Saltwater Aquarium Worms: Are They Safe?

Posted August 20, 2020 by in Lifestyle
fish swimming

If you’re an aquarium hobbyist and have a reef tank, you may have noticed saltwater aquarium worms in your tank. They’re not uncommon, but are saltwater aquarium worms safe?

Your first instinct may be to remove these creatures, but is that the right thing to do? Here’s what you need to know.

About Bristle Worms

Firstly, what are saltwater aquarium worms? The worm you see in the tank is probably a bristle worm.

There are over 10,000 species of bristle worms, and most live in saltwater. These creatures are named this because of the hair-like bristles across their bodies. Bristle worms will eat plankton, dead organisms, and algae.

Bristle worms can actually help keep your tank clean, but only if you have the right species.

Spotting and Identifying the Worm

Bristle worms are nocturnal, which means you’ll only see them at night. If you use a light in your aquarium, you may not see them at all until you start poking around the tank.

To get a good look at the worm, you’ll have to turn off all the lights. Once the worm emerges, inspect the features. Take a picture if you can.

If you have trouble identifying saltwater aquarium worms, post a picture online asking for help or contact an aquarium store.

The Bad Type

You may see conflicting advice online on whether saltwater aquarium worms are at all beneficial. There are so many species of bristle worms, as we mentioned above, and not all of them are good for the tank.

Fireworms are the bad type and often considered aquarium pests. These worms feed on corals, as well as crustaceans and anemones.

Fireworms can detach the bristles on their bodies, and these bristles can cause irritation and a burning sensation.

You should remove these worms from your tank, but take precautions beforehand and use protective gear and baiting methods.

This type of bristle worm doesn’t always wait until night to feed. If you see the worm during the day, you’re likely dealing with a fireworm. You may also notice reddish gill filaments and bright-white bristles.

Can Saltwater Aquarium Worms Be Beneficial?

Bristle worms can be beneficial as cleaners in your tank, as long as you’re not dealing with a troublesome species like the fireworm.

If you have beneficial bristle worms in the tank, but you’re worried about them overtaking the tank, take care not to overfeed them.

Bristle worms are scavengers and will eat the detritus in your saltwater tank. Using the ultimate ecopack can help you control the waste in your tank.

Take Care of Your Saltwater Aquarium

Seeing saltwater aquarium worms in your tank can be a little alarming at first. But bristle worms aren’t all bad, as long as you identify the species in your tank. You can do this using the tips outlined above.

Do you want more advice on how to keep your saltwater aquarium healthy? How about other lifestyle topics? Explore the rest of our site today for more great resources like this guide.