View Full Version : Huge Bristleworm/Fireworm (photos)

05-08-2010, 01:56 PM
I initially became aware of the presence of a significantly sized bristleworm in my reef tank a year ago (catching very rare quick glimpse of perhaps 4"-6" of it):


In the last few months perhaps every 3 weeks or so, however, I've been catching brief glimpses of it in the dark hours of the morning.

Yesterday, however, I saw more of this worm than I have ever seen and took some quick photos.

In this photo it is slinking out from the left side of some live rock with its head exiting the photo's edge at the top right of the photo:

I took another photo of it as it began crawling on the sand bed, with a ruler pressed up against the glass to provide some length prospective :yipes::

This bristleworm, the size of a small snake, is physically larger than any of the fish I keep in the tank. I never did see the end of the worm so I'm I don't know how much of its length wasn't revealed. :ssuprised:

I think it might be a fireworm. The flash photo has washed out much of its color. In person it appears to be a gray-blue with bright red lines going down each side where the bristle originate (the red lines appear drab brown in the photo. The colors of this creature lead me to believe it is a fireworm.

Apparently there are many types of fireworm including some that are coral eaters and predatory. I haven't seen any evidence of it eating corals or exhibiting any predatory behavior. I think it is just a detritus eater/scavenger. It's been in the tank for 3 or possibly 4 years.

I've attempted to take photo's of it before but they came out blurry and it would rapidly contract immediately after the flash. For some reason it didn't do that this time (there was indirect light entering the tank so the camera was able to focus). Despite its length it can contract and withdraw into live rock crevices that it wouldn't seem possible it could fit it.

I've only seen it in the early morning hours and very rarely. It never reveals itself during day or night feeding sessions when I'm feeding the fish and corals, respectively.

This is definately one worm I wouldn't want to touch, particularly if it IS a fireworm (painful stings). For now it seems harmless but just the idea of it being 'somewhere' in the tank gives me the creeps!

05-08-2010, 03:01 PM
OH MY! hahahahahaha quite impressive. Ha. Great shots of it too.

05-08-2010, 04:09 PM
Wow, that thing is huge!! If I knew I had a bristle worm that huge in my tank my hands wouldn't be going near the tank lol.

05-10-2010, 02:28 PM
Oh man that is creepy cool. Know what freaks me out? Mantis shrimp.

05-10-2010, 03:21 PM
*shudder* so will that thing live in your tank until it dies/you decide to take the tank down? Ughhhhh I would call an exterminator or something cause I know I wouldn't want to touch the thing LOL

05-10-2010, 04:16 PM
That thing is sweet, thanks for the pics!

05-10-2010, 09:16 PM
I don't think I could put my hand in the tank knowing that thing is in there!

05-10-2010, 09:52 PM
Nice shots. You could trap it out if you want to if its presence in your tank bugs you. Only two species of bristle worm that eat corals or other inverts in know of, and the are so exceedingly rare in aquariums doubt anyone on the forum has ever seen one of the two in their reefs.

Got a kick out of the person afraid of Mantis Shrimp. Have two of them in the sumps of two of my reefs, little pinkish fellows. Lost a thumbnail to one of them removing aquacultured live rock from a shipping box years ago. Nail grew back though.


05-28-2010, 05:57 PM
Yea that worm is cool! I have a few bristle worms in my tank but i rarely see them.

06-06-2010, 03:54 PM
...Got a kick out of the person afraid of Mantis Shrimp. Have two of them in the sumps of two of my reefs, little pinkish fellows. Lost a thumbnail to one of them removing aquacultured live rock from a shipping box years ago....

Ouch! I think I'd be traumatized after that! :surprised:

06-06-2010, 04:34 PM
I am considerably freaked out by that creature. The fact that you never see the end of it just sent a shudder down my spine:hmm3grin2orange: