What kind of "detritus worm"? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-09-2019, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of "detritus worm"?

I currently have these in plague proportions -- I had 3 newly-added neocaridina die over the weekend, and the worms seem to have exploded from the nutrients. Im not sure why the shrimp died, all parameters look (and looked) great.

I also keep this as a black-water-esque tank, so there are lots of decomposing leaves/organic matter that these worms flock to as well.

Anyway, any idea on what these are? I don't think they are actively harming anything. They are extraordinarily tiny, slightly yellow, can form little star-shaped clusters, or freely swim in dense clouds where there is low flow.

Besides ID, any idea on control measures? I actually don't feed this tank, only add leaves as needed. Im not interested in chemical treatments either
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Last edited by mmcguffi; 12-09-2019 at 11:53 PM. Reason: added an additional question, edited for clarity
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Bump -- if anyone has any ideas on this I would appreciate it very much. They appear to only aggregate in the strongest light areas which makes me think they could possibly be photosynthetic?? They are almost certainly not flatworms though (which some are known to be photosynthetic), and Im not aware of other worms that can be photosynthetic, so maybe this is just a coincidence.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-31-2020, 05:59 AM
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The only aquatic "cluster" worms I can come across are tubifex... which I believe are larger and are also red.


Probably best way to get rid of them would be to add some fish... pygmy cories, kuhli loaches, or?
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-31-2020, 08:13 AM
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Probably best way to get rid of them would be to add some fish... pygmy cories, kuhli loaches, or?
Im sorry but thats the worst idea, you have no idea how big the tank is or what kind of substrate it has etc etc, adding critters could make it worse.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-31-2020, 02:47 PM
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How about offering an actual piece of helpful advice without insulting other members?

Let's try this again. Offer something useful. I'm sure you didn't mean to come across as crass.

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Im sorry but thats the worst idea, you have no idea how big the tank is or what kind of substrate it has etc etc, adding critters could make it worse.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-31-2020, 07:14 PM
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How about offering an actual piece of helpful advice without insulting other members?

Let's try this again. Offer something useful. I'm sure you didn't mean to come across as crass.
Crass no, however

I did offer an actual helpful bit of advice, do not add critters to solve a problem, its a bad advice especially as the person giving the advice has no idea about tank size etc etc. But I guess you missed that bit also.

The member offering advice about adding critters is not a novice fish keeper and should know better.

What happens if the critters that were recommended do not eat the worms? I have seen people buy snails to deal with algae only to find the snails dont eat the algae and actually contribute to the algae problem because of the waste they produce.

Another example, Adding assassin snails to deal with a pest snail problem is a bad idea especially if you have shrimp as the assassins will also hunt shrimp and assassin snails can be as unsightly on the glass and plants as Trumpet snails.

You keep critters because you want them, not because you need them to do a job Or do you disagree?

Last edited by HairyNoseWombat; 01-31-2020 at 08:00 PM. Reason: typo
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-01-2020, 03:58 AM
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How about I rephrase it....

Add a few small fish that are *likely* to eat the worms and once gone or at least population under control, removing the fish?


Adding fish to a tank does not need to be a permanent solution to fix something that is, hopefully, a temporary issue.


I see a lot of people recommend adding loaches to a tank to deal with a snail problem. There are many loaches that will not eat snails... so I get it!



BTW, thanks for the compliment!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-01-2020, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Zoidburg View Post
The only aquatic "cluster" worms I can come across are tubifex... which I believe are larger and are also red.


Probably best way to get rid of them would be to add some fish... pygmy cories, kuhli loaches, or?
California black worms also cluster, and fish love them! They are not small, however. Had a culture going for my puffer....buuuuut I may have neglected the culture tank a bit and I think they're all gone now. Oops. Anywho, I can't make heads or tails of anything from the pictures unfortunately. Could it be a couple different things? It appears there's MAYBE some Hydra viridissima, which if you have shrimp, you'll need to get rid of as they pose a threat to juveniles. I know you said no chemicals, but realistically, to rid a tank of Hydra, a one shot of Fenbendazole is the quickest and surest way to go. Some things that would need to be addressed before a treatment, but I won't get too into that unless you decide that's a method worth pursing.
Hydra can and do move about, but they are slow. They sometimes will just free float in the water column until they find a spot to latch onto to pick nutrients out of the water column.

A better pic would be wonderful, if possible. Could just be Rhabdocoela, which are harmless, but I'm just kind of guessing here based on what I'm seeing.

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You keep critters because you want them, not because you need them to do a job Or do you disagree?
Entirely disagree. I have my fish that are the main focus of the tank, like my pea puffer in my 10 gallon for example, and then I have fish like Oto's that, while I enjoy them to an extent, they're too sensitive of a fish and if they didn't serve a purpose wouldn't be in my tanks. Same for snails - they do a job, that's the only reason they're intentionally put in my tanks. They consume and breakdown waste, they keep my sand aerated, eat algae, so on and so forth. Malaysian trumpet snails are great for sand based aquariums, only reason I have them. Many of us add "clean up crews" to our tanks not because we necessarily want to look at snails, shrimp, certain fish, but because they do a job and contribute to the overall health of the tank.
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 02-01-2020 at 07:22 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-01-2020, 07:04 AM
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I thought the black worms were a "dry" culture, like grindals and microworms. More specifically, done out of water, not in water. I haven't cultured worms before so perhaps I'm completely wrong!

Either way! There's discussion and perhaps these nonsensical posts will help bump this topic up until someone who does know what these things are might be able to ID them. (hence my initial response - and a *possible* method of getting rid of them)
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-01-2020, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidburg View Post
I thought the black worms were a "dry" culture, like grindals and microworms. More specifically, done out of water, not in water. I haven't cultured worms before so perhaps I'm completely wrong!

Either way! There's discussion and perhaps these nonsensical posts will help bump this topic up until someone who does know what these things are might be able to ID them. (hence my initial response - and a *possible* method of getting rid of them)
Yep, black worms are an aquatic worm that will happily reproduce in tanks with plenty of waste for them to gnaw on. They do require good filtration, I had an Eheim 2213 on that tank. The tank I used became an MTS, other random snails, and black worm breeding tank that I started to neglect and didn't feed NEARLY enough for the population that was in it and things went slowly downhill. Oh well...

@mmcguffi Any chance we could get an update and a clearer pic? I know the microfauna in our tanks is hard to get good pics of without a decent macro function, but hopefully these are a non issue and we can get this solved for ya!
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 02:15 AM
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Does anyone know if these are worms or harmful at all? They are coming from some hornwort I bought at my LFS. Please help I can’t identify them
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mmcguffi View Post
I currently have these in plague proportions -- I had 3 newly-added neocaridina die over the weekend, and the worms seem to have exploded from the nutrients. Im not sure why the shrimp died, all parameters look (and looked) great.

I also keep this as a black-water-esque tank, so there are lots of decomposing leaves/organic matter that these worms flock to as well.

Anyway, any idea on what these are? I don't think they are actively harming anything. They are extraordinarily tiny, slightly yellow, can form little star-shaped clusters, or freely swim in dense clouds where there is low flow.

Besides ID, any idea on control measures? I actually don't feed this tank, only add leaves as needed. Im not interested in chemical treatments either

I'd be looking into why your shrimp are dying in the first place. The Worms if that's what they really are could be a symptom of a bigger problem.


Neocaridina are generally tough as nails, especially less colored ones.



But like all shrimp, they don't do well in tanks with an adverse water parameter.


You say your tank is 'blackwater-esque" You realize their native streams are moderately hard with near equal amounts of carbonate hardness and general hardness? they also prefer neutral to somewhat alkaline pH. They do adapt to softer conditions, more acidic conditions. But will never thrive or reproduce in great numbers if they're swiftly changed from their normal water conditions to one that lacks sufficient mineralization.


For your own peace of mind, pick up API's GH/KH test kit and a Total Dissolved Solids 'pen' meter. The TDS pens are cheap and even the cheap ones have temperature compensation to keep their accuracy over a wide range of temperatures.


Secondly I suspect that we're not getting the entire story on their tank. Is this a "dirted" substrate tank with organic potting soil under a gravel cap? Has it been allowed to age and cycle?



The level of organics is worrisome. Shrimp natively come from somewhat sparsely detritused streams and forage mostly on biofilm. Secondly did you completely Nitrogen cycle the tank? A Neo tank should be thoroughly cycled, tested for Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. Because of their somewhat basic or alkaline water preferences, ammonia that's not converted to Nitrate will be much more toxic.


The worms you describe should not be present in "free swimming clouds". It generally means the substrate is such an organic soup that they're not enjoying living in it.



These worms in your photos are all spherical-roundish, are you sure they're not seed shrimp? Do they glide on the glass or do they move about like drunken bumblebees?


The star shaped forms are worrisome because it could be you have an infestation of Hydra, you've mistaken for worms. Hydra can be bad for both adults and juvenile shrimp.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-13-2020, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Wow I did not have email replies attached to this thread! So much infighting and negativity!

Anyway, this is tank is properly cycled and very well maintained. Attached is a quick visual tank journal, I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrampsGrunge View Post
You say your tank is 'blackwater-esque" You realize their native streams are moderately hard with near equal amounts of carbonate hardness and general hardness?
Yes, I do.

The neocardina actually did not die -- they just blended in and I couldn't see them at first. They are breeding now. I also have a female betta in the tank. Fluval spec, 5 gallon. Fluval stratum sub. High intensity CF light, 7 hour cycle. It is only "fed" by adding botanicals -- ie leaves, acorns, etc. Those are decomposed by ostracods, black worms, copepods, other fauna, which in turn feed the betta. Running purigen to make the water clear. 0-0-0 am-nit-nat. WC ~3 weeks, top-off RODI. This tank is incredibly healthy and not an "organic soup".

The worms are still there, clustered in one spot, sometimes leaving in "clouds". The are not a problem at all, I am just curious on what species they are. I can try to get a better picture of them with my macro camera sometime in the future, but the are each well less than 1mm. They are worms, not hydra. They are not ostracods (seed shrimp). The pictures sort of make them look round, but if you look at each "round" cluster, there are hundreds of them. These are the smallest worms I have ever seen.

Also, I was just trying to identify these species of these worms because I was curious. If you are commenting here, please refrain from insulting others or commenting/speculating on other aspects outside of my asked question. Thank you
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-13-2020, 12:35 AM
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Boy everybody is touchy today! I know @Zoidburg was trying to be helpful and it certainly seems like @GrampsGrunge was as well.

I can't ID the worms, or honestly even determine where a worm is in the photos. Any chance you could get a clearer picture? What I'm seeing looks spore-like, and almost green. Do they move? If so, how? I've never seen hydra cluster like that, but perhaps in large enough numbers they will. That's as close a life form as I can muster up from the photo though. If it is indeed a worm, I second the suggestion to put a few fish in that are likely to eat them. A few decent sized livebearers should do the trick on most small roundworms. I'm just more inclined to think hydra from the photo. Mollies and blue gouramis are said to eat hydra but I've never tried.

That looks like ADA, Stratum, or similar aquasoil, no? It will generally keep your KH as close to zero as it can, and is designed to result in acidic water. If it is indeed an active soil, crystal reds and other Caridina would be an excellent choice for this tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilymillfish View Post
Does anyone know if these are worms or harmful at all? They are coming from some hornwort I bought at my LFS. Please help I can’t identify them
I honestly don't see a worm in this photo at all. If you can get a better photo, we'd be happy to try and help you. Welcome to the forum!

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 03:22 PM
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I can't help but think these are seed shrimp, I've never encountered worms that move in 'clouds".

I do have tiny little bristle worms that coexist within my frequent onslaughts of Diatoms. But they tend to hide inside the diatoms, and are crystal clear, nearly impossible to see without some backlighting and a magnifying glass.

The upside is my Glolight tetras actively hunt for these little Annelids and will nip and yank at the diatoms on the glass just to find a few worms.
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