Weird centipede thing in my new tank!!??

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by ca13816, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. ca13816

    ca13816New MemberMember

    I just set up a saltwater aquarium the other day and I have been adding live rock for the past 2 days and I noticed that there were little yellow-ish spirals in the bottom of my tank... I stirred the water a little to remove them and when I looked at them closer they looked like little centipedes! They are maybe a centimeter long and look like tiny centipedes. The only place I can think I could get them or where they came from was that they may have hitch hiked on my live rock... they all died because the aquarium isnt cycled yet and I collected about 30 of the little things. Are they harmful to my tank? How big do they get? Any and all info is greatly appreciated!
  2. JessiNoel21

    JessiNoel21Well Known MemberMember

    They are bristle worm very common hick hikers in SW tanks on LR. They are harmless and eat diatoms and any uneatten food. I have 6 in my tank 3 that are 12" long I love them my peppermint and coral banded shrimp keep them under control by eating the small ones under 2".
  3. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    I agree, most likely bristle worms. They are pretty hardy, and a cycle shouldn't really kill them (unless they're babies), guess that's why we call it Live Rock die-off ;)

    Either way, they are harmless detrivores. I also have two, about 12" long.

    :eek: Well there you go, I never knew that about peppermints! Thanks, maybe that explains why I've never had a population explosion of them :D
  4. Mrs.Price

    Mrs.PriceValued MemberMember

    They aren't entirely harmless... they a toxic.. never touch them with your bare hands. Large bristle worms can be aggressive predators, however, most of them are harmless scavengers.
  5. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    If you Google it, pictures of hands full of bristles come up :eek:
  6. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Fireworms can be toxic, and predatory.
    The more common bristleworms are harmless.

    Save that, neither should be touched with bare hands. The bristles can linger in your skin for weeks and are more of an irritation than a health threat (from experience)
  7. JessiNoel21

    JessiNoel21Well Known MemberMember

    I never been sting by mine and I have had my biggest one crawl over my hand once with me fixing a rock that fell due to my turbo knocking it down. But I have heard of them stinging. The two things in my tank to watch out for is Bonnie my female clownfish and Bandit my coral banned shrimp they both like to attack me if they can and they do hurt.Here is one of my big ones also the one that climbed all over my hand.image
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  8. Mrs.Price

    Mrs.PriceValued MemberMember

    Yes, very ouchy!! D:
  9. OP

    ca13816New MemberMember

    I know this is weird and that they are desirable because they eat diatoms but can I get rid of them? I hate centipedes and these just kinda freak me out and I would like them gone. Also, after a little over 2 days my aquarium is fish ready except the ph is a bit low. I've heard it takes weeks for it to cycle but apparently that bio-spira really works!
  10. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Yes bio-spira does work :)

    You can make bristleworm traps.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  11. Sturty

    SturtyValued MemberMember

    Haha i found one recently too
    Its around 12" long
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  12. OP

    ca13816New MemberMember

    Is there anything that will eat the smaller ones? I would like to kill them when they small so I dont really have to think about it lol
  13. JessiNoel21

    JessiNoel21Well Known MemberMember

  14. monkeypie102

    monkeypie102Well Known MemberMember

    Now i know I want to start a saltwater tank... those dudes just look to cool!!! My lfs has a ton of LR I wonder if he has any in his tanks...
  15. showjumper_girl2002

    showjumper_girl2002Valued MemberMember

    I was told they will sting and kill anemones and also will eat shrimp and crabs and should be caught emediately if I found one. Is this true?
  16. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Refer my post #6.
    I have two the same as pictured by Sturty. I have a BTA, shrimp, snails, corals, all still thriving.

    Though likely it is a fireworm of sorts, it has not done any damage in my reef.
  17. JessiNoel21

    JessiNoel21Well Known MemberMember

    Mine crawls all over my LTA and she is fine plus they eat all the left over food no one else eats.
  18. sirdarksol

    sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    There are countless species of bristleworm/fireworm. The vast majority of them are detrivores, like Ryan says. They're beneficial to the tank, as they eat all of the stuff that would normally rot in the substrate.
    I've read about some species that are predators, though. They aren't likely to catch fish, but they'll wreak havoc on a tank's inverts. If you find that you have problematic bristleworms, then you will likely want to trap them and get them out of your tank.