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Worms or Leeches?


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Greetings yall, 

I recently noticed the shrimp population in my 36 gallon walstad has dwindled to nonexistent levels when I previously had dozens. Upon doing further inspection, I realized I had these little guys wiggling in my substrate! 

Due to the shrimp disappearance and the subsequent discovery of these worms, I'm leaning toward them being Barbronia weberi but wanted some second opinions before I go ahead and nuke the tank with Fenbendazole. I've yet to see any moving through the water column and the little suckers burrow too quickly for me to grab them out of the deep substrate.

All my fish and snail populations are stabled and unchanged.

Any input is appreciated! Thank you!

 

[img]https://i.imgur.com/9vgUf5Z.mp4[/img]

Sorry, I don't know how to attach the video I took so I'll link to it here: https://imgur.com/9vgUf5Z

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On 7/7/2024 at 7:58 PM, WormsOrLeeches said:

Greetings yall, 

I recently noticed the shrimp population in my 36 gallon walstad has dwindled to nonexistent levels when I previously had dozens. Upon doing further inspection, I realized I had these little guys wiggling in my substrate! 

Due to the shrimp disappearance and the subsequent discovery of these worms, I'm leaning toward them being Barbronia weberi but wanted some second opinions before I go ahead and nuke the tank with Fenbendazole. I've yet to see any moving through the water column and the little suckers burrow too quickly for me to grab them out of the deep substrate.

All my fish and snail populations are stabled and unchanged.

Any input is appreciated! Thank you!

 

[img]https://i.imgur.com/9vgUf5Z.mp4[/img]

Sorry, I don't know how to attach the video I took so I'll link to it here: https://imgur.com/9vgUf5Z

Welcome to the forum 

Not sure if those are leeches but definitely would nuke the aquarium. Also the snails will be killed. @WormsOrLeeches

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Those are detritus worms. Leeches have a suction cup on the back end if they ever come out of the substrate look for that. Even then leeches may eat shrimplets but rarely adult shrimp you may have another cause for disappearing.

 

shrimp are master hiders it may seem like you only have a handful then at night there are dozens swimming around

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On 7/7/2024 at 8:22 PM, lefty o said:

probably planaria, not worms or leeches.

I haven't seen them on the glass or water column so I'm not sure yet.

On 7/7/2024 at 8:25 PM, Biotope Biologist said:

Those are detritus worms. Leeches have a suction cup on the back end if they ever come out of the substrate look for that. Even then leeches may eat shrimplets but rarely adult shrimp you may have another cause for disappearing.

 

shrimp are master hiders it may seem like you only have a handful then at night there are dozens swimming around

This tank had dozens of shrimp and plenty would come out during feeding. If the worms aren't the cause, I really don't know what it could be. I'll try adding a dozen more and see what happens before I go scorched earth with the Fenbendazole.

Interesting enough, I haven't seen any dead shrimp either but choked it up to the snails making quick work of them. 

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On 7/7/2024 at 7:25 PM, Biotope Biologist said:

Those are detritus worms. Leeches have a suction cup on the back end if they ever come out of the substrate look for that. Even then leeches may eat shrimplets but rarely adult shrimp you may have another cause for disappearing.

 

shrimp are master hiders it may seem like you only have a handful then at night there are dozens swimming around

I agree with @Biotope Biologist, those look like detritus worms.  Leeches will usually go hunting along the sides or substrate and move in sort of an inchworm-ish motion, occasionally stopping and waving their front end.  They don’t stay at the bottom and wave around like this.  Blackworms will sit and wave like this but those look pretty thick for blackworms.  Planaria also don’t just stay in the substrate and wave like this - they go hunting for food slowly crawling along flat, no lifting or waving, really.  Both leeches and planaria are quite flat, too, and these look round like nematodes type worms (most nematodes are free-living, not parasites).

How big are your substrate pieces?  Could those be some blackworms?  Like I mentioned, they look not quite right for blackworms but I can’t seem to find the closeups I thought I had of some blackworms in sand substrate for comparison.

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On 7/8/2024 at 9:52 AM, doktor zhivago said:

Most problems in a shrimp only tank can be solved with a couple fish

Those are not planaria. That is an annelid worm of some kind

 

On 7/8/2024 at 11:58 AM, AtomicSunfish said:

Ew, yuckers. Yeah, I agree they look like detritus worms. Get some fish in there to eat them. 

This tank has 6 glowlight tetras, 6 ember tetras, 6 corys, a banjo cat, a bristlenose, two clown plecos and a few otos, none of which seem to be interested in the worms haha.

 

if they're just detritus worms, I don't mind them. I like biodiversity in my tanks, just want to be sure they're not harming any of my other critters.

On 7/8/2024 at 4:40 AM, Odd Duck said:

I agree with @Biotope Biologist, those look like detritus worms.  Leeches will usually go hunting along the sides or substrate and move in sort of an inchworm-ish motion, occasionally stopping and waving their front end.  They don’t stay at the bottom and wave around like this.  Blackworms will sit and wave like this but those look pretty thick for blackworms.  Planaria also don’t just stay in the substrate and wave like this - they go hunting for food slowly crawling along flat, no lifting or waving, really.  Both leeches and planaria are quite flat, too, and these look round like nematodes type worms (most nematodes are free-living, not parasites).

How big are your substrate pieces?  Could those be some blackworms?  Like I mentioned, they look not quite right for blackworms but I can’t seem to find the closeups I thought I had of some blackworms in sand substrate for comparison.

The substrate you see around them is medium grain black diamond blasting sand capping over potting soil. The worms look bigger in the video than they are, they're no thicker than, say, a sag root.

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On 7/8/2024 at 1:51 PM, WormsOrLeeches said:

 

This tank has 6 glowlight tetras, 6 ember tetras, 6 corys, a banjo cat, a bristlenose, two clown plecos and a few otos, none of which seem to be interested in the worms haha.

Bring on the cichlids or gouramis! 😁

Or livebearers or minnows! 😄

Edited by AtomicSunfish
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On 7/9/2024 at 2:22 AM, WormsOrLeeches said:

I've been thinking of adding a couple small gouramis, but I always feel it'd be a little crowded for them. The tank is very heavily planted.

Honey gouramis are interesting, colorful, and generally peaceful. A trio of sparkling gouramis would likely work, too. Both species are pretty small.

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On 7/9/2024 at 1:22 AM, WormsOrLeeches said:

I've been thinking of adding a couple small gouramis, but I always feel it'd be a little crowded for them. The tank is very heavily planted.

A lone honey gourami would be good. Dwarf cichlids would be good, too.

The tetras you have are midwater fish, so they’re good at controlling plankton, but not benthic prey. Your plecos and otos like to scrape algae and aufwuchs, so they don’t root around much either.

I'm a little surprised your cories and banjo catfish aren’t interested, because they are benthic feeders. But then, they do scavenge a lot, so maybe the worms are a bit too entrenched for them.

But gouramis are active micro-predators, and cichlids especially like to excavate in the substrate. One of those would likely be a good choice for top-down control. And again, livebearers are good at pecking on the bottom, too. Some minnows are good benthic feeders, but not all.

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On 7/8/2024 at 1:51 PM, WormsOrLeeches said:

The substrate you see around them is medium grain black diamond blasting sand capping over potting soil. The worms look bigger in the video than they are, they're no thicker than, say, a sag root.

That’s likely blackworms, tubifex, or something similar.  I’m very surprised the cories haven’t eaten them.  Maybe try feeding some catfish pellets over top of those worms and see if they disappear.  They may be in a spot where the cories don’t frequent or the worms are so used to cories being around they’re super fast to retract into the substrate.

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