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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 3g dirted bowl, moderately planted, with a betta and a red cherry shrimp who seems to be cunning enough to escape said betta. The light is fairly high, and i'm adding a bit of DIY CO2, probably too much as the drop checker is on the yellow side.
pH = 6.4, KH = 7, NH3/NH4+ = 0.1, NO2 = 0.2, NO3 = 5. Plants and betta are happy, the shrimp maybe not so much.

Yesterday, I noticed these protozoa (I assume that's what they are) growing everywhere - on the glass, on the anubias and echinodorus leaves, etc. each looks like a little flower on a stem, almost transparent, like jellyfish. They are practically invisible to the naked eye, and don't seem to bother the tank.

What in the world are those, and should I be worried, seeing how this is a 3gal and things could go south fast?
 

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Those are hydra. They can be an irritant to fish as well as the shrimp. The best thing I've found for them were spixi snails, they love the things (I've heard pond/bladder snails like em too, but I'm always reluctant to add those things to a tank). They're really interesting little critters, armed with tentacles lined with little stingers they use to kill and eat microorganisms. I would try cutting back on feeding a little bit and see if they disappear. After that, there's a couple other methods, including removing fish and heating up the water, or getting a fish that enjoys snacking on them. Although the last option might not be optimal, given your tank size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ah, thanks.
spixi snails look beautiful, but might not be ideal considering my low pH, as acid will eat away at their shells. I do have one hitchhiker pond snail and a small army of ramshorns, so maybe those will help a bit. i'm definitely not overfeeding, but the nutrients in the soil might be contributing to their growth... in any case, thanks for the ID.
 

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Hydra are freaky things. I worked with a species of them in a lab at one point. They can be broken into individual cells by physically beating them up. Then under ideal conditions, the cells will "re-aggregate" themselves back into a hydra, like something out of a horror movie.

It's hard to tell from your photo but the critter looks more like some kind of jelly or something, like it has a bell vs tentacles, hydra have relatively few tentacles from what I remember.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yes, they did look like bell-shaped things.
but i came here to post an update: they all disappeared almost overnight a couple of weeks ago. Water parameters haven't changed, nothing about the tank changed as far as I could tell.
no idea what happened :)
 
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