Little white hair thin worms floating around aquarium. What is it&how it get there? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Little white hair thin worms floating around aquarium. What is it&how it get there?

I was looking inside my Goldfish aquarium with a flashlight and I see a bunch of worms wiggling in the middle of the tank. They were just floating in the middle and squirming around. Very gross.

I have had this Goldfish for many many years and never noticed them before.

I recently change aquarium from to a new tanks and transferred over the gravel. I gave him a few shrimp pellets from my tropical fish tank which I never did before.

Anyway, what are these white worms and how could they get there?

Could it have been in the shrimp pellets? Recently the gravel was too deep in the 20 gallon tank but I transfer him to a 29 gallon tank and only used 60% of the gravel.

Maybe they use to live in the gravel when it was deep but since now its more shallow, they are coming out?

THanks.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 10:45 PM
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It's just over feeding is all I have them in my fresh water puffer fish tank because he's messy when he eats and a lot of food gets down to the bottom

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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It's just over feeding is all I have them in my fresh water puffer fish tank because he's messy when he eats and a lot of food gets down to the bottom

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I have had 1 goldfisih in the tank for years and years without introducing any new fish.

How did the worms get in there to begin with ? Are the eggs in the fish food pellets?

Last edited by miogpsrocks; 11-19-2015 at 01:13 AM. Reason: typo
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 12:41 AM
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Honestly I have no idea I'm hoping someone with an expert opinion will chime in mine just showed up and there all over now and i kill thin all the time and they say some fish eat them I just forgot what ones

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 12:47 AM
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Detritus worms?
What are these small white worms in my aquarium? | Fish Beginner; Information & Help
Aquarium Planaria; Wiggly Detritus Worms, in Tank Water, on Glass

Or these Nematodes? (not exactly sure if these are the same or not, but apparently the ones in this link are not parasite worms that infect your fish?)
What is that bug in my Aquarium? .:. Various small creatures that can inhabit a Freshwater Invertebrate Aquarium

Most random pests become apparent from decaying organic matter, whether too much fish food or decaying plant material. It's said these pests are commonly present just not noticed unless their numbers are allowed to build up (more food and less predators) but their numbers are usually kept very low due to predation from fish (your goldfish is probably too big to "see/eat" the tiny worms)

Only other white worm that is hair like that I know of is microworms and grindal worms. Don't know much about all these worms besides their names. If the worms came from under the substrate they might be these "feeder worms" (microworms, grindal worms)
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WaterLife View Post
Detritus worms?
What are these small white worms in my aquarium? | Fish Beginner; Information & Help
Aquarium Planaria; Wiggly Detritus Worms, in Tank Water, on Glass

Or these Nematodes? (not exactly sure if these are the same or not, but apparently the ones in this link are not parasite worms that infect your fish?)
What is that bug in my Aquarium? .:. Various small creatures that can inhabit a Freshwater Invertebrate Aquarium

Most random pests become apparent from decaying organic matter, whether too much fish food or decaying plant material. It's said these pests are commonly present just not noticed unless their numbers are allowed to build up (more food and less predators) but their numbers are usually kept very low due to predation from fish (your goldfish is probably too big to "see/eat" the tiny worms)

Only other white worm that is hair like that I know of is microworms and grindal worms. Don't know much about all these worms besides their names. If the worms came from under the substrate they might be these "feeder worms" (microworms, grindal worms)
I am not even sure if they are a worm because they are actually swimming though the water in the middle of the aquarium. Its as thin as a hair and white. They are wiggling and swimming though the water like crazy.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 03:51 AM
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Sounds like nematodes.

Do they look like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsY7j17lrAE

Quote:
Nematodes are small, thin, white/transparent free-living roundworms and the "swim" moving themselves in a wave like pattern (well, forming an S shape). If disturbed, they will swim around wriggling briskly. You can find them from the substrate and they are the ones that might appear from the filter when you turn it on. These ones are harmless, but as with any other "pest", if there's too many of them, you are either overfeeding or just not keeping the tank clean enough of debris, decaying plant matter.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by miogpsrocks View Post
I am not even sure if they are a worm because they are actually swimming though the water in the middle of the aquarium. Its as thin as a hair and white. They are wiggling and swimming though the water like crazy.


Do they wiggle their body in like a "S"/zigzag pattern when swimming?
The non-parasitic Nematodes can "swim" like that even though they are worms (don't only just slither/crawl).


Looking at pictures doesn't always help as they are usually zoomed in and not in realistic viewing ratio, so watching a youtube video on them might help you ID if the ones you have are one of those. I still do think that it is probably Detritus worms or non-parasitic Nematodes (scavengers, not harmful to fish, not sure if both of those are the same worm or not)
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds like nematodes.

Do they look like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsY7j17lrAE
They kind of look like that except their ENTIRE body will move in an S-pattern much faster than the ones in our video. I think the ones I have are much thinner as well.

In the video, they are mostly moving the front and back tip of their body.

The ones I have I can only see if I shine a flashlight into the tank and it goes across the beam. Perhaps what I have in my tank are the babies nematodes?
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WaterLife View Post
Do they wiggle their body in like a "S"/zigzag pattern when swimming?
The non-parasitic Nematodes can "swim" like that even though they are worms (don't only just slither/crawl).


Looking at pictures doesn't always help as they are usually zoomed in and not in realistic viewing ratio, so watching a youtube video on them might help you ID if the ones you have are one of those. I still do think that it is probably Detritus worms or non-parasitic Nematodes (scavengers, not harmful to fish, not sure if both of those are the same worm or not)
Yes its kind of like an S pattern but the wave happen for their entire body whereas the video was only slightly in the front and back of the worm. Also, it moves its entire body much faster then the video and I believe they are smaller and thinner. I can only get a good look at them with a flashlight.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 06:14 AM
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Yes its kind of like an S pattern but the wave happen for their entire body whereas the video was only slightly in the front and back of the worm. Also, it moves its entire body much faster then the video and I believe they are smaller and thinner. I can only get a good look at them with a flashlight.
It could be smaller ones yes. There aren't many other worms that I know of that swim in this fashion. Other similar looking worms like detritus / grindal are usually a bit bigger and don't come into the water as much.

The swimming action differences could be caused by a ton of things.

If I had to wager money, I'd bet it on nematodes.

This is another good video of nematodes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEbPd-hopgY
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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It could be smaller ones yes. There aren't many other worms that I know of that swim in this fashion. Other similar looking worms like detritus / grindal are usually a bit bigger and don't come into the water as much.

The swimming action differences could be caused by a ton of things.

If I had to wager money, I'd bet it on nematodes.

This is another good video of nematodes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEbPd-hopgY

That second video you sent look much more like what I'm seeing.

They are small like that and swim like that ! I think they match exactly with the nematodes from that second video. Good Job detective!

What is strange is that I have a very basic goldfish tank, since the Goldfish is kind of large, I have no ornaments, no plants, no rocks,absolutely nothing but gravel.

I have tried to maximize the swimming space of the goldfish. I have never introduced any other fish or items and he has been alone for years. How in the world did these nematodes find their way in is beyond me. Unless their eggs are in the fishfood or in the tapwater? I did also move him into a 29 gallon tank which I recently purchased brand new and rinsed it for a good 5 minutes.

Anyway, so these are not dangerous for the fish?

Thanks.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 09:12 AM
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Impossible to say how they got there, and I am by no means an expert.

Could be that they were living happily in the gravel before, and moving that has caused them to come loose?

Have you checked your water parameters?

You can probably find plenty of solutions to controlling the nematodes now you know what they are, there are also probably medications that are suggested. They are harmless by all accounts, so a more natural method of removal is recommended. Control/reduce feeding, increase cleaning and increase frequency of water changes. See if you can capture many of these things in the siphon.

Aside from the nematodes, it would be worth you considering some decoration and cover for your goldfish, for its happiness and security.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Impossible to say how they got there, and I am by no means an expert.

Could be that they were living happily in the gravel before, and moving that has caused them to come loose?

Have you checked your water parameters?

You can probably find plenty of solutions to controlling the nematodes now you know what they are, there are also probably medications that are suggested. They are harmless by all accounts, so a more natural method of removal is recommended. Control/reduce feeding, increase cleaning and increase frequency of water changes. See if you can capture many of these things in the siphon.

Aside from the nematodes, it would be worth you considering some decoration and cover for your goldfish, for its happiness and security.
Its funny you should say that because I have tons of decorations in my garage and far more then I could ever use in my tanks. I purchased them over the years whenever Petco had a sale online and I need something extra to get the free shipping.

However I thought that since the goldfish was large, he required more of a open swimming space. Are you saying the goldfish would be happier with decorations in the tank as well? The fish is like 12-inches long and he is in a 29 gallon tank with a sponge filter and a in tank corner filter which I could easily replace with a canister filter if needed. What type of decorations do Goldfish like? Anything in particular?
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 09:42 AM
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I think you're in a position where you need to do a bit more independent research and decide the best course of action. A few things are evident but you've made the right steps to improve the life of your little buddy.

1) a 12 inch fish in a 29g tank is never going to be completely happy, it's pretty small.
2) almost all fish prefer some kind of cover and stimulation, somewhere to hide from outside activity, from lights, to rest, etc. Of course you need to retain some swimming space - find a balance. Even just a few tall fake plants will help.
3) there are obviously other issues with the tank - suggest you up the maintenance, buy a water test kit and go from there.
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