What the heck is this thing??

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OhioOilMan

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Mar 1, 2008
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Ryan Lore
As I was doing an inspection on my sump this evening I just happened to look up at the bottom glass under the sand bed and noticed this large worm like creature, slowly creeping around the sand, it appears that there were 3 of these and the largest appearing to be around 16 inches in length. In all my years in the saltwater aquarium hobby I have never noticed or seen anything like it. I had google searched to no avail. At first I had thought it was a large bristle worm but up close I knew it wasn't. In addition to the red worms there are several little 1" long black worms as well. I have enclosed a few photo's any I.D and or information would be great!!!

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392061_10150394316027131_659747130_8563781_1926553898_n.jpg 380090_10150394316177131_659747130_8563782_1006987386_n.jpg 388720_10150394316272131_659747130_8563783_427082096_n.jpg 392183_10150394316487131_659747130_8563787_404104658_n.jpg
 

greech

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May 13, 2009
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Not sure why you don't suspect a bristle worm? Pics are a little hard to see but the 2 pic clearly has a segmented body with bristles protruding outward. No clue on the black ones.
 

greech

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May 13, 2009
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That's not creepy but this is...



On top of it being 4 foot long, loaded with spines that can cause permanent numbness and just flat-out ugly, it devours corals!
 

Khemul

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Oct 14, 2010
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Is it strange that I have a sudden urge to set up a monster tank and keep one of those giants as a pet? :evil_lol:

Considering that "Bristleworm" doesn't describe a single species, or even small group of species, I'd agree that ruling out Bristleworm as an ID would be a bit early. Although it'd probably need to be seen out of the water and up close to be sure. It sure looks like a very long/skinny Bristleworm to me in at least some of the shots. The name does cover a huge range of creatures. It just needs to be a worm with bristles really, even Feather Dusters can technically fall under the name.
 

XanAvaloni

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Nov 13, 2009
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Greech, back to the important point, how in blazes do you get RID of these things?? and by "spines that can cause permanent numbness" I am assuming you mean cause this to the human who attempts the aforementioned removal?

yeep. /reconsiders salt tank yet again
 

Khemul

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Oct 14, 2010
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Greech, back to the important point, how in blazes do you get RID of these things?? and by "spines that can cause permanent numbness" I am assuming you mean cause this to the human who attempts the aforementioned removal?

yeep. /reconsiders salt tank yet again
The little ones aren't that bad. I handle them all the time and have never been stung. Not sure I'd personally handle the one in the OP without gloves, but I doubt even it would do permanent damage. Bristleworm is a class of worms, not an individual. They range from harmless to horror movie prop. Nearly all of the ones seen in the aquarium are the harmless ones. Even Fireworms (the more dangerous of the aquarium Bristleworms) are more of a threat to the tank then the owner.

As for getting rid of them, buy or build a trap. Basically anything that can tangling them up or hold them until removal, baited with food.
 

OhioOilMan

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Well.... I have now come to the conclusion that they are not bristle worms, A friend of mine who manages a local saltwater aquarium shop stopped by the house today and looked at them and was totally speechless as to what they are, and said that they are definitely not bristle worms or any species that he has ever dealt with and he's been in the industry for over 30 years. Last night when I turned off the lights for the evening I had noticed it was streatched from one end of my 55 gal reef almost to the other side well over 30" I has tunnels all over the bottom of the thank that it goes into like he has his own little tunnel system going on which is another reason for me to think that its not a bristle worm not just because there are no bristle appendages appearant but its making little tube like caves all over the bottom of the glass..... this is crazy!!
 

OhioOilMan

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Not to mention that this worm has never come to the top of the sand and stays on the very bottom of the glass.
 
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