Common names: Bristleworm, Fireworm

Errant (wandering) polychaetes are for the most part beneficial scavengers. Resembling a centipede, they can be found crawling around the aquarium in search of detritus, left over food, dying/decaying organic matter. There are thousands of different species, and it has been sited that >99% fall into the category of opportunistic harmless scavengers. Even the predatory worms usually only consume other worms, microcrustaceans, detritus, algae, and the like. There are Rare exceptions to the rule, such as Hermodice aka Fireworm, which does feed on healthy cnidarian tissue, and bivalves. A bristleworm population explosion may be an indication of over feeding. Often neglected tanks see nuisance populations. Be aware the bristles can get stuck in an unprotected finger. Duct tape can be used to remove the bristles (of course any medical issues should be brought to a physician). Bristleworms do play an important role in removal of left over organics, and for the majority - are reef safe and harmless.

Control methods: Cut back on over feeding/limiting food source, manual removal, trapping, and natural predation.