BRISTLEWORM TRAP FOR LARGER WORMS
These new worm traps are now availale as a number of people are contacting us with reports of very very large worms in their tank which are not entering the standard traps because the opening is too small. Therefore these have been designed with a larger entrance and longer for larger worms to access.
Use a worm trap capable of trapping large worms for just a couple of nights running a couple of times a month. Before introducing the trap you should drastically reduce the amount of food going into the tank at feeding times, for a couple of days. Then at night place your trap on the substrate in any area where you may have seen large gatherings of worms in nearby rock. In the morning you should see the fruits of your actions with small and large worms caught in the trap overnight. Remove the trap and empty then replace the trap the following night.
Remember no tank with live rock will ever be worm free. So just try to keep the numbers acceptable.
The WORM TRAPS by M.J. Aquatics have been designed to trap worms both small and large in length. It measures approx 140 mm in length. Its design took into account the fact that large bristleworms enter most worm traps available on the market and begin eating the bait with only 10-20 mm of the worm inside the trap and the remainder of the worm safely in its burrow.
The M.J. Aquatics traps when placed approx 40mm from live rock requires the worm to leave its burrow by at least 60-90mm enabling you to remove the larger worms without trouble of worm out in the open and easily removable.
The M.J. Aquatics trap comes with an easy to remove cap for baiting and emptying the trap.
These design features have been made from our own experiences of using other traps we found available on the market and working out how to eliminate each little flaw. So if you purchase a trap from us, please feel free to contact us with any ideas for improvements as we always strive to better our products. If you have exceptionally large worms which you feel are unable to enter the trap please contact us where traps can be made to suit.
The following will give you an insight into the life cycle and habits of the bristleworm and whether you feel the need to remove or not.
Description Bristleworms range in size from small (about 1" long) up to very large at over 20" in length. Most small ones are an orange color, sometime appearing two-tone in colour. Larger bristleworms are frequently gray or brownish in color. Bristleworms are composed of many segments and have bristles (setae) which extend from both sides of its body along its entire length, hence their common name. These setae are clearly visible in larger worms. Bristle worms live in the sand or within the live rock. They are nocturnal and not usually seen during the day. Feeding the tank in the evening and using a torch and some red polythene or plastic placed over the torch light this will allow you to see them without them retracting into the rock. Let the tank lights go off and room lights also for about an hour before doing this. You will then see what sort of numbers you are dealing with.
Good or Bad? This is a tough one. Historically, bristleworms were all considered to be bad. Most literature warns that they can attack and eat clams, anemones, corals and even fish. In recent years, most hobbyists have come to the conclusion that small bristle worms pose no threat to other tank inhabitants and are in fact good scavengers and add to the biodiversity of the tank. You can even buy bristleworms from some sources. Even large bristleworms are starting to be better understood. Although it appears that some large bristleworms can be aggressive predators, these seem to be in the minority. Many large bristleworms seem to fall into the harmless scavenger category.
Notes Capturing large bristleworms, if you desire to do so, can be difficult. They are secretive and primarily nocturnal. Large ones should not be captured by hand due to their sharp pincher teeth and setae (bristles) which can puncture the skin. One way to capture large or small worms is to use traps. There are many available on the market. Biological controls are sometimes mentioned. Several species of Wrasses, Copperbanded Butterflyfish, Banded Coral Shrimp and Arrow Crabs are all suppose to eat bristleworms, but I doubt that they will eat the large ones which are the only ones to possibly be concerned about. My recommendation is to leave them alone unless you have reason to believe they are causing damage. Also be aware that when an animal, such as a clam dies, the bristle worms will frequently feed on the carcass as will any scavenger. Many people misunderstand that the worms are only scavenging and falsely assume that the worms killed the clam or other specimen.
So in the main they are harmless but I doubt you would want too many large worms in your tank. To keep the numbers down a simple strict feeding regime is the easiest method. When the amounts of waste food within the tank are very low a large number of the small worms die off and are eaten by their larger counterparts. Thus reducing the numbers naturally, this however does not reduce the amount of larger worms already within the tank.
So armed with that knowledge of bristleworms you can now decide the path to take. Ignore them or trap them but either way reduce feeding them.
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