All kinds of unwanted guests in my tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-16-2017, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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All kinds of unwanted guests in my tank

There are tiny white worms and other organisms in my tank (which has no fish in it and was just started less than a month ago.) Most of the worms are probably detritus worms I guess, but some might also be hydra. I only say this because I saw some of the tiny white worms attached to my filter intake tube by a foot kind of hanging off the tube into the water like I think a hydra would. A few of the worms are thicker and I'm worried they're planaria because I do think they might have that distinctive shape but it's so hard to tell because apparently my eyes aren't good enough.

The worms have seemed to come and go. I'm sure they're always there but sometimes I don't really see any on the glass while other times they are all over the glass. Did they come in with the plants or are they from my tap water?? What are they eating in my tank?

Then there are these fan-like organisms all over my glass. Thousands of them. These are new, just started seeing them today. They are white and the shape is like a stick with a fan. It was really difficult to get a photo but I did my best and also cropped and magnified a couple examples of the worms and other creatures.

First photo shows what my glass looks like, with close up crops of what I think are detritus worms and also the fan organisms. Second photo is what I am afraid could be planaria, unfortunately I could not get a good focus on it.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 09:13 AM
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They probably came from your plants, it would be horrible if they came from your water. Many fish will view the worms as a snack so unless you're doing shrimp or breeding I wouldn't worry too much about it. They feed on microscopic algae and biofilm.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 01:16 PM
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hydras do not creep along the glass, they have a very unique mode of moving about. Their appearance will be something like in the attachment. They may or may not be transparent or green. If they are only worms with non- triangular heads, your fish are likely to take care of them.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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I don't want to do anything cruel, but I have a very feisty betta in another tank and I am tempted to put him in this wormy tank to see if he will eat them. Wormy tank is moderately - heavily planted (I say that because when viewed from above not much gravel can be seen) and it has been up and running for almost a month. I wonder if it would be alright to move the HOB on the betta's tank over to the wormy tank, put him in there for a day and see if he goes for the worms. Maybe he eats them in his own tank and that is why there are almost none to be seen in there. Do you think it would be mean to move him around? Do you think it is too risky in case any of the worms are dangerous?
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 02:39 PM
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Each situation is different but I would not upset the normal for this and risk moving a fish that I valued. It is easy for me to acquire fish so my move would be to get some less valued fish like guppies, convicts, etc. to take care of the problem. Most places will have more convicts that they can sell so that might be my first choice. I would not go so low as using feeder fish as they tend to be health problems of their own but there are many small fish which are cheaper than medicine. Just another one of natures secrets we often miss seeing as fish do eat them so quickly.
An even easier/ more practical route might be to adapt the thinking and not worry the issue and it will be taken care of when there are fish in the tank?
I find hydra is often mentioned but in all the tanks I have had, I have never seen one.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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If these are detritus worms that hitched a ride with the plants into my brand new tank, I want to understand what they are eating. Some bladder snails also came with the plants, are the worms eating snail waste? I've had a few bacopa leaves on the bottom of the stems melt away, is that feeding the worms?
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 02:54 PM
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Most of them feed on protozoa and bacteria, too small to see with the naked eye but they are there in the detritus.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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The worms that swim in squiggles kind of like how a snake moves - those are detritus worms? I just scraped my glass and dislodged the worms and could see some swimming like that.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 04:19 PM
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I'm no worm expert but , yes, the "snake swimmers" are what I call detritus worms. But what matters to me is that they seem to be one of the larger type things and we can see them but they don't seem to do much harm. I only see them when I've moved some plants , etc. so I have to assume they are there more often than I see them and my fish are always picking around. I have to assume they are trying things. Sometimes it is good to eat and other times it winds up like the times when fish try to eat the freckle on my arm! I tend to be a bit on the "low worry" route, so if I can let nature take care of cleaning or controlling the worms, I'm okay with that. Not fully into doing it "natural" but then I'm also a long way from wanting to worry issues that will lie dormant if I don't bother them?
If I get sick/unhealthy fish or plants, then I do something but if it is only seeing something weird like worms, I may ask but do nothing.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 04:22 PM
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These critters are sometimes associated with overfeeding. They eat leftover fish food and they eat the bacteria that eats leftover fish food.

Also should be noted that protozoa don't just come in with plants - like algae and bacteria, these little creatures do indeed live in tap water. Chlorine is added to deal with these (some protozoa, like giardia, are pretty unpleasant), but if you're on well water, or if you have an apartment water tower, or under a number of other circumstances, things can slip through.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bananableps View Post
These critters are sometimes associated with overfeeding. They eat leftover fish food and they eat the bacteria that eats leftover fish food.
No fish or fish food in this tank ever, that's why I was wondering what the heck they are eating. And I had these worms from very early on after starting the tank, I would say I first noticed them a week in. I hope when I get fish they'll eat these worms.

I'm embarrassed to say they creep me out. I am not a squeamish person either, I like insects and snakes and other stuff that some people find gross. But these tiny worms turn my stomach when I have my arm in the tank and they are squirming and squiggling around. I just picture them burrowing into my skin like a parasite.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bananableps View Post
These critters are sometimes associated with overfeeding. They eat leftover fish food and they eat the bacteria that eats leftover fish food.

Also should be noted that protozoa don't just come in with plants - like algae and bacteria, these little creatures do indeed live in tap water. Chlorine is added to deal with these (some protozoa, like giardia, are pretty unpleasant), but if you're on well water, or if you have an apartment water tower, or under a number of other circumstances, things can slip through.
This part about chlorine in tap water is often missed and we get the idea that drinking water is totally dead and free of any organism. As if the chlorine kills everything living in that water. Wrong. If we look closer, we find that the chlorine content has to be a level that we hope will kill a lot of the stuff we don't want as it makes us sick but it also has to be a low enough level that it doesn't kill the good bacteria in our digestive tract. We can test this if we fill a bottle with tap water and set it aside somewhere at room temperature and then come back in a few weeks to smell the water. It may kind of gross you out as the bacteria in the water which was not killed by the chlorine will have multiplied and we call the water "stagnant". As in "YUCK"!
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic Neurotic View Post
No fish or fish food in this tank ever, that's why I was wondering what the heck they are eating.
Oops sorry! Missed that in the original post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic Neurotic View Post
I'm embarrassed to say they creep me out. I am not a squeamish person either, I like insects and snakes and other stuff that some people find gross. But these tiny worms turn my stomach when I have my arm in the tank and they are squirming and squiggling around. I just picture them burrowing into my skin like a parasite.
Hey, if it's not through your skin, it's down your throat whenever you drink a glass of water

At least tap is better regulated than bottled.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-20-2017, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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After further observation and research, I am 100% sure I have detritus worms, hydra, and planaria (as well as another common aquarium organism that no one seems to have an i.d. for.)

I am angry. This is a lot of disgustingness for a brand new tank. I want to know if these came in on the plants. I did rinse the plants before planting but apparently that didn't help me. Plenty of bladder snails made it through the rinsing too. I looked through every review on the website of the company I ordered plants from. Not a single review mentioned any creatures hitching a ride. I want to avoid this if I buy plants in the future.

This tank was just started a month ago, my first ever. All new supplies / equipment. No fish or fish food have ever been in this aquarium. I think the planaria could be surviving by eating snail eggs? I'm upset that I have all of these unwanted guests.

I don't think there is any good solution. Poison comes with potential problems, adding fish in the hopes they'll eat the worms comes with potential problems, even tearing down the tank and starting over doesn't necessarily solve anything - I bet you anything I'd still end up with these repulsive worms everywhere.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-20-2017, 07:07 PM
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Are you planning on running CO2? If so, you could just blast the CO2 to crazy levels and gas them all. I did this just before I added my fish to clear up a bladder snail problem.

If you ever think you're too small to make a difference, spend a couple of nights sleeping with a mosquito.

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