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Do you have a spirorbid worms infestation? Do you want to know whether spirorbid worms are good or bad? If so, you are in the right place. Here you will learn everything about the spirorbid worms, whether they are good or bad, and how to get rid of them if you want.
A couple of months ago, I noticed little white spirals on my candy cane coral. It didn’t grow on its fleshy part but on its skeleton.
I carefully observe my corals, so whenever I see something unusual, I immediately start to investigate it. Luckily, these guys were spirorbid worms, harmless filter feeders that won’t hurt your corals. I was relieved.
However, the next month, the population of spirorbid worms exploded, and they were everywhere. The back glass was covered with these worms, and frankly, it didn’t look good at all.
In the meantime, I found a way to control their population. That’s what I am going to talk about in this article. If you are interested to learn more, keep reading.
What are spirorbid worms?
Spirorbid worms are members of the genus Spirorbis, tiny polychaete worms that inhabit the shallow parts of the ocean. They have a white coiled shell and reach sizes between 2 to 5mm.
In the wild spirorbid worms live attached to seaweeds, rocks, shells, or other hard surfaces. They get into our home aquariums by hitchhiking on live rocks or coral frags, and they attach to the rocks or the aquarium glass.
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Are spirorbid worms good or bad?
Spirorbid worms are harmless filter feeders and are good for your reef tank. They only attach to hard surfaces and won’t bother your corals.
These organisms are a sign of a maturing tank, and if you have them, you are going in the right direction. However, not everyone likes the look of these little worms, especially when their population gets out of control.
If you notice their population exponentially increases, you probably feed too much. When I started feeding more in my reef tank, the spirorbid worms were everywhere.
How to get rid of spirorbid worms?
Spirorbid worms are beneficial for your tank’s biodiversity, and you don’t need to get rid of them. However, if you have a bad spirorbid worm infestation, there are several ways for their removal.
Reduce the feeding
The best way to get rid of spirorbid worms in your reef tank is to reduce the feeding. These tiny worms are filter feeders, and when food is abundant in the water column, their population gets out of control.
If you reduce the feeding and regularly maintain your reef tank, their population will decrease and control itself in time.
You can manually scrape the spirorbid worms from your aquarium glass. This method is only good if you only have these worms on the glass.
It’s very challenging, almost impossible, to remove these worms from the rocks.
The physical removal method works, but it won’t solve the underlying issue.
What eats spirorbid worms?
Two animals feed on spirorbid worms in the wild. Other animals may also eat the spirorbid worms in your reef tank, but there is no guarantee.
Vayssiera felis is species of sea slug that primarily feeds on spirorbid worms. These little organisms will eat only the worms and won’t harm the rest of your livestock. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to find these animals in local fish stores.
Ornate Leopard Wrasse
The Ornate leopard wrasse is another excellent natural predator that will eliminate your spirorbid worms in no time. Unfortunately, they are not suitable for nano tanks.
Six line wrasse
There is no guarantee that the six-line wrasse will eat the spirorbid worms in your tank. However, it’s recommended by some hobbyists. Keep in mind wrasses are aggressive, so do your research before buying one.
Hermit crabs are known for picking up the rocks, but there is no guarantee they will hunt these worms.
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Spirorbid worms are not everyone’s cup of tea. They are harmless filter feeders and don’t hurt anyone, but they might not look good when they overtake your tank.
In my opinion, they are beneficial to the tank biodiversity. I try to control the spirorbid population, but I won’t lose sleep over it. Whenever I see these worms’ population increase, I reduce the feeding.
Now, I’d like to know. How do you deal with a spirorbid infestation?
Let me know in the comment section below!