Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Staten Island, NY
Tiny worms - Newbie new tank advice
So I'm a total newbie and watch too many hours of beautiful freshwater aquascapes and decided to try a no filter freshwater tank as my first (aggressive I know). It's supposed to be a 5 gallon tank but it really holds 4 tops. I put about an inch of composted soil with rocks on top. Initially, I think I put too many rocks because the plants didn't seem to be doing well. Also, the cloudy water initially didn't really go away until I did a big water change. I went away on a trip and one of my plants completely died and made my water smelly and foul and an algae problem. I had a zebra snail that is a total champ because it survived all of it. I had an amano survive 24 hours and a baby ghost shrimp for less. After further research, I found that I really should have waited. The light was on for 13 hours.
So I replaced almost all the water, trimmed the plants removed a lot of the rocks and vacuumed. I restarted the tank, lifted by cfl light higher from the surface of the water and changed the time to 12 hours, the cloudy water cleared within a day, and after two weeks, all looks good. So I bought 4 whisker shrimp, thinking that if the zebra snail has enough to eat... One got sick after 24 hours but the other 3 seem to be doing well after over 48 hours in the tank.
Yesterday I bought some driftwood, washed it thoroughly, and put it in my tank thinking it would sink faster but almost 48 hours later it hasn't sunk all the way yet. However, after the first night in the tank, the next day, I found a cloudy formation coming from the driftwood, which after research I determined it was just a normal bacterial boom and I should be fine. But looking closer, inside the cloudy wisps were these tiny white creatures, too small to see any identifiers. Now, 14 hours after I noticed them, they are all over my tank just floating gently. They are still so small that if you don't look carefully, you wont see them or you'll think it's just a normal speck in the water (the water is extremely still except for the bubbles coming from my substrate and the pearling on my moss balls and my water onion bulb, and the occasional shrimp swimming by). The white flecks have grown enough that I see that they are worms. They're still too small for any identifiers except that they are white and they are long and move like worms. They don't seem interested in my substrate, they are just floating along in the water.
I had my water tested at the pet store after I noticed the worms and everything looks good except my nitrates. They are getting high. I should have asked for percents but I didn't think to since I was thinking about what to do about the nitrates. On one hand, it could just be a spike from the driftwood or just part of the cycling process, but it's too high for a fish to eat them and the shrimp don't really seem interested. After the fiasco with the plant, I regularly check anything that looks unhealthy for a reason to trim it off like softness. I bought a bacteria bottle that said it'd help with nitrates and ammonium build up and put it in my tank.
What do you guys think I should do?
The two photos of the whole tank are taken one day apart. If you look closely at the fuzzy part of the driftwood, you will see the white flecks. The worms that are now all over my water are still too small to get in a photo but I'll post if I can get a pic of one.
Also, I know it's an aggressive tank style for a total newbie but how am I doing?
(other fun things. The same day that I noticed the worms, I found a tiny baby snail. Although, I don't think it came from the driftwood. About 5 days prior, I got my rotala in the mail and planted them, so I'm guessing that. It's still too small for me to know what it is, but I thought it was fun to find my first hitchhiker. I am aware that some snails are pests and prolific breeders but I'm going to wait until I know what it is before I decide what I want to do. So far it looks like I only have one unintended snail. The others are my super zebra, a baby zebra that I bought and a tiger snail.)