Possible bristleworm emergency?!!


New Member
Feb 13, 2022
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United States
I just got a trochus snail a few days ago. He seems to be doing well but while watching him in the tank tonight, I noticed a terrifying worm-looking thing peek its head out from under the rock. After a quick Google search, I’ve discovered that it’s most likely a bristleworm. I’ve seen some people saying that they’re helpful and some that warn to remove it from the tank immediately. The trochus snail is the only thing in my tank right now so luckily I don’t have to worry about any other animals. Still, I’m quite nervous about him. Will the worm attack him??? He’s just now getting used to his new home and I’d hate to see him go. I’ve attached the best image I could take of the work but its pretty bad quality. It has a pinkish body with white spikes on it and doesn’t seem to be very big. Just for reference, it’s lurking in a crevice near the bottom of the rock while my trochus is on the top. So basically what I’m asking is: is this thing dangerous? If so, what’s the best way to remove it? And WILL IT HURT MY TROCHUS?


Crazy Crab Lady
Staff member
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Jul 23, 2004
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Northeastern USA
Small pink bristle worms are a fact of life with most marine tanks. They eat detritus and decaying things - usually. Under normal conditions they would only go after a dead or dying snail or other animal. If they overpopulate they can mob snails but that's rare and requires a lot of excess feeding over a long time. The main worms to watch out for are large ones, usually eunicids and some nasty spotted flat worms but also sometimes large pink ones that look similar to the "safe" ones. If I see one crawling around bigger than a couple inches I remove it as a precaution if it's easy to grab since determining the species is not always easy and some will eat corals/sponges/etc. Yours is likely fine though.

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