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emilyalice91

worms in filter!

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Hey every one.

I was wondering if any one else has found worms in their tanks before.... no idea how this happened to my tank, but its awful! 

It all started when about a month ago, I realized my main tank (55 gal with 4 telescope butterflies) was kinda cloudy. So after some inspection, I found worms on the media in my canister filter! They are brown and very thin and tiny. I have found one or two though that have exceeded a cm long! Currently, my tank has a sponge filter and a 30 HOB because my canister is outside drying after a bleach bath. But sure enough, I come home today from work, and I see the signs of the worms again: cloudy water, and brown "powder" collecting around the base of the sponge filter and worms back on the bio balls in my HOB. I dont know what the brown powder is, but it collects where ever the worms are congregating the most in the tank.  And these suckers must have short life histories and reproduce like crazy because these worms were not on the media two days ago and now they are noticeable. 

I have done deep cleanings on this tank and completely changed out the media and filters (and added in cycled media from one of my other tanks), but the worms always come back.  Im sure because it isn't possible to completely rid of every single egg or worm that might be hiding extremely well. 

I dont want to have to bleach the tank entirely, because I dont have some were to put my 4 butterflies at this moment. So I am thinking of cycling one of my spare tanks (a 40 gal breeder) from scratch with pure ammonia, and then adding my goldies once its done cycling while I bleach their entire main tank....

Unless some one else has any better ideas/treatments to get rid of the worms without hurting my fish.

Any advice would be much appreciated!! Thank you!!

 

* Ammonia Level(Tank) 0.25
* Nitrite Level(Tank) 0
* Nitrate level(Tank) 20
* Ammonia Level(Tap) 0.5
* Nitrite Level(Tap) 0
* Nitrate level(Tap) 0 
* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.6
* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.6
Other Required Info:
* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API Master Test Kit
* Water temperature? 76 F
* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 55 g; 1.5 year running
* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? 360 Fluval Canister and 70 Gal Fluval HOB (but those have been bleached and now its a sponge filter suited for 60 gals or more and a 30 HOB for the time being) 
* How often do you change the water and how much? 50% every 3-4 days

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? yesterday, 1 day ago
* How many fish in the tank and their size? 4 butterfly telescopes (all about 4 in)
* What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime for Water changes, API aquarium salt for every h20 change (about a tsp per gal)
* What do you feed your fish and how often? every day. 1-3 times. if I can feed them three times, I feed them small portions. Food consists of Hikari pellets daily. Repashi and peas every other day or so 
* Any new fish added to the tank? no
* Any medications added to the tank? no 
* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment: 1 tsp/gal of aquarium salt. once and awhile, I use seachem focus and metroplex with blood worms if there are signs of internal parasites.
* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?   No 
* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?  bottom sitting, long clear poop strand trailing behind him for over 24 hours now.  No 

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Pictures are really needed for us to identify the species even somewhat closely.  There are a LOT of possibilities.  I have suspicions but I can confirm them by picture :)

 

Can you get us a picture of the worm on a flat surface from the top and then on the underside on a glass or your tank?

Edited by Arctic Mama

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

Pictures are really needed for us to identify the species even somewhat closely.  There are a LOT of possibilities.  I have suspicions but I can confirm them by picture :)

 

Can you get us a picture of the worm on a flat surface from the top and then on the underside on a glass or your tank?

these are the best I could do. I dont have a fancy camera. But I was able to catch one and put it on a flat lid. The last photo is from below the tank. The second to last photo are some of the worms on the base of my sponge filter. Thank you for your reply! 

 

 

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And they're always short like that, with your fish acting normal right?  And am I seeing jay they are flatter or definitely more round in shape?  

 

They could be planaria, nematodes or annelids, but without any issues with your fish I'm assuming the latter.  Likely they're just harmless brown detritus worms, I'm about 90% sure.  The only real solution is to focus on keeping the organics low in your system.  They thrive with excess food and waste.  

 

Please be sure to remove any uneaten for quickly and possibly feed a bit lighter or vacuum up the waste from the tank before it hits your filter.  Detritus worms are best managed through waste management, not chemical means.  

 

IF you think you see these worms having a flatter segment or NO segment by their heads please tell me and get me a nice clear picture of one on a drinking glass.  Even with a crappy phone camera it should be doable.  Their treatment would be *different* and they could actually cause harm, as planaria are treated differently than nematodes or annelids.

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Definitely not planaria.  

Do you see segmentation similar to what you would see in an earthworm?

Do you see anything that looks like legs or bristles?

In all probability you have detritus worms.  They eat detritus, so usually occur in filters or in the substrate.  They contribute to a healthy ecosystem and present not danger to your fish.  You can see some pictures here.   As Taryl said, you can reduce the number of worms by cleaning  the substrate and filter regularly.

Some small insect larvae can pass for worms.  These appear suddenly in large numbers as a batch of eggs hatch.  

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They didn't look like planaria to me either, except in one shot I couldn't tell if the body widened out. I'm used to looking at them from the glass and not top down :)

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3 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

And they're always short like that, with your fish acting normal right?  And am I seeing jay they are flatter or definitely more round in shape?  

 

They could be planaria, nematodes or annelids, but without any issues with your fish I'm assuming the latter.  Likely they're just harmless brown detritus worms, I'm about 90% sure.  The only real solution is to focus on keeping the organics low in your system.  They thrive with excess food and waste.  

 

Please be sure to remove any uneaten for quickly and possibly feed a bit lighter or vacuum up the waste from the tank before it hits your filter.  Detritus worms are best managed through waste management, not chemical means.  

 

IF you think you see these worms having a flatter segment or NO segment by their heads please tell me and get me a nice clear picture of one on a drinking glass.  Even with a crappy phone camera it should be doable.  Their treatment would be *different* and they could actually cause harm, as planaria are treated differently than nematodes or annelids.

 

2 hours ago, shakaho said:

Definitely not planaria.  

Do you see segmentation similar to what you would see in an earthworm?

Do you see anything that looks like legs or bristles?

In all probability you have detritus worms.  They eat detritus, so usually occur in filters or in the substrate.  They contribute to a healthy ecosystem and present not danger to your fish.  You can see some pictures here.   As Taryl said, you can reduce the number of worms by cleaning  the substrate and filter regularly.

Some small insect larvae can pass for worms.  These appear suddenly in large numbers as a batch of eggs hatch.  

Yes, I definitely think they are annelids. No bristles or flatness. They just seem completely round the whole way through. What is really weird though, and maybe noteworthy, after placing a lot of their previous media and filters in a bleach bucket, I noticed that some of the smaller individuals were still swimming at the surface even though they'd been in bleach-water for a couple of hours. What crazy and hardly creatures! They died eventually. 

The ones in my filters now currently haven't harmed my goldies in any way, but i do want to get rid of them just in case 

 

Thanks for all the great info guys 

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Okay! Those definitely sound like annelids to me.  Detritus worms.  The only way I'd recommend getting rid of them is running your filters and tank empty for 6-8 weeks of warm water after a good cleaning of any detritus and mulm.  They will starve out and that should get the population down again.  But I wouldn't nuke the tanks over them. They will not hurt your butterflies and are not parasitic to goldfish.

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I had these guys years ago when I was living in CA, Moved Oregon and they where gone.. After I had those I got these small flies that would come out of the filter :o Have you seen gnats flying around the tank? We had then in my Guppy tank and goldfish tank :o 

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4 hours ago, visualkeirockstar said:

In the wild there are all kinds of worms and small insects. So you shouldn't worry.

:thumbup2:

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I have had these in all of my planted tanks.  They will build little short tunnels in your substrate and should be visible against the glass.  They are segmented and are oligochaeta just like the earthworms.  They are not a pest.  If it is out of control as in your filter has many per square inch then you are either overfeeding or not cleaning your substrate and filter media well enough.  

In sum there is no worries here.  Enjoy the biodiversity!  They are serving a purpose in your tank right now.

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Enjoy the biodiversity?! :yikes  No thanks. :rofl

 

Good luck getting rid of them. :D

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4 hours ago, fantailfan1 said:

Enjoy the biodiversity?! :yikes  No thanks. :rofl

 

Good luck getting rid of them. :D

:wa

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No really.  I meant good luck.  I hope it's not too difficult. :idont

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That's better, maybe Koko will reduce your punishment to standing in the corner.

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To the pond!!!  :teehee

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14 hours ago, shakaho said:

That's better, maybe Koko will reduce your punishment to standing in the corner.

:tomuch:

sharon that really made me laugh :rofl 

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As the others have said, nothing to worry about. The fish will eat them if they're in the water column. :)

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