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View Full Version : Millipede-Like Worms Living I Sun Coral!


teddscau
05/14/2018, 11:28 AM
Okay, what the heck are they!? They look just like millipedes, except they're pale and translucent with a pale black vain running down their back! They're over an inch long, and they're living in my sun coral's skeleton! When I feed the polyps silversides, the worms pop out of his skeleton (one of the coral's previous owners starved him, so his tissue is very receded), and they start attacking the polyps! One or more will latch onto the food, while the others grab the polyp, biting it! They're really strong, too! I think they might be physically crawling INSIDE of the polyps tissue, as well!

I'm going to finish feeding the polyps, and then I'm going to put them in some coral dip. I...what are they?

AlSimmons
05/14/2018, 11:33 AM
Without a picture it's kind of hard to say, but the link below might help.

https://www.lionfishlair.com/hitchhikers-guide/

teddscau
05/14/2018, 11:47 AM
The closest they look like are Dorvilleidae, except those are herbivores. These worms are actually trying to steal his food and are biting him. Sorry, I definitely can't take any photos (camera sucks). Dang, all I have is some expired Coral Rx!

mcgyvr
05/14/2018, 11:59 AM
Probably harmless and very common bristleworms..
You are likely overreacting on whats actually going on there..
I'd doubt they are really hurting the coral in anyway..

teddscau
05/14/2018, 01:16 PM
Okay, so they have rounded white heads.

I don't think I'm overreacting? They're living inside of the coral's skeleton, and when they smell food, they swarm to the polyps, yanking food out of their mouths (causing the polyps to waste energy by trying to pull the food away from the worms), and I actually saw the worms biting the polyp's tentacles and yanking on them. They definitely don't look like any bristleworms I've ever seen.

The expired dip didn't work, so I think I'll have to put the coral in a bowl of saltwater, dangle a piece of fish in front of the polyp, then grab onto the worms with tweezers as they try to grab the food -_-.

Anemone
05/14/2018, 06:11 PM
The only worms you would really need to be worried about are Bobbit worms (Eunice sp.); and those you would definitely need to remove.

Kevin

Crooked Reef
05/15/2018, 02:13 PM
A type of syllid worm?

teddscau
05/15/2018, 02:23 PM
Yeah, I think they might be some sort of juvenile syllid worms belonging to the "Eusyllinae" sub-family. I saw what appeared to be some sort of egg mass dangling off one of the sun coral's tentacles the other day, and I saw suspicious masses inside the sun coral's tissue (I think they might be burrowing in its tissue). Not cool. Is there some sort of treatment I can use to get the worms to vacate the sun coral?

EMeyer
05/16/2018, 08:46 AM
I have seen bristleworms attack sun corals during feeding time. I suggest you trust your direct observations more than assertions made by random people on the internet :) This does happen.

"But they only attack when the animal is dying anyway" this will be the next argument from the bristleworm police. And that my friends is what we call a non-falsifiable hypothesis. If a worm attacks an animal they will claim it was dying anyway, but there is no way to disprove this. Its a baseless assertion that cannot be tested.

I wish I had a solution for you. Not everything that lives in saltwater aquariums is compatible. I've seen bristleworms attack sun corals multiple times, and since there is no really effective way to eradicate them my only solution has been to stop trying to keep sun corals :(

teddscau
05/16/2018, 10:48 AM
Thanks for the support :). I don't think the worms are seriously harming the sun coral at the moment, but I fear that could easily change. I absolutely love sun coral, and having one has always been on my bucket list. Well, if I had a bucket list.

Anyways, I think I might have a solution. I've taken courses in animal behaviour, training, psychology, etc. So...the only reason the worms are living in sun coral's skeleton is because it's right next to an all you can eat buffet. So, before feeding my sun coral, I'm going to start feeding the worms. Everyday, I'm going to feed them a bit further away from the sun coral, before finally feeding them daily at the same spot. They'll associate this spot with food, and hopefully they'll relocate. Hopefully. Worst comes to worst, I'll just make sure their tummies are full before feeding the sun coral, that way they won't bother him during feeding time.

teddscau
05/16/2018, 11:49 AM
Look up "lightning fast white/milky looking worm". See the picture on the ********* website? Those are the worms!

Tripod1404
05/16/2018, 12:55 PM
I have seen bristleworms attack sun corals during feeding time. I suggest you trust your direct observations more than assertions made by random people on the internet :) This does happen.

"But they only attack when the animal is dying anyway" this will be the next argument from the bristleworm police. And that my friends is what we call a non-falsifiable hypothesis. If a worm attacks an animal they will claim it was dying anyway, but there is no way to disprove this. Its a baseless assertion that cannot be tested.

I wish I had a solution for you. Not everything that lives in saltwater aquariums is compatible. I've seen bristleworms attack sun corals multiple times, and since there is no really effective way to eradicate them my only solution has been to stop trying to keep sun corals :(

Lol... move along people, the ultimate expert talked, case is closed ;).

AlSimmons
05/16/2018, 04:41 PM
Lol... move along people, the ultimate expert talked, case is closed ;).

Lol... It's always nice to have a fan... ;)

teddscau
05/16/2018, 05:44 PM
Well, my supplies came in today, so I decided to try "treating" one of the polyps. I put the coral in a bowl of tank water, then I used a needle to "inject" Melafix into the gap in the largest polyp's skeleton where the worms live. The worms started crawling out, and I continued to squirt the Melafix into the gap. Next, I carefully scraped the worms out of its skeleton. I spent at least 15 minutes getting those monsters out. Afterwards, I put some coral putty in the gap and sealed up the gap so that worms couldn't get back in.

In all, I removed at least TWENTY worms from just the one polyp. I put it on my new frag rack to help prevent other pests from hurting the polyp while the putty cures. If the polyp's still healthy a couple of weeks from now, I'll work on another polyp.

wrott
05/16/2018, 06:12 PM
I believe Bayer pesticide treatment would kill the worms. I've used it many times on acro frags/colonies. It kills anything w/ a nervous system.

AlSimmons
05/16/2018, 06:15 PM
Just out of curiosty how much did you pay for the coral? I don't want anything to die, but throwing it over your shoulder might be the best thing.

FWIW I had to catch an Emerald crab from my tank and the best time to do it was in the middle of the night. Instead of putting it in the sump only to catch it another day or a net waiting, I decided to throw it in the toilet. I'll probably have to answer for this one day, but all in all it was for the greater good.

teddscau
05/16/2018, 06:28 PM
The coral was actually free. I paid $1000 for the 90g, sump, skimmer, powerheads, kalk, corals, liverock, and everything else the guy had.

The worms are in the rest of the live rock, too. Pain in the butt. I saw one of those demon millipedes climbing on one of my acros the other day too. I don't think they're a threat to SPS coral, just certain soft corals and LPS corals. I think as long as the coral is in good health, they won't be harmed. It's just that the sun coral had been so neglected that the worms were able to take over. It's actually growing a new polyp and is eating really well for me, so I think it's worthwhile to evict the worms and patch up it's exposed skeleton with the putty. Poor guy. The polyp I just treated has been stressed the past few days. I noticed the worms have really been picking on it the past week, so hopefully it starts acting normal again.

Oh, and please tell me you killed the emerald crab before flushing it.

mndfreeze
05/16/2018, 08:30 PM
You should have taken some up close macro pictures of the offending worms and posted them. Most worms are harmless and these are probably the same and just feeding on the stuff you're putting in there. most bristleworms we come across in the hobby don't even have the correct mouth parts to be able to damage a living creature.

teddscau
05/16/2018, 09:03 PM
Those definitely aren't bristleworms. Not sure what they are exactly, but I've seen them crawl right inside of the polyps' mouths to steal food from inside their bodies. If you search "lightning fast white/milky looking worm" on google, the first link that comes up will have a photo of the worms.