Bristleworms are very beneficial for a marine aquarium, but sometimes they can get out of hand. The writhing pink mass of worms will gobble up uneaten fish food and detritus, but they can be quite unsightly and can present a stinging risk for hobbyists when performing maintenance or rearranging rocks or corals. If you find yourself with an infestation, there are multiple ways you can thin down the herd. Predatory fish and invertebrates are a good place to start. Various wrasse and goby species will eat the worms, and a few crabs and shrimp have been known to turn them into a snack as well. Of course, manual removal with a pair of tweezers works too, but that’s a lot of work for something that will likely just come right back. That process can be automated, however, as the worms can be trapped. We do not recommend chemical dosing as a way to rid yourself of the worms, though we suppose you could have some fun frying them with an Aiptasia zapping want. Just be careful with this method, as the worms might release gametes into the water as a last ditch effort to breed before dying.
Tip of the Day – 10/25/20130