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leech found in betta tank


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I found this leech in my 10 gallon betta tank. I have 1 male betta, 1 young flagfish and 3 peppered corys and a bunch of little snails in the tank. I have been looking at all the fins on all the fish and have seen nothing on the fins. I found the first leech in the betta tank about a week ago. I haven't seen leeches in the other tanks. I have been watching them and their fish closely, too.

I have a cycled 10 gallon tanks with 10 small tetras, 3 corys, an adult guppy and 4 young guppies.  I have another cycled 10 gallon tank that is pretty maxed out with guppies.  I have an empty 10 gallon tank I could start to cycle.

I have been studying the photos on AquariumScience.org 10.13.4 Aquarium leeches, but it doesn't look like any of the photos to me.

Is this the kind of leech I need to worry about? If so, should I move the fish, and if yes, which tank should I move them to?

Note: the leech is in the bottom of a standard deli container. It is the round blob on the wall on the container. I added that photo so you could see how big it is

Thanks for your experience and advice.


leech 7 closeup.jpg

leech container scalled.jpg

Edited by KittenFishMom
Added a pictured of container
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This looks sort of like a snail leech. Look up google pics so you can compare.  Let me know if it is please I’m curious. ..edit…maybe not I forgot you do native collecting for a minute.  I typed in fresh water leeches North America in google and found a few look alike. Type in freshwater leeches and your city or state or body of water you collected from.  and see what pops up

Edited by Guppysnail
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@Native Keeper Do you know which kind of leech this one is?

I have been doing a bunch of research. A lot of leeches are harmless. I just can not tell if this one is.  I had a few leeches on the fins of some of my native fish early in the fall. The fish did not like me removing the leeches, but the fin completely recovered and I probably haven't seen one since October.

Suddenly I saw one on the glass in the betta tank, about a week ago. I killed it before I looked at it. Tonight I saw a very small one on the glass, and this one on the feeding ring. Bunched up, it is about the size of 3 grains of rice side by side. Is it a harmless leech or a dangerous leech? I have been googling all evening and I can not find it on the web. I don't want to stress my fish by moving them if the leech is harmless.  I also don't want to try to remove leeches from fish if I leave them there.  I would guess that the leeches would be in the sponges filters. Guess which tank has my extra sponge filter incase I need to set up a tank in a hurry. Right, the tank with the leeches.



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On 2/3/2022 at 5:44 PM, KittenFishMom said:

I have another cycled 10 gallon tank that is pretty maxed out with guppies. 

I have yet to determine at what point one reaches 'maxed out' with guppies (or endlers) in a 10 gallon. 

I *thought* I knew, but my Walstad is more than double that amount.... and is still testing negative on ammonia/nitrite/nitrate.

(A bit of brevity 😁)

NCSU in Raleigh had a fabulous set of prints, back in my early aquarium keeping days, with a "how to identify" for multiple inverts and parasites. I want to say it was printed by the vet school?

So, do you have a vet school in your state? Or a county extension agent you can get a hold of?

I would recommend reaching out to one, or both, of these resources. The last speaker for the members talks I want to say graduated from the NCSU vet school, so the school may still be a good resource, even if you are not in NC. NCSU also has a phenomenal land management and a wildlife and forestry school that might be able to help you with leech identification. 

It's wonderful to find a person who recognizes that the majority of leeches are not harmful. 😁

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On 2/3/2022 at 7:44 PM, KittenFishMom said:

I found the first leech in the betta tank about a week ago. I haven't seen leeches in the other tanks.

Is this the "first leech" or the "only leech" you've found over the past two weeks? If you've found more, I'd just suggest removing them as you see them and getting rid of them. Even if they're a harmless variety, no point having extra waste producers in the tank.

If it's the only one you've found since, it may not be anything to worry about. Other than for curiosity.

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@KittenFishMom if you are not finding any leeches *on* any of the fish, and you are not finding any leech damage to the fish, I would not worry about having to move them... yet.

If I could afford another sponge filter, I would get a sponge filter going in a tank that is leech free, in case Cornell says you need to remove your fish. That way you will have a leech free sponge filter seeded for your empty tank.

Beyond that, I would choose to not stress until/unless information from Cornell dictates otherwise.

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