What's in my filter? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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What's in my filter?

Ok just as a warning the picture below is kinda gross, so those of you who don't like bugs and wiggly things should probably hide your eyes

So earlier this week I noticed a couple larvae looking things wiggling around in my tank. They looked similar to mosquito larvae but without the air tube. While initially grossed out and confused, I quickly was amused as my betta went around actively hunting them down. I had also noticed over the past few days that there was a growing level of dust-like detritus settling on my anubias and hardscape. I figured it was a flow issue and decided all would be fixed when I shook out my filter during the weekly water change Sunday evening.

Fast forward to tonight as I do my weekly water change. As I went to shake the filter out in the removed tank water, I noticed brown specs in my filter material. Upon closer inspection I found they were hundreds of those larvae, but dead and stuck in the mesh. I tried picking them out one by one but it was ruining the filter and was going to take forever.

I'm assuming then that the detritus I'm seeing is the dead larvae breaking down and coming through the filter. Because of this thought I checked my water parameters and everything reads fine. Zero ammonia or nitrites to be seen. Has anyone ever had this problem? I'm assuming either something laid eggs in my filter or I got egg hitch hikers on some plants that got sucked up into the filter. What should I do? Just leave them in there until they break down completely? I know I can't just throw out the filter material as then I'd have to re-cycle the tank... I've never had this problem before, and I've set up several tanks in the past. Picture of the filter is below...










10G - Low Tech Planted [ Chocolate Neos, MTS, Tracked Nerite / Anubias Nana, Windelov Java Fern, Water Wisteria, Dwarf Sag ]
29G - Non Planted Native Tank [ Creek Chub, Yellowfin Shiners, MTS / Water Wisteria ]

Last edited by Clemsons2k; 04-15-2013 at 03:12 AM. Reason: grammar
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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Well now that I have the filter back up and running, its spitting some of them out. And looks like some of them are still sorta alive. Betta is having a feeding frenzy haha.

10G - Low Tech Planted [ Chocolate Neos, MTS, Tracked Nerite / Anubias Nana, Windelov Java Fern, Water Wisteria, Dwarf Sag ]
29G - Non Planted Native Tank [ Creek Chub, Yellowfin Shiners, MTS / Water Wisteria ]
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 02:59 AM
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What's in my filter?

Interested in the answer my self


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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I did a little digging and they sound and look mostly like midge larvae. I know I've seen things similar to these guys in samples from creeks and such if you shake out decaying plant matter.

http://www.aquaticquotient.com/forum...-your-aquarium

10G - Low Tech Planted [ Chocolate Neos, MTS, Tracked Nerite / Anubias Nana, Windelov Java Fern, Water Wisteria, Dwarf Sag ]
29G - Non Planted Native Tank [ Creek Chub, Yellowfin Shiners, MTS / Water Wisteria ]
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 03:16 AM
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Well they don't appear to be trematodes or nematodes - annelids maybe, or some kind of larvae like you said - I can't begin to tell with the quality of that pic. Maybe someone else can.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 03:17 AM
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Planaria? Should not be toxic. Snails, worms, and gammarus help in breaking down uneaten and rotting vegetation to molecular level that plant roots take up. Ammonia could be in substrate air pockets.

1) If you have a heavily planted tank just use a plastic fork to poke holes in substrate. Do so only if you have additional circulation and airstone, or tape it to gravel vac right before a water change.

2) Gravel vacuum only if you see detritus free floating in water.

3) Try reducing feeding amount and frequency.

4) What plants, fish? What are you feeding?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 03:22 AM
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Planaria was my first thought, but they don't look like any kind of flat worm.
But tough to tell from that pic like I said.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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They definitely aren't planaria, and I'm pretty sure not nematodes after looking at pictures and videos of them online. Thats about as good a picture as I can get of the filter media unfortunately. They're tangled up in the stuff so I can't get a really good picture.

They move around similar to these mosquito larvae. But they definitely aren't mosquito because of the lack of air tube.


The tank is fairly new, only been set up about a month. I only feed the betta a few pellets twice a day. Nothing goes uneaten. Its moderately planted and needs to fill in yet. Some of the dwarf sag I just put in is melting so that might be a cause of water issues.

EDIT:

Ok they look just like this and wiggle in the same way. Using powers of deduction I would say they are midge fly larvae, but I have no idea how they would have made their way into my tank...


10G - Low Tech Planted [ Chocolate Neos, MTS, Tracked Nerite / Anubias Nana, Windelov Java Fern, Water Wisteria, Dwarf Sag ]
29G - Non Planted Native Tank [ Creek Chub, Yellowfin Shiners, MTS / Water Wisteria ]

Last edited by Clemsons2k; 04-15-2013 at 04:03 AM. Reason: additional info
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 08:18 AM
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free food for Mr. betta!!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 09:27 PM
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I had something really similar when I was cycling my tank - mostly in the substrate, but sometimes in little pockets of detritus on the driftwood/plant leaves, etc.

They disappeared once I added fish
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2013, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Yea I'm not so much worried about them as I am what caused them. Its a combination of having midges flying around my apartment apparently, and something in the water for them to survive. Good news is that they keep shooting out of the filter and subsequently get eaten by Mr. Betta haha.

Kinda cool how theres a self sustaining ecosystem going on in my filter/tank. Betta poops and feeds the worms, the worms come out of the filter and feeds the betta.

10G - Low Tech Planted [ Chocolate Neos, MTS, Tracked Nerite / Anubias Nana, Windelov Java Fern, Water Wisteria, Dwarf Sag ]
29G - Non Planted Native Tank [ Creek Chub, Yellowfin Shiners, MTS / Water Wisteria ]
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2013, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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And to add to the lifecycle in my apartment, I just witnessed some of the little buggers hatching. They came out of the filter and made their way to the surface where they crawled out of their larvae skin onto the surface of the water. The resulting flying insect is this:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/47133

Case closed I guess. I have now resorted to sealing off the top of the tank with saran wrap to prevent any hatchlings from escaping / any new eggs to be laid.

10G - Low Tech Planted [ Chocolate Neos, MTS, Tracked Nerite / Anubias Nana, Windelov Java Fern, Water Wisteria, Dwarf Sag ]
29G - Non Planted Native Tank [ Creek Chub, Yellowfin Shiners, MTS / Water Wisteria ]
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