View Full Version : Tiny white worms?

03-12-2007, 8:23 AM
I see extremely small worm like things on the walls of my betta tank. They are very small or I would take a picture of them. They seem to be slithering along the sides of the tank and I don't know what they could be. Any ideas and what should I do? I haven't made any additions to the tank and the betta seems to be well. :confused:

03-12-2007, 8:25 AM
Are they planaria? I'm going to clean my tank right now. There may be a piece of plant rotting or something hidden in the gravel.

03-12-2007, 8:27 AM
sounds like planaria. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/platyhelminthes/dugesiasm.jpg

these "Flatworms" are unsegmented and bilaterally symmetrical. they typically appear as small white "worms" seen crawling all over the glass and ornaments, especially at night.

Planaria commonly show up in tanks with an excess of food and most are introduced to an aquarium from other aquaria with live foods like black worms, live plants, or anything else moved from an active aquarium that has them. If a lot of residual food is left in a tank, including dead and dying fish, snails, other animals, and plants, then a few planaria may divide into hundreds very quickly. they usually reproduce by asexual fission.

If a tank is found to have planaria, they can be controlled by a good vacuuming of the gravel and better tank maintenance. to remove planaria from a more heavily infested tank:

1. Set out bait like meat in a mesh bag. remove the bait a few hours after the lights go out on the tank. it should be covered with planaria. throw away and repeat until the population goes down.

2. add planaria eating fish to the tank. such species include the paradise fish, betta, pelvicachromis pulcher and many species of gourami

3. vacuum the gravel very well and do a 50% water change. often, planaria proliferate when the tank is too dirty. this will remove not only some planaria but their food source as well.

4. reduce the foods added to the tank. planaria often proliferate if too much excess food is provided.

03-19-2007, 11:16 AM
How do you get rid of these worms permanently????

03-19-2007, 12:19 PM
you do what i detailed in my post above.

03-22-2007, 7:57 AM
those anemone like things with stems are hydra. People are quite often horrified when they first notice that their tank is inhabited by 'tiny white worms'. They could be one of three things: Hydra, Nematodes or Planaria. They can esily be identified by the way they move, and where they reside within the tank. Hydra are small carnivorous animals from the Phylum Cnidaria. They possess a simple cylindrical body with tentacles surrounding its mouth. The majority of Hydra reach sizes between 0.25 to 2.5cm (0.1" - 1"). They are usually tan or brown in colour, and are usually difficult to spot, unless your tank is heavily infested. They are usually confused with worms.

Hydra do not 'swim' per se, however they are capable of floating from one location to another. They will anchor to a spot where there is an ongoing supply of food, or they will just float around in the water. They anchor themselves to their surrounding environment by their 'foot', from where they catch and kill their prey. In the aquarium they can attach to things like gravel, vegetation, stones or filtration equipment.

Hydra prey on small crustaceans, worms, insect larvae or fry. Therefore they are usually associated with tanks raising fry. They are capable of killing fry from 10 to 15mm (0.4"-0.6"). Larger fry that are trapped but manage to escape will most likely die anyway, as an after affect of the Hydras stinging cells. Tanks that feed a lot of live brine shrimp can attract Hydra as well.

Hydra can be introduced into an aquarium by live food, snails, driftwood or water collected from natural waterways. A tank that possesses Hydra is not an unhealthy tank, as Hydra do not survive in poor water quality. However, a well looked after fish tank will not provide enough food to sustain large amount of Hydra.

If your fish tank has a Hydra infestation, there are three products that can be used to remove them. Dactycid, Flubenol and Panacur. To reduce and hopefully eliminate Hydra numbers, water quality should be in top condition, and feeding should be reduced.

03-22-2007, 9:48 AM
My Eclipse 6 must be doing pretty well, as I do have hydra (and clean water and 99% clean sides of the tank, little to no algae, plants growing happily, etc.). When I saw my first hydra, I thought it was quite interesting... until my smallest black neon floated by behind it and I began to fear for the fish... which was almost an inch long, but that hydra suddenly looked a lot bigger than 1/8". I got rid of it by squishing it with a sponge.

However, not surprisingly, more have returned, though not so big. I thought that my snails, eating machines that they are, might get rid of the hydra and happened to see a snail plowing slowly toward a tiny hydra clearly evident on some red jasper rock. But as the snail neared, one or more of the hydra's arms seemed to touch the mighty predator -- the the snail seemed to wince and change course, moving away. So much for that idea. Hydra are tough dudes!

What's more, yesterday I noticed that while Hydra may "swim" from place to place, one of them hit upon a novel way of locomotion: attach to a 1/4" snail and move about on it!

Now I just wish my tetras (head & tail lights and black neons) would develop a taste for the hydra. The tetras already seem to eat snail eggs (I haven't seen any masses of them in months), so why not the hydra? Maybe one day tasting hydra will occur to the fish, and if that works out in favor of the fish, I'll have one less concern.

03-23-2007, 1:38 PM
I've had these before. I can't think of the name right now, but they're a symptom of overfeeding, or water that is too nutrient-rich. To rid yourself of them permanently, do a nearly complete water change. You'll have to start all over, pretty much. Save maybe a cup of the old water, break down the tank, scrub it out completely with hot salted water, scrub all your plants, wash all the gravel and any decorations, wipe down your filter intake, heater, everything in the tank. Clean it out completely, rinse well, and then set it all up again.
Test the water often to make sure you don't have nitrate/nitrite spikes, and try to feed only what he'll eat in two minutes. This will keep the worms away.

one eyed leela
03-31-2007, 8:14 AM
I have these NOW!! :eek: I am so creeped out by the thought of these repugnant little worms, no matter how harmless... I don't even want to hear about "controlling" them or "reducing" their numbers -- I will do whatever it takes to wreak total and utter devastation upon the whole sorry population and lay them all to waste. Payback for all the distress at their discovery and subsequent sleepless nights researching and dragging through the internet searching for answers that gave me no satisfaction... ("They're harmless! Don't worry about them..." There was even something "in defense of planaria"... ugh!)
I HATE WORMS. Even the good ones, like food worms. I haven't been able to stick my hand in the tank ever since they appeared; I know I have to steel myself to do it and it fills me with dread. I've had fish for over three years but never worms before.

I used to buy my plants from the one place and they always came with snail eggs... so this time I tried somewhere new and "highly recommended" when it came to starting my brand new dream-tank I had saved and worked so very hard for AGES to finally be able to buy... No snails this time, but despite cleaning the plants carefully beforehand - horrors! THESE GUYS!!! I had been so happy... and now there is a forsaken tank sitting in the middle of my loungeroom with only plants and worms by the hundreds having a jolly old time and multiplying by the day.

The way they move (slithering along the glass as opposed to wiggling or floating) has helped me classify them as planaria/turbellaria/flatworms even though they are so small/thin they don't actually look flat. More like white cotton thread chopped into teeny tiny bits between 1-2mm long.

I am lucky to not have moved my fish into this worm-infested hellhole yet (Bizarre that they have exploded into a new tank when it sounds like they're a symptom of dirty nutrient-laden water?). This gives me the option of "WHATEVER IT TAKES" aka nuking the tank into oblivion even if it means killing every living thing along the way, good and bad. Bacteria can grow again; plants are replaceable. I could tear down the tank but can't bring myself to stick a hand in there until the worms are dead. Sissy, I know.
So here goes the chemical warfare experiment. First thing I'm trying: simple Copper-based meds which apparently hurt invertebrates. It's been impossible to find Clout which is properly designed for planaria, and Flatworm Exit is completely sold out from the one place I was able to find it. My order of Cupramine has just arrived... Fingers Crossed...