Bristleworms and octopuses | The Octopus News Magazine Online
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Bristleworms and octopuses

evan484

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#1
Hey,

I have been cycling my to be merc tank for about a month.
Today I was checking in on a hermit crab (the only one in the tank, seeing if it has cycled) and i came across what appeared to be a bristleworm. Im not postitive that is what it was and if it wasnt im gonna be pretty scared (the whole worm type thing freaks me out).

To the point, what I am wondering is how to bristleworms and octopuses work out together? Is it a risk to have a bristleworm along with a merc?

Thanks, Evan
 

Nancy

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#3
Bristle worms can also be a threat with hatchlings - they don't try to eat the little octopuses, but in stealing their food, the bristleworm can bite off an arm or two.

Nancy
 

DWhatley

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#4
Thales;133537 said:
Just fine. When cephs hit senescence bristleworms will start to eat them alive. Until then, they make fabu clean up crew.
To be fair, this is true of ANY clean-up crew worth having (and is why OhToo spent his last two days in a net breeder :sad:).
 

evan484

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#5
Nancy;133545 said:
Bristle worms can also be a threat with hatchlings - they don't try to eat the little octopuses, but in stealing their food, the bristleworm can bite off an arm or two.

Nancy
You say that like its no big deal, is it? Do their arms grow back?

Also does anyone have any experience of removing them? My thinking is they can only be a risk.
 

sedna

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#6
Yes, arms grow back. I've only worried about removing the really big worms when I actually see them. For the most part I don't think anyone has tried to go too nuts about removing them, but if it makes you feel better I had the same panic 6 mos ago or so. One thing you can do is make sure not to overfeed the tank and remove left over food promptly, if you can.
 

evan484

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#7
sedna;133585 said:
Yes, arms grow back. I've only worried about removing the really big worms when I actually see them. For the most part I don't think anyone has tried to go too nuts about removing them, but if it makes you feel better I had the same panic 6 mos ago or so. One thing you can do is make sure not to overfeed the tank and remove left over food promptly, if you can.
Thanks, that does make me feel better. I was thinking about how to get rid of them to the point were I was paying attention in class. I guess I'll just remove them as I see them (if not for the octo's sake for my own).

Oh yeah, my only method is to use a net to scoop them out. Not the best tactic, but Ive got nothing else to try
 

evan484

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#8
About 10 minutes ago I lost most of my reasurence. I was looking in the tank and to my horror I saw the bristle worm again, but this time I saw more of it. I am guessing that it is 4 inches long which in my book is pretty big. Considering I am getting a merc which obvioiusly is small would this be a problem? Even though arms grow back I am trying not to take this risk. This is my first octopus so I am trying to eliminate anything that could compromise it.

Do I have reason to be concerned or am I just going a bit crazy?

Thanks, Evan
 

gholland

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#9
evan484;133612 said:
Do I have reason to be concerned or am I just going a bit crazy?
:bonk: :goofysca: :bugout:

Nancy was specifically referring to baby octopuses, although even the babies can defend themselves to a certain extent (see attached video). My merc hatchlings have been playing mysid-tug-of-war with bristleworms in their tank all week with no apparent harm. An adult merc should be fine in a tank even with several 4" bristleworms.
 

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DWhatley

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#10
If you will reread the "arm" post, it is about hatchlings (the largest are about the size of a tick) and they would not likely survive having an arm removed at that stage.

As for adults any negative info can only be antecdotal, mysterious infection being one of the suspects but they seem to coexist without confrontation. The little worm traps would great for about a week and then the worms ignore it. Don't ask me why but this seems to be a common observation in addition to my own experience. Depending upon your tanks stability and your anxiety level to get this one particularly large guy, you can put his rock (if you can easily remove it) into a small bucket of saltwater (NOT FRESH) that has a major PH difference (higher PH seems to work better than lower if you have buffer). Leave the rock for about 10 minutes in the water then swish it vigorously for a good 3 minutes and you may get worms to fall out without doing much damage to the rest of the rock. Let the rock sit in normal saltwater for a good rinse swish it vigorously again and then put it back into your still cycling tank. If it does not work the first time, then go to another method but they seem to have problems with major PH changes and I have notice that high PH will make them sluggish. You may see recommendations to use freshwater (or carbonated freshwater) to do something similar but I have not had luck with trying this and would only try it on rock that I was not concerned about killing off other things (it won't kill the worms, it just makes them limp and easier to shake out of the rock).

I read a grad student paper (where Steve was co-author) mentioning squid consumption of polycrete worms but that covers a huge range of critters (including feather dusters) and he seems to have missed my request for a definition (and whether or not these might have been by-catch of other food).
 

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