Tiny White Crawling Worms on aquarium glass - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-01-2020, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Tiny White Crawling Worms on aquarium glass

I have an established tank of 1.5+ years and am recently noticing an infestation of white crawling worms on the aquarium glass. These worms appear on the glass when the lights are off and slowly disappear when the lights are on.
On close inspection, looks to me like there are some small eggs attached to the glass too. They are currently very thin and small in size - 1 to 2 mm.

There are hundreds of them on my 5g tank. I currently has 5 ember tetras and 10 shrimps in my tank. Plants are Java moss, Anubias and some duckweed.
Can anyone tell me what these are and how to get rid of them. I have cut down on my fish feeding from past 1 week but these worms cease to die.
I managed to some photos using my digital cam.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-01-2020, 08:49 PM
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They appear to be rhabdocoela flatworms or another harmless detritus worm.

Other than finding a fish that would eat the worms but leave the shrimp alone, they're probably there to stay.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2020, 05:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. But does this rhabdocoela kill any snails and shrimps?
Because i have lost all my shrimplets in less than a month and yesterday my nerite died mysteriously oozing some white lgoo.

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Thanks for the reply. But does this rhabdocoela kill any snails and shrimps?
Because i have lost all my shrimplets in less than a month and yesterday my nerite died mysteriously oozing some white lgoo.
Also you mentioned some fish eating this worm. I have only tetras in my tank now. Is that fish compatible with ember tetras?

Last edited by ChrisDL; 09-02-2020 at 05:28 AM. Reason: Wrongly edited
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2020, 05:57 AM
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The rhabdocoela flatworms are completely harmless to shrimp.

As for the fish? Likely. I don't really keep much in the way of fish, the bigger concern would be, what fish might eat the worms and leave the shrimp alone?
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2020, 06:09 AM
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Are you able to test parameters? Especially ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. A bigger population of detritus worms usually indicates a good food source for them (extra waste in the tank!), and that could kill your shrimplets too.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2020, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zoidburg View Post
The rhabdocoela flatworms are completely harmless to shrimp.

As for the fish? Likely. I don't really keep much in the way of fish, the bigger concern would be, what fish might eat the worms and leave the shrimp alone?
That's definitely a point to be noted.

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Are you able to test parameters? Especially ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. A bigger population of detritus worms usually indicates a good food source for them (extra waste in the tank!), and that could kill your shrimplets too.
The last time i tested, Ammonia and Nitrate was 0 and the nitrate was in the range of 7-9 ppm. I thought its safe at that level. The adult shrimp seems to be fine. Its the shrimplets those have vanished.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2020, 06:21 PM
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As far as I understand, that level of nitrate sounds fine! When I had an incident with my shrimp, it was the smallest who died first - don't know if that's normal for most shrimp issues or indicative of something (in my case I think a bacterial bloom depleting oxygen combined with a possible contaminant entering the tank).

I am surprised if your ember tetras aren't already eating the flatworms, I'm not sure adding another type of fish would be any different?

I wonder if the population boom of worms is caused by a die-off of shrimps... I think the worms are a symptom of the underlying problem, not the issue themselves.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2020, 08:46 PM
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Do you know your GH and KH? From a liquid test kit?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-03-2020, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by germanblueramlover View Post
I am surprised if your ember tetras aren't already eating the flatworms, I'm not sure adding another type of fish would be any different?
That's what I wondered. Maybe don't feed them for a few days. Sometimes they need a bit of an appetite in order to encourage them to try something new. Or maybe they have already eaten their full of them, but there are just so many still to eat?

For what it's worth, I've had a couple of (mild) plagues of these white worms in my newly setup tanks (shrimp tanks without any fish to eat them) and it seemed to resolve itself after a few weeks. Adding any sort of chemical treatment is sure to do more harm than good. Hope you can get your fish to develop an appetite for them!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-03-2020, 05:32 AM Thread Starter
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Do you know your GH and KH? From a liquid test kit?
No I haven't tested my GH and KH. I use filtered tap water which is 1 or 2 days old. So i know the water is soft. Also i use IAL extract (100 to 150 ml for 5 gal). Hence my water is slightly acidic.

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Originally Posted by germanblueramlover View Post
I am surprised if your ember tetras aren't already eating the flatworms, I'm not sure adding another type of fish would be any different?

I wonder if the population boom of worms is caused by a die-off of shrimps... I think the worms are a symptom of the underlying problem, not the issue themselves.
I tried this. Didn't feed my fish for 2 days, but they didn't go after the worms.They just seem to be little lethargic and i had to continue feeding them with tetra bits.

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Adding any sort of chemical treatment is sure to do more harm than good. Hope you can get your fish to develop an appetite for them!
Nope. Not gonna try the chemical way. I usually drop 10 to 12 tetra bit pellets for my 5 embers. I will try reducing them and check if it has any effect on the worm population and fish appetite too.


Thanks to everyone who have helped me reduce my worry. For a moment of time, i really got worried thinking they might be planaria.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-03-2020, 05:38 AM
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If you can find out what your GH and KH are using a liquid test kit (if you can't order one, maybe see if a shop can test for you?), it might help to figure out what's up with the babies?
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-05-2020, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
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I was out on work and couldn't reply. Sorry for the delay. However I wanted to give a small update:
I have significantly reduced my fish feed from past 2 days and noticed today that there were very less worms on the glass today. Yayy!!... Not sure whether the reduced feeding have helped to reduce their numbers drastically within just 2 days.

I will keep an eye whether there will be further reduction in worm numbers.

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Originally Posted by Zoidburg View Post
If you can find out what your GH and KH are using a liquid test kit (if you can't order one, maybe see if a shop can test for you?), it might help to figure out what's up with the babies?
@Zoidburg - Most of the fish stores near my home are apathetic about testing water parameters. They are only bothered about their fish sales. I have seen them selling Betta to be kept together with gold fish in a teeny tiny bowl. But that's another story for another day.

The water testing kits are quite costly here as they are imported and I being a student, trying to reduce my liabilities. I will definitely check for a store who can help with testing.
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