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Old 05/26/2003, 11:47 PM   #1
LauraBay
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Clam on the way - Q about bristle worm myth

Hi,

I have a squamosa on the way. When I kept clams several years ago there was a lot of talk about bristle worms "attacking" and killing clams. Thinking has changed a lot over the years but I just want to be sure that this is just a myth. My current understanding is that bristle worms will not attack or eat any healthy clams/corals. I have tons of these in my tank and feel thay are great detritus eaters but at the same time I don't want to add a clam that will be destined to die by bristle worm.

My tank is a 75 reef that has been established for years and has 2-175w MH. I hope to set the clam on a small rock that can be moved if needed. Sound OK?


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Old 05/27/2003, 12:24 AM   #2
Gary Majchrzak
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No need to set a T. squamosa on a rock. This species does better on the sandbed, IMO. Large T. squamosa do not attach to the substrate via byssal thread.
My squamosa always had worms under it for as long as I can remember. I don't think you should be concerned about them.
I recommend having a fish predator of clam parasites in a system with clams.Good luck!


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Old 05/27/2003, 05:42 PM   #3
BonsaiNut
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LauraBay;

This is an unresolved issue, and I don't think that it will probably ever be resolved. Some people keep clams with bristle worms ok, others swear that bristle worms killed their clams. I happen to be one of the latter, after seeing a couple of clams go from healthy at 6:00 PM to swarmed with bristle worms at 11:00 PM to picked clean by 6:00 AM. However, I cannot prove that the bristle worms actually killed the clam, and at the same time I know I was able to keep some clams with bristle worms without problems so who knows?

I currently have 8 clams in my new system. As far as I can tell, I either have no bristle worms, or they are very good at hiding. I have a few fish that I specifically added to the tank to try to prevent a large bristle worm population, so they must be doing their job, or else some other factor is at play.

I keep my clams on rock, but others keep theirs in sand. In the wild, clams attach to the rock, but apparently when they are large they no longer need to. In my travels to the South Pacific I have yet to see any of the really big "sand-living" clams - I have only seen clams on rocks. However since your reef tank doesn't have large predators or tropical storms, I think either location would probably be fine as long as the lighting and circulation are good.

Have fun with your clam and post some pics!


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Old 05/27/2003, 09:30 PM   #4
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i have 18 clams in my tank and have never had a bristle worm attack. i have seen at least one in my tank and if i could get them out i most definitaly would but as of yet they have never bothered my clams. i check them often to make sure there are no worms or snails.


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Old 05/27/2003, 10:06 PM   #5
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Bristleworms are no problem for healthy clams. Now if your clam is streessed or dieing, then the bristle worms will smell the rotting flesh and get hungry.

The other problem is that while bristle worms are no prblem to healthy clams, there are other worms who are also called bristles generically who are carnivorous and will eat your clams. Don't ask me which ones are which, because I don't know.

Rob


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Old 05/27/2003, 11:03 PM   #6
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Like Rob mentioned, the term 'Bristleworm' or even 'Polychaete' is commonly used for any worm reefkeepers see. Most commonly seen Polychaeates are no threat to healthy clams.
I did have a blobbing/boring worm {genus Lysaretidae or Oenonidae} years ago that would blob Tridacna {and snails and urchins} with a net of mucus, smother them, and then eat them overnight.
Another large predatory worm that I would remove if possible is the "infamous" fireworm Hermodice carunculata.


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Old 05/28/2003, 09:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by holeinone1972
Bristleworms are no problem for healthy clams.
I think you all need to include in your posts statements like "it is my opinion" Because I disagree with this statement, but I have no evidence to disprove it. At the same time, I know that you have no evidence to prove it either


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Old 05/28/2003, 10:02 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies. I know like most things in this hobby there is no "correct" answer. I think things will be ok as long as I go with placing the clam on a rock. In my tank I would be concerned about placing the clam on the sand because of the large amount of BWs present. I can immediately find at least four or five simply by picking up any piece of rock on the sand. They have never harmed anything else in the tank so I am of the school of thought that they leave healthy things alone but I'll definitely be keeping my fingers crossed for the first few weeks.


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Old 05/28/2003, 10:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonsaiNut
I think you all need to include in your posts statements like "it is my opinion" Because I disagree with this statement, but I have no evidence to disprove it. At the same time, I know that you have no evidence to prove it either

Out of the thousands of clams I have had under my care, not one ever was attcked by a bristle worm. Yes it is my opininon, but it is my educated opinion and tested opinion as well.


That is why I also put in the info about the fact that there are thousands of different worms, most of us hobbiest call bristle worms.

LauraBay you are correct with the statement " I know like most things in this hobby there is no "correct" answer. "

Rob
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Old 05/28/2003, 10:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by holeinone1972
That is why I also put in the info about the fact that there are thousands of different worms, most of us hobbiest call bristle worms.
Rob
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Some related links on this subject:
http://www.aquarium.net/1096/1096_3.shtml
What we are referring to in this thread are 'Errant Polychaetes'- see bottom of this article by Rob Toonen.
http://www.aquarium.net/1197/1197_1.shtml



Last edited by Gary Majchrzak; 05/28/2003 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 06/18/2003, 02:59 PM   #11
Mikefromaz
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Bristles not problem for me

My tank has bristle worms under every rock, and likely inside every empty shell. I have LPS, shrooms, polyps, and clams and have never seen a bistle worm on any of them EXCEPT when one of the polyps died of natural causes. In that case the worms were all over it, and it literally disappeared in an hour. Bristle worms can be incredibly fast eaters, so to my way of thought, if they wanted something live in the tank, it would disappear in a hurry. So far no problem in a year and a half.


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Old 08/11/2018, 09:04 PM   #12
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A bristle worm just hollowed out my urchin like a pumpkin!

I have a bristle worm who just attacked an injured urchin, and climbed inside his body cavity and hollowed him out like a gourd. I have a Maxima clam, and I'm concerned about the rumors I've heard with an worms eating clams through the foot. I've never seen a bristle worm in my tank before, the this is the first time. How can I tell if it's a fireworm instead?


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Old 08/13/2018, 02:25 PM   #13
MondoBongo
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i've never had any issues with bristle worms (the common kind, not bobbit or fireworms) harming anything that was healthy.

it's been my long standing belief that they are falsely implicated in killings because they're always first on the scene when something dies.

from what i understand, the harmless varieties don't posses the kind hardware to really kill healthy, living organisms.


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