Christmas trees worms are a popular addition to the modern home aquarium. Sadly most die with a few short months, generally from an array of problems ranging from poor water quality or malnutrition. Christmas tree worms are not for a beginning aquarist, and should only be tempted by advanced aquarists.
Christmas Tree Worms
The Christmas tree worm, Spirobranchus giganteus, is a Christmas tree-shaped serpulid tube-dwelling worm with magnificent twin spirals of plumes used for feeding and respiration. This cone-shaped worm is one of the most widely recognized sedentary polychaete worms. They come in many colors including orange, yellow, blue, and white and, though they are small with an average 3.8 cm in span, the are easily spotted due to their shape, beauty, and color. The colorful plumes, or tentacles, are used for passive feeding on suspended food particles and plankton in the water. The plumes are also used for respiration. Though the plumes are visible, most of the worm is anchored in its burrow that it bores into a live calcareous coral. Christmas tree worms are very sensitive to disturbances and will rapidly retract into the burrow at the slightest touch or passing shadow. They typically re-emerge a minute later, very slowly, to test the water before fully extending their plumes.
If you have problems keeping SPS corals alive in your aquarium then you should steer clear of the christmas tree worms. They are filter feeders which require filter type foods such as live rotifers and brineshrimp nauplii.
Recommended Water parameters for keeping Christmas Tree Worms
Specific Gravity: 1.021-1.026
Dissolved Oxygen: 7-8 ppm
Calcium: 400-450 ppm
KH: A natural seawater level of 7 dKH
Redox Potential: 350-400mv
Christmas Tree Worms Retracting on Reef Video
1 Spirobranchus gigantea corniculatus (TSN 68304)
2. Spirobranchus gigantea gigantea (TSN 68305)
3. Dakin, N (1996) The Marine Aquarium Problem Solver, Keeping Invertebrates and saltwater fish
3. Christmas Tree Worm, Spirobranchus giganteus