Starting this thread primarily for the person who has a planted tank with snails and shrimp that recently received the gift of hydra and seed shrimp. Hope this helps!
A little background - started paying closer attention to the tank recently instead of the cursory water change and regular feedings and bought some new livestock(about $250 worth of RCS, amanos, nerites and plants) about a month and a half ago. Everything was going well until I noticed what I thought was staghorn algae. Well, it wasn't, it was the beginnings of a hydra outbreak, I just didn't know it. In all my years in this hobby, I have never had the pleasure. I had planaria once about 10 years or so ago and treated with fenbendazole but have never seen or heard of a hydra. Mentioned it to my dad the other day, who got me into tanks when I was a wee lad and he went "Hydra? What's that?", which made me feel less stupid for just a moment.
I have read just about everything out there on hydra and how to control it. Everything from starve it to blast it with a syringe and H2O2 (more on that later), to betel nut extract to fenbendazole to flubendazole to potassium permanganate to manual removal to heating up the tank to 104+F for 4 hours to adding fish to eat it (not an option) to a whole tank H202 treatment. If there is something out there on hydra in a planted tank with shrimp, odds are I have read it in the last few weeks.
So, going down the list of possible treatments as they relate to me and my tank:
- Adding fish - no go. I have shrimp, lest they become shrimp food. Thought about the wee little raspbora as they are supposed to love hydra, but I just don't want fish, other than my otos, in the tank.
- Fenbendazole - an option BUT it can harm/kill your nerites. JUST spent about $65 on a whole new crop of olive, zebra and horned nerites. This is my last resort, HOWEVER I did read someone post that the usual 0.1g/gallon for planaria can but cut in half for hydra to 0.05g/gallon and if all other options fail, this is the route I am going and hoping for the best.
- Flubendazole - Can't find it in a cost effective format or without a prescription. The difference, I read ONE poster say, is that the FENbenzadole will bond to biofilm and make it poisonous for nerites for years to come where FLUbendazole will disperse in water and go away with water changes. I make no warranty on that statement, just repeating what one poster said on a forum.
- Betel nut extract - goes by No Planaria and Planaria Zero. Totally safe for shrimp and fish and plants. Deadly to nerites. Bought a $26 bag of it before I read/realized it. It's in the closet waiting to be sold on no ebay links allowed
- Potassium Permanganate - deadly to shrimp, snails and biofilter things BUT my course of action would have been to remove all the plants, give them a dip in a solution and return them back. Then I noticed it was growing all over the substrate. Sigh...
- Heating up the tank to 104+F - Got a sous vide on loan from a buddy. If the H2O2 course ultimately fails, this is what I am going to do next, followed by flubendazole at 0.05g/10gal if that fails
- Starving them out - Don't got the patience for this. 10 or more berried shrimp and I don't want my babies to be hydra snacks.
- Manual removal - started here. Cut all the affected leaves off. Didn't help at all, it would have helped had I done it from the start when I noticed one.
- Blast with H2O2 in a syringe - this worked well at first. Then I noticed several dead shrimp and nerites and stopped. Turns out the stuff you buy over the counter in the brown bottle has stabilizers in it that are not good for your fish! Never read that before in all my readings on the stuff and using it to spot treat algae like BBA and cyanobacter but I will admit that my reading on the subject started and stopped right there. BUY FOOD GRADE H2O2. Readily available from the Interwebs. It's a bit pricey but keeping your end of the bargain and NOT killing your livestock is important, right?
- Whole Tank H2O2 Treatment - now on to the whole reason for my post.....
Like I said, I have read everything on the first 15 or so pages of the Google Search "Shrimp Tank Hydra Removal" or "Treatment". Came across one article that details all the various ways to remove the hydra and how, most importantly, to prevent it in the first place. (LINK
). In there was a list very similar to my list above. What intrigued me was the whole tank H2O2 treatment and the link to the video for Mark's Shrimp Tanks where he seems to regularly dose his tanks with H2O2 (the fragile CRS and bee shrimp BTW, not the hardy RCS I have) to keep them clean and fresh. Hmmm... Interesting! I am already $40+ in on this hydra eradication after the No Planaria and fenbendazole so why not order up another $15 bottle of 8% FOOD GRADE (can I stress that enough?
) H2O2. Ordered it up and it arrived yesterday.
I decided to move the nerites to another tank a few days ago just in case I would up going the medication route.
Mark's site is very specific - 3% FOOD GRADE
H2O2. I had 8%, so I did the math and at 1.5ml/gallon of 3% FOOD GRADE H2O2, that came out to 43ml of 8% FOOD GRADE
H2O2. Turned off my filters, kept my wave maker going and poured it into the tank. Moved the head of the wavemaker around to it would get to all the nooks and crannies on the other side of the tank. It took about 30 minutes for any kind of bubbling to start. It started VERY slowly at first, just a bubble or two after 30 minutes. During this time, I shifted the wavemaker every 5 or so minutes to keep the flow all around the tank and behind the plants and driftwood, where those little buggers REALLY took a foothold. The hydra, at this point, appeared completely unaffected. The shrimp seemed fine as well, in fact, like in Mark's videos, they seems a bit more active but it could have been all the shifting of the usual flow patters on the water, who knows.
After an hour, the bubbling kicked up a bit but still had not hit the peak. I noticed some hydra, maybe 5% were balled up tight. Interesting. Another 30 minutes and the bubbling was really in full force, plant were pearling like crazy from the recently cut stems where I did manual removal, it was a bubblefest! At this point I kicked the canister filters back on. That's when things really started to take off. Over the next hour, it was a swimming display of bubbles and hydra in the water column. I mean there were hundreds floating around everywhere. The shrimp were going nuts playing in the bubbles, stunned and/or dead hydra were everywhere. I was amazed. Not all the hydra had broken free, I'd guess about 50% were still stuck to the glass, substrate, plants and driftwood and appeared unaffected. I would take my finger and poke the hydra floating around. Some would contract like they usually do when you touch them but most did nothing. After another 30 minutes, I couldn't find one in the water column that reacted to a touch. "Sweet" is what I recall thinking to myself.
I left it alone and went and made dinner at this point. After dinner, about 2 hours later, I came back and noticed not one single hydra had its tentacles out in the 'breeze' and all of them that remained attached to a surface were balled up tight. Dead? Meh, maybe? Stunned? Oh yeah. I'd guess about 25% of the original number of hydra were still stuck on something but the rest seem to have disappeared either into the very awesome Eheim prefilters
I have installed or into the equally awesome Eheim skimmer
. I dropped in a wafer for the shrimp to eat and they devoured it. Best I have seen this batch of shrimp eat ever. Went to bed at this point. Woke up and took a peek. Still roughly the same number of hydra attached to a surface, still none open, all balled up. No shrimp deaths, yet. None of the assassin snails appear to be dead either. Going to check parameters tonight for ammonia and whatnot. A tiny bit worried about the biofilter but it's probably just me. That Mark at Mark's Shrimp Tank
really seems to know his stuff.
I am very optimistic on this course of action. I will keep up with this thread and post back as the treatment progresses. I am out of town all next week so I plan to do a 50% water change this weekend and, if I still see little balled up hydra, do another round of FOOD GRADE
OH - the seed shrimp! So, apparently whatever brought in the hydra brought in the seed shrimp as well. I know they don't hurt anything and indicate good water quality, but I just don't want them in there. They look like little white fleas everywhere. Yuck. Apparently hydra will take care of them. So in letting my hydra get a little out of control, it seems to have helped with the seed shrimp. Where I saw 100's a few weeks back, in the last two days, I have seen not one. I doubt they got them all, probably hiding in the substrate somewhere waiting for the coast to clear, but one can hope! They seem to be VERY hard to get rid of so if they do come back, they may just be an unwelcome addition that I have to live with.