Bristle worms have been causing a number of problems in a large number of people’s aquariums recently and although bristle worms are usually accidentally added to a tank, there definitely does seem to have been a spike in the amount of bristle worm eggs in substrate recently.
One thing that most people tend to overlook is that there are actually over 10,000 different types of bristle worm that can live in different types of aquarium setups.
Although the majority of these are usually harmless and in many cases can actually help your aquarium by eating large amounts of left over food, algae, and detritus, a small number of bristle worms can cause havoc in a tank.
This is why we published our article going over what eats bristle worms to try and help our readers out but more recently, we have noticed a number of people specifically asking about using six line wrasse to eat bristle worms in their tank.
Will Six Line Wrasse Eat Bristle Worms In Their Tank?
In short, yes six line wrasse will most likely eat bristle worms in your tank but there is a very big BUT that comes with this.
You see, the thing with six line wrasse is that they are very opportunistic feeders which means that if there are other food sources available, they will much rather go for those instead of hunting down bristle worms.
This is why a lot of people tend to use six line wrasse as part of their cleanup crew because they will help to keep the tank clean by eating anything that they can find including left over food, and small invertebrates.
The only time that six line wrasse will really go for bristle worms is if there is very little other food sources available for them to eat which is usually not the case in most aquariums.
This is why we would not recommend using six line wrasse as your main method of controlling bristle worm numbers in your tank and instead, focus on physical removal or introducing other fish that will specifically target bristle worms.
How Can I Get My Six Line Wrasse To Eat The Bristle Worms In My Tank?
Thankfully, six line wrasse are a hungry fish and although they will forage throughout the day, they are mainly carnivorous so will usually leave the algae and detritus in your tank alone in search of a meat based snack.
This means that you usually only have to fast your fish for a day before your six line wrasse will start to pick off the bristle worms in your tank.
There is a trade off for this though, the hungrier a six line wrasse gets, the more aggressive it will usually become towards its tank mates.
One way around this is to put the other fish in your tank in a quarantine tank for the day with this being a surprisingly efficient way for your six line wrass to eat a large number of the bristle worms in its tank.
You are able to fast your six line wrasse to have it hunt for bristle worms while feeding your other fish in your quarantine tank as normal without your six line wrasse being able to turn on your other fish when it gets hungry.
Are There Any Risks To Letting Six Line Wrasse Eat Bristle Worms In Their Tank?
The only real risk that you face when letting your six line wrasse eat bristle worms in their tank is that some species of bristle worm can sting your fish.
Although the majority of bristle worms are actually harmless, there are a small number of species that can give your fish a very nasty sting.
This is why we recommend using a pair of gloves and a set of tweezers when removing any bristle worms from your tank by hand as this will help to protect you from getting stung.
Another thing to keep in mind is that six line wrasse are not the most reliable method of controlling bristle worm numbers in your aquarium and if you have a lot of bristle worms, it is unlikely that your six line wrasse will be able to eat them all.
This is why we recommend using other methods of controlling bristle worm numbers in your tank such as physical removal or introducing other fish that will specifically target bristle worms.
While six line wrasse can help to keep the bristle worm population in your aquarium under control, they are not the most reliable method and should not be used as your only form of bristle worm control.
Should You Add Six Line Wrasse To Your Aquarium To Eat Bristle Worms?
We would never recommend that any one adds a six line wrasse to their tanks just to have them eat the bristle worms in the tank.
As we mentioned above, a six line wrasse can be a little aggressive to their tank mates so once the bristle worms have been eaten by the six line wrasse, you usually have a potentially aggressive fish left in your tank.