Beneficial Earthworms? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2015, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Beneficial Earthworms?

I found an earthworm in my tank while planting a new plant. Apparently they can survive underwater so long as there's enough aeration.

I was wondering... Would putting in a ton of worms in your tank be beneficial? I imagine them scouring through the substrate, converting mulm into soil. Is that plausible?

I wonder if this could solve the problem of undergravel filters...


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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2015, 01:11 PM
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Rooted plants solve the problem through a process similar to transpiration. That process is called guttation.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2015, 04:13 PM
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I wouldn't use earthworms if I tried. There are plenty of aquatic species of worms that I'm pretty sure have the exact same function. For example, tubifex and blackworms move through the substrate, eating leftovers, exactly like earthworms. They're also small enough for most fish to eat on occasion so you never have to worry about overpopulation.

I have a middling population of blackworms in a 10 gallon planted tank. This does sort of explain why I never have a problem with mulm...although there's a lot of gunk underneath the sand layer...
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2015, 04:32 AM
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When I moved my planted tank/fish setup from my 30 gallon to the new 75 gallon, I moved the old black diamond sand as well to give the new tank a good start. I found several of these worms, looked like very small earthworms, but I wonder how they got into the tank...i do collect native plants, but never had anything with a root system that could have hid one, and the salt bath i dip my plants in to get the nasties off would kill earthworns. How did they get there? The answer was bloodworm eggs in the freeze dried bloodworms I fed the fish as a treat...they were actually bloodworms.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2015, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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ichthyogeek, that's awesome news! I was hoping for a revelation like that- I asked in another thread about the possibility of operating undergravel filters indefinitely. I was hoping that worms were a part of the solution. I'll pose the same question I asked there:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...385&highlight=

"I'm thinking that by adding earthworms (who will digest the buildup and maintain it as soil), in conjunction with the beneficial bacteria, and what the roots of the plants extract, there won't be a need to ever clean the soil. Does that sound plausible?"


bigtrout, do bloodworms eat soil? Are they called that just because they're red? Are they aquatic? Or are they like regular earthworms? I feel like if that worm evolved in water, it would be better suited for an aquarium.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2015, 12:11 PM
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Bloodworms are carnivorous, but do burrow in silt and soil, and yes they are called that because they are red, although most are found in marine silt, some of the species can tolerate low salt conditions. I know when i disturbed the bottom by tranfering the substrate to the new tank exposing the worms, my fish went nuts finding them...may also explain why my 3 cory cats dig big holes and depressions in the black diamond sand for no apparent reason.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2015, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Are they considered undesirable?


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2015, 04:03 PM
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I don't think that bloodworms will work...they're the aquatic larvae of midges, so eventually, they would metamorphose into midges, something I don't think you would want in the house.

As for the UGF, this does sound promising, but from my basic understanding of how UGF's work, your idea might be flawed. Different parts of the substrate would build up higher levels of soil throughout, and since water flows through the least resistive path, you would end up with anoxic conditions in some parts...
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2015, 04:31 PM
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There is a snail which lives in the substrate mostly.

Michel

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2015, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
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There is a snail which lives in the substrate mostly.

Michel
That would be Malaysian Trumpet Snails. Not sure how deep they go, but from what I observed when the dig near a glass side, I would say no more then 1/2 inch.


Tubifex on the other hand go easily 1 inch and can shake the hell out of a substrate, I have them in my 29 gal. No clue how they got there.


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2015, 11:40 PM
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In my tank the malaysian trumpet snails go deeper than 1/2 inch by far...they are good at ridding the bottom of dead plant leaves and such
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2015, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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It's been months since I set up my tank, and I found an earthworm. (I'm not sure what kind of worm actually, but it looked like an earthworm) I read that they can survive so long as there's enough oxygen in the water.

But if there's a worm species that's actually aquatic and performs the same function as earthworms, I'd prefer that. Are tubiflex worms the best candidate for the job?

I have like 3 malaysian trumpet snails, and they aren't really breeding (I have ramshorns that breed like crazy so I don't think the tank is non-snail friendly or anything like that) so I'm probably going to get more from ebay soon.


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2015, 01:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micheljq View Post
There is a snail which lives in the substrate mostly.

Michel
Assassin Snails will dig in the substrate too. Also great at cleaning out that MTS colony you've accumulated from wanting to air out your soil 9 months .

-Diagnosed Hygroholic
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2015, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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I think I'm leaning towards tubifex worms.

Now I just gotta find a clean source. Or figure out how to sanitize them before introducing them into my tank.


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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2015, 04:21 PM
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Hmm...depending on temperature, you may not have to keep tubifex. I have blackworms at temperatures of 75F, and moderate aeration (a sponge filter). While I don't see fields of them within the 10 gallon, they are definitely there.

In my opinion, the best way to sanitize them, is to quarantine them for a very long time, with very frequent water changes. You would want to keep the water clean. It might also be beneficial to do research on any parasites/bacteria associated with tubifex worms and said parasites life cycles.
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