Common Questions & Answers
What are some things I need to do to be successful with coral?
Start by using a better blend of salt that is designed for reef tanks for your water changes. In addition to this start using something like balance blocks or some other form of dosing that will bring maintain proper calcium and trace elements for a reef tank. When considering a particular type of coral do a little research to find out the difficulty level, light requirements and preferred water movement etc. The easiest way to find this information is to do a Google search on the name. Click on a few of the online sites selling the coral and you can quickly find out information that will allow you to know if you have the light needed and can make a suitable placement for the coral in your tank. You can have many different corals in one tank by placing them in areas that suit them. Use rocks and ledges to block flow from those needing low flow and direct power heads and returns to provide movement for those requiring stronger water flow. Low light corals can be place closer to the bottom or be shielded by ledges or in areas of the tank not directly under the brightest lights.
How many fish can I put in my 55 gallon aquarium?
This is probably not the answer you were looking for but “it depends”. There are two factors, each have many components, that determine how many fish you can have in your saltwater, or freshwater aquarium.
The first factor is water quality. All fish produce waste that manifests in ammonia, nitrates, phosphates and other harmful chemicals. The aquariums filter system which includes chemical, mechanical and biological filterization accounts for how efficiently the system can remove the waste caused by the fish. Answering these questions can help to determine the systems capacity to process waste and maintain adequate water quality with a particular livestock load: What chemical filterization in the form of substances like phosban, carbon, resin or nitrate reduction pellets is being used on the system? Is there an efficient mechanical filter in the form of a sock, cartridge, bonded filter media or sponge to remove large and small particulates from the water? What features of the system help to increase the bio filterization of the tank, live rock, refugium sand bed, beneficial algae etc? How often are water changes being done? All of these things will help with water quality and as long as proper water quality is maintained, the fish load that can be placed in a given aquarium is based on other environmental demands of the livestock.
These are factors to consider: Aggressive and/or territorial fish need more space than peaceful fish; Schooling fish take up less space per individual than non schooling fish; Some fish are more active in the water column and others are primarily bottom dwellers and balancing the two can help increase the possible fish load; Regardless of how many individual fish are in the tank, larger fish need a larger tank with adequate swimming room. Also take into consideration the eventual adult size of fish you are putting in the tank.
You can find compatibility and minimum tank size requirements for various fish on most online sites that sell fish. If you are going to have some aggressive fish then these generally are added last. You may start adding fish, keeping an eye on water quality and compatibility. Being patient when adding livestock helps both in terms of water quality and being able to assess the impact of each new member on the aquarium environment. Observe your tank closely and at some point you will either start to see the impact of crowding on water quality or stress of the community.
Now for the short answer. The generally accepted rule of thumb in the marine aquarium hobby is: One inch of fish (measured from the nose to the base of the tail) per 5 gallons of system saltwater. I don’t find this general rule helpful and examples abound that do not reflect this rule.
What are some things you do to get rid of nascence algae?
One thing you can do is get some livestock that like to eat it. Tangs and Rabbit fish are good choices for larger tanks, and they are both acceptable for swim tanks and reef tanks. For smaller tanks there are fish like Lawnmower Blennies and related. You can also add sea hairs, red leg hermits and turbo snails. If you have a refugium you can add macro algae to that and put a light on it. The macro algae will take some of the nutrients out of the water that the nuisance algae are feeding on. Check your calcium and hardness and dose to increase them as needed.
This will encourage the growth of desirable coraline algae. Protein Skimmers remove organic waste before it has a chance to break down and release nitrogen compounds that help feed nascence algae. Skimmers are a must unless you want to do very frequent water changes. UV’s also help because they kill any water born algae that you generally cannot see, but that makes the water less clear and can impact the deposit of nuisance algae. High phosphates can help feed nascence algae. You can help keep these down by only using quality RODI filtered water.
If needed API Phosorb is inexpensive and works well.
What is the best way to move my existing substrate, livestock and live rock to a new tank?
This needs to be done carefully in order not to have your new tank crash which will cause loss of livestock and make it much harder to get back on track. Take all the live rock out to a suitable container (clean trash can, ice chest etc.). Cover the rock with water from the tank and place a power head in the container to circulate and ad oxygen to the water. Next catch the fish and other livestock and place them in a suitable container with a powerhead. If the water you put in the two containers does not equal half the total water volume that will go in the new tank take out and save enough water to have half of the new tanks volume if possible. Next mix up all of the substrate and clear it away from one corner of the tank. Siphon or pump the rest of the water out placing the hose or pump in the corner you have cleared.
Next use a wet dry vacuum or scooper to remove the substrate and place it in five gallon buckets filling each half way. Rinse the sand well by pushing a garden hose into the bucket repeatedly until the water comes out clean. Poor off the extra water in each of these buckets and put the substrate in the new tank. Ad enough of the water that you saved to cover the substrate with a couple inches of water and ad a dose of Prime equal to the recommended amount for the water you replaced. Next arrange your live rock and any corals you have as you like and add the water from the container you stored the live rock in and some premixed saltwater leaving enough room for the water that is housing the fish. Poor this water over the rock slowly trying to disturb the substrate as little as possible.
Next drain down the container with the fish and ad that water to the tank until you get down to where the fish just have enough water to be covered and then slowly poor the fish into their new home again trying to disturb the substrate as little as possible. Start filtration in the new tank and make sure you have some fine bonded filter medium with water going through it to help pick up any sediment in the water. If you don’t have a place for this in the new filter setup then use a small hang on filter for this purpose.
Ad bacteria with a product like Microbacter 7 which will help to keep the water quality acceptable while the tank goes through a mini cycle. After the tank water clears use a power head to blow off the rock and repeat this process after the water clears as many times as is necessary until all the sediment is cleared off the rock and coral. After a week do a 25% water change on the tank and ad a full dose of Prime for the tanks water volume.
We have a nepthea tree in our tank that is looking a little small. We have tested the water and it is great, we are just not sure what else to try. What do you recommend?
It needs to be placed in a spot with moderate to high water flow. It needs moderate light. Placed 15″ from PC or T5 should be fine. You will want to supplement the tank with trace elements and strontium and Iodine. Use a good quality reef salt and keep up with frequent water changes also ad some balance blocks, or other supplements containing balanced trace elements. Feed once or twice a week with food appropriate for filter feeders. Target feed a half hour or so after the lights go out using a turkey baster.
How can I get Coralline Algae to Grow?
Coralline algae grow on surfaces of rocks and the aquariums surface and are characterized by an underside that is hard because of calcium deposits contained within the cell walls. It is important to maintain proper levels of calcium when trying to promote coralline growth. The color of these algae that most people seek is purple, but they can be shades of pink, red, yellow, blue, white or green. Coralline algae are an important part of coral reefs because they lay down calcium carbonate helping to build the reef and they act as the cement which binds other reef components together.
Undesirable algae like Brown, Green Hair and Red Slime can grow in your tank whether you like it or not, but Coralline Algae must be physically brought into your tank in order for it to reproduce and populate the various surfaces.
Coralline Algae can be introduced to your tank by adding a coralline covered live rock or coralline scrapings from another aquarium. You can also buy coraline algae in a bottle. The more colors of Coralline that you add to your tank, the more you will see growing on your live rock, substrate and aquarium walls. Once you have some Coralline Algae growing in your tank, you can help it to reproduce and spread throughout your tank by turning off all tank filters and skimmers and leaving any powerheads running while you use a single edged razor blade to scrape the existing Coralline off the glass.
The water current generated by the powerhead will spread the Coralline scrapings throughout the tank where they will continue to grow. After an hour or so, turn the skimmers and filters back on. The best type of lighting for growing coralline is a controversial subject. Some types of Coralline will grow better under certain lighting while other types will grow better under a different lighting. For the most part, Coralline will grow under minimal reef capable lighting. Generally, a combination of 10000K and Actinic Blue does well. Some Urchins, snails and crabs will eat coralline so keep a minimum of them in your tank while you are establishing your coralline population.
I just sat up my 70 gal acrylic tank and I used sugar sand as my substrate. The next morning my tank had a white film that is really hard to remove on the surface of the tank. I washed this sand before putting this into the tank...so can you tell me why this did that?
Sugar sand can be problematic at first because it is often stirred up into the water by water movement, or even livestock. Generally over time it gets more fixed and will not fluff up as much. Try to point your water movement from mid level up towards the top or across the top and use live rock to help block flow to some areas of the bottom. Turn off your pumps and use a soft sponge to gently wipe off the acrylic and leave the pumps off for 30 minutes or so. Don’t gravel vacuum your substrate. This is counterproductive in saltwater aquariums.
I think I have Flatworms on my mushrooms. What can I do to get rid of them?
The best way of controlling flatworms is through prevention. Get a good coral dip and dip all new coral before placing it in your tank. Maintain low nutrient levels in the aquarium by not overfeeding and using carbon/resin and protein skimming, along with increased water flow and a good clean up crew to help reduce the populations of these pests.
Several species of fish and invertebrates consume flatworms. The six line wrasse is a favorite as is the Spotted Mandarin Dragonet and the Blue Velvet Nudibranch. If adding a Mandarin, make sure that you have a well established live rock population in your aquarium. Be aware that the Blue Velvet Nudibrance is very effective but has a short life span and does not tolerate changes in water chemistry.
Fresh water dips can be effective at removing flatworms from an infected colony of coral. This dip should be less than 10 seconds. Make sure the water is dechlorinated and the same temperature and PH as your tank water. While dipping, shake the colony and many of the worms will lose their grip and fall off.
Flatworms may be manually removed with the use of airline tubing to vacuum them off or they can be very carefully picked off with tweezers. If possible take some water out of the display tank and place the coral in another tank for this cleaning.
Chemical treatments are available, but may have negative side effects on your tank. Generally the above techniques can be effective without resorting to chemicals.
How should I introduce an anemone to my aquarium?
It’s not good to let anemones blow around the tank too long. If an anemone is a type that likes to attach to rock, I use this method. Get 4 relatively flat rocks. Place one flat on the substrate. Place another behind it and one on each side so you have a small cove that you can look into. Next turn off all flow in the tank. Hold the anemones foot down on the rock for 2 minutes. If you are lucky it will attach, but either way leave the flow off for 30 minutes. Leave the anemone in the cove for a week and then you can dismantle that and place the rock it is attached where you want it in the aquarium as long as it does not have strong direct flow.
Contrary to popular belief most anemones do not like direct flow, in fact if you get one stuck in a place you do not like, just aim a powerhead at it in the evening and it will generally be in another place in the morning. With new anemones it is best to lower the lights a bit if possible or run them a couple less hours and gradually increase the light back to normal over several days. Consider testing your Iodide and adding if needed. Particularly if you do infrequent water changes, consider dosing trace elements.
How do you get clowns to host an anemone?
First, understand that tank raised clowns are not as easy to get to host as wild caught. Second, various varieties of clowns have preferred types of host anemones. If you enter these three words: Clown Anemone Chart in a Google search you will find information on which anemones work best with each variety of clown. If you are purchasing an anemone and it is not attached to rock yet, you can place the anemone in a small flow through container along with the clowns in your aquarium. By forcing them to be in close proximity in the container they are encouraged to host.
It works even better if you put a small compact mirror on one side of the container. If the anemone is already attached to rockwork in your tank, you can try to put a small compact mirror behind the anemone or if it is near the front or side glass you can put a small picture of a similar clown facing in on the glass behind the anemone. Even better is to get a video of clowns playing in an anemone and run it on a loop on your laptop propped against the aquarium.
How often do I need to do a water change in my saltwater tank?
First off, when determining how often to do a water change it will differ greatly between a swim or reef tank. For a swim tank, that is set up properly you may not need to do any water changes or do them very infrequently. This is because you can have much higher nitrates and still have a healthy swim tank.
I like to still use a sump on a swim tank for the purpose of growing macro algae. The neat thing is that if you have a good lighted sump on a swim tank, you will actually be more successful growing macro algae because having slightly higher nitrates fertilizes the macro algae and in turn the algae helps to keep those nitrates from getting too high. I also like to run a cartridge filter if possible on the return and run Chemipure in the middle of the cartridge. A protein skimmer, of course is an asset.
Chemipure helps further reduce the need for water changes. Lastly it is important not to overfeed if you want to get away with few or no water changes. Now, water changes must be done if you have a reef tank, and how often they need to be done will depend on many factors. One advantage of doing more frequent water changes in a reef tank is that you will be using better salt that has all the components needed, and if you are changing water often you will not need to do nearly as much dosing of calcium and trace elements.
Running Chemipure and/or GFO will help to reduce the number of water changes necessary, as will growing microalgae in the sump. The bio load from fish will also impact the need for water changes and a heaver bio load may result in the need for more frequent water changes. I believe that smaller nano tanks do better with more frequent, but smaller water changes than larger reef tanks. You can also reduce water changes by carbon dosing. Not to be confused with using activated carbon.
How do get rid of slime algae?
This is the best two punch attack for anyone having red slime issues. First take a 1/2 “piece of tubing and use it to siphon out the big stuff on top of the sand.
Next use Boyd Chemiclean for two days with the lights off before a 20% water change. After the water change dose with Brightwell Microbacter 7 to deliver the knockout blow.
Where can I get a custom fish tank stand built for my reef tank?
We highlty recommend MK Woodworks in Phoenix for anyone looking for a custom fish tank stand.
With more than 45 years experience building fish tank stands and canopies, they are by far your best choice to have a custom fish tank facade or stand built for your reef tank aquarium.
My aquarium is up and running and I want to install a sump. How do I determine what size sump to get?
You will need to determine what shape sump you think you can get through the doors. I would suggest cutting a piece of cardboard, to various sizes until you find one that tells you what size tank you can fit in the stand. One reason people often want a large sump is because when you set a tank up with an overflow the tank will always stay full to the level of the fins on the overflow box. As water evaporates from the system, only the sumps water level goes down. The larger the sump the longer you have before needing to ad water. With wet/dry filters that are often used for fresh water, there is generally even less evaporation time because the water level is left much lower to keep the bio balls out of sitting water. There are two ways to solve this problem. The first requires a water source. A 1/4″ piece of RO filter tubing is connected to the water source (hose bib, sink pluming etc.) and in some cases an RODI filter and then it is connected to a float valve in the sump that keeps the sump at the proper level all the time. The second way works very well when there is no water source near by. A second tank or container is put under the stand as a water reservoir and a device called an auto top off unit is installed. This device consists of a very small pump that goes in the bottom of the water reservoir, a float that goes in the sump and a device that controls the water level. The ATO devise gets plugged into the power source and the small pump gets plugged into the device. When the float drops a certain amount the device is triggered to turn on the pump which fills the sump to the proper level.
What type of substrate do you like to use in your salt tanks?
I like to use Aragonite Sand. It is available in many grain sizes and has natural buffering qualities that are good for saltwater and Cichlid tanks. Consider the inhabitance that you will be putting in the tank before selecting the size grain of the substrate. Many sand sifting fish like gobies and sand divers like some wrasses need to have fine sand to be happy as do stingrays and sharks. If you buy unwashed sand from an existing tank rinse it well. There is too much anaerobic bacteria and other things that have been disturbed by moving the sand and if you start with this you are likely to crash your tank. The same goes for if you move your tank and disturb the substrate. I don’t generally like black sand because even with bright light tanks with black sand tend to look dark.
I have been doing water changes since I set up my tank and the water in my tank is still cloudy.
If you only have a course sponge in your sump or filter, put some fine bonded filter medium in so the water is forced to go through it after the sponge. In addition to the benefits of reducing nitrates and phosphates, adding Chemipure to your filter will help to give you crystal clear water. Sometimes there are water born algae in tanks that you cannot see, but that makes the water a bit cloudy. If your tank has just been set up recently give it a couple more weeks then if needed you can put a small UV Sterilizer on the return line from your filter or pump. This will help clear the water.
What are your thoughts and experiences with fresh water dipping, how and when should this be performed?
Freshwater dipping is a very effective technique that more marine aquarium enthusiasts should know about. Freshwater dipping can be an effective treatment for ich if it is not in advanced stages. To do a fresh water dip you need a bucket with 3 gallons of RODI filtered water that is at the same temperature as the tank the fish to be dipped is coming out of.
It is important to use this much water to dilute the toxins being released by the fish. Add stress coat to this water to help reduce the stress to the treated fish. Net the fish and place him in the fresh water for five minutes. During the last minute of the dip, net the fish and gently wipe the sides of the fish from head to tail with your finger. What happens is that the fish can handle the rapid drop in specific gravity, but many parasites cannot and explode from the pressure change.
Is there a way to detach the mushrooms off of the frags they came on and reattach them to my liverock?
The way to do this is to fasten the frag to your live rock where you would like to have mushrooms. Make sure this is a suitable spot for them. Most mushrooms prefer low to moderate light and low to moderate water flow. You can rubber band the frag to a rock if the rock is small, or you can use super glue gel. I do not recommend trying to move mushrooms from whatever they are attached to. If you want mushrooms to spread from a frag so that you can move them to other spots, make a bed of live rock rubble and set the frag on top. Then you can move the small rubble when new mushrooms attach. Unlike most coral mushrooms tend to do well with less than optimal water conditions. If you have low nitrates which you should then your mushrooms will do better if you feed them with products like Marine Snow.
How do you remove an anemone?
It the anemone is on the glass you can use a credit card to gently slide between the anemone and glass. If the anemone is on a rock you will need to point a powerhead directly at the anemone until it moves off the rock. Generally it will move sometime in the night. You may need to move the rock to another container to get the anemone off so that the anemone does not attach to another rock before you get a chance to remove it.
What are your thoughts on Splitting Anemones?
The most common type of anemone that is manually split is the bubble tip and generally the (RBTA) Rose Bubble Tip. The process is to take the anemone out of the tank, place it on a piece of glass, and part the tentacles in the middle and use a razor or scalpel to cut it in half right through the mouth and foot. Each piece will need to have part of both the foot and mouth to survive. Some people even try to quarter anemones, but I don’t recommend this. Your chances of success for all four parts to survive are not good and surviving anemones will be quite small. In any event when you split an anemone the parts will shrivel up quite a bit and take some time to heal.
You can also sometimes get a nem to split using the rubber band method. A rubber band is placed around the anemone with one side of its mouth on either side of the rubber band. This method is less stressful and may work when an anemone is well attached to a rock and would likely be damaged by trying to remove it.
Anemones are more likely to split on their own when they are under stress generally as a result of poor water conditions or rapid changes in water conditions. A large water change of 50-60% has been known to induce splitting, but it may not be worth stressing your other tank inhabitants. One interesting thing is that some individual anemones living in tanks with great water conditions split on their own often, while others of the same type living in the same tank or one with poor water conditions just get larger and don’t split. When you buy an anemone, you can look for one that is slightly off round or one that has two sides that appear to be converging toward each other. This may mean it is getting ready to split.
Will a Brown Sea hare poison my tank if he gets disturbed?
We have had hundreds of them in the shop and sold hundreds of them and never heard of a case of them secreting the dreaded red die and fouling someone’s tank. The die is actually developed from the red color of the algae some of them consume. The color of the Sea Hare itself can also change based on the color of the algae in their diet. These guys are strict vegetarians so once they have rid your tank of nuisance algae it is important to supplement their diet with seaweed and/or lettuce. Sea Hares are reef compatible and do a great job of eating hair algae. In small tanks it is a good idea to run carbon or resin in the filter to remove any toxins that may be secreted. All powerheads and pump inlets must also be protected with a sponge or screen to keep the Sea Hare from getting harmed. It is important to be aware that these slugs can get quite large, up to 12” so you may be looking for a new home for yours soon depending on the size of your tank.
What is the best volume/method for water changes?
When making water changes, most reef keepers I know tend to apply the percentage, or amount of their water changes without mention and/or taking into consideration the actual partial liquid tank volume that could be subtracted by discounting the live rock. It seems to make sense to me that the volume of each change should be based on this deduction and not the total volume which would include the LR. My question here is how do most keepers commonly do it across the industry? Is it usually necessary to make the deduction? Also, if so, what are some easy or effective methods to analyzing or counter-measuring for this deduction, i.e., maybe the use of filling buckets, rock to bucket counter-volume, etc? I would hate to tear apart all of my intricate rock design work (2-3+ days to set & build originally) so I’m hoping there might be a way that I could somehow do the deduction without having to remove the live rock or, vice verse, all of the water but…I guess it is what it is. Anyone out there have any tricky tips?
Let’s look at the reason we do water changes in the first place. The primary reason for water changes is to remove some wastes and undesirables from the water, thereby reducing the % of these in the water that remains in the tank after the water change. Depending on the components of your salt mix, water changes also help to replace some necessary components of sea water that have been depleted, but they do not negate the need to test for certain components and replenish them periodically. Now, the primary indicator of when a water change is needed is determined by the testing the nitrogen content. For reef aquariums, the suggested level is < 1.0 ppm, for FOWLR (fish only with live rock Aquarium); < 30 ppm is the suggested and acceptable level and < 0.25 ppm for Coral Reefs but not more than 5 ppm. I do not suggest water changes over 25% and I suggest you do them no more than once a week until acceptable levels of nitrates are achieved. You can estimate the water displacement of live rock, by filling a 5 gallon bucket with 3 gallons of water and then adding one pound of rock. Use the height of the bucket to estimate the displacement and multiply this by the number of pounds of rock you believe you have in your tank. Make sure to account for the water in your sump as well. If weekly water changes are done for 4 weeks and nitrate levels are still not low enough then you should consider other methods of reducing nitrates. You want to get down to doing these ¼ water changes only every 3-4 weeks. Adding Chemi Pure to your filter system will help reduce the number of water changes needed to keep nitrates under control. Using a water treatment like Amquel + when you do water changes will help to decrease nitrates more than just changing with saltwater.
What is your preferred placement of powerheads?
It is important to consider not only the placement of the power heads, but the type of livestock being kept and in the case of corals, anemones etc., the placement of that livestock in relationship to water flow and light. Water movement is very important to the health of a marine aquarium. You want to have movement that agitates the top of the water. This reduces any stagnant film on the top of the water and increases gas exchange and oxygenation. Power heads are less unsightly near the back of the aquarium. I like to place them near the back of each side, halfway between the top and bottom of the tank.
Then I angle them toward the top middle of the tank. If coral and inverts are to be housed in the tank, then you need to research the preferred water flow and light requirements of the livestock. Placement of rocks can protect some species from high water flow and give fish a place to find calmer water. Remember that strong water flow bounces off glass so consider this with placement of your power heads, return lines and livestock. Wave makers that have programs to “pulse” the flow are superior to non controlled powerheads. On a budget, you can use one wave maker and any number of standard powerheads to provide additional flow.
Can I add multiple Tangs to my aquarium?
As a general rule, if you are going to mix tangs pick ones with dissimilar body shape. I believe that many people have trouble with multiple tangs in the same tank because the tank is too small. When considering which tangs to put in your tank look at the online sellers who list minimum tanks sizes for each fish. Keep in mind that these recommendations pertain to a single tang and not multiple tangs in the same tank, so if you are planning on keeping more than one you may want to have an even larger tank than what is recommended. Tangs do better in odd numbers, so if you want multiple tangs three is better than two.
This is because they are less likely to “square off” if you have three than if you have two. After the tank is fully cycled I like to add the tangs first and all at the same time. Doing so does not let a single tang establish a strong territory before others. Tangs are prone to Ich when moved to a new tank or stressed, so by adding them first you don’t risk getting other fish infected. Raise the temperature to 82 degrees before adding the tangs. It is also beneficial to run a reef safe medication like Fishkeeper for a week after adding the tangs. Make sure the tangs are established and ich free before adding more fish and lower the temperature to 78.
What fish and inverts can be used to control bristle worms?
Many fish and crustaceans eat bristle worms. Pick reef safe ones if using them to control bristle worms in a reef tank: arrow crabs, wrasses (six line is a good choice for reef) puffer fish, dottybacks, trigger fish, coral banded shrimp, some gobies, gruntfish, hawkfish and dragonets.
What is Vodka Dosing?
In a nutshell, vodka and other forms of carbon dosing are for the purpose of growing bacteria in order to consume phosphates and nitrates, which are then exported via a protein skimmer. So, don’t consider it for tanks without skimmers. As the bacteria are removed by the skimmer, so are the nutrients that it consumed. I highly recommend dosing of a beneficial bacteria product like Continuum Bacter-Gen MD when carbon dosing so that you make sure to get the good bacteria you want to grow.
I am a believer in vodka dosing. I have never had any problems with it and I sometimes work up to stronger doses (5ml/50gallons/day) than most recommendations I have read. I have also never had a single problem if I miss a day, week or stop cold turkey.
You may also want to read about VOV (vodka, vinegar, sugar) dosing. This article in coral magazine may help: http://www.coralmagazine-us.com/content/do-it-yourself-carbon-sources
Are bristle worms bad?
The kind of Bristle Worms that most people have in their aquariums are beneficial to the sand bed, like earth worms are to soil. There is however a type of Bristle Worm that is harmful called a Fire Worm. It is rare that you will see a Fire Worm and it is easy to tell the difference from harmless Bristle Worms. You can do a quick internet search to find pictures of both harmless Bristle Worms and Fire Worms.
Very few aquariums have Fire Worms. Fire worms are roving carnivores that can cause much damage in a reef tank. They bare toxic bristles on their bodies that can inflict a very painful sting.
They possess strong jaws for feeding and can reproduce quite rapidly. They are not selective about what they eat, but usually prey on all types of other invertebrates, such as corals, crustaceans, mollusks. Being particularly aggressive predators, they may even eat small fish, if an opportunity presents itself.
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