The benefits of detritus.

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Paul B, 12 Jun 2011.

  1. Paul B

    Paul B

    7 Mar 2011
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    Long Island New York USA
    I know, stupid title but I didn't know what else to call it.
    I just had to move a piece of coral in my tank and by doing so I had to stir up the gravel. (yes I have gravel) When I do that there is a slight dust or detritus storm which I know benefits the corals. As I was looking at the tank I noticed something that newer tanks may not experience. I forget about these things because I always see them and I figure they are normal but I figured I would post it anyway.
    In my tank there are dozens of these small coiled up worms that have become part of the rockwork and can not be removed. (I think these are sponge worms, but don't quote me) I pay little attention to them and never see them do anything, but when I stir the gravel, the tank becomes encased in "spider webs" of sticky threads that are exuded from these tiny organisms. In 5 minutes, when the tank clears up and the storm dissapates all that is left is these 10" long strands that are slowly pulled into the animal where the meal is digested.
    Normally the water is crystal clear and you can see nothing emerging from these worms.
    These unassuming animals are one reason I am not a fan of a sterile tank.
    Many animals that we really don't see or don't pay any attention to feed in this manner. If it were not for detritus, these worms and many corals, clams and microscope life would not exist. Some of these animals are at the bottom of the food chain and a healthy eco system depends on them.
    I think most of us hobbiests are much more interested in the easier to see things like fish but I find the unusual parts of the hobby to be much more interesting. :thumbup:
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  3. Tremayn


    21 Mar 2010
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    oooooooooo :) pretty cool
  4. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac

    15 May 2007
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    Totally agree with you there, Paul :thumbup: have lots of them in my tank as well.

    They're actually snails, not worms, called Vermatids. When young, the snails moce aroubd as normal, but then settle and grow onto the substrate. If you look closely, you should be able to see their "trapdoors", the same that a normal snail uses to protect it's retracted foot.


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