Coral Eating Worm?

Discussion in 'Coral Diseases' started by OnlyTono, Feb 28, 2015.

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  1. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    WP_20150228_07_33_22_Pro.jpg

    I have something eating one, maybe two, of my SPS corals and I need some advice.

    Through some research and visual evidence, I believe I have narrowed this pest down to some sort of coral eating worm. The primary visual evidence I see that brings me to this conclusion is each morning this has been happening, there’s a tiny tube made of what looks like sand (Sand tube) running along the eaten parts of the coral to the newest spot that has been eaten. You can't really see it in the attached pic, but it's there on the back side.

    I have removed the tube a few times by scraping it off, but it usual gets re-built within a day or two.

    I need some advice on the best course of action. I may be able to remove the rock the corals is attached to without too much disruption, but there are other healthy corals on that rock to – orange montiporas.

    If I can remove the rock, should I dip the whole thing in coral dip? would a fresh water bath be better? I would think fresh water would drive the work out, but might overly stress the already stressed coral.

    Has anyone ever here ever seen this before, and how did you solve it? Did you catch the little bastard and if so do you have a photo/ID?
     
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  3. DSC reef

    DSC reef Giant Squid

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    I would try getting up in the middle of the night to snap a photo. Could be a flatworm. I'm not a fan of freshwater dips but before making a correction I would try to get the "little bastard" identified. Nice coral btw
     
  4. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    Ya - I've been trying to get catch it in the act for a week now. Last night I checked the tank every 30 minutes until about 12:30am with a red light in an attempt to, "sneak up" on it - I had not luck... Got up this morning and sure enough, it built a tube and ate the spot on the left side.

    I have some Seachem Reef Dip - Coral Disinfectant. Do you think dipping the whole rock in that mixed with tank water would drive it out? or would a worm just sit out the treatment and survive it?
     
  5. Kevin_E

    Kevin_E Giant Squid

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    Sounds like a harmless spionid worm. It might be irritating the coral, but the ones in my tank never have irrated my coral.

    Could be STN caused by the worm or simply coincidental.

    Check your water chemistry to see if we can rule that out.
     
  6. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    I always forget to check the simple things first. I ran the usual set of water parameter tests and found my Alk spiking. Last time I check it was around Feb 1. it was at about 2.85 meqL, which was lower than I liked. Then today, it's 3.65, which is higher then I like. Both still within range, and as far as I can tell, no quick changes. But still, I guess it's possible the swing has maybe weekend the coral a bit.

    The ALk is being added via an auto doser, so I'm going to measure/calibrate that today and make sure it's dosing at the rate I think it is to see if I can track down the source of the swing.

    I've got my dip all ready, do you think it would still benefit from that, or should I just give it another day or two so see if I can actually catch the worm in action?

    EDITE: forgot to post the actual numbers:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

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    I think you should dip it 3 x 10 min. in Bayer and salt water.

    I have one area of my Bali Green slimer with what I think is STN.
    Tood bad the coral and rock are just too big to take out and dip.
     
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  9. DSC reef

    DSC reef Giant Squid

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    Time to frag the slimer and send me a piece Mr todd.
     
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  10. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    Just an update - I finally caught a glimpse of the little bastard, and it is in fact a worm. It’s thin, cream colored, similar to a bristle worm in size, but without the bristles, and less prominent segments. The head is round with two tinny little dots for eyes.

    I tried to catch it with a pair of tweezes while illuminating it with red light. I was able to get the tweezers over him, but the very moment I squeezed it retracted back behind the coral faster than I could see it.
    Unfortunately removing rock and the coral sits on proved to be more difficult than I thought – so dipping it may not be an option.

    After I missed catching it, I gooped a bunch of super glue all over the spot I thing he pulled back into. Maybe it’ll trap it.
     
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  11. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    So I finally caught the little bastard. I ended up removing the whole rock and dipping it. Here's a pcik of the damage the worm did
    WP_20150414_07_28_06_Pro.jpg

    After dipping the entire rock in double Strength does of Seachecm ?"Reef Dip", the worm finally exited the rock during the rinsing phase of the dip process.

    here's what he looks like:
    Image21.jpg


    The roundish head and angled eyes are exactly what I observed literally chomping a path through the side of the coral. Looks like some sort of bristle worm, but the head and the shape of the eyes are throwing me off a bit.

    Any ideas on an ID?
     
  12. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well dang, that worm really went to town on that corals.

    If I had not seen it I probably would have not believed it.

    Look at the link, some of the images look a lot like your little buddy.

    http://www.chucksaddiction.com/hitchworms.html
     
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