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Bristle/Fire Worms, bad or good?

I created this post for the sheer fact that this seems to be a very debated subject in the world of reefers. Some people say if you see one then it absolutely needs to be removed immediately, others say they are ok....but only certain kinds. Let the debate begin

The common bristle worm is just fine and great cleaner. There are likely hundreds in my tanks. A fire worm is however a bad thing. They look similar and that is the reason this debate goes on....the addage if you can't figure it out, pull it out. There are many new reefers that get all worked up thinking they have a fire worm, but that is uncommon.

Most Bristle Worms are a great addition to your cleanup crew, but Fire Worms are a bit more dangerous as they can sting anything in the tank, including people. I was going to add some Bristle Worms to my sump but I put a Brittle Star in there instead.

Like everyone has said already; bristle worms = good, fire worms = bad.
Now if you were to get an over load of bristle worms then they could pose a risk but at their normal levels they are a great addition to have. I wouldn't mind getting a couple of the big guys I've seen at NAS.

I think they are good to have around. In the past I have worried about larger ones I have seen in my tank at night, I have had a lot of burrowing fish and have seen some large ones in the area of where my fish burrow. Naturally I was concerned that these large worms would take down some of my prized fish, but it has never been an issue for me.

I'll see if there are some photos out there to reference the difference between a fire worm vs a bristle worm - which by the way, a bristle worm is no joy to grab either :huh:

[quote="Juice" post=30145]Now if you were to get an over load of bristle worms then they could pose a risk[/quote]

I've really never seen an overload, though if somebody does manage to have enough to be considered "too many" they probably have bigger problems with their display than bristle worms ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is a fire worm picture for reference. I took this picture diving off Pompano beach in Florida. You'll see the spines are much more prominent than on the common bristle worms we see in our tanks.

[img size=600]http://www.millerfamily.net/pictures/SMiller_Florida_FireWorm.png[/img]

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