Red fan worm

The red fan worm (Protula bispiralis) is a beautiful and fascinating marine invertebrate that is commonly found in shallow waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the West Indian Ocean. People have given the red fan worm many different names such as the Calcareous Tube Worm, Fan Worm, Feather Duster, the Coco Worm, Feather Duster Worm, Feather Tube Worm, Magnificent Tube Worm, Segmented Sea Worm, Tubeworm and on and on and on. We’ll stick with red fan worm for now! In this article, we will cover the different aspects of the red fan worm, including its appearance, region, behavior, diet, and how to keep them at home.


Red fan worms are relatively small in size, with a maximum length of about 10 centimeters (4 inches). They are known for their unique fan-like appearance, which is created by a series of feathery tentacles that protrude from their tube-like bodies. These tentacles can range in color from bright red to pink or even yellow, depending on the species and their environment. The fan-like structure is used to capture food particles from the water, as well as for respiration.


The red fan worm is commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly along the eastern coast of North America and throughout the Caribbean Sea. They are typically found in shallow waters, including coral reefs, rocky areas, and seagrass beds. Sometimes found alone, sometimes in colonies, the red fan worm is a hardy species and can adapt to a range of water conditions, making it a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts.


Red fan worms are relatively sedentary creatures and spend most of their time attached to a substrate, such as a rock or piece of coral. They use their fan-like structure to capture food particles from the surrounding water, including plankton, microalgae, and other organic matter. The red fan worm is a filter feeder, meaning it filters food particles from the water using its tentacles.


The red fan worm is a filter feeder and consumes a variety of small particles found in the water. In the wild, they primarily consume plankton and other organic matter. In an aquarium setting, it is recommended to provide them with a combination of liquid or dry food that is designed for filter feeders. This can include phytoplankton, microalgae, and other small particles that are suspended in the water. In most aquariums they require target feeding with a mix of plankton and it is essential to ensure that the water quality is high.

Keeping a red fan worm at home

Keeping red fan worms at home can be a rewarding experience, but it is important to provide the proper care and environment. A well-established and properly maintained aquarium is crucial, as it will provide the necessary water conditions and food sources for the red fan worm. In addition, it is important to avoid disturbing the substrate or the worm’s tube, as this can cause stress or damage to the creature.

The ideal tank size for red fan worms will depend on the number of individuals you plan to keep. For a single worm, a tank size of 76 liters (20 gallons) or more should be sufficient. However, it is important to provide plenty of room for growth and expansion. The water temperature should be kept between 22-26 °C (72-78 °F), with a pH between 8.1-8.4 and specific gravity between 1.023-1.025. It is important to maintain a stable water temperature and salinity level, as fluctuations can stress the red fan worm and lead to health problems.

They require a stable environment with excellent water quality and flow. When placing red fan worms in your aquarium, it is essential to avoid touching their crown of tentacles. The tentacles can retract quickly and may become damaged if touched. It is also important to avoid adding any predators to the tank, as they may harm or even consume the red fan worms. There are many different kinds of species of fish and shrimp that will attempt to eat the crown of these worms which may eventually kill the worm. Triggerfishes, wrasses, angelfishes and butterflyfishes are all species that are not compatible with red fan worms. If the worm does end up losing its crown, it may grow back within months if the aquarium conditions are optimal.

Additionally, they should not be exposed to any copper-based medications, as this can be fatal to them.

In conclusion, the red fan worm is a beautiful and unique addition to any aquarium. With the proper care and environment, they can thrive and add a splash of color to your underwater world.

Scientific nameProtula bispiralis
Type of aquariumMarine
SizeUp to 10 cm (4 inches) in length, including its fan-shaped crown of feeding tentacles.
RegionAtlantic Ocean and West Indian Ocean
Ideal tank sizeA minimum of 76 liters / 20 gallons is recommended
Ideal water temperature22-26 °C / 72-78 °F
pH8.1 – 8.4
sG1.023 – 1.025
DietFilter feeder, consuming small particles in the water column, plankton.
Special noteThis species is incredibly intolerant of poor water quality and should not be kept with predatory fish, urchins, or serpent starfish.

Would you like to contribute you own information based on experience to our article? Please use our contact form here, leave the info below in a comment or send us an email at


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkedin