(Don't) Hail Hydra! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-01-2019, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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(Don't) Hail Hydra!

So I've never had hydra before but today I realized they're in at least two of my tanks, hanging off the pre-filter sponge. The way they move is... creepy. I read they can get up to an inch big but these are still small. However, I'm worried about possible shrimp fry in my one tank. In that one I have betta, a nerite, chopstick snail, and wild type neocaridina. Are any of them in danger? Will they sting/harm my tank occupants? In the other tank I have a betta and chopstick snail, no shrimp. Both are medium-moderately heavy planted tanks. I'm not sure how these creatures got in both tanks, though I'm concerned if they got in more, since one of my other tanks is a shrimp breeding colony.

I know dewormer will kill them, or one can wait for them to die out when their source of micro-organism food is gone (unless they're herbivores or photosynthetic?). Though I also read they're a natural part of an established ecosystem like nematodes, seed shrimp, and planaria. Do I keep or react?

Edit: One of them has tentacles half an inch long. Can these actually sting me? ..Okay, it's actually extended its tentacles to an inch long.

get out of my house

Last edited by Ryan Mosby; 11-01-2019 at 09:58 AM. Reason: terrifying edits
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-01-2019, 10:16 AM
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gently nuke them
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-01-2019, 12:03 PM
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gently nuke them
....from orbit,it's the only way to be sure.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-01-2019, 02:51 PM
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Planaria products will be harmful to your snails and could make the tank inhabitable for them for 8+ months.

Hydra can harm shrimp, especially young shrimp.


Best bet is to figure out safe ways to remove them, which may include removing the shrimp and introducing a fish predator that will eat them or other methods.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-01-2019, 03:59 PM
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I think people generally overreact with hydra. I've never found a need to treat a tank and manual removal has always worked well for me. A combination of pipette/turkey baster and a scraping tool of some sort is probably the easiest method. Suck them up as you scrape them loose.


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-02-2019, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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It's a total outbreak, I see them on the glass and not just on the pre-filter sponge. Read if one happens to get cut in half, it turns into two hydra. I'll try manual removal for now but I don't know if it'll nip this in the bud.

I read that pond snails will also seek out and kill hydra, is that true? The tank with the most hydra usually has several common bladder snails (though haven't seen as many as of late).

get out of my house

Last edited by Ryan Mosby; 11-03-2019 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Added word "Read"
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-02-2019, 05:51 PM
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Would be helpful if you could post a photo.


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-03-2019, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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They're too thin for my camera to focus on; this is the best shot I could get. It only captured a few but there were a lot more there (just tinier).



I know the picture shows the betta looking interested, but she's actually more behind the sponge (and mostly blind, she has cataracts). I tried to lure her down there to see how she'd react but she kept trying to avoid that area.

Edit: As most are heavily focused on the pre-filtered sponges, I am in the process of removing them, and going after the rest.

get out of my house

Last edited by Ryan Mosby; 11-03-2019 at 01:24 AM. Reason: added edit
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zoidburg View Post
Planaria products will be harmful to your snails and could make the tank inhabitable for them for 8+ months.

Hydra can harm shrimp, especially young shrimp.


Best bet is to figure out safe ways to remove them, which may include removing the shrimp and introducing a fish predator that will eat them or other methods.
@Zoidburg Sadly I lost the betta inhabiting this tank. I was medicating her for internal parasites but it seems I was too late. I'm not going to get another betta. I only have bad luck, and I want to make sure any anchor worms/parasites get a chance to die out.

I'd like to add shrimp and a nerite to the tank, and I want to keep the tank cycled (seeding/recycling is a pain imo), but I want to deal with the hydra first so that any future baby shrimp won't be in danger.

I'd like to avoid the Planaria option, since you said the tank will likely be inhabitable for a long time after. Some time ago I threw out the pre-filter sponge they were living in happily, and did manual removable after that. I don't see any right now but I know they're still in there. Do you have any advice how I can safely be sure they're gone and prepare the tank for inverts?

After investing in some further research, I read that heat can kill hydra if you remove any shrimp and snails and crank it up. One source says 104 F, another say 105 F to 110 F. Both say to leave it on for a few hours. Then it says to vacuum up any dead hydra and do a 50% water change to bring the temperature back down.

get out of my house

Last edited by Ryan Mosby; 11-18-2019 at 02:42 AM. Reason: kill it with fire
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 03:34 AM
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If no inhabitants, then yes, you could heat up the tank. Paraguard or alum may be other options, as well.

Sorry to hear about the betta though.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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If no inhabitants, then yes, you could heat up the tank. Paraguard or alum may be other options, as well.
@Zoidburg The sources different on temperatures but just to be safe I'll probably try for 110F for a few hours unless that's a bad idea. I'm think I saw two little ones earlier so I know the bastards are in there.

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Sorry to hear about the betta though.
Me too. I might be too inexperienced to keep fish. I lost three bettas in three years, despite having planted tanks with a filter, heater (78F), airstone, and light (on a timer). Lost one to anchor worms that were too tiny and white to see on his white body, another to internal parasites. It's a steep learning curve. Besides, they say bettas are the easiest fish to keep; if I can't even keep those alive, I shouldn't have fish.

I only had her seven months, and I'm starting to suspect she may have had internal parasites for a long time, and that maybe that is why she developed cataracts. She seemed so healthy, perky, and normal otherwise, up until a few days ago. I never saw her poop until more recently (when I noticed it was white and started treating her).

I don't think I'm going to get fish again, or if I do, not for a long time. And not a betta. Besides, I want to be sure any parasites or anchor worms starve to death in that tank. I'm not giving them another animal host. Will they turn on shrimp though, if I add them in a week? Or will turning up the heat also kill any possible anchor worms and parasites?

Edit: Oh shoot, my heater only goes up to 93 F--how do I get the tank hotter, do I put in a second heater? Then again all my heaters turn off when they reach their desired temperature; even if I put two of the same kind, they'll reach 93 F faster but likely not get higher than that. How the heck do I heat up this tank?

get out of my house
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 05:50 AM
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Boiling water....


Cherry shrimp are considered the easiest shrimp species to keep. I had cherry shrimp... and yellow neos... and bloody mary. Never had huge population boom like people talk about (well, I did, but then they died...) and now I don't have Neos at all. I didn't give any away, sell or trade. All have just died off... regardless of what I've done.

So if I can't keep shrimp, even the hardiest, it feels like I shouldn't have shrimp at all.... however, I have a tank of opae ulas. They were put in tank same day it was set up. No filter, no heater, rarely fed and water changes rarely done. They're still breeding, thankfully at a really slow rate!

And I have a tank with mostly yellow king kongs and "amanos" that are not C. multidenta. Deaths aren't common.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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@Zoidburg I learned something new today, I had never heard of Opae Ulas before. They look like smaller brackwater-type cherries, they're adorable.

I may give fish another try in the future (would still wait a month at least), but I don't think I would go for a betta again. Maybe smaller and more passive fish. The kind that might eat baby shrimp but wouldn't attack adult shrimps. Though not sure I could get away with any nano fish in a 5 gal tank.
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get out of my house
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 04:10 AM
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I've got hydra in my 16G shrimp tank. I have 3-4 berried yellows, and some males, and I'm starting to see fry. I added two otos. I've never dealt with this before.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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@Streetwise The heating solution worked for me, though keeping the tank 104 F+ for 2 hours was a pretty tedious task. However, I didn't have any fish or shrimp in my tank.

I do have a shrimp colony tank but luckily the hydra haven't contaminated that one yet (that I know of). I understand your concern for your shrimp fry, I wouldn't want mine to be at risk either. You won't be able to dose any chemicals that kill inverts without hurting your shrimp. I know how difficult it would be to try and remove all of your shrimp, given how small the babies can be. I've tried removing shrimp from a tank before and was finding shrimp still a month later.

Since you can't dose or heat the tank, you might try some common bladder snails (they are said to eat hydra, though mine never did). I wouldn't try any predatory fish since your shrimp would be at risk.

get out of my house
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