Bristleworms For Sale on eBay…And They’re Actually Selling

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Bristleworms On eBay

The world of online auction sites like eBay allows anyone, anywhere, to buy just about anything. Sometimes you can find incredibly useful items, products that complete a collection, or just some random and weird stuff from sellers looking to make a little extra scratch. In the aquarium community, we usually see coral frags and random supplies, but we’ve also seen $500 Ultra LE Aiptasia anemones and now someone has a listing for bristle worms. While the aiptasia listing was downright predatory in every sense of the word, the appearance of bristleworms is borderline, for us anyways.

On one hand, you’ve got an animal that consumes detritus in the marine aquarium and can actually be beneficial. On the other, you’ve got an invertebrate that is incredibly common and can even be somewhat of a nuisance if their numbers get too high. Regardless, let’s get back to the actual listing.

The seller has (or had) a total of 11 packs of 10 worms for sale, of which four have already been sold. The 10-packs of bristleworms are $20 per, which means the seller has already made $80 off selling them. That said, the polychaetes do come with free shipping, which obviously eats into the overall profits.

This listing, as well as a few others that have raised eyebrows, leaves us asking the question…Should aquarists be selling something that is so common as bristleworms? Would it matter if the organism was nothing but beneficial?

I’ve always been a big believer in “paying if forward”, an act in which I give things like macroalgae, amphipods, and other beneficial critters away for free to hobbyists in need with no need for reciprocation. Obviously, not everyone is a believer in that train of thought,  but it still plays to the question as to whether or not people should charge money for stuff like this.

Originally shared on Facebook by Chad Vossen.

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  • Michael Carleton

    I say it’s all good. Whomever listed these little critters didn’t do anything to deceive the buyer or misrepresent the product as far as I can tell. They are detritivores after all, they’re common sure but why not make them available to people that might want them and not be able to get hold of them? Gimmicks and useless gadgets costing hundreds of $$$ are as common as bristleworms in this hobby and at 2 bucks a worm with shipping I wouldn’t really say anyone’s being taken advantage of here.

    I’d like to think the Aiptasia listing was part of some inside joke and never really intended for sale but who knows. Could be run-of-the-mill dicketry. Caveat Emptor eh?

  • Bradley Vaughn

    I believe in giving to others. While I don’t blame people who sell these things, I wouldn’t do it myself because I have had need of micro-fauna when seeding a new tank. I would want someone to share with me as I have shared with others. I have given free frags, etc. I like to think we reef-keepers have a community, but sometimes people don’t see it that way – they see opportunities to make money to cover what they are spending in this expensive hobby. However we all know that giving something to someone makes US feel better.