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Worm in my new tank

Natalie is new

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Hi all! I've got a question about a tiny squiggly white worm in my tank. I woke up this morning and took a look at my almost 3 week old planted tank and found a teeny worm swimming around. It's so small I thought it was possibly a piece algae being pulled by a tiny current, so I watched it long enough to see it stop and eat something and swim back the way it came from. My question is if it is something harmful. I've got lots of white film on the wood, brown algae and some green algae starting on the front glass- in case that helps identify the stage my tank is at. Thanks for your advice. 

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On 11/3/2023 at 11:52 PM, Natalie is new said:

@nabokovfan87 that looks like the same worm I have.  What did you do? 

It's a bit of a story, but needless to say I don't really have a good answer. I don't think anyone really does. You can try dog dewormers like panacur-c and there are videos and directions on that use on YouTube and elsewhere.

I opted for something a bit easier, a pretty strong salt dose. I tried to essentially run it as a brackish tank for a little while and hope that it would fend off the worst of the worms. I also followed that with rounds of expel-p and paracleanse.  Overall it wasn't anything that got rid of them for good.

Small worms like those are a type of roundworm that fall under the blanket term of detritus worms. Without a microscope and a really good database of some hundreds of species, it's really difficult to ID the particular one that you're dealing with.

My best advice is to make sure you keep the filter clean, keep an eye on high flow spots for the worms populating, and be sure to clean the substrate with a good siphon when you need to. Manual removal,  basically, be it by yourself or by fish is really one of the only ways to keep them under control if you don't have a fish that predates on them. In my case, I don't.

Don't feed heavy, don't let the substrate have a lot of rotten food, and keep the filtration clean.  That's about the best way I have to manage them. I don't have them nearly in high of a number as I once did, but I do see them at night swimming in the water column still or on the glass.

I believe I have two different types at this point. One is very small and thin in the water column (detritus worm) and the other is a little shorter but bigger, prefers the glass (rhabdocoela). I basically never really see them sticking up out of the substrate at all.

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I know that we are always told that they are not harmful and can be food for some fish but I am completely freaked out by them. I had them break out in a small shrimp tank I had and I tried everything under the sun to get rid of them. I finally gave up and got rid of the tank. That's how much they bother me, lol. I am almost OCD about keeping my tank clean so it certainly wasn't a matter of a dirty tank. Good luck to you! 

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On 11/9/2023 at 9:52 AM, Herefishie said:

I know that we are always told that they are not harmful and can be food for some fish but I am completely freaked out by them.

Yeah, I'm right there with you!  I tried swordtails + corydoras in mine. I would imagine something like danios, barbs would go to town on them as well.

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On 11/11/2023 at 10:49 AM, Natalie is new said:

Here's my little white worms. Can someone verify it's not plenaria? I'm seeing a lot of little white specks swimming around now. Thank you all for your assistance!

It's definitely not planaria.  You have detritus worms and ostracods in there.  They are little things, sometimes you'll get copepods too.  I enjoy the tiny things, the worms no, but the little copepods and microfauna are fun when you see them. 🙂  Stuff like corydoras will spend a lot of time digging in the substrate go get at all the little critters and that's just fun to watch.  Shrimp will eat them too!

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