Unknown worms

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Registered Member
Original poster
Apr 19, 2019
Hello everyone. I am fairly new to freshwater fish, and over the last several days I noticed some changes in my tank that caused some concern. I purchased some of the freshwater plant seeds from TopFin and put them in my tank last Friday. Today (one week later), I was in the process of doing a water change and noticed my water appear to be a yellowish color. I also noticed there are hundreds of small worms wriggling about the water in the bucket and appear to be finding safe harbor in the gravel. Can anyone point me in the right direction on how to deal with these? I did attach a picture for you to view.



Global Moderator
Staff member
Jan 11, 2013
West Falls NY
Real Name
Tell us more about your tank.

How often do you do water changes?


Registered Member
Original poster
Apr 19, 2019
Basic Questions

1. What is the size of your tank?

60 gallon.

2. What are your water parameters? State the brand of test kit used.

I use the API Freshwater Master Test Kit.

Ph is between 6.8 and 7.0 (can't really tell due to close colors)
Ammonia and Nitrites are 0
Nitrate 5.0 or 10.0 (color issue again)

3. Is your aquarium set up freshwater or brackish water?


4. How long the aquarium has been set up?

two months

5. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them?

2 - African electric yellow cichlids
3 - Trinidad plecostomus
4 - Tiger barbs
2 - male dwarf gouramis

6. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)?

Yes, they were all in a smaller tank for quite sometime before upgrading to the larger tank

7. What temperature is the tank water currently?

Temperature is 78

8. Are there live plants in the aquarium?

None prior to last week when I added the TopFin plant bulbs.

9. What filter are you using? State brand, maintenance routine and power capacity.

Top Fin CF 60 canister filter, media (minus bio balls) cleaned every month on the third Wednesday

10. Any other equipment used (aside from heater and filter which are two very important components of the tank)?


11. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? What is your lighting schedule (assuming you do not rely on sunlight for our viewing pleasure)?

Light are on automatic schedule one at 9a and out at 9p.

12. When did you perform your last water change and how much water was changed? How often do you change your water? Do you vacuum the substrate?

Weekly water change of 8 gallons and yes I do vaccum the substrate. I have not noticed the worms until this most recent water change on 4/19.

13. What foods do you provide your fish? What is the feeding schedule?

I use freeze dried tubifex worms and flakes. Flakes are given once daily and tubifex are given once a week in place of the flakes.

14. What unusual signs have you observed in your fish?

Everything appeared to be normal and clear water until the seeds were added. The water become a slight yellowish color about 5 days after adding the seeds and on 7th day I changed water and noticed worms.

15. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? If so, what treatments did you use? State your reasons for planning ahead of proper diagnosis.

No treatments as I am new to freshwater fish and and only have Reef experience

Common Causes of Unusual Behaviors
This will cover common ailments only. The more complicated health conditions can be found here.

1. Fish is scratching more than usual.


2. Unusually tattered fins or fins with punch holes.


3. Faded or unusually dark body color.

Fish colors are vibrant

4. Unusual patches on the body.

None that I can see or notice

5. Graze marks.


6. Cysts, craters or spots.


7. Unusual bloating.


8. Protruding eyes and scales.


9. Gasping and listless movements.


10. Red veins.


11. Refusal to eat.

No, they all eat like pigs


No freelancing!
Aug 14, 2001
Real Name
Look like detrivore worms. Not a specific species, but there are a lot of tiny worms and other microfauna that occupy the substrate and live on the biofilm and uneaten food/waste. If you do not see them on the fish, they are unlikely to be parasites.

Odd mix of fish, by the way...I wouldn't expect it to work long term.


Josh Holloway--Be mine!!!
Sep 1, 2003
Calif. SF Bay area
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Very informative. Thank you. I would lower you light time to about 8hr instead of 12. What kind of plants did you get? Did they have a name?? I would also up the Water Change amount to at least 20gal per week, 30 would be even better.

The worms I am not sure, but with so many I would lower the feed amount and do more gravel vacs.