By now, you’ve probably heard of the “sea” worm problem.
And now, thanks to a new article from the UK’s Daily Mail, you can finally get an accurate estimate of how many sea worms you have in your home.
The article, written by a marine biologist at the University of Exeter, describes how the creatures can grow up to 2 feet long, and can reproduce multiple times within a day.
The sea worms can also become resistant to antibiotics.
And if your aquarium doesn’t have any, the researchers say you can always grow your own.
“I would say about 15 percent of the world’s population has sea worms,” Dr. Stephen Schlesinger, who conducted the study, told BBC News.
“I think it’s about a quarter of that.”
So how does this new research affect aquarium care?
The article quotes a British zoologist who says the species should be considered “unnatural” in aquariums that have been previously cleaned, since they “can cause health problems.”
However, the study did find that the sea worms were more likely to live in aquarium water that was not regularly monitored, such as under the tap.
The researchers also noted that sea worms, like other critters, are very sensitive to environmental conditions.
The Daily Mail article also notes that the problem is widespread.
“There are about 50 species of sea worms in the aquarium trade and many of them have been eradicated,” Dr Schlesingers said.
“We are talking about thousands of species, many of which are endemic to the UK.”
For some aquarium owners, the news may not be good.
“The whole idea that there is a problem with sea worms is a little ridiculous,” Dr David Smith, a marine zoologist at Plymouth University, told CNN.
“If you get a bunch of worms and they have no teeth and they just hang around, that’s not a problem.”
But if you have a lot of aquariums in your house, or if you live in an area with lots of water, you may be in for a problem.
“It’s just a matter of time before you see a large outbreak,” Smith added.
“That could be disastrous.”
The study, published in the journal Science Advances, suggests that you should clean the water and tank with soap and water, and also keep an eye on the water temperature.
But it also recommends that you try to keep the worms at a relatively low level of the tank’s pH (pH is the ratio of the salt in the water to the acid in it), and if they aren’t doing well in the tank, try a new tank.