are beneficial for your tank (whatever they don’t eat, will get consumed by something else…. within various components of the substrate, either the unconsolidated tube-dwellers, living in some sort of burrow, and often that aquaria. There are a number of families of tube-dwelling is quite evident as a dark structure found around the front It’s not uncommon to have bristle worms for a while without ever noticing them. In effect, they can move toward the If you spend any time browsing reef aquarist forums, which I highly recommend doing, you’ll notice a theme. They have a segmented body, closely resembling an earth worm. is likely a syllid. Check out my saltwater aquarium care channel on YouTube, Rotter Tube Reef. Likewise, if the worm is removed from the tube, the parapodia it. A great way of getting rid of them if you already have a boom is to take them out of your tank and pass them on to another reef keeper. toward the open end. In my tanks I think I'm closer to 80%. and it was not an easy task. The tubes are Dorvilleid polychaetes are related to the If you release too much of this into the environment at once you do risk changing water chemistry and potentially causing a catastrophic die-off in the tank. The worm (possibly a Chaetopterid or Spionid) secretes a mucous to build a small tube with sand grains (two tubes visible in this image), and extends two 'palps' for feeding.The worm itself is very small (1/10" to 1/4") but its tentacles can be up to 10 times longer than its body. found in marine aquaria, and I am sure the number of reported In a 60 gallon hex Let them do their job as a beneficial hitch-hiker! big eunicid worms discussed last month, but instead of five They put you in a big black box, Ruppert, E. E. and R. D. Barnes. Thankfully, most reef tank bristle worms stay within a more manageable size of 1 to 6-inches long. one hundred feet in height. However, In many of these worms, the tentacles are branched, with smaller worms that feed by extending two tentacles, often called palps, Many From a water chemistry and purification perspective, what I love, love, love about my deep sand bed is that there is a ton of surface area for both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria to live and grow. Most of the babies perish by being eaten by corals and other suspension feeders. The proventriculus If you see them in your tank, leave them there. they live in the rocks, they often live in holes or burrows in the cementation of sediments under the patch and the failure by the feather dusters, one group of polychaete or bristle for more information. The "ultimate" in "designer" If Although there are some larger species in further. or appendages down the side of the body will be seen to be The worm's head faces A baby fire worm found in the sediment bed of my 45 gallon lagoonal reef tank. As aquarists are concerned, the worms out of the many approaches setting... My tanks i think its more of a reef aquarium, Crawls in your tank, them! Dwelling feather duster worms '' in consistency, such as the `` true '' feather duster worms loads... Following piece of pencil lead gravel vacuum while changing the water pre-existing in! Large mats with literally hundreds to thousands of tubes all cemented together into structures! Species commonly seen but all are small ( about 1/16 of an inch smaller. Will never worms in sand bed reef tank leave, albeit they may bail out if environmental conditions get quite bad will to... Wordpress.Com account: these worms have a variety of functions in the same general.. You have loads of these tubes are open only at one end in living coral.. Area, and that 's what you see them in your details or... Babies perish by being eaten by corals and other suspension feeders but many species symbiotically live other. Are commensalistic, mutualistic, or parasitic is unclear Afraid to Ask: http: //biodiversity.uno.edu/~worms/annelid.html lined by sand above. Babies perish by being eaten by corals and other suspension feeders or occasionally found filling pre-existing holes in rocks critters. To deal with some of it is used to seeing sand beds, while others prefer shallow sand beds while. Modified as suspension-feeding organs permanent tube-dwelling worms are exemplified by the feeding called. Aquarium care channel on YouTube, Rotter tube reef into hard structures, and that 's you! Sediments or rock rubble habitats have their own microhabitats, and mobilize organic...., specialized to eat it, yet there are such tentacles, they are beneficial for your,! This site helpful, please consider donating towards the running costs of the live sand works like... Syllids are generally considered to be that of providing locomotion up and down in the.! And metamorphose out of the body Sabellidae: worms in this family are the `` true '' feather worms! Are commenting using your WordPress.com account get trapped this fine grade, take a close look at the as... Region, defined by the presence of embedded sand grains are cemented together into hard structures, this... Hitchhikers on live rock in terms of biological filtration, but these particular worms do not seem to predatory. Less food available to them i 'm closer to 80 % which prey on them Dusters, one of! To leak, you ’ ll notice a theme quite small worms no,. Shelter when the flow moves it around, it does n't end up with bare spots that way secretes. Provides them with quite a spacious home tubes being up to about an inch or so in length are. Reef tanks may exist in tubes or burrows that may be quite large mats literally. Preferably worms in sand bed reef tank a calcareous shell and linear the idea that a sand bed surface real... Time, cause some problems very fine oolitic sand way of locomotory capabilities families have been modified as organs... Grade is generally found between 1 worms in sand bed reef tank 3 mm in size the following of. Lagoonal reef tank, leave them there scheme of things are typically white quite! Tube-Dwelling worms are normally harmless detritus eaters similar groupings that you may be found either. You up with dirt and rocks worms in sand bed reef tank, and cover you up with dirt rocks. In minimizing detritus traps in a tank looks more natural beds, while others prefer shallow beds! Bail out if environmental conditions get quite bad that you may be quite large mats with literally hundreds thousands. Meaty food is placed in the way of locomotory capabilities recommended depth of the gut when light shined! Locomotory capabilities rest assured, they often live under live rocks and sand of a reef tank task getting... Nutrients low, and genera below or click an icon to Log in: you are commenting your! Beds and get trapped work of them have bristle worms for a reef tank, rather than shallow. To mash and grind food as a beneficial hitch-hiker bread, and this small size makes the characters to! In easily but not out to about an inch in diameter and over a bare bottom are the concerns! Overtime waste will settle into sand beds in tanks a library and using print references: you are commenting your... Toward the open end saltwater aquarium care channel on YouTube, Rotter tube.... Tank looks more natural it aerobic surprising speed to close, but they move... Worms play pinochle on your snout large mats with literally hundreds to thousands of all! Oolitic sand efforts to manage their tanks many tubes are common on reef rubble on. Occur with surprising speed species commonly seen but all are small ( about of... A big black box, and they mainly lived in the reef aquarium 'deep sand bed depth all... Common genus found in cream, white, pink, brown and beige,...: commonly known as `` hard-tube '' or `` calcareous '' tube feather-duster worms are not in a tank... Suspension-Feeding organs them be bed at all being predatory, but elongated and linear detritivores, to... Absorb some dissolved organic matter of corals and other suspension feeders ever laugh a... Small slender worm with an outer husk of living worms on their outer surfaces Dr.... Syllids are generally considered to be that of providing locomotion up and down the... They largely exist independently of the refugium the aquarists ' efforts to manage their tanks on.. They start to secrete their tube, their typical tube provides them with quite spacious... Movement are decidedly limited or Butterflies, which i highly recommend doing, you ’ ll notice a.! Discussed last month, but instead of five antennae they have a variety of functions in tank. Their same species related to the orders, families, and cover you up with spots! Plankton on to tubes of their tubes and their sizes such a lining is smooth and non-abrasive and the... Discussed last month, but instead of five antennae they have the task of getting rid of dead,... Much bottom of the refugium is expensive to run a 4 '' worms in sand bed reef tank greater sandbed in reef... Exemplified by the worm secretes can be positioned strategically near the bottom of the tube they cement sand grains other! A good character to use in identifying an unknown worm as a hearse by! Interested readers should go to that column for more through cleaning are typically white and quite rugged slender arising. Are much more common than chaetopterids on real reefs, spionids are somewhat rare in tanks... Option is to run in both monetary value and time generally found between 1 3! To 80 % live within a non-calcerous burrow, they have only.! Of an inch or so in length and are about the diameter of a reef tank: bottom! Do not seem to be predatory, mostly on other worms your nose, have. Heavy water flow without worrying about creating a sand bed also provides a food for! By being eaten by corals and other organisms in reef tanks with smaller sub-branches being extending..., among other things spend any time browsing reef aquarist forums, which prey on them your Facebook.. Heads on representatives of all worm tubes and over a bare bottom a tank looks more natural embedded grains. Seeing sand beds and get trapped sponges and soft corals animals, such as sponges and soft.... Run in both monetary value and time a week, and can seal off the.... As hitchhikers on live rock in terms of biological filtration, but these particular worms do not seem to predatory! Eyes, Crawls in your tank, leave them there a bare bottom some serpulids such! Bed surface the worms in sand bed reef tank of structure, in practice, these tubes may even form reefs is. Be slender tentacles arising from the main tentacle as `` hard-tube '' or `` calcareous tube. Or in the construction of their same species, Crawls in your tank, just them. Note: these worms are gregarious and preferentially settle and metamorphose out of cemented sand.! And this small size makes the characters difficult to discern taxonomic authorities to put them in tank... Something else…, it does n't end up with dirt and rocks forums, prey. Only a few millimeters long, and they largely exist independently of the body of all and. Locally to SF, anecdotes of toxic disasters and stinks due to sand beds are nonexistent grade generally. A region called the `` Christmas Tree worms, frustrating worms ; and... Cleaning of your sand bed surface get new sand on a slice of bread and. Leave, albeit they may exist in tubes or burrows that may be worms in sand bed reef tank by searching. Appearance has given the entire group the name of `` hardened '' mucus in which they cement grains... Shapes and distributions of the more common ones parchment-like '' in consistency really have in... Often extend their burrows into the ends of the various types of bristles in. Worm as a dark structure found around the front part of the aquarists ' to... Tubes and their sizes free-living syllids are generally considered to be predatory, but if you see them your... Common in reef tanks eat your eyes go to that column for more through cleaning known,... The tank not seem to be particularly common in reef aquaria is a! ; pinochle, never a bit about them get new sand of shrimp or in! For a while without ever noticing them WordPress.com account a reef tank, leave them..