FAQs on Freshwater Worms of All Sorts, Identification
Invertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks,
Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale
Freshwater Worms 1,
Freshwater Worms 2, Planaria, FW Worm Behavior, FW Worm Compatibility/Control, FW Worm Selection, FW Worm Systems, FW
Worm Feeding, FW Worm Disease,
FW Worm Reproduction & FAQs
on: Worm Caused Diseases,
Worms as Foods, FW Invert.s 1, Aquatic Insects, Crustaceans, Shrimps,
What's that on your plant? A leech!
Can you tell me what this is please???
I am hoping you might be able to help me. I have indoor/outdoor cats and
of course leave a water bowl out for them. Recently though I have been
finding strange worm-like organisms stuck to the inside of the bowl. I've
included a picture of one to show you. I would just like to know what it is and
if it is harmful to animals. I appreciate you taking the time to read my email
and thank you.
<Mmm; this looks like some sort of flatworm/Platyhelminth to me...
Likely not an issue, but I would share this pic or better, specimen with your
veterinarian just to make sure. Bob Fenner>
Re: Can you tell me what this is please???
Wow a flatworm?
<Yes; look in your reference works, the Net.>
Thank you very much for your help, and advice. I will be showing it to my
<Ah, good. BobF>
Worms in my tank! 5/29/16
Hi, I have found a heap of tiny thread like worms in my freshwater
They seem to be float/swimming around in the water but haven't seen any
on the glass. In the water they look white but when I get them out of
the water they turn pink/red. I'm worried they are detrimental to my
fish and/or tanks.
<They are not.>
I've searched your other worm related articles but ant seem to find a
description that fits. I have attached some photos below. If you are
able to help me understand what they are and the dangers of them in my
tank I would be very appreciative!
<No danger at all. But do indicate surplus organic matter for them to
feed on, whether directly or via the microbes acting as decomposers.>
The tanks they are found in house Bristlenose catfish, and various other
L number catfish so the tanks can get quite messy between cleans (each
weekend). Thanks in advance for any and all advice!
<Answered your question right there. I'd ignore them, but I'd also keep
a better grip on tank cleanliness, so that over time the populations of
worms declined. Too much organic matter in the tank means your filter is
having to work harder than it should, and nitrate levels are going to
end up a bit higher than they would otherwise. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Worms in my tank! 5/29/16
Thank you VERY much Neal! I was starting to panic.
The tanks that house the catfish are my two bottom racks so gravel vaccing
is always difficult using traditional gravity fed vacs but I do use the
Eheim quick vac pro that is battery operated
<Never found these much use, to be honest.>
and 50% water change each Saturday.
<Much more useful.>
I may need to look at how my tanks are set up and remove the messier cats to
a higher tank to make gravel cleaning more effective. As long as I know they
are not something harmful I can deal with this. Thank you very much!
Worm, Larvae, or other?
Just finished cycling a Fluval Edge 6 gallon aquarium after 4 weeks. I
cycled with pure ammonia from Dr.Tim's Aquatics dosing 4ppm each day the
ammonia read 0ppm. The tank is planted with Helianthus Callitrichoides,
Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis, Vesicularia dubyana, and a few Aegagropila
linnaei. I dose with Flourish Comprehensive weekly and Flourish Excel
daily with 12h/day lightning by means of my Finnex Planted+. The plants
growing wonderfully. There are also some snails that hitched a ride on
the Java Moss
I purchased from my LFS
, which I don't mind at the moment.
I have yet to perform a water change
and will do so after I figure out what these pests are. First here are
the water specs to get an idea of the conditions:
NH3, NO2 0ppm
NO3 80ppm (as I said, have yet to do a water change
<Who? The worms I'll assume.>
have definitely proliferated in the past few days (probably due to
increased nitrate concentration), with most coming out at night and
wiggling erratically at the top of the tank. Few also float in the water
column during the day. The majority are translucent with some varying
with brown specks. The supposed worms appear to be segmented, which
leads me to believe they are of the Annelid phylum or are larvae of some
and therefore not Planaria, but then again I could just be seeing
Maybe they are some sort of Dipteran larvae?
<Can you send along a well-resolved pic? The two groups of
invertebrates can be discerned on close inspection>
Please let me know!
<Please read here re identifying these groups:
Re: Worm, Larvae, or other?
Oh yes! The most important part of the email was omitted! Here is a
<Ahh; these appear to be insect larvae. I'd vacuum the gravel to remove
them. Bob Fenner>
Re: Worm, Larvae, or other?
Thanks for the help IDing them! I am planning on getting a school of 6
cardinal tetras, so I hope they will find them to be a delicious treat.
<Which? I'd remove the larvae as stated... They may turn out to be fish
eaters, or flying about your house... BobF>
FW Worm ID; no pic or rdg. 10/2/15
White/clear "worms" in tank 7/19/15
Was wanting to ask about a worm like creature I discovered in my tank internal
filter inlet tonight it was about 3/4 inch brown in colour when I
grabbed it it stretched to about 5-6 inches while attaching itself by a sucker
<Ooh.... was going to key Oligochaete; now.... Hirudinean>
but only at one end though wiggling around attached to the glass as i couldn't
get a grip I pulled it out got rid of it then I removed the fish some pregnant
platies I planned to birth put them back in main tank the tank in question was
used to temporarily house a juvenile breeding stock of expensive Plecos
previously to this these have now moved to larger
setup along with some tetras and tank was empty of fish before the platies went
in my main concern is will these be a risk of harm to the previously housed
Plecos or have been transferred in anyway to the bigger Pleco setup if so how do
I eradicate them also had a snail issue in this tank if you could advise me asap
Greetings. I just cleaned my daughters fish tank and the water I replaced it
with came from a natural spring.
<Do check water chemistry. This isn't an ideal approach.>
After filling the clean tank I noticed there were hundreds, if not thousands, of
small (about 1/4 to 1/2 in) white /clear "worms" (not sure if they're worms or
some insect larvae).
My main concern is that my children and I drank from the spring before I
realized these were in it.
<Apparently haven't done any harm so far?>
Anyway, just trying to figure out what they are. Any help would be greatly
<From this blurry photo, not a chance. But nematodes, Nematomorphs, Oligochaetes
and insect larvae are all possibilities. Grab a microscope (most high schools
and colleges have these, if you don't) and look for the relevant features:
segments and bristles for Oligochaetes, lack of segmentation for nematodes, and
so on. Do you know Buchsbaum's "Animals Without Backbones"? It's a classic
primer that covers the basics of each taxonomic group in adequate depth. Older
editions (30s-60s) are extremely accessible to non-experts with an open mind.>
One other note, the fish in the tank seem to like eating these things.
<Indeed they will.>
Also some appear "dead" as they don't seem to be moving and others are
definitely moving in a squiggly worm-like fashion.
<Your analysis seems reasonable.>
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Nematode worms 6/19/15
Dear WWM crew,
I happened upon your site following several searches to try and identify the
worm-like creatures I found on the bottom of my outdoor swimming pool.
I realize your site is for aquarium enthusiasts, but your specialists seem
really knowledgeable about worms and larvae, unlike most of the drivel I find in
"Yahoo Answer-like" web postings. Could you help identify the fast wriggling
creatures in the attached video, <insect
pool larv.mov> and recommend how I can get rid of them? They inhabit a 100ft
long outdoor swimming pool for recreational swimming and most users would
probably not like to share their swimming enjoyment with these creatures.
Thank you for your expertise!
Marc de Beer
<There isn't enough detail to say what sort of "worms" these are, whether
annelids, nematodes, Nematomorpha or insect larvae. Nematomorphs are pretty
common though, and generally harmless to us since they infect different sorts of
animals. Unfortunately, chlorine levels in pools are not normally high enough to
kill the durable eggs of some "worms", and insect larvae may appear repeatedly
because the flies, mosquitoes and other species can come to a clean pool and lay
their eggs there. In short, there isn't a one-shot chemical solution to these.
Net them out, and in particular, remove potential hosts as quickly as you can to
prevent possible reinfection -- typical hosts for Nematomorpha are insects
including flies, crickets,
beetles and so on. Cheers, Neale.>
<From the motion of the animal in your MOV, am pretty sure this/these are insect
larva/e... See WWM re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Nematode worms 6/20/15
Thank you so much!
<Simple chlorine shocking procedure will very likely rid your system of these
larval insects. BobF>
Hair like worms ,not Planaria...
I've read everywhere that these worms are Planaria and harmless.
<They're not. These ones are almost certainly freshwater Oligochaetes.
Again, harmless, and likely in most mature tanks.>
I first noticed them when they were not there then they were literally
within 20min I had probably 1000 or so, my whole tank looked like it was
full of rice length hair thin worms. This happened on a Sunday. I
cleaned the tank, rocks, plants, and all decore refilled ,treated and
all was good. I layer off feeding (freeze dried blood worms) as much and
less often to prevent over feeding....guess what, they came back, not as
great in number but noticeable. I took a pipette and sucked a few up and
viewed under a microscope at 50x they do not look like Planaria...they
have feet. I need to know if these will kill my fish and how to keep
<No, they won't harm your fish. Dosing the tank with an anti-helminth
medication (such as Prazi Pro) might eliminate them, but then, as has to
be stated loud and clear, all medications are poisons, and using them
needlessly is a potential risk. Will these worms do any harm? No,
freshwater Oligochaetes are mostly scavengers or micro predators,
consuming decaying organic matter and the very smallest of organisms.
They are actually beneficial animals in most cases, though overfeeding
or under-cleaning the aquarium may provide them with so much food their
numbers multiply rapidly. A few wouldn't be anything to worry about
See the segments?
Re: Hair like worms ,not Planaria... 2/21/15
Thank you so much. I actually put 3 of them in a drop of water to
observe their behavior towards each other when their environment was
constricted enough to force them to be in close proximity to each other
and I guess like everything else in the universe, limited space creates
<As Frank Herbert liked to point out, the most severe threat to a
species comes from its own kind, not from predators or competitors.
Limit the supply of oxygen, as you did, and it's every man (or worm) for
They literally began fighting each other, attacking, biting and
violently twisting up within themselves.
<I'd be wary about reading too much into what your little Shai-Huluds
got up to in there. Lack of oxygen and rapid increase in temperature
under a microscope can cause many non-unicellular animals to behave very
aberrantly, reflecting the severe stress such warm, bright environments
cause on animals accustomed to cool, dark places.>
I take pride in my little 20 gallon tank taking 4 hours to clean it when
needed, bi weekly 20% water changes, conditioners and I don't use
medical chem.s normally. I have tried a Mediflex treatment for a minor
fin issue from nipping, which helped but I don't like running a no
carbon filter for 7 days. I really appreciate your rapid response and
setting my mind at ease. I love my little guys and feel they are more
than just fish as one major pet store chain tried to convince me of.
<Yikes! Glad your enjoyment of the hobby has developed and become more
rewarding than this particular retailer might have supposed. Cheers,
Wormlike wigglers in cycling tank
Can you guys identify what these are? They appear to be little white
worms in the water but zoomed in they look like larvae of some type.
This is in a new setup about 4 weeks old, no fish, fresh black onyx
sand, RO water, and 81 degree temp. They seem to have come out of no
where. Thanks in advance. Video below image.
<Midge larvae or something similar. Totally harmless, and likely fish
food if you add anything insectivorous of appropriate size (such as
tetras). Not mosquitoes, anyway, which attach to the surface film of
water. Cheers, Neale.>
Wormlike wigglers in cycling tank /RMF
Can you guys identify what these are?
They appear to be little white worms in the water but zoomed in they
look like larvae of some type. This is in a new setup about 4 weeks old,
no fish, fresh black onyx sand, RO water, and 81 degree temp. They seem
to have come out of no where. Thanks in advance. Video below image.
<Insect larvae... heads appear too small to be mosquitoes, maybe Midge
larvae. I'd net out, remove. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wormlike wigglers in cycling tank
Thanks for the reply. I added what is now a very full and satisfied
Platy to the tank.
<Heeee! I bet!>
The thing couldn't get to the little morsels fast enough. Happy to say
that all wigglers are gone.
<Cheers Mark. BobF>
I am not sure if you can help me or not, but, I found a strange
long worm in my pool. It appears to possibly be some kind of
parasite. Would you be able to identify it if I sent you a picture?
<Likely can help you narrow the ID down. Doubtful that this is a
parasitic species. Bob Fenner>
Here are some photos. I tried to send a video but I couldn't get it to
<Oh yeah... a horse hair worm, Nematomorpha/n... not to worry. BobF>
Re: Worm 1/20/15
Ok. Thank you. That's what I thought, but wanted a second opinion.
Strange worm in aquarium!!
Hello crew! It's been a few years since I've needed help from you guys.
My system isn't in need of help but I am hoping for
an ID on a strange worm.
So I was cleaning out an aquarium that has been set up for four months.
I am converting it to a Betta paludarium. Really
just an emergent/submerged plant set-up with
soil(Walstad). Anyway, while I was cleaning this tank out
I found about six of these worms crawling around
under the substrate.
This substrate is natural creek sand that I rinsed
and baked a few months ago(four as I stated
before!!). Anyway. After Initial l set-up I didn't
change anything except to move fish in and out of this system. I never
fed this type of worm. Just frozen
daphnia/flake/Spirulina flakes. I used local
<Ah yes; likely the source>
for this system so I'm sure that the eggs of these guys
somehow hitch-hiked in on the roots of some plants or,
something?! Anyway, Can you guys help me with an ID
and how do you think they survived for so many
<Yes; some sort of Oligochaete ("few bristles") segmented worm... same
group as earthworms, Tubifex, Blackworms. Not harmful. Thanks for
Tiny worm(s) 12/25/14
I checked the site and didn't see this little guy. It is living on a
fake plant in a ten gallon freshwater aquarium. Video attached. Happy to
have it if it isn't harmful but would love to have an ID. Thanks for any
<Some bit of fecal material. Bob Fenner>
"Poop of Earl" (sans soundtrack) >
little worm <not> in freshwater tank
Good evening! I would like to ask your help identifying a worm i found
yesterday. While cleaning out my tank, i noticed some little, very light
colored worms on my Anubias nana. I put them in a bowl for observation.
They didn't climb on the wall, just wiggled on the bottom. I haven't
seen them in my tank before, though they are small and my gravel is
light so i might have missed them. There were only a few. The body is
round, so i think it's not a flat worm, there was also some black
coloration on the head. I inspected the leaves and i found some brown
round things on one of the leaves, maybe the eggs or something? I took
some pics with my phone but they aren't the best, i don't have a camera
so i can't really make better ones, sorry. My questions are what is it,
is it harmful to my fish, do i need any treatment for the tank? My
friend suggested that i throw away my plants, but i don't really want to
if it's not necessary. I live in Europe.
<Likely these are aquatic insect larvae, possibly imported on the
plants, and in any event, almost certainly harmless. Nematodes
(roundworms) tend to be uniformly coloured (usually white) whereas
insect larvae (such as "maggots") have distinctive head regions that are
darker than the body thanks to their eyes and jaws. Hope this helps,
Re: little worm in freshwater tank
Thank you for your reply, I'm relieved. Than i go and replant my tank :)
<Most welcome, Neale.>
reddish leech looking creatures in my yard
in the last week we have found 2, 2inch dark reddish, skinny
leech looking things in my back yard. we don't have grass in my
yard. its dirt. someone told me that its a parasite! never seen these
before and im worried. have children and pets. please help! thank you,
<Without photographs can't really be sure. Would also need to know what
country you're in, and what your local climate is like, because that
makes a huge difference to the sorts of animals where you live. You're
not at all clear where you found these parasites; we're "experts" on
ponds perhaps, but not lawns, patios, or other sorts of garden features.
But as a rule of thumb, if the "something" is big enough to see easily
and just lying around in an obvious way, it's not a parasite. Parasites
are mostly tiny (even microscopic) because they need to get inside their
hosts, or else secretive, like bedbugs and leeches, because they need to
creep up on their hosts. The organisms you've seen sound much more like
earthworms, freshwater leeches, or possibly some sort of large insect
larva (such as Leatherjacket larvae). There are of course parasites that
affect dogs and cats, notoriously Lungworm here in the UK at the moment,
but the parasites themselves are essentially microscopic and transmitted
via snails and slugs
(which are in turn infected by faeces from an infected dog). You should
get yourself aware of the local parasites that pose a risk to your pets
by consulting your vet; they usually have leaflets in their offices
(detailing risks and symptoms) as well as suggestions on appropriate
preventatives and treatments. With regard to children, we're obviously
not medical doctors so refrain from giving you advice here; if you are
concerned, photograph the suspected parasite, show it to your general
practitioner and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale (who's merely a doctor
Re: reddish leech looking creatures in my yard
Thank you for your reply. If I see another one I will take a picture and
send it to you. And I live in Laplace Louisiana
<Glad to help. Neale.>
water worm 6/29/14
can you identify this worm and let me know if it is dangerous? I
found it in my swimming pool
<It's an errant Polychaete of some sort, and no, not dangerous. Any idea
where it came from? If the pool is outdoors and near the sea, that's
presumably where it came from, possibly dropped by a passing seabird.
Cheers, Neale.><<Well-done Neale. RMF>>
Worms of some sort, in turt sys. 12/11/13
I have a freshwater tank with 3 red eared sliders in it and I went and
vacuumed the water and then as I refilled the tank I saw some
red squiggly crazy freaking out worm with a type of pincher at the tail
end and a mouth that looked like it was unhinging
<... not an Oligochaete>
or somewhat snake like as it was eating the floating crap that I stirred
up when cleaning and refilling.. then I noticed with a closer look that
there are a bunch of way smaller worm like things swimming around in
there as well. These ones are harder to see because they are so small
but are doing the same thing the big red one does, as in squiggles
around completely looking like a crack head freaking out. Will these
things hurt my turtles? I've attached a video of this crack head worm..
<Mmm, from your description these are likely some type of insect larvae
rather than worms... But the latter are a possibility as well (from live
foods, plants... see Darrel's rec. re "Koi" pellets as a standard
At any length, neither are harmful to turtles... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
white worms in water... using WWM
I just did a water change today and noticed a whole bunch of tiny grey
squiggly worms in both the dirty water I gravel vacuumed out in my pail
and in my aquarium water. what are they and are they good or bad there
in my aquarium? if bad how can I get rid of them?
and the linked files above... or... use the search tools on every page.
worms, FW ID 8/19/12
I have a question for the freshwater entomologist :
<Hmm… not exactly come to the right place!>
The other day I was watching a shrimp eating a dead shrimp. I guess it's
normal for a shrimp population to somewhat control itself ?
<For sure. Or at least, to recycle calcium from moults or corpses.>
The number of shrimps seems to stay about constant but I don't see very
many babies nor very many grandpas and grandmas.
<Pretty much true.>
Anyway, right near the dead shrimp I noticed a red wormy-looking thing.
I've never seen this thing before. It was about the size and color of a
bloodworm but not segmented.
<If it isn't segmented, it can't either [a] an insect larva such as a
chironomid larva; or [b] an oligochaete such as Lumbriculus.>
Also, it slithered over the rocks rather than doing the bloodworm
<Gliding over solid surfaces is more typical of flatworms, i.e.,
As I watched, it slithered away into the substrate never to be seen
again. The substrate is round river rock of various sizes. Not too big
but larger than normal aquarium gravel. Kuhli loaches love it. This
thing was slithery like a slug, not free-swimming at all and rounder
rather than flatter.
<Again, suggestive of a planarian.>
I searched the site and found Planaria and leeches but this creature
seemed more evenly shaped than a leech, not fat in the middle with
<Leeches are segmented; they are of course Oligochaetes.>
And it didn't have the triangular head that Planaria have.
<Ah now, the triangular head with the two eye spots is not universal to
I searched and searched the rest of the tank but only see/saw the one.
Any ideas what this thing could be ?
<Does sound like a planarian; look at species such as Dugesia which are
fairly common in ponds and get into aquaria via plants and live foods.
They're harmless, by the way.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: worms, FW ID 8/19/20
Thank you for the reassurance :)
They sure look nasty icky slimy but we probably aren't very attractive
to them, either …
I'm sort of assuming that since this is part of life, as long as they
aren't parasites they're actually good for the tank ?
<Or at least neutral. If you have a lot of them, then that tends to
indicate the tank isn't clean (overstocked, uneaten food, inadequate
maintenance). But a few of them is normal, and in some tanks adds to the
charm of the aquarium. Indeed, I have an 8-gallon aquarium on a sunny
windowsill that's crawling with tiny life such as these worms, and it's
a useful place to grow on small fish like Ricefish fry that feed on
algae and tiny animals. It's a fun tank to observe, almost like a reef
Especially since I've only seen one, not thousands ?
thanks again much :)
Tiny white worms 2/5/12
I am not sure if you can help me but there seems to be some tiny
little white worms crawling on the glass of my yabby's tank.
I have attached a picture (not so clear).
Are these harmful at all to the fish and to yabby?
<Not likely; no. Their sudden appearance is not uncommon. With
regular maintenance, being careful re feeding, they will just as
Your help is greatly appreciated.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwwormcompf.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Crazy little pink worms --
Hello, WWM Crew!
I have a question about my desktop 1.5 gallon planted Betta bowl
with blue aquarium gravel on the bottom.
I live in Phoenix, Arizona, and I used local tapwater with BIO
Safe and BIO Coat for water conditioners. I noticed a couple days
ago that my 2 year old pet-store bought Betta was acting very
funny. I figured it could have been a swim bladder issue (common,
first time with him, not my first rodeo with the beast), but as I
looked closer, I notice a swarm of flesh-coloured roundworms
swimming throughout the water.
<These are segmented worms... Annelids>
They're a variance of sizes (1mm - about 15mm at the
longest), and are not larvae of any of the common office--wide
annoyances (all 3 parents are entomologists. I had a fun
Now here's the thing, I know they're not Planaria. Like I
said, these are roundworms who kick and swirl around like
miniature young Tubifex.
<Do look like Tubificids to me>
I was raising some Tubifex in a 2.5 gallon at home, but I never
cross-contaminated these tanks.
They don't breathe air. I believe they're too small to be
hookworms. I can't get a good enough picture, but they're
long, thin, hairlike, at a variety of height levels, seeming to
prefer inhabiting my java ferns near the bottom. You can kind of
see them wrapped around one of the roots in the pictures. They
were flailing too much to get a good look at their head. They
don't crawl on the sides of the glass. When I remove them
from water, they turn light pink.
I cleaned his bowl thoroughly, was unable to remove the
infestation, tossed the rocks, rinsed again, replaced the gravel.
Then, as I was washing the java ferns, I reinfested that bowl,
so, I'm letting it dry out. Meanwhile, my poor old Betta
passed away (in a cleaner, different bowl, sand bottom). I got
new plants, and it seems that I managed to move my Betta to the
new bowl without cross-contamination, so it would suggest that
they are not parasitic in nature to fish. I still have the old
java ferns in a paper cup, and hope to eradicate them with an
Any idea as to what they are?
Also, is there an invertebrate killer that is not harmful to
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/AnthelminthicsFWF.htm
Not worried about killing fish. These little guys will go in an
uninhabited tank until these things are gone.
<And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
Re: Crazy little pink worms
Thanks for your answers! I've only ever taken java ferns from
this Betta bowl home, never the other way around. Such a mystery.
It's quite possible a Tubifex egg sac ended up in my bowl via
tap water. I have since switched to our filtered water. I could
do without another unintentional worm outbreak.
I've been thinking of getting a Picotope for my desk so I can
keep a filter and heater; currently, there hasn't been any
room. I guess it's time.
<Thank you! BobF>
Fresh water worm 1/24/11
I discovered this worm swimming around the edge of a tank. It is
a very small pink worm which wiggles very quickly as it maneuvers
through the water. I have a 600 gallon Aquaponics setup in which
I am raising Tilapia. Is this a harmless worm or something
<Can't tell definitively from your photo, but highly
likely it/this is harmless>
I recently added snails to my tanks for algae control. I am
worried that it may have come from the snails.
What do I treat this with if it is harmful to me or my fish as I
will be eating these fish?
<There are vermifuges of use:
Though again, this is not likely a species of worm that can/will
cause trouble in cleaned, cooked Tilapia/Oreochromis>
Currently my fish do not appear to be sick in any way. I also use
salt regularly in my tanks. I have attached a photo.
Please let me know if I need to take a better photo for your
<Would need a better pic. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fresh water worm
I took a better picture for you as requested. When zoomed
in you can see the body segmentation. Thank you for your
time and prompt response.
<Ahh! Even more inclined to state that this animal is
highly likely not-destructive... Is an annelid... Perhaps a
Tubificid. Bob Fenner>
|Re: your freshwater worm
> The beastie in question appears to be a freshwater
oligochaete. Not uncommon, and completely harmless. Indeed,
arguably beneficial if you're going for a rich,
denitrifying sediment like a freshwater DSB.
<Ah, yes... is just so>
> Cheers, Neale
<And you, B>
Ftn. leeches?? 12/17/10
I have found small red worms that strongly resemble ones discussed on
these two pages
in a freshwater outdoor water fountain (with no fish). When I go to
change the water every other day or so they float up and are swept out
of the fountain and into the flowerbed. Birds use the fountain to drink
and I imagine that mammals use it at night. I have red wriggler
earthworms and dÃ©colletÃ© snails in the yard
also, but never find them in the water fountain.
My questions are;
Are they harmful to birds, cats or skunks etc?
<Can't tell with the information presented... All Leeches are
can't/don't live long w/o hosts. Do yours show segmentation,
If they are harmful how do I eliminate them?
Is it possible to 'dose' the water to prevent their return?
<Depends on the source...>
I don't currently have a pet but when I did she did drink out of
the fountain, when I get another will I have to prevent it from doing
Thanks, Pam Kelso
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: leeches?? 12/18/10
Thank you for the reply. In rummaging around the internet after I sent
this to you I think that I have identified the culprits. They are midge
fly larvae, bloodworms.
<Ahh! Quite common to have such insects w/ aquatic larval stages
using water features opportunistically. And not a disease issue>
Because I clean out the fountain every few days I never saw them at
maturity and they were always small and non-segmented. I know that we
have midge flies so I think that solves it. Thank you for getting back
to me so quickly.
tiny crawlers, assoc. w/ terr. hermit 10/4/10
Two days ago I purchased a hermit crab for my child. To our surprise,
the hermit crab had company today! There were tiny worms in the
mulch-like substance that was recommended for the tank. I thought they
may have been bristle worms( I know that they sometimes buddy up with
hermit crabs in their shells), but your many descriptions do not match
what these appeared to be. They were approximately 1/4" long and
light brown in color. They resembled a very small earthworm. I
apologize for not having a picture. I panicked, and dumped them. There
were at least three of them. Do you have an idea of what they were? My
next question is, "Are they harmful to the crab or my child?"
Thank you for your time.
<In the mulch... Very likely these are/were not actually worms of
any sort, but insect larvae... And other than being noisome, likely not
harmful to your child. Bob Fenner>
Re: tiny crawlers 10/5/10
Worm Identification 8/30/10
I found a worm in my drinking glass this morning. I assume it
came in through my tap water. Could you help me identify it?
<It's not a worm; it's an insect. Some sort of
Dipteran larvae, e.g., a midge. Harmless, and an excellent fish
food! Cheers, Neale.>
Long skinny pink in color worms living in my grave, FW ID
Hi , I have a 28 gal bow tank. With drift wood and live plant's in
it. Two stick fish,
<No idea what these are. Do you mean Pencilfish?>
two hatchet fish. I also have about 50 plus cherry shrimp and two
bamboo shrimp. My cherry shrimp are breeding.
<As is their wont.>
But I have also seen what looks like pink in color or are skin color ,
long and very thin worms sticking out of the gravel in my tank. Do you
have any clue on what these are and if they will hurt anything in my
<Likely just freshwater oligochaetes, and not only harmless, but
actually beneficial. Do read here:
Mysterious white worms (in a freshwater tank)
I am a first time WWM email user. And I find your website tons of help!
I have a question. This morning I cleaned my fish tank and I saw tiny
white worm-like creatures on the glass of the fish tank.
<Likely free-living nematodes and planarians. Not in themselves
dangerous, but a sign that this tank gets too much food and not enough
cleaning, since they feed on uneaten fish food (among other things). In
most tanks you might find a few, but not enough to notice. If there are
obviously lots and lots of them, then you have a problem.>
Also while I was using my siphon I stirred the gravel a little bit and
1-2 inch white worms and my angelfish and guppies started to have a
feast, when I looked in my bucket I saw 50 maybe 100 of them and
I'm worried. They swim in kind of a S shape and when they stick to
the glass they move kind of like an inch worm. Kind of creepy.
<Just nature mopping up the mess you're making. Like cockroaches
in a kitchen.>
I also tried a parasite med. But. I don't think that worked ;(
<Why would it? These aren't parasites. More significantly,
trying to kill a bunch of animals in your aquarium means you're
going to end up with lots of decay, and that means poor water quality.
Imagine if you killed off a nest of rats with rat poison, but just left
the bodies to rot. Bad. The correct approach here is to ignore the
worms, and instead control their numbers so the population dies back
over time. How do you do that? By limiting the amount of food they get
to eat. Feed in sensible amounts, don't overstock your tanks, and
remove uneaten food at once.>
Thank you for your time helping me!
Strange worm in toilet 2/16/10
for a while now we have seen a worm in our toilet that is a black worm
with very thin white rings around the entire body. Nothing sticking out
of it, pointed at both ends and very smooth looking. No one is sick in
our family so have more or less ruled out a human parasite, but would
like any ideas on what it could be and how it may have gotten into the
toilet. I have searched the web, and found your site to have the
closest information on it.
Thank you for your help.
<Jade, without a photo, it's impossible to say anything sensible
here. It's most likely a fly larva of some sort (a
"maggot" in popular parlance) and consequently harmless,
though perhaps indicative of damp or decaying organic material
somewhere nearby. Usually what happens is the maggot falls from above,
so have a look for cracks and crevices in the ceiling. In any case,
we're not medics or environmental health specialists, so any advice
offered here is purely speculative. Simply in terms of the law, I'm
sure I have to admit my ignorance, and recommend you contact your
doctor first of all, to make sure it isn't a harmful parasite.
Nematodes are very smooth worms that are pointed at both ends, and at
least some are endoparasites.
little clear worms in fish tank 10/7/09
hi I have a bunch of tiny clear worms in my tank and I was wondering if
you can help me figure out what they are and how to get rid of
<Likely nematodes or planarians that consume uneaten food and
organic waste. Although not harmful, they do indicate chronically poor
hygiene, i.e., you aren't keeping the substrate particularly clean
and/or you're allowing too much organic matter to accumulate in the
tank. Clean the tank properly, and remove uneaten food and faeces, and
the worms will die back.>
they are very small and clear, if the water gets a little low some will
cling to the glass above the water. I notice some times when feeding
the fish very small white looking flies come off the top of the water
probably smaller than a fruit fly. when I clean the tank I such up as
many of the worms as I can, but can't get rid of them. I have
probably had them for a year they don't seem to hurt anything just
a nuisance because my wife finds them little flies dead on the counter
by our kitchen sink. tank is a 55 gal fresh water with a Texas cichlid
and a Pleco. thanks in advance for your help.
The Worms Go In, The Worms Go Out....
My daughter has a 100 gal tank with fresh water fish in it and I have a
30 gal tank. Recently we found really tiny but long wiggly worm look
things swimming around in our tanks. What we would like to know is what
<Without a MUCH more detailed description and preferably a good
image, only guesses can be had. But I'd wager dollars to donuts
that they are one of many harmless worms that can be found in
freshwater tanks. Planarians, nematodes.... lots of possibilities. Of
course, there is the less likely possibility that these are some sort
of parasite. I consider this less likely because you state that they
are "swimming around" in your tanks.>
and how do we get rid of them and keep them away?
<Well, once again, too little information to go on. I would guess
that, like many other pest infestations, conditions are favorable for
the worms and so they are proliferating. Make the conditions less
favorable for them (reduce the amount of nutrients in your tanks) and
the numbers should dwindle. Take a good look at your water conditions -
Ammonia and Nitrite must be zero, Nitrate less than 20ppm. Do some
hefty water changes if this is not the case. Siphon debris from the
substrate, and check to see if your filter media might need to be
changed - change it on a different day than when you siphon. Make sure
the biomass in the tank is not too much for the tank or your filtration
All of our fish seem fine but this is really baffling to us.
<Again, probably harmless. Remove the reason they're there
(clean the tank, basically) and continue to do water changes as
necessary, and their numbers will dwindle. You may never be
"completely" rid of them, but they will likely become
unnoticeable in very little time. Almost everyone's tanks have some
sort of interesting life - worms and much more - and this is
essentially normal. For them to be in such huge numbers as to be that
noticeable to you basically just means there's too much
"stuff" in the tank/water.>
We would appreciate any information you can provide us with.
<There are more options you can pursue.... Chemical means of
eradication.... But these options are last resorts only, and will do
more harm than good. Try upping your tank maintenance for a while and
see how things go. I bet you'll find that they mostly go away on
their own, with a clean, healthy aquarium. Let me recall to you a bit
of a panicked experience of my own.... Some years ago, I had a smallish
reef tank, 40 gallons or so. I had only one fish, and when I returned
from vacation, went to check things and make sure he was doing okay.
Though he was fine,
the tank was literally cloudy with worms - thin, long, squiggly worms -
swimming about. As it turns out, the roommate feeding the one fish had
gone against my rules of feeding him only twice while I was gone. The
(and thus the tank) was fed daily with far more food than the little
guy could eat. There was debris on the bottom, and Nitrate tested
unbelievably high. A large water change and two days later, the worms
gone. I'm sure they were always there to an insignificant degree,
but WOW, it was downright startling to see the tank utterly clouded
with the things.
Makes my skin crawl just to think about it.>
<You're quite welcome.>
Very concerned, Mrs. Denise Petersen
<Hopefully I've at least eased your mind some, Mrs. Petersen.
Best of luck to you, -Sabrina Sharp.... formerly Fullhart.>
What could this be???!!! Hirudinean
We live in rural Midwest Indiana (farmland). My boys go down to
the creek and play in the water. (which has cow pastures nearby).
Not sure that has any bearing at all.... but I just discovered
this THING in my toilet!!!! I'm totally grossed out. It is
dark colored, flat,....leach like
<It's a leech. Most leeches are harmless, feeding on
invertebrates and the like. They are fascinating animals and you
certainly shouldn't be "grossed out" by these
little marvels. Some will bite people for a blood meal (a trait
famously used in the past for "blood letting" but not
used as a therapy after certain types of surgery). How this leech
got into your plumbing is a mystery to me, but it is possible one
your kids picked a
blood-sucking leech up when playing, and the thing fell into the
water in the toilet bowl sometime later. It is very, very rare
for them to carry diseases that can infect humans. People who
have been bitten by leeches
typically have circular wounds on the skin with 3 distinct tooth
marks. If you're concerned, place the leech in a jar of
water, take it to your local medic to identify, and ask for
assistance. Here at WWM we aren't qualified to offer medical
advice. Cheers, Neale.>
|Re: what could this be???!!!
thank you so much for taking the time to respond....and quick!
<My pleasure. Cheers, Neale.>
Identify Worm 11/23/08 I live in
coastal SC and I kept my turtle tank outside during the summer and
fall. I just brought it in for routine cleaning and because of cold
weather. The tank had some strange "worms" that looked a
little like "naked caterpillars with long string-like tails."
The ones that were moving were a fleshy tan color. There were also some
that were black or dark brown and very hard. Some of them were in the
water but some were attached together by the "strings" and
hanging off of a rock in the tank. I have looked on many sites and
tried many different search terms but am not coming up with an answer.
Please help me identify this strange little creature. Brandi <Hello
Brandi. What you're describing is almost certainly a
"rat-tailed maggot", a distinctive fly larva that inhabits
stagnant water. The long "tail" is a breathing tube.
They're pretty much harmless, and in England at least very common
in small, unfiltered ponds. Fish (and likely turtles) don't seem to
eat them, or at least my fish don't! Cheers, Neale.>
Little white worms in bathtub 10/14/08 I have been
finding little white worms in the bathtub for about 5 days now. They
are maybe 1/8 " long with a brownish red head on them. They are
all different sizes sometimes smaller. I can't see where they are
coming from. I looked in the ceiling and can't find any evidence.
please help me. <My gut feeling is these are insect larvae of some
type. Fly larvae ("maggots") often appear worm-like and
commonly have eyes or heads sufficiently distinct enough in colour to
look like what you are describing. Will likely be infesting some
decaying animal carcass or rotten organic matter (like wood) somewhere
nearby. Look around, initially working on the assumption the worms are
falling downwards, either from the ceiling or via the plumbing. Best
advice is to collect some of the worms and show them to someone
qualified at identifying/controlling household pests. Cheers,
help! Little wormy things 9/25/08 Hello, I just
realized that in my baby guppy tank that there are these hair like
worms that I can barely see. They are always vertical and they squirm
around like a snake. Umm...they are white and they are about 1/8 of an
inch. Are there any medications? I don't want to lose all of my
baby guppies. Please reply quickly! -Sarah <Almost certainly
harmless nematodes of some sort. They do thrive in dirty tanks, so
seeing them is more likely a warning that you don't keep your tank
clean than anything else. Cheers, Neale.>
|Worms 09/04/2008 Hi I have a 29 gallon
freshwater tank it is a fairly new tank only been up for about 7
weeks.. I just got done battling Ick on my swordtail fry and then
today I noticed these brown worm looking things on the glass of the
tank near the top ,but they were not in the water at the time I
found them they were actually just above the surface.. I wiped them
off but not sure if they are a worm or some type of insect larvae..
I have attached 2 photos, not the best because they are very
small.. I tried looking it up myself but all I can find is
references to white worms which these are not white.. Are they
harmful? I already did a 20% water change while vacuuming the
gravel today.. Thanks Trish <Hello Trish. The "worm"
in question appears to be an insect larva. Certainly to my eyes it
seems to be segmented and possesses small appendages of various
types. In other words, a maggot. No immediate threat to the fish,
but a good sign that there's a lot of decaying organic material
somewhere in or around the tank. Otherwise the parent fly (or
whatever) wouldn't have laid its eggs here. So time for an
early spring clean! Cheers, Neale.> Re: worms
09/04/2008 Thank You.. I did vacuum the gravel out today
after finding the worm like things.. and there was a lot of food in
the gravel.. I didn't realize I was overfeeding , I only feed
them once a day but I guess I need to cut down on the amount I am
giving each day.. Thanks so much for your speedy response. Trish
<Hi Trish. Overfeeding is easy to do, and much more difficult
than to under-feed! Remember the two golden rules: Firstly, little
but often. Snacking is better than gorging. The fish are more
likely to eat all the food, and they'll also extract more
nutrition with less wastage. Secondly, use the minimum quantity,
and it should all be gone within a minute (for the average greedy
community fish). Remove anything leftover; a turkey baster is a
great tool for this, allowing you to pipette out stuff without
buckets or getting your hands wet. Cheers, Neale.>
"Slash" our Oscar, concerns w/ "worms" in the
tank 8/12/08 we got an Oscar about 4 months ago, and he has come
around pretty quick! he is an amazing fish, as he is our first Oscar.
he has had these little "worm" looking things on the inside
of the tank, they are extremely small, and move around. they have not
attached to him, and don't seem to be bugging him, but they are
driving me absolutely crazy!! we feed him a high grade pellet food, and
about 1-2 times a week he gets frozen treats like meal worms, or brine
shrimp. he is in a 55gal tank, with a power filter for 50-60 gal (up
grading to a canister filter), we also do about a 30 % water change
weekly. I know its hard without seeing it, but what could these
"worms" be? and how the heck to we get raid of them!? thanks
for the help!! Desiree, Todd and "slash" <The
"worms" are most likely Planarians, in other words flatworms.
They feed on the food you've given the Oscar. As you know, Oscars
are very messy fish. The fine particles they produce get everywhere,
especially if the tank is inadequate and water changes are infrequent.
In both regards, you're at fault here: cichlids need BIG filters,
and you should be using a filter offering NOT LESS than 6 times the
volume of the tank in turnover per hour. Forget about the rating on the
box telling you X filter is for Y sized tank... these estimates are
based on best-case situations where a tank contains few, small fish,
Neons for example -- not Oscars! You also should be doing AT LEAST 50%
water change per week, with the gravel cleaned on a regular basis.
It's the stuff you're not removing that the Planarians are
eating. While harmless in themselves, they're a "wake up
call" telling you of an underlying problem. Long term, excessive
nitrate in the water will lead to issues such as Hole in the Head that
are a real bother to treat. So please, upgrade your tank (too small for
adult Oscars), upgrade your filter, and step up the water changes. Do
this and the Planarians should fade away in time. Do see here:
PLANTED TANK WORMS - 7/24/08 I spotted this tiny
brown worm on three of my freshwater aquarium plants this
morning. Some are so small they look like dust. I removed them
all with a turkey baster. My research didn't turn up
anything. Can you identify them by the attached photo? Should I
be concerned? Thanks for any help you can give me. You guys do a
great job. Bob <Hi Bob. The photo is a bit small to say
anything sensible, but my guess (and that's all it is) is
that this is nothing more serious than some sort of insect larva.
Common enough in freshwater habitats, but usually get eaten by
fish if they end up in aquaria! In any event, very, very unlikely
to cause any harm. If you're concerned, remove them and feed
them to your fish. I'd be tempted to rear them in a small
container of water just to see what they turned into. They
aren't mosquitoes or anything noxious like that. Cheers,
Re: PLANTED TANK WORMS Thanks Neale!
<You're welcome, Bob.>
4/17/08 Good Afternoon, <Jerry> I've searched the
net and can't find an identification for what I've found.
The Agricultural Extension in my count cannot identify it either
and they have the only one of what I found. Here is a description
of the worm and where it was found. The worms were each about 1
1/4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. They rather looked like an
adult human beings thumb. They were of a dull grayish color. One
end was tapered and the other had a flat surface with a
"lip," for lack of a better biological term, all around
the flat surface. The flat end vaguely resembled what I've
seen as the end of a tapeworm that has the hooks on it. These
were found in a small bottle of 6% acidity Balsamic vinegar that
was in a dark cabinet for about 3 years. They appeared to be
dead, but I don't know. <Me neither... do you have a means
of making, sending a micro-photographic image?> My
agricultural extension said they were "vinegar eels,"
but when I checked on line, vinegar eels are long and stringy
looking. <A general term for a few species of acid-environment
nematodes... Some are cultured as fish food for fry...> The
folks at the agricultural extension disposed of everything.
I'm really upset about this because, although I haven't
every seen anything like this around the house, they could be
elsewhere and I'd like to know what I'm dealing with.
<Mmmm, not everywhere... But this phylum is very common in the
biological world... Take a read on the Net...> By my
description, is there anything that you can tell me. I very much
appreciate your efforts. Thank you, Jerry Ascione <Can only
guess... sans more information, image work. Bob
Re: Worm Identification
4/18/08 Mr. Fenner, <Jerry> Thank you for your really
quick reply. As it turns out, the agricultural agency disposed of
the "worm" after they took a biopsy from it, but they
didn't tell me that. It turns out that it wasn't a worm.
It was, as they called it, "Mother of Vinegar."
<Interesting: A chemical/physical manifestation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_of_vinegar> They agreed
that at first glance it looked much like a worm and even had a
texture that would be consistent with that of a worm. But, it
wasn't. Again, thank you very much for your time. Jerry
Ascione <Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>
|Leeches in my Discus Tank -03/28/08 I have
attached a picture of what I believe to be leeches after much
research. They are living in the gravel of my fully planted 80 gal
discus tank. All water conditions are within specs for discus and
the discus and plants are growing like crazy. I have been feeding
the live black worms, do you think they could have come from them?
What can I do????? Please help. Thank You Deb <Hello Deb. Yes,
those are leeches. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of
leeches do not eat blood. They are certainly predators, but they go
after small prey such as insect larvae and molluscs. It is very
likely that the leeches you have are harmless towards your fish,
and most probably came in with the live food you have been using. A
little time spent with a book on native freshwater invertebrates
will probably yield sufficiently accurate identification for you to
decide if this is a safe species of leech or not. As a precaution
though, you might elect to remove them to another aquarium or pond.
It probably goes without saying that large carnivorous fish (e.g.,
puffers) will happily eat leeches. Alternatively, why not set up a
little "critter" aquarium just for them and any other
small beasties like shrimps and snails you across? Such tanks
don't need heaters or lights, and a sunny (but not
south-facing) windowsill is usually a fine location, allowing for
some floating aquatic plants and algae to be kept as a base for the
food chain. Such tanks are great fun, being more like reef tanks
than anything else. Cheers, Neale.>
George in Greece... worms, copepod... ID
03/16/08 Dear Bob, As you can see in the photo there are two
types of worms and one type of copepod (freshwater). <Can
barely make these out> We are extremely interested in finding
out the following: a) species and if not, genus or even family.
b) are they harmful to fish (esp. fry) Your response will be
greatly appreciated. George & Marina <The blue thing is
obviously some sort of dipteran larva; the red things perhaps
small oligochaetes, but it's difficult to say. In either case
they're fish food rather than a problem! Fish fry *might* be
harmed -- I've lost baby Corydoras to planarians, for
example. But I suspect that the usual problem is that if the
water (or substrate) are "dirty" (bacteria-laden)
enough to support these small life forms, newly-hatched fish are
at greater risk of fungal infections. So in my case at least, the
planarians didn't kill the Corydoras fry, but simply attacked
the moribund ones. That'd be my guess, anyway. Cheers,
Leeches??? Hi <Hello> I have had
guppies for a few years and not experienced any problems. A few months
ago I added a small Pleco followed by two elephant nosed fish. Shortly
after introducing them to the tank I developed white spot.
<Hopefully your fishes... not you!> I managed to cure this but
lost a few guppies and one of the elephant nosed fish. I since read up
on the elephant nose fish on the internet where it said not to keep
them in pairs as the weaker one would be killed by the stronger.
<Yes, very often... particularly in small systems> Since I have
had all of these problems, I did a gravel clean and disturbed only what
I can describe as a leech. It was about an inch long, white and had a
sucker. At first I thought it was a dead fish. All of the info I have
found on leeches describe them as fairly small and I have not found any
of this colour. This leech (?) is bigger than some of my guppies. I
cleaned the tank and a couple of days later found another one. I know
they can be introduced by new fish... <Or live food/s> ...but
surely I would have spotted them when I bought them. How can I
determine that it is a leech and if so make sure there are not any
more, I am really unsure of what to do. <Mmm, you could look at them
carefully... leeches/Hirudineans are pretty distinctive... Take a look
on the Net re: their superficial morphology... from your description
already, I am pretty sure this is what you have> Can you please
help? Many thanks <By thoroughly cleaning, gravel vacuuming your
tank, you have very likely removed all the leeches from your tank.
There are chemicals that to a large degree will poison just these
worms... but I would not use them. Bob Fenner> Freshwater
Bristle Worm? Hi, I hope you can help me! I used to keep a marine
tank about four years ago and gave up and said that was it no more
fish. Well now I have set-up a small freshwater tropical planted fish
tank, it has been running for about five or six months now. My question
is we have seen the fish go mad over a worm found in the tank, it was
about two inches long, alive and being eating by a small angle fish and
a Congo tetra. This worm was identical to the bristle worms we had in
our marine tank but did not think you could get them in fresh water is
this correct? <Yes> But how could it get there as we have not
added any rock only dry gravel plants and fish. And could these cause
problems to the tank inmates? < There are lots of little freshwater
creepy crawlies that come into a freshwater aquarium. Usually they come
in as eggs or larvae attached to the plants. They grow to a point until
the fish realize that they are around and soon become live food. Some
become parasitic on fish but I think you would have seen them by
now.-Chuck> Kind Regards Grahame Brown
What worm be this? Planarian? >>Good day, Michael,
Marina to help you here. >I started only 3 weeks ago and bought the
following : a.. 3 small fantail goldfish b.. Plexiglas tank (4.5
gallons) c.. air pump d.. submerged power filter (mechanical filtration
only) e.. gravel siphon cleaner I treat tap water by allowing to stay
in a bucket for 24 hours and before carrying out a partial water change
I add dechlorinator. >>Very good. >I usually carry out water
changes of 50-80% every day but I am planning to build a Plexiglas tank
of 70 gallons capacity and add another goldfish. Tanks in Europe are
very expensive -- I bought the 4.5 gallon tank for USD 68 (Euros 57).
>>Holy canoli! >Once a week I clean the filter element of the
power filter. During the 3rd cleaning I noticed many small red worms in
the filter element which were clinging in the sponge and could not be
removed by washing with tap water. I fitted a new sponge element in the
filter. The biggest worms were about half an inch long -- please see
attached photo. Can you please advise if these worms are dangerous for
my fish and how can I treat the water so that they will not appear
again? >>The photo is not very clear, but I am guessing some sort
of planarian. I do not think they will pose any threat to your fish. I
have not had any experience with them, but I think that if you added
some salt to the tank it would be enough to prevent them. This is
actually a help to the fish, and is helpful in preventing or
alleviating the incidence of some maladies. Use either Kosher or sea
salt (anything that has not been iodized--very common here in the
States), at a ratio of 1 teaspoon/gallon. I believe that one teaspoon
U.S. = roughly 5cc. And 1 gallon (US) = 3.8 liters. I do hope this
helps, and best of luck to you in sunny Athens, Michael! Marina (in
what is *supposed* to be sunny southern California, but it's 62F
and RAINING here! What first day of summer??)
What are these things?? More planarians? Good evening crew.
<Good evening, Susan! Sabrina here> I sent the following message
Saturday but haven't seen any answer as of yet'¦.soooo I
thought I might try again. Know you all are busy but any help you can
give me would be much appreciated. <I'm so sorry I wasn't
able to get back to you last night; I've been battling an illness
in my wild angels and totally stressing about it, so I've been
quite preoccupied.... many apologies> Since I sent the request I
have been doing as much research as I can. I'm now about 99%
certain these guys are planarians and I know they are supposed to be
'harmless' but I also understand they will eat eggs. <What I
know/can find, planarians really are harmless, and I've never
heard/read about them eating eggs, but I'm certainly not positive
about it. Can you describe the worms? You mentioned in your original
message that they were white, flat, wider towards the middle, and about
3/4 of an inch long. The size alone is suggesting to me that they may
not be planarians, which (from my understanding) are typically 10mm or
smaller. Do they have a "V" shaped head? That's pretty
much a dead giveaway that they are, in fact, planarians.> I would
really like to get rid of the planarians before breeding my fish. <I
can certainly understand!> Also, I inadvertently spread the problem
to my 30-gallon community tank by 'seeding' the smaller tank
with mature filter media from my big tank. <Oh, ugh....> This
happened before I knew there was a problem in my 125G. I also forgot to
mention that we are on well water if it makes a difference. <Mm,
possibly, but I wouldn't think so. Worm infestations can happen in
tanks that use the best of water. Usually, huge amounts of worms are
the result of overfeeding, or otherwise excessive nutrients, and most
often seen in predator tanks, like yours (several large predatory
cichlids, an electric catfish, and an ever-messy Plec, in a 125 gallon
tank, yes?). Try cutting back extensively on feeding for a while and
see how that affects the worm population. Also, keep up with hefty
gravel vacuuming to see if you can pull some of the little suckers
outta there.> I treat any new water (with Prime) before adding to
the tanks. Even though we test our well'¦.you just never
know. I have talked to the three LFS I patronize and two advised
Copper... NO WAY was I going to put this in my tanks. <Ugh! No....
Avoid this desperately! Especially with your scaleless Plec and
catfish. Bad LFS, bad! Deserves a swat on the nose!> One finally
suggested a fluke eliminator. But he was a little hesitant and unsure
so I haven't done anything except vacuum and perform water changes
in both tanks and cut the food by Â½. <Ah, yes,
perfect. Keep it up for a couple weeks, and see what happens with the
wormies. Also, I'd like to mention that I had the occasional
planarian showing up in my plant tank (well, lots of 'em, really),
and they seem to have been eliminated by a very minute amount of
Fenbendazole (proprietary name Panacur) that I used to rid my tank of
(shudder) hydra. I certainly haven't seen a single planarian (or
hydra!) in a month or two. But then again, my planarians were about
2-3mm long. Tiny. The Fenbendazole did not affect my bacteria bed in
the slightest, nor did it have any effects on any plants, shrimps, or
fish. It is usually sold as a goat-worming medicine, but can even be
used as a wormer for discus.> My water parameters have not changed
and all the fish are fine. I still have all 14 new Platy babies and
they are growing like crazy. And I still have a gazillion
'creatures' that give me the creeps. <Well, keep up with
what you're doing, for the time being, and see if the worms start
to die out. I'd also like to mention our chat forum http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ as we
have rather recently had another fellow with a similar problem -
perhaps you guys can compare notes.> Thanks in advance for any
assistance you can provide. <Glad to help, and again, sorry for the
Planarians Hello. <Hi. Sabrina with
you today.> I have a 20 gallon cichlid tank with a Fluval 4
plus filter very good water and pH, NO2, NO3, KH, GH. <I
assume ammonia checks out, too? Can you give us your test results
for your water parameters?> Same problem back again with
little white worm type things on glass front and sides and back.
Tried salt and methylene blue and they seemed to have gone. Two
weeks later they're back again, about 50 of them. When I have
the light off for a day they're all out on glass but soon as
I turn the light on most disappear only 5 or 6 left on tank
front. <These are probably planarians. Harmless to fish, these
show up usually as a result of overfeeding.> One of my
keyholes has red marks around face and did have a bit of fungus
on side fins but gone now with MelaFix, but red marks remain. All
fish rubbing on rocks and flat stone. <All of this might be
attributable to water quality issues/overfeeding - how often do
you do water changes? Gravel vacuum? Clean out the filter?>
Please can you give help on what they are and how to get fid of
them? <Do some good sized water changes, and some rigorous
gravel vacuuming. Check your filter and clean. Decrease the
amount you feed your fish for a while. This should all help
reduce the amount of Planaria, if that is in fact what they are.
Basically, when their food source is gone, they'll be gone,
too.> I don't know if they're parasites or something
else. The worm things are about 1 cm to 1 1/2 cm long white thin
body. <Planaria are particularly easy to tell, with their
classic "V" shaped head.> Thank you for your
Planarians - Part 2 Good evening Sabrina
<Hello again, Susan!> Thanks for responding so quickly! I
do hope you are successful with your angels. My research of
Turbellarian flatworms (freshwater planarians) indicates they can
be up to 1 inch in length. I was able to capture one of these
little buggers and compared it to pictures found at
www.planarians.org and it looks like the picture. Yes... they
have a V shaped head (upside down V ). <Yeah.... "V"
shaped heads almost always mean planarian, IME.> For now I am
going on the assumption they are planarians and I am trying to
obtain some Panacur. However, I am a little uncertain about the
dosage. Somewhere on the Internet I read that the dose for hydra
is 0.5 grams per 100 liters. What dosage did you use?
<Honestly, I used so little, I don't know the actual dose.
Likely less than a gram in my 72 gallon tank (filled to ~60
gallons). It took a couple of days to wipe out the hydra
completely, and I'm really not sure about whether it nailed
my little planarians or not, but I used to see 'em
frequently, and since treatment have seen none.> Assuming that
I treat both tanks this will work out to about 3 grams of
Panacur. Also, do you think I can safely use this in the tank
with the Platy fry? <Possibly, but if you can, perhaps wait a
couple weeks for the fry to grow up a bit, if you can, just to be
on the safe side.> I worked on the large tank some more
today...moving rocks, vacuuming, cleaning the pump lines and
changing the water. Didn't see as many critters today, so
maybe I am getting them under control. <Hope so! Sounds like
you're doing a good job of reducing their chances of getting
a meal, so they may very well die out on their own. Give it some
time, and keep doing as you're doing, especially if you think
you're seeing results already.> Thank you again for your
help. Susan <Glad to be of service! -Sabrina>
Planaria, or Parasites? I have 2 10 gal. tanks
with feeder guppies that have been breeding. There is a parasite in the
tanks that looks like a clear, small leech. What do I need to do to
clear the tanks of these "leeches". Our local pet store told
us that these are probably beneficial parasites that the guppies will
feed on, but this information was supplied without their seeing the
parasite. We have not seen any of these on the fish themselves but on
the sides of the tanks and in the filter. Please advise. <Well, if
they're not attached to the fish, if they're only on the glass
or other areas of the tank, I doubt that they're parasites of any
sort - "parasite" means that it's something that attaches
to or lives in the fish and hurts the fish. What you have are probably
Planaria. A planarian is a small worm, usually just a few millimeters
long, and are best identified by a "V" shaped head - take a
look at this: http://www.naparcd.org/planarian.htm
. The presence of these little wormies suggests an overabundance of
"stuff" in your tank that they are feeding on. To get rid of
them, simply eliminate their food source - more frequent water changes,
being sure to vacuum the gravel, and cleaning out the filter will help
with this. They are essentially harmless, but it'd be a good idea
to clean up the tank a bit to reduce their numbers or eliminate them
completely. Hope all goes well, -Sabrina> Janet
Small worms in freshwater tank (11/06/03) <Hi!
Ananda here this afternoon> We have a 29 gallon regular fish tank,
we have 2 angel fish and some small plants, lately the water has
started turning green and now we have some kind of small worms on the
inside of the tank and was wondering what they are and what we can do
about it? <Well, the water turning green is an algae bloom.
That's usually triggered by an excess of nitrates and phosphates.
To combat that, you'll want to do more frequent water changes. Also
make sure you aren't over-feeding -- if there is any food your fish
don't eat, it adds to the phosphates in the tank. You might get a
phosphate test (I like the SeaTest/FasTest one for freshwater) and some
phosphate remover (like Phosguard) if your phosphates are high even
after several water changes. Once you get the nutrients (nitrates and
phosphates) out of the tank, the algae should die off, and the worm
population should decrease. I'm not sure exactly what you have, but
they are most likely not harmful for your fish. --Ananda>
Lair of The White Worm! Do you know anything
about white worms. in freshwater tanks. <These are Planaria.
Planaria are flatworms and members of the Platyhelminthes phylum.
Planaria are often found in aquariums with uneaten food. The Planaria
won't hurt the fish, but they are a symptom of too much gravel
containing too much uneaten food, and that is not good for fish. You
should do a water change and vacuum your gravel to help remove the
uneaten food and some of the worms. Doing this will reduce the number
of worms in your tank. Good luck -Magnus>
White Worms, and a Bit More Info - III -
02/10/2004 Ok I put some food in the tank and the lobster never ate
it. So I got worms from uneaten food. Now there are a lot of white
worms in my tank little white ones. <With this as the most (only)
information that you've given us, I can guess that you probably
have some sort of nematode or Planaria infesting the tank.... not so
much a direct threat to the crayfish or other inhabitants, but a sign
of less than adequate husbandry.... Do not overfeed, be sure to remove
uneaten food, change water regularly, vacuum gravel properly, change
filter media as necessary.... basically, remove the food and nutrients
that is fueling these worms, and they will gradually die off on their
own. On such little info, that's the best I can give you. I hope it
helps. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
White Worms In Gravel Hello, I have a 55 gallon
aquarium and have noticed small white worms in my gravel. The fish I
have in the tank are guppies and two Plecostomus. I have had no
problems until now and just need some advise to get rid of them.
Thanks, mike <<Dear Mike. It sounds like Planaria, in which case,
you will also see them on the tank glass. This is generally caused by
overfeeding. Cut back on the feeding, vacuum your gravel with each
water change, and this problem should rectify itself quickly. Some
fish, like Gourami's, will eat Planaria. However, you do need to be
careful to keep your tank clean, and keep up with your regular partial
water changes. HTH -Gwen>>
Re: Tiny white worms in my aquarium - II Hi Gwen,
Thanks for the info. I don't think I've been getting deep
enough into the gravel when vacuuming, even though my water changes
have been several each week, approx 20% each time, I think I will have
to vacuum more thoroughly. I saw a cardinal tetra eat one of the worms
that I knocked off of the glass when cleaning tonight. Thanks so much.
Mark. <<Mark, you are most welcome :) -Gwen>>
I think I have Worms Hey, AGAIN sorry to be such
a pain I realize you guys got lots of letters. Anyway I got these worm
like things in my tank well they look like very very tiny maggots all
most they are like 3 mm long and very thin are they parasitic? please
get back to me. Thanks for reading, Aaron <<Dear Aaron, they
sound like Planaria. Are they on the glass? Is this a freshwater tank?
This is generally caused by overfeeding and improper maintenance. Try
to cut back on the amount of food going into the tank, and make sure
you vacuum thoroughly with a siphon when you do your water changes.
Once a week is a good idea, specially till your worms go away...which
they will when they no longer have a food source. -Gwen>>
Strange red worm like thing Hello <Hey
Lukas, MacL here with you on this fine day.> Lukas here. I have
recently observed a odd looking red worm like things at the bottom of
my 90 gallon and on some of my plants in my Betta enclosure. It seems
to be growing at the top of the Betta tank on some plants. <Sounds
like algae to me.> But in my 90 gallon its at the bottom around the
gravel. I try to suck this stuff up when I do my water change but it
keeps coming back. If you need a pic I can get you one on Tuesday.
<Pictures definitely help, send it to me if you don't mind.>
What is this stuff and is it bad for my fish? Thank you L
White worms crawling on the glass of my aquarium I have a 90
gal. tank with four discus in it which is also planted. I have noticed
what appears to be small white worms crawling on the glass and swimming
freely, can you tell me what they are? <Not specifically... as in
down to species. But I assure you, these are likely some sort of
innocuous earthworm-like animal (oligochaete annelid) and not harmful
to your fish or system. These sorts of critters "pop-up"
quite often, particularly in aquariums that have excess food, too
little circulation/filtration... and very often "disappear"
of their own accord. Do keep your eye on water quality and in time you
will likely find they have gone. Bob Fenner>
FW worm 6/23/06 Hi Bob. I have a tank with an
African brown knife, mollies, ghost cats. This morning I saw what
appears to be a tiny, tiny black worm crawling at the bottom of my
tank. What can this be? <Mmm, could be an oligochaete (something
akin to an aquatic earthworm)... even a Hirudinean (leech)...>
Everyone is eating & appears healthy. Water is good. Thanks! Diana
<What is that Ted Nugent lick? "Where in doubt I take it out...
it's a free for all"... I would remove this mystery creature
just in case. Bob Fenner>
Not urgent. Calcium, and worms. 11/01/06 Hello Crew!
<<Hi, Rachel. Tom>> I know you're all terribly busy,
and this isn't terribly important, so please feel free to skip over
this one! <<Can't do that Rachel. Yours is important to you
which makes it important to us.>> I have a 2.5 gallon tank with a
25-watt heater, 10-watt fluorescent lighting, and in-tank Whisper
filter set on low, in which I keep a spoiled-rotten Betta of about a
year and a half old. The system was started about a year ago, and was
moved/remodeled two months ago. About a month ago I added a Java fern
and some red Ludwigia. I added a lovely blue mystery snail (Pomacea
bridgesii) a week ago, and he is doing a remarkable job on eating the
algae (working on getting the plants to thrive instead!). <<I
completely understand'¦>> Temperature is 80, ammonia
and nitrite 0, nitrate usually under 5 now since adding the live
plants... I think the pH is 7.4, though I'm not at home right now
to look it up. I try to do 25% water changes every week or two, though
I've been lax lately. Anyhow, my water is on the soft side, and the
snail's shell is already looking a little worn. I am planning to
add "something" to the tank for calcium. I've heard of
crushed coral or marble. However, since I also keep a cockatiel, I have
cuttlefish bone handy as a source of calcium for the bird. Could I put
a well-rinsed (and obviously unused) piece in the aquarium?
<<I've not run across this for aquatic snails but I have for
land snails. Frankly, I find it a good option to try especially given
that your pH is already at ~7.4.>> And how big a chunk are we
talking? <<Try a piece with a surface area of about one square
inch, or so.>> The bones are about five inches long by two or
three inches wide, half an inch thick, and can easily be snapped into
smaller pieces. Was just planning on tucking it behind a rock somewhere
with a little water flow to help it dissolve. Right? <<You might
find that your snail will actually 'feed' on the bone as land
snails do. (I'm somewhat curious about this myself.) Obviously,
you'll want to monitor pH levels though I don't believe that
this should prove to be a problem.>> Secondly, I've noticed
"the little white worms" floating around and wiggling on the
tank walls. White, threadlike, about 1 cm long. I had these once maybe
nine months ago. Up until yesterday I was assuming they are harmless
Planaria, and I was stepping up the water changes as I know these are a
sign of excess nutrients. However, yesterday I noticed Terrence the
Betta eating them as they floated by. If they're just free-living
Planaria I'm pretty sure this is harmless, but is there any chance
these could be parasitic worms which Terrence has passed and he is
re-infecting himself somehow? <<Parasites, by definition, require
a 'host' in order to survive. In all likelihood, they're
Planaria.>> His feces are never stringy-white, but very
occasionally his normal feces will include some little clear sections
that look like mucus. I believe I'm just paranoid, but better safe
than sorry! He is acting quite normally, swimming around, flaring and
nipping at the snail, eating voraciously -- he has even started to pick
at the algae wafers for the snail, and will steal them out from under
him! <<Don't be overly concerned about the occasional clear
sections in his feces. This isn't uncommon or an indication of a
problem any more than a very occasional sneeze means you're getting
a cold. Just happens'¦>> Thanks for all your hard
work! Rachel North Carolina <<Thank you kindly, as well, Rachel.
Best regards. Tom (Michigan)>>
Round worms in swimming pool 12/11/06 I know this isn't a
typical question you get... but.. thought you may be able to help. We
have a salt-water swimming pool and we recently noted 2 worms in the
pool we've never seen before. They were about 7-10 inches long,
round (not flat), very very thin (think 0.5mm pencil lead). They were
swimming just fine in our hot tub - the water was not hot. When we
brought them out of the water, they flip flopped around somewhat
spastically with both ends moving independently. There were a
brown-ish/yellow color. Their skin/skeleton was quite
"crunchy" when we tested to see how tough it was. :) Any idea
what this could be? -Bruce <Mmm, as you state, could be Nematodes...
if you have a good magnifying loupe, you could cut through (make a
coronal section) through the esophagus (just a bit back from the
head...) and look/see if this is tri-radiate (three-sided)...
diagnostic for the Phylum... could be Horsehair worms... other
"wormy" possibilities. Not toxic, or dangerous to human
health assuredly. Bob Fenner>
FW Plant Leech 03/23/07 Hi Crew! Hope all is well with you,
you've helped me so much in the past. To make a long story short, I
have a 10 gallon tank that has been used as a plant refuge for when I
thin plants out of the aquariums. I throw them into this tank. At one
time the tank was a failed attempt to raise daphnia, I never cleaned it
out after that, just started throwing plants into it. After a few
months I was given some cherry shrimp that were too small to go into
the main tanks, so I put those in there. When I added the shrimp I put
in a sponge filter and heater. I don't perform routine water
changes on this tank. This tank has been a fascinating biological
experiment of sorts because it has a blanket of live Blackworms now
that must have accidentally come in there on plants. (I feed the fish
live Blackworms a couple of times a week.) The tank is full of shrimp
that have bred like crazy and hitchhiker snails. The water is green,
and amazingly there is no algae in the tank, whatsoever. However, it is
time for me to transform it into a usable tank and I was thinking of
putting a couple of Killies and a group of sidthmunkis in there, of
course making sure the parameters are good first. I really wouldn't
want to see all of this "food" go to waste. Sound like a good
idea? Probably not... But anyhow, I also have these in my tank. Do you
have any idea what they are? Are they good slugs/flatworms? Or bad
slugs/flatworms? Should I just forget my dream of giving some lucky
fish the feast of their lives and clean the tank out before I introduce
any fish into it? Thanks! Take care, Mary. < This is a typical FW
plant leech. Fish don't eat them but they really aren't much of
FW Plant Leech, Neale's go 03/23/07 Hi Crew! <Hello
Mary!> Hope all is well with you, you've helped me so much in
the past. To make a long story short, I have a 10 gallon tank that has
been used as a plant refuge for when I thin plants out of the
aquariums. I throw them into this tank. At one time the tank was a
failed attempt to raise daphnia, I never cleaned it out after that,
just started throwing plants into it. After a few months I was given
some cherry shrimp that were too small to go into the main tanks, so I
put those in there. When I added the shrimp I put in a sponge filter
and heater. I don't perform routine water changes on this tank.
This tank has been a fascinating biological experiment of sorts because
it has a blanket of live Blackworms now that must have accidentally
come in there on plants. (I feed the fish live Blackworms a couple of
times a week.) The tank is full of shrimp that have bred like crazy and
hitchhiker snails. The water is green, and amazingly there is no algae
in the tank, whatsoever. <Because it's balanced. In balanced
tanks, the rate of algal growth is checked by the growth of plants and
predation by algae-eating animals. In aquaria (and ponds, and eutrophic
waters in the wild) the balance is lost, and often the algae prosper
because their natural limiting factors are taken away.> However, it
is time for me to transform it into a usable tank and I was thinking of
putting a couple of Killies and a group of sidthmunkis in there, of
course making sure the parameters are good first. <You'll lose
almost all the fun, I suspect. To reach a balance with fish, you need a
*lot* of water volume per fish. Look for a copy of the excellent book
"Dynamic Aquaria" for a scientific (and highly detailed)
investigation of balanced aquaria with complete ecosystems. Certainly
possible, but very challenging if you include fishes, miles easier with
just inverts.> I really wouldn't want to see all of this
"food" go to waste. Sound like a good idea? Probably not...
But anyhow, I also have these in my tank. Do you have any idea what
they are? Are they good slugs/flatworms? Or bad slugs/flatworms? Should
I just forget my dream of giving some lucky fish the feast of their
lives and clean the tank out before I introduce any fish into it?
<Those are small leeches, annelid subclass Hirudinea. Now, the vast
majority of leeches are predators on invertebrates. Very, very few are
bloodsuckers. But obviously those that are can be very damaging to
fish, particularly very small fish. Identifying leeches to species
level is difficult, and definitely a job for your friendly
neighbourhood freshwater ecologist or parasitologist. Identification
beyond subclass level is below me, I'm afraid! In the meantime
though, don't kill it out of hand. Leeches are lovely animals, and
if you can encourage it to go swimming you will be treated to one of
the most beautiful little spectacles in the animal kingdom. They also
have a very cute "inchworm" mode of walking. The sucker at
the front (blunt end) is armed with teeth with which it catches its
prey, and most species suck up the "juices" of whatever
they've caught either directly or through a neat little stylet. You
can also see the digestive system quite nicely in your photo, too. All
in all, charming, if weird, animals.> Thanks! <No problem.>
Take care, <Will certainly try! Neale> Mary.
Thin Clear - Whitish Worms - Nematodes/Planaria 7/21/07 Dear
WWM, <Andrea with you tonight, Jean> Today I had noticed a
several thin, clear, whitish worms crawling up the side walls of my 6.6
gallon freshwater aquarium tank (visible by a bright aquarium light).
<Planarians or nematodes, most likely. Sign of overfeeding. Cut back
to once every other day, only what your fish can eat in about two
minutes. Net out any uneaten food remaining.> Once a week, I
maintain my tank by vacuuming the gravel and performing a 20 percent
water change. I always premixed my water with aquarium salt and stress
coat, a night or two before I perform my tank maintenance.
<Fantastic regimen. You can dump the salt, it is worthless as a
tonic, and can actually harm some fish. I prefer Prime as a water
conditioner. Less used per water change, and no additives other than
what is needed for neutralizing chloramines/chlorine from tap water.
Prime is a great product. I highly suggest it.> Recently, I treated
my Betta with Jungle Parasite Clear because he had contracted a
parasite. This parasite problem was due to me feeding him live black
worms, which I stopped feeding him. <Shame. I bet he loved the live
feeders. Don't discount them in the future as a treat. Bettas love
them. Perhaps another live feeder provider?> My question is, can
those thin, clear, whitish worms crawling up the side walls of my tank
be a parasite? <Not likely.> Is this dangerous to my Betta?
<He will likely eat them. Not a danger.> If so, how can I get rid
of them? <Reduce feedings, water changes, deep gravel vacuum.>
Treat my tank with Jungle Parasite Clear again? <No, unless the fish
is sick.> Please give advice. Thanks again for all your help; your
site is the greatest. <Anytime, we are here to help!>
JeanWhat are these tiny brown worms in my 10 gallon aquarium?
Hi my name is Donna, I've had my 10 gallon fish tanks
for about 3 yrs I was changing the filter tonight and I noticed a
couple of little brown looking worms that are located on some of my
artificial plants that I let float in the top of my tank for my baby
guppies to hide in are they dangerous to my guppies and Platies ? what
are they ? and how do get rid of them ? should I completely break down
my tank I was hoping to be able to wait a couple of weeks before
breaking down my tanks until my new mobile home is set up so could put
all my fish in my 55 gallon will my fish be ok till then ? <Hello
Donna. These worms are almost certainly planarians. These are usually
flat and liver-coloured, and around 5 mm long. The slide along things
rather than wriggle. Sometimes they slide along the surface of the
water. They are harmless, although they will eat fish eggs and are a
nuisance in tanks where egg-laying fish are being bred (been there,
done that!). Otherwise all they do is eat microscopic organisms and
detritus. In a tank with guppies and other livebearers they are
harmless. Besides, getting rid of them is difficult and only worthwhile
if they cause a problem. Some fish will eat them (paradise fish are
famous for this). They're interesting animals and worth reading up
on when you get a chance. Cheers, Neale>
Red Worm ID (Royal Plec)... Insect 11/19/07
I've had a 3 1/2" Olive Royal Plec alone in quarantine
for 10 days or so. I dewormed with Praziquantel last week at the
recommend dosage (76 mg/10 g) as I know they're wild caught
and don't want to pass anything onto my own fish. He went
into a 20 gal tank with new aged water and a fully cycled Penguin
280 bio-wheel filter from another tank. I did his 25% water
change today (after leaving the Praziquantel in 5 days) and found
these live red worms (pic attached) in the water I syphoned off
the bottom of the tank. Pretty wiggly and entertaining under the
microscope but I can't figure out what they are via the
FAQ's. If they weren't alive I'd have thought they
were frozen bloodworms. I'm hoping it's a harmless worm
that can be treated as the Plec is eventually going in with my
much loved Severum. I promise not to bother you anymore, but
maybe the picture will help others. Mitzi <Looks like a
chironomid larva (a.k.a. midge larva or bloodworm) to me.
Probably got in with some live food. Usually get eaten by fish,
so not common in aquaria. But if this tank was empty for a while,
then it's possible a midge laid some eggs there. In any case,
harmless. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red Worm ID (Royal Plec) 11/19/07
Thanks, Neale. I feel stupid then but thankfully that's good
news. I never feed live food, but the driftwood in his tank had
been soaking for a month in a large kiddie pool outside. I rinsed
it off real well but I bet that's where the bloodworms came
from. (The tank had been empty and stored before he went in it).
What a relief! Mitzi <Mitzi, Glad we have a happy ending here!
Worms in fresh water aquarium 11/29/07 Hi WWM My
sister has a fresh water Aquarium which she just cleaned out on the
weekend, and a few days later we have noticed these worm like creatures
in the filter tubes no where else but in them. They have small legs and
are hatching out of these things that look like cocoons and if you look
carefully at them they have small mouths. There very disturbing to look
at and gross us out. There's so many of them please help! Jessica
<Hello Jessica. Without a photo its impossible to say what they are.
But given they have obvious limbs and mouthparts, one must assume they
are some sort of insect. Aquatic insects vary in their danger to
aquarium fish: most are simply fish-food, but a few, particularly
dragonfly (Odonata) and beetle (Coleoptera) larvae, can turn the tables
and will catch and eat small fish. If you can send a picture, we can
try and identify your visitors with a bit more precision. Cheers,
Is this a worm? FW Polychaete of size! 2/10/08 Hi there, I
have a freshwater tropical tank with 13 guppies, 3 fry, 2
Corydoras and 2 Bristlenose in an 80 litre tank (2ft wide, 2ft
high, 1 ft from front to back). It is planted with java fern and
one wisp of wisteria. There are also small snails that have
arrived with earlier plants. I do a 25% water change each
fortnight and the water parameters stay fine, though the PH runs
a little on the high side. The adult guppies are from fry dropped
by an earlier batch of fish that were lost to (I think)
columnaris. One or two earlier males also went from dropsy. I
suspected parasitic problems last October, the fish were a bit
listless and had pale faeces. There were a few casualties and I
treated with Para-ex (20 mg Trichlorphon). This sadly killed our
original Bristlenose and our baby Corydoras but the guppies have
gone on well aside from the occasional undiagnosed fatality. One
month ago I bought 2 more Bristlenose to replace the original and
help keep the tank clean (we were getting increased algal
growth). This has been the only introduction to the tank from
outside for approx. 6 months. Yesterday, while doing the water
change, I was disturbing the gravel to syphon out waste matter
when I unearthed a wriggling worm type creature. I attach a
photo. It is about 4 cm long and wriggles in the way of a snake.
It has a multitude or what look like legs along the length of its
body. There are 2 discernible eyes under magnification. What is
it? Is it a danger to the tank? How do I treat/cope with it? A
suggestion was made that I get a couple of loaches to hopefully
eat it (and its offspring?) as a 'natural' form of
management (rather than treat with Para ex again and have to try
to manage the health of the Bristlenose) but I am concerned that
they are a more aggressive fish than my current inhabitants. Or
is it not a parasite at all? I am concerned for the state of my
tank, particularly given the size of this creature and my
assumption that it's not likely to be the only one. Any
advice or info would be gratefully received. Sharon <What you
have there is a freshwater Polychaete. It is no risk to your fish
and will not be carrying parasites. So the appearance of this
worm and the death of your fishes are entirely unrelated.
Freshwater Polychaetes are comparatively uncommon; they are
overwhelmingly a marine and brackish-water group in terms of
success and diversity. I'm guessing yours is a member of the
family Namanereidinae, perhaps one of the many species of
Namalycastis. Regardless, the freshwater species are not
predatory (unlike some of the larger marine species) and feed
primarily on decaying vegetation and rotting wood. They may also
be taking micro-organisms of various types. I suppose they might
also eat fish eggs, but then so will snails and fish. Actually
rather a lovely find, and you may decide to set up a special
aquarium just for these worms -- they are not at all commonly
seen in fish tanks and would be well worth observing in more
detail. I'm really quite jealous! Cheers, Neale.>
Re. Is this a worm? FW Polychaete of size!
2-14-08 Hi Neale, <Sharon,> Thank you very much for
your response and info about my newly discovered tank resident. I
had separated it out as a precaution but have returned it to the
community on your advice. A shy chap, I don't know if
we'll see it again! At 4 cm, is this a large or small
specimen and what do we expect now? <About the going rate.
I'd be surprised if he got very much larger.> Does it have
special needs I should be aware of? <If a true freshwater
species, then likely perfectly happy where he is.> Is it
likely to be the only one? <I've never see these worms in
tanks as accidents, so if you have one at all, that's pretty
amazing. To have more than one would be outrageous fortune! They
don't breed in aquaria, so far as I know.> By the way, I
don't know if you send a reply email to the questions as well
as posting, but I originally sent the question from my
husband's email (as it is the mail default on the computer).
If you replied, he has trashed it, I guess, not recognising the
sender. Sorry! I send from my mail now. <Questions get
returned to the original e-mail PLUS a copy is posted to the WWM
web site.> Thank you again for your help. I am much relieved!
Sharon <Enjoy your new pet! If you have a biology interest,
read up on Polychaete Worms, and you'll find out that
freshwater examples are very rare. What you have is a really nice
beastie to treasure. They do get sold on eBay and the like,
I'm told, but have yet to see them in the UK. Cheers,
A very nice pic. RMF