How To Get Rid Of Spaghetti Worms {For Good}

It’s bad news, but the truth is, many creatures will co-habit in the tank with your fish. But the solutions are equally as many.

Read about spaghetti worms and how to get rid of them for good.

How To Get Rid Of Spaghetti Worms

The spaghetti worm is an annelid. It is related to the more common earthworm. They are sand dwellers who burrow into the dirt and are native to tropical climates.

They extend a network of thin white tentacles, giving rise to their common name. You won’t find these tentacles catching live prey;  instead, the worm feed on detritus or fragments of various small dead species.

To eliminate spaghetti worms, limit the food you feed your fish and increase the sand cleanings. You can accomplish the latter by manually cleaning the sand or introducing additional debris feeders to tackle the worms.

Manually picking the worms out of the substrate or introducing an occupant to the tank that enjoys feeding on them are standard options to explore.

As you will later find in this article, fish will also help handle spaghetti worms in your tank. This approach is usually a two-way win for aquarium owners.

The worms supplement regular fish feed while reducing the worms’ population and their growth level in the tank.

How Do Spaghetti Worms Get In Your Tank

The most frequent way spaghetti worms gain access to your tank is through live rock, sand, or corals with one or more worms or larvae. Many consider this process unintentional.

You will find the aquarium community referring to this as hitchhiking. Although this nickname commonly applies to spaghetti worms, bristle worms, and aiptasia anemones, copepods, amphipods, and coralline algae are more targetted species.

While spaghetti worms will not harm your fish, we do not recommend leaving loopholes for them. They can voraciously grow and disfigure the water, causing discoloration.

However, this will take a more extended development, and the fact that the fish will feed on a substantial number of them makes it a less likely predicament.

If you don’t like having them in your tank, you should perform regular maintenance to eliminate existing ones and give them a difficult breeding space.

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What Will Eat Spaghetti Worms

Spaghetti worms are typically consumed by the same animals that eat other polychaete worms. Along with sand-sifting fish like the Diamond Goby, arrow crabs, and sand-sifting starfish, reef-safe wrasses like the Six-line wrasse and Melanurus wrasse will probably do the trick.

Remember that if you’re employing a natural method to get rid of a biological issue, the result is usually sluggish or inefficient despite being natural and possibly entertaining to see. This is why we recommend complementing the biological approach with other methods to achieve an effective cleansing.

However, the cleansing army may be taking its time. You never can tell. You will also find worm-eating shrimp effective as well.

The size of the tank matters in how practical the approach is. If you have a tank of about 20 gallons, we recommend having 5 – 10 shrimp. You may not need to add more as they tend to reproduce and develop into a larger cleansing army.

Are Spaghetti Worms Safe For Fish To Eat

Yes. Spaghetti worms are not entirely ugly to be in your tank. It is safe for fish to consume, helping supplement their feed. This scenario is multi-faceted. You can have fish eating the worms to cleanse them and create a food supplement.

Among fishes that eat spaghetti, worms are Neon dottyback, Orchid dottyback, Longnose hawkfish, and melanurus wrasse.

While you don’t have to worry about fish eating the worms, using them to cleanse worms, on the other hand, may not be a practical approach.

It would be best if you also did not use worms as a sole feed for fish. They will feed on a substantial amount, but original feed should be available for a balanced diet.

Are Spaghetti Worms Harmful To Humans

Spaghetti worms will not harm humans. Researchers have not recorded human infections, rendering the worms harmless to humans.

How Big Can Spaghetti Worms Grow To

The spaghetti worm body measures 5 to 6 inches long and is about an inch thick. It builds a tube out of sand and gravel inside the protection of rocks or reefs, cementing it using a mucus-like secretion from a collar-shaped gland right below the tentacles. Just behind the feeding tentacles is a mass of crimson gill filaments.

From the worm’s head end, the tentacles (about 1/4 inch broad) spread across the reef or floor of tide pools, sometimes covering a distance of up to 3 feet. Each elastic tentacle has grooves and resembles a rain gutter in cross-section.

It would help if you gave attention to this because more giant worms mean quicker colonization of the tank, especially when they overwhelmingly dominate the tank and cause coloring.

What Damage Can Spaghetti Worms Do To Your Tank

Do spaghetti worms pose a threat? The common consensus is that spaghetti worms pose no threat to the well-being of your aquarium. If anything, they make it better. They don’t harm your priceless corals and don’t assault anything alive.

However, you may want to avoid their uncontrolled existence as they could discolor the water if they get too much. Usually, you wouldn’t need to worry about that since your fish will feed on them as they emerge.


We hope you understand spaghetti worms better, including what they can offer your aquarium.

While it helps to take caution in handling them, i.e., not disregarding their existence so long they don’t override the tank, you can still enjoy a few of their benefits, like having the fish feed on them. This is a solution on its own.

However, as this article discusses, you can complement this with a manual treatment method.

John Brandon

John has kept fish all his life (since he was about 5). He started with keeping guppies and fell in love with fish keeping almost straight away. That was 40 odd years ago. These days John still keeps fish and currently has two large tanks where he keeps many different types of fish such as Angelfish, Neon Tetras, Goldfish, Guppies and many more.

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