Outer collection cup so that only a small portion extends beyond

the pipe. Make sure the bore is not much larger tiian 1 cm (0.5 in.) in diameter. Bait and place the trap as before and remove the next day. This time the worms will have gotten too fat to fit through the bore of the funnel (Nooyen, 1990).

Smaller worms in the substrate are relatively easy to remove, but their large numbers make the task a difficult one, and considering their beneficial aspects, an unnecessary one. If you merely wish to reduce the numbers of worms, a technique that works well is to place some shrimp or other bait in an old nylon stocking and place this in the aquarium before the lights go out. The worms will try to get at the food and, the bristle-like setae along their bodies will become entangled in the stocking mesh. Just remove the stocking to a separate bucket the next day and rinse off the worms. It may be necessary to repeat this procedure a number of times before you see a reduction in the population. Another idea is to siphon out 1/2 to 1/3 of the substrate every week and remove the worms from the gravel by rinsing it with seawater, repeating this until all the gravel has been treated. Again, we emphasize that small worms in the substrate do more good than harm, so the effort to remove them is unnecessary.

Of course there are a number of biological controls that can also be used in the aquarium. Unfortunately, any predators large enough to deal with the larger polychaetes can also prove damaging to the other inhabitants in the aquarium. For example large wrasses and crabs will eat these worms but are unsuitable for all but the largest aquariums. Many of these predators will not stop at eating just predatory worms but will also attack corals, clams and other, desirable polychaetes, like Fanworms.

Smaller bristleworms are relished by a large variety of fish such as many wrasse species, Pseudochromis spp., Sandperchs, Parapercis spp., and butterfly fish such as Cbelmon restrains (that will also eat fanworms). Interestingly, the Reel Sea Pseudochromis species such as P. aldahraensis and P. springeri are much more effective at removing polychaetes than the Pacific species. The Arrow Crab, Stenorhynchus seticornis, will eat bristleworms but it will also eat fanworms. The Banded Coral shrimp, Stenopus sp., are very good for controlling the bristleworm population, and they don't harm other organisms (though they may sometimes bother sleeping fish).

For those polychaetes that invade the tissues of soft corals there is little that can be done to remove them. The only effective method is to cut off the infected portions and try to propagate the healthy sections that remain.

Most Red Sea pseudochromids such as this Pseudochromis fridmani, will feed on small bristleworms. J.C. Delbeek.


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Aquarium and Fish Care Tactics

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