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FAQs on Freshwater Worms of All Sorts 1

Related Articles: Invertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Nematodes, Flatworms, Anchor Worms and Other Worm Parasites of Freshwater Fish by Neale Monks, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks,

Related FAQs: Freshwater Worms 2, Planaria, FW Worm Identification, FW Worm Behavior, FW Worm Compatibility/Control, FW Worm Selection, FW Worm Systems, FW Worm Feeding, FW Worm Disease, FW Worm Reproduction & FAQs on: Worm Caused Diseases, Platyhelminths/Flatworms: ( Flukes, Planaria, Tapeworms and Leeches), Acanthocephalans, Nematodes/Roundworms (e.g. Camallanus),... Anchor "Worms": See FW Crustacean Parasitic Disease, & Worms as Foods, FW Invert.s 1, Aquatic Insects, Crustaceans, Shrimps, Terrestrial Hermit Crabs,

Not a worm, but worm-like... a larval insect.

Re: Tiny worm-like parasite, FW Angels 1/21/10
Dear Neale,
I began treatment for parasite infestation Jan. 18 evening. I used a medication containing Praziquantel, Diflubenzuron, Metronidazole, and Acriflavine according to the instructions on the packaging. It was the only medication at any nearby fish stores that advertized to get rid of anchor worms and copepods. The parasite has cleared out (at least visibly), but there has been drastic deterioration of the angel's fins. It looks like he may have a secondary fin rot infection.
<Very probable. The anchor worms break the epidermis, and this is how secondary infections get started.>
The dorsal and pectoral fins seem to have stabilized. However, there is still some loss occurring on the anal fin and the caudal fin is completely gone. Of the latter, all that remains are a few rays and a very red and inflamed base.
<Yes, likely bacterial; treat promptly.>
Shortly after removing the carbon from my canister filter, the ammonia and nitrate levels showed traces, but returned to normal by morning.
<If the carbon was more than a couple of weeks old, it'd be working as biological filter media (and the covering of bacteria is precisely why carbon needs to be replaced with fresh carbon every couple of weeks, at least, if you want it to work as carbon). Removing biological media can knock back filter efficiency if you don't leave enough live biological media behind. Moreover, some medications can and do harm biological filters, sometimes slightly, sometimes severely.>
All my other fish seem to be unaffected. Is it safe to do a partial water change and start treating for fin rot (if that is the problem)?
<Likely is.>
Should I try adding a bit of salt to the tank or dip?
<Salt pointless here. You do need a suitable anti-Finrot medication.>
Any treatment suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again for your time.
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Tiny worm-like parasite -- 1/22/10
Dear Neale,
I would like to thank you again for all the time you have invested in answering my questions. If I may be so bold, there are a few more I would like to ask...
<Fire away.>
The instructions on the anti-parasite medications advise a 48 hour wait before medicating again. I looked up the active ingredients and it appears that at least one causes kidney damage with prolonged exposure.
<Not a problem in this case. For one thing, freshwater fish's kidneys work rather differently to our own, so problems detected when medications are used in humans may not occur with fish. Moreover, most medications sold for use in aquaria have a very short lifespan in the aquarium, typically becoming metabolised within a day. So while all medications are poisons at some level -- including those doctors prescribe for humans -- if used as described by the manufacturer, there's little risk of causing harm to your fish. Indeed, not using the right medication can end up doing far more harm by allowing the pathogen free rein to harm your livestock. So, in short, use a medication for the full duration as described by the manufacturer.
Don't do half doses and don't skip days of treatment on a whim.>
So, I plan on treating for fin rot (with Maracyn unless there is something else you recommend)
<A useful medication, but strictly for bacterial infections rather than worms. Do also note that most medications are formulated to be used ALONE.
Mixing multiple medications in one aquarium is unwise. Standard operating practise is to complete one course of medication, do a 50% water change, and then start another course of medication the following day. Some aquarists like to run carbon in the filter overnight between the two courses. Carbon removes organic chemicals, including medications, which is why you always remove carbon (if you use it) while medicating. In practise the carbon step isn't essential because the bacteria in the filter will metabolise unused medications quite quickly.>
tomorrow afternoon in hopes to save the healthy fishes' nephrons.
However, there is no longer caudal fin to treat on the adult angelfish.
<Can grow back.>
In addition, The base of the caudal fin is sloughing scales and the remaining scales are protruding. To top it all off, the bloat around his belly has worsened, there is red speckling below his right pectoral fin, and fine scales are protruding along the ventral side (the attached photo shows his current condition). Again, water conditions are good and none of the other fish show any signs of illness.
<Unfortunately, septicaemia is quite common once Finrot has progressed down to the base of fins. Since this is an internal bacterial infection, this is best treated with antibiotics, preferably via food rather than added to the water.>
Is it in the angelfish's best interest to continue medicating, or am I prolonging the inevitable?
<By no means; given treatment, there is a chance the fish will recover.
Very small fish rarely do, but Angelfish are just large enough they might pull through.>
If the infection has gone septic, will a fin rot treatment be effective?
<Finrot medication that acts externally will not have much impact on septicaemia. Maracyn by itself isn't particularly useful, but Kanamycin Sulfate and Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Triple Sulfa have both been used successfully. Follow the instructions on these carefully.>
If he does pull through, is there a reasonable chance that he will see any regrowth?
<Fins can regrow provided at least some of the bony rays remain.>
Lastly, does the bloat indicate that there is already irreversible kidney damage?
<Not necessarily.>
Thank you again for your time and expertise.
<Good luck. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Tiny worm-like parasite 1/26/10
Dear Neale,
<Hello Amy,>
I completed the full treatment for parasites on Jan. 22. Afterward, I performed a 50% water change, ran 12 hours with fresh activated carbon, removed carbon and began treatment for the secondary bacterial infection using medicated foods. January 24th and today, I performed 25% water changes because the nitrogenous waste levels showed traces ( far from "dangerous").
<Anything non-zero is stressful, and the degree to which it is "dangerous" depends on the health and type of fish.>
Last night, the adult angelfish regained his color and there was about 2mm of visible fin ray growth.
The bloat has been steadily declined over the past three days.
However, this morning I found him upside-down with his mouth in the gravel, but sill has visible gill movements.
This is where he has been all day.
<Do check water quality, and take a look to make sure things like the heater and filter are working. It's obvious I know, but you'd kick yourself if they were the thing.>
I noticed strange coloration along the base of the caudal fin and just ventral from the pectoral. Is this something new, or is it related to one of the other ailments?
<Impossible to say.>
Thank you again for your time and advice.
<I suspect this is the make or break point. If the infection is systemic, honestly, there's little you can do, and painless destruction may well be appropriate. But if he starts to show signs of recovery, then you may be
okay. I have seen fish come back from the brink, and doing things like increasing oxygenation and keeping the water spotlessly clean are major factors. Nothing much else I can add. Good luck, Neale.>Re: Tiny worm-like parasite
Re: Tiny worm-like parasite 1/27/10
Dear Neale,
I am sorry to say that the adult angelfish did not pull through.
<Sorry to hear that.>
When I removed him from the tank, some of the pigmented skin sloughed off and it was apparent that there was internal bleeding underneath. Also, there was a pool of blood behind one of his nostrils. All of my black neon
tetras and the juvenile angel show no signs of illness and have been leaving the adult angel alone.
<Good. Does sound like a systemic bacterial infection.>
The pH has been between 7.8 and 8 (characteristic of the water table), ammonia has not been over .25,
<Still potentially dangerous.>
nitrites have not reached .1,
<When nitrites are substantially less than ammonia, that tends to imply an aquarium isn't properly cycled, and that can easily cause problems.>
and nitrates between 5 and 15. Could the antibiotic food (Jungle brand)
leach into the water and effect my nitrogen cycle?
<Potentially, but unlikely.>
How long should it take to give my fish the "all clear" if no symptoms develop and my ammonia and nitrites are back to 0 (should I wait longer than an average quarantine)?
<Well, cycling takes about 6 weeks from scratch, and rather less if the tank is at least partially cycled.>
Thank you for all your help through this. I have been bewildered as to the cause of most if it.
<All I'd do was assume a problem with water quality, allow the filter to re-cycle before adding any more fish, and to be careful with food, so there's no risk of uneaten food causing problems. Review stocking density, and make sure the filter is appropriate to the task in hand. Check there's enough circulation and you have a sensible balance of biological media to the other types. Cheers, Neale.>

Is this a worm? FW Polychaete of size! 2/10/08 Hi there, I have a freshwater tropical tank with 13 guppies, 3 fry, 2 Corydoras and 2 Bristlenose in an 80 litre tank (2ft wide, 2ft high, 1 ft from front to back). It is planted with java fern and one wisp of wisteria. There are also small snails that have arrived with earlier plants. I do a 25% water change each fortnight and the water parameters stay fine, though the PH runs a little on the high side. The adult guppies are from fry dropped by an earlier batch of fish that were lost to (I think) Columnaris. One or two earlier males also went from dropsy. I suspected parasitic problems last October, the fish were a bit listless and had pale faeces. There were a few casualties and I treated with Para-ex (20 mg Trichlorphon). This sadly killed our original Bristlenose and our baby Corydoras but the guppies have gone on well aside from the occasional undiagnosed fatality. One month ago I bought 2 more Bristlenose to replace the original and help keep the tank clean (we were getting increased algal growth). This has been the only introduction to the tank from outside for approx. 6 months. Yesterday, while doing the water change, I was disturbing the gravel to syphon out waste matter when I unearthed a wriggling worm type creature. I attach a photo. It is about 4 cm long and wriggles in the way of a snake. It has a multitude or what look like legs along the length of its body. There are 2 discernible eyes under magnification. What is it? Is it a danger to the tank? How do I treat/cope with it? A suggestion was made that I get a couple of loaches to hopefully eat it (and its offspring?) as a 'natural' form of management (rather than treat with Para ex again and have to try to manage the health of the Bristlenose) but I am concerned that they are a more aggressive fish than my current inhabitants. Or is it not a parasite at all? I am concerned for the state of my tank, particularly given the size of this creature and my assumption that it's not likely to be the only one. Any advice or info would be gratefully received. Sharon <What you have there is a freshwater Polychaete. It is no risk to your fish and will not be carrying parasites. So the appearance of this worm and the death of your fishes are entirely unrelated. Freshwater Polychaetes are comparatively uncommon; they are overwhelmingly a marine and brackish-water group in terms of success and diversity. I'm guessing yours is a member of the family Namanereidinae, perhaps one of the many species of Namalycastis. Regardless, the freshwater species are not predatory (unlike some of the larger marine species) and feed primarily on decaying vegetation and rotting wood. They may also be taking micro-organisms of various types. I suppose they might also eat fish eggs, but then so will snails and fish. Actually rather a lovely find, and you may decide to set up a special aquarium just for these worms -- they are not at all commonly seen in fish tanks and would be well worth observing in more detail. I'm really quite jealous! Cheers, Neale.>

A very nice pic. RMF

Worms in fresh water aquarium 11/29/07 Hi WWM My sister has a fresh water Aquarium which she just cleaned out on the weekend, and a few days later we have noticed these worm like creatures in the filter tubes no where else but in them. They have small legs and are hatching out of these things that look like cocoons and if you look carefully at them they have small mouths. There very disturbing to look at and gross us out. There's so many of them please help! Jessica <Hello Jessica. Without a photo its impossible to say what they are. But given they have obvious limbs and mouthparts, one must assume they are some sort of insect. Aquatic insects vary in their danger to aquarium fish: most are simply fish-food, but a few, particularly dragonfly (Odonata) and beetle (Coleoptera) larvae, can turn the tables and will catch and eat small fish. If you can send a picture, we can try and identify your visitors with a bit more precision. Cheers, Neale.>

Spawning worms 11/28/07 Hi, Hope you can help me with a 'wormy' problem. My fish (goldfish) spawn and I remove the eggs and put them in a separate tank for hatching. Within two weeks of them hatching I notice that I have red baby worms as well, I think they are called nematodes. How do I get rid of them. I have tried various means in the past even boiling the gravel etc but they just come back. I only have them when I have babies, I have had no luck with internet search thus far. If I leave the worms they grow into long spine shuddering wriggly things, the adults don't have worms in their tanks so where do they come from. I really want to get rid of them. I tried a 'commercial' fish de-wormer (for the adults) available from my local but that obviously has not worked either, any suggestions you can make I would be very grateful. Best Regards, Gillian <Hello Gillian. The good news is these worms almost certainly aren't nematodes but probably insect larvae (chironomids) given their red colouration. Even if they were nematodes, the free-living sorts that appear in aquaria don't do any harm. Anyway, assuming their insect larvae, they're getting in by insects laying eggs on the water or with live food or plants. They don't cause any problems, and adult fish will readily eat them. After a few weeks they turn into a pupa (looks like a pod with a tail that hangs at the surface) and then the adult midge appears and flies away. The easiest way to fix the problem is to stop them getting in. There are no medications useful for killing insects that are safe to use, so trying to kill them isn't going to happen. Scoop them out and dispose of them, and then ensure adults can't lay their eggs in the tank by covering the tank with a lid. I personally wouldn't worry about them, and would recommend you use them as live food for surface-feeders like halfbeaks and Hatchetfish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Spawning worms 11/28/07 Hi, Thanks for replying. I must admit I'm not convinced about the insect angle as I only ever have these worms when the fish have spawned and I have fry, certainly have not seen anything like the pupae you described. It would seem the only way to get rid of them is to dump the gravel and replace all filter material once the young fish go to new homes etc. I don't think they do harm the fish but there are just so many, they get into everything and they grow rather long and the 'stick' to the tank sides and the bucket when I do a water change. They are just revolting. Once again Thanks for advice. Gillian <Ah, you didn't say they were stuck to the glass. This suggests they are Planarians. Again, harmless, but planarians are almost always connected to overfeeding and bad aquarium maintenance. They consume detritus and the micro-organisms that live in messy tanks. They are typically around 10-20 mm long, rarely much bigger, very flat, and often some shade of reddish-brown. Removal is tricky, but certain fish, most famously gouramis and Paradisefish, will eat them. Basically you need to manually remove them with each water change, and then make sure you keep the tank clean so the remainder can't reproduce rapidly. Eventually the population will die back. Changing the gravel and filter media would work too. They are rather neat animals and worth appreciating, though in vast numbers they to indicate deeper problems with the tank that should be addressed. Planarians will eat fish eggs and fry, so you don't want them in a breeding tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Worm ID (Royal Plec)... Insect 11/19/07 I've had a 3 1/2" Olive Royal Plec alone in quarantine for 10 days or so. I dewormed with Praziquantel last week at the recommend dosage (76 mg/10 g) as I know they're wild caught and don't want to pass anything onto my own fish. He went into a 20 gal tank with new aged water and a fully cycled Penguin 280 bio-wheel filter from another tank. I did his 25% water change today (after leaving the Praziquantel in 5 days) and found these live red worms (pic attached) in the water I syphoned off the bottom of the tank. Pretty wiggly and entertaining under the microscope but I can't figure out what they are via the FAQ's. If they weren't alive I'd have thought they were frozen bloodworms. I'm hoping it's a harmless worm that can be treated as the Plec is eventually going in with my much loved Severum. I promise not to bother you anymore, but maybe the picture will help others. Mitzi <Looks like a chironomid larva (a.k.a. midge larva or bloodworm) to me. Probably got in with some live food. Usually get eaten by fish, so not common in aquaria. But if this tank was empty for a while, then it's possible a midge laid some eggs there. In any case, harmless. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Red Worm ID (Royal Plec) 11/19/07 Thanks, Neale. I feel stupid then but thankfully that's good news. I never feed live food, but the driftwood in his tank had been soaking for a month in a large kiddie pool outside. I rinsed it off real well but I bet that's where the bloodworms came from. (The tank had been empty and stored before he went in it). What a relief! Mitzi <Mitzi, Glad we have a happy ending here! Cheers, Neale.>

Wiggly worms and Scary Fish Questions! Insect larvae... plus bizarre Macropodus obs. -- 09/29/07 About a month ago I started up a 10 gallon freshwater tank. In the tank I have 2 gala <Heee! Likely Bala... Balantiocheilus... needs much more room than here> sharks, two tiger barbs, <Keep your eye on... nippy> and 2 blue paradise fish. I set up the tank with an under gravel filter. A few days ago I went to replace the under gravel filter for a regular power filter because the tubes that contain the air stones in the under gravel were clogged with a brownish algae. That's when I noticed these tiny white worms wiggling all over the lid. They didn't seem to want to be IN the water although the lid stays very wet. What could have caused these worms? <Likely terrestrial insects... larvae. Can just wipe away...> (A fruit fly laying eggs because of the algae in the tubing above the water is what someone told me?) my second concern is about one of my paradise fish. All of the fish in my tank are pretty mellow (not because they are unhealthy) but occasionally one of my paradise fish does this strange thing with its mouth. Its upper lip moves away from its head and exposes this thin "nose-like" membrane. It swims around like that for a while and then it will suck its lip back in and look normal. What is that all about?! <Got me... can you send a pic?> Please Help!! thanks, Sammy <BobbyF>

Thin Clear - Whitish Worms - Nematodes/Planaria 7/21/07 Dear WWM, <Andrea with you tonight, Jean> Today I had noticed a several thin, clear, whitish worms crawling up the side walls of my 6.6 gallon freshwater aquarium tank (visible by a bright aquarium light). <Planarians or nematodes, most likely. Sign of overfeeding. Cut back to once every other day, only what your fish can eat in about two minutes. Net out any uneaten food remaining.> Once a week, I maintain my tank by vacuuming the gravel and performing a 20 percent water change. I always premixed my water with aquarium salt and stress coat, a night or two before I perform my tank maintenance. <Fantastic regimen. You can dump the salt, it is worthless as a tonic, and can actually harm some fish. I prefer Prime as a water conditioner. Less used per water change, and no additives other than what is needed for neutralizing chloramines/chlorine from tap water. Prime is a great product. I highly suggest it.> Recently, I treated my Betta with Jungle Parasite Clear because he had contracted a parasite. This parasite problem was due to me feeding him live black worms, which I stopped feeding him. <Shame. I bet he loved the live feeders. Don't discount them in the future as a treat. Bettas love them. Perhaps another live feeder provider?> My question is, can those thin, clear, whitish worms crawling up the side walls of my tank be a parasite? <Not likely.> Is this dangerous to my Betta? <He will likely eat them. Not a danger.> If so, how can I get rid of them? <Reduce feedings, water changes, deep gravel vacuum.> Treat my tank with Jungle Parasite Clear again? <No, unless the fish is sick.> Please give advice. Thanks again for all your help; your site is the greatest. <Anytime, we are here to help!> Jean

What are these tiny brown worms in my 10 gallon aquarium? 7/21/07 Hi my name is Donna, I've had my 10 gallon fish tanks for about 3 yrs I was changing the filter tonight and I noticed a couple of little brown looking worms that are located on some of my artificial plants that I let float in the top of my tank for my baby guppies to hide in are they dangerous to my guppies and platies ? what are they ? and how do get rid of them ? should I completely break down my tank I was hoping to be able to wait a couple of weeks before breaking down my tanks until my new mobile home is set up so could put all my fish in my 55 gallon will my fish be ok till then ? <Hello Donna. These worms are almost certainly planarians. These are usually flat and liver-coloured, and around 5 mm long. The slide along things rather than wriggle. Sometimes they slide along the surface of the water. They are harmless, although they will eat fish eggs and are a nuisance in tanks where egg-laying fish are being bred (been there, done that!). Otherwise all they do is eat microscopic organisms and detritus. In a tank with guppies and other livebearers they are harmless. Besides, getting rid of them is difficult and only worthwhile if they cause a problem. Some fish will eat them (paradise fish are famous for this). They're interesting animals and worth reading up on when you get a chance. Cheers, Neale>

Tiny worms in my pool! 7/10/07 I have dozens of tiny dark colored, short and skinny worms swimming in my above ground pool. Are they dangerous??? <Mmm, highly unlikely to be so> My kids want to go swimming, but I am holding them back until I can make sure they aren't some kind of parasite. They tend to curl and uncurl to move around in the water. I picked one up and it was soft and squished in my hand, but we are all afraid to swim with them now, even in this hot weather. Please let me know if I should dump gallons and gallons of water out of my pool or not. I tried household bleach, but maybe I didn't use enough, because they are still alive and squirming. Yuck! Help! ~Thank you, P. Carris WA <Mmm, maybe a good idea to have a "real" pool man/person come on out and hyper-chlorinate (and possibly drop the pH temporarily) here... I'd "kick it up a notch" (Bam!) to 2.0 ppm free Cl... to kill all... allow the free chlorine to dissipate... likely for a day. This should "do it" inexpensively. Bob Fenner>

Worms in my tank 4/10/07 Hello, I have been reading your site and it has been really helpful, but to be sure I just wanted to explain my situation and see what you thought. I have a 75 gallon freshwater tank with one Jack Dempsey cichlid and a algae eater (not sure of the real name) <Algae eater is probably Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, a nasty son-of-a-gun and a Jack Dempsey is one of the few fish that would be able to handle it. Big (30 cm), greenish fish with distinctive spiracle (opening) above each gill slit.> They both seem very healthy, very vibrant in color. I was looking very closely and I saw very thin hair looking worms that didn't really move. The only reason I new they were living things is because I poked one with my finger and it squiggled. There are only a few of these worm things and I was wondering if it was a parasite from my Jacks stomach. <Unlikely. If parasitic worms sometimes come in with wild-caught fish, but they don't wiggle about in the gravel. If you see a swollen belly and/or worms protruding from the anus, then parasite worms are possible. Otherwise these are harmless nematodes or Oligochaetes that have (for example) come in with live food.> The only reason why I'm concerned with this is because lately he hasn't had and appetite. Any thoughts on this? <Try using garlic to stimulate appetite. You can even buy ready-garlicked frozen food! Also try starving the fish for a few days, and then offering something new. Maybe some seafood or a bit of whitebait instead of the usual flake and pellets. One thing aquarists often overlook is dried food loses its savour after a while. Though safe to use for months after opening, after about 4 weeks it doesn't smell strong enough and many fish ignore it. If you buy big tubs, divide it up, freeze most of it in a dry container, and remove only a portion at a time. Maybe check for constipation (yes, happens to fish too) a remedy by offering green foods such as cooked peas.> Thanks for your time, <No probs. Cheers, Neale> Jennifer

Dear Brandon, <Hello again Jason.> I know putting the BTA in my 180 gallon was a bit premature however its previous 55 gallon tank had sprung a leak and I had to transfer it over. <You gotta do what you gotta do. I was just illustrating that these animals need established systems that's all. Further, I suggested that you read up on the care of these critters, because you seemed shocked by what is an ordinary occurrence.> Most of the fish I was able to store in my QT tank however I did not want to combine the BTA in that small an environment as it is crowded already with the fish. <Likely a stressful event.> My question is what should I be looking for in the anemone to see if it is doing O.K. or if it is in distress? <Droopy mouth, staying closed all the time, turning to goo.> The water levels are normal 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, ph 8.4 <Nitrite, Calcium, Alkalinity?> The tank has 3- 250W MH with 2 rows of actinic bulbs, a 30 gallon trickle sump and a 2- gallon mud refugium with mangroves. <Interesting setup.> Thanks again, <You are welcome. Brandon.> Jason

QA@aquaticeco.com Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 16:25:34 -0400 (EDT) Hello This is a Quality Assurance message to check on our level of customer service. On 03/17/2007 12:06:38 we received a message from you through our support center. This message is to make sure your question was answered to your satisfaction and give you an opportunity to let us know. We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you in the future. Please reply to this message if you wish to comment on our level of service. Our Regards, AES Customer Support Staff <Mmm, still waiting for a call-back re your marketing... Bob Fenner>

Re: shark rehabilitation/release/placement Thank you Bob, I wasn't sure that you would be for such an undertaking. <Mmm, oh yes. To be clear, I am all in favor of what preserves life, the environment that allows such... Your efforts are confluent with mine, our philosophies match> You may use my letter, but please remove Wildlife World Zoo and Brian Joseph's name, as I have not asked his permission to have his name on a chat site just yet. When we get this going, we will come up with some formal name for your viewers who might be in need. <Ahh... would you please send along the original? Per your request I deleted our correspondence> I would like to contact those other organizations that you mentioned. I guess that I should be able to find them on the internet? <Oh yes... they are as stated... place the info. in your search tool/s> Thanks again. I have Scott's book. It is fantastic. Will keep in touch. Sharmie <I look forward to this. BobF>

"Bruce Ulmer" <bruce_ulmer@casco-group.com> Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 08:09:14 -0700 Hey Bruce! Very nice piece... Do you have this in a format that we might post on our sites? And great to see at least the UK has an aquatics trade 'zine... Hope trust you enjoyed your stay in the UK... Brrrrr! And that all is well with you, your health. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Bruce Ulmer Senior Vice President CASCO Group, Inc. 17719 Valley View St, Cerritos, CA 90703 714-522-8373 ex 202 714-562-6502 Direct Line 800-537-3415 ex 202 714-690-9273 Personal Fax bruce_ulmer@casco-group.com <mailto:bruce_ulmer@casco-group.com> http://www.casco-group.com < http://www.casco-group.com> Hi Bob, I'll find out if we have something you may use. How have you been? <Fine my friend, thank you> I enjoyed my time in the UK but you are so right...too damn cold. :) Bruce <Heeee! I do hope to see you about someday soon. Cheers, BobF> Bob, leave here: Call on Omega Sea Marketing 3/20/07 Dear Bob Fenner, I'm not sure if you're the person I need to speak with but I am the new head of marketing at Omega Sea, Ltd (Omega One fish foods) and I wanted to first off introduce myself as well as try and get in contact with the appropriate person to discuss our advertising on your site. I believe we have done so in the past. If you could give me a proper contact it would be much appreciated. Thank you, Rachel Latina Graphic Designer/Head of Marketing Omega Sea, Ltd rachel@omegasea.net <Pleased to make your acquaintance Rachel... Tis I or Mike Kaechele you likely want to chat with. Have you seen the banner we made/placed for Omega Sea? Your time in advertising was pre-paid and ran out the middle of last year... We've continued it as a courtesy, promotion of our new Banner Ad program... Please see here if you'd like to continue in some capacity: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/wwmsponsors.htm Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Eco-Systems 3/20/07 Hello Thank you for checking with Aquatic Eco-Systems. Your email has been forwarded to our marketing department. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Best regards Kevin Quinn M.S. Zoology Aquatic Eco-Systems 2395 Apopka Boulevard Apopka, FL 32703 <Thanks Kevin... I will wait a few days and give a call there. Bob Fenner> www.aquaticeco.com 407-886-3939 Fax 407-886-6787 Hello my name is Bruce you may direct your advertising inquiries to myself. Thanks, Bruce Vizueta <Oh! Bruce. Should I give you a call? Would you make known what time might be best? Have you perused our outline/offer, with links to our stats servers here?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/wwmsponsors.htm Am an old timey aquarist/lake management type... who used to buy from you folks way before your interest in more ornamental aquatics... Look forward to chatting with you, Bob Fenner> Market Analyst Aquatic Eco-Systems, Inc. 2395 Apopka Blvd. Apopka, FL 32703 Phone: 407-886-3939 Fax: 407-886-0800

Re: Ben, Ken? About your Overall Marketing, your Website, It's Promotional/Advertising Potential Hi Bob, Can you tell me the stats of the site? Can you forward the weblogs? <All posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/wwmsponsors.htm> Also, would you be interested in an affiliate set-up? <Mmm, don't see the particulars of this proposal on your site> What number can I call you at to discuss? <858 549 XXXX. Bob Fenner>

Wayland "US Tetra Consumer" <Consumer@tetra.net> Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 13:55:06 -0400 Hello Bob, I am going to forward your email to Linda Staley, but I'm not sure if she is the right person or not. If so, she will contact you. Otherwise, she will forward you on to the correct person in marketing. Regards, Tetra <Thanks much. Bob Fenner> -----Original Message----- From: Bob@WetWebMedia.com [mailto:Bob@WetWebMedia.com] Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 12:52 PM To: US Tetra Consumer Subject: TW -- General Contact Us Request A Contact Us email has been sent from the Tetra Site. Here is the information. Email: Bob@WetWebMedia.com Message: Whom might I contact there re your

Website advertising? "Euro-Reef, Inc. Marketing Group" <er.marketing@euro-reef.com> Reply-To: <er.marketing@euro-reef.com> To: "'Robert Fenner'" <By Bob Fenner> Subject: RE: The Big Island... Notes to Bob and Jeff Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 10:40:15 -0700 Hi Bob, I passed the Kona info to Robert and Jeff for their vacation, thanks very much. Looks like a go from this end on our ad deal, yeehaw! Please invoice us and fax or email it to Jennifer Macare er.admin@euro-reef.com <Yay! You can use PayPal, or I'll bill you folks in arrears... The addy?> Also, Jeff will get you our banner and static logo to place on your site. <Am looking forward to it!> The Kona house looks awesome and I will contact Pete to get an idea of rental fees and calendar for available time. If I can afford it I would rather give the money to someone I know than the Hilton Hotel!!! <Am in total agreement... My principal raison d'etre for buying such places... Makes me go there... and I am "forced" to enjoy myself!> Thanks for the free stay offer and I might take you up on that if I come up alone or with my lady friend sometime. Let's get this ad campaign reelin' and a-rockin"! <I'll say! Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Rene Macare Dir.of Marketing Euro-Reef ph:(949)770-9913 x16 fx: (949)770-3099 www.euro-reef.com

From: "Euro-Reef, Inc. Marketing Group" <er.marketing@euro-reef.com> Subject: RE: The Big Island... Notes to Bob and Jeff Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 14:42:40 -0700 Bob thanks again for your time on the phone today. I mistakenly called your Kona home number thinking I would reach you in San Diego....OOPS! I do not have your local home number but here is what I need form you for us to make a decision today on the ad: <Oh, our SD number is 858 549 XXXX for your records> You mentioned a two for one deal but no specific cost related to that. To be up front it may be easier to let you know what our budget is that we have to work with and we can get for that. We are looking at $300 max per month at this time. We will monitor the success (ROI) from this and decide if it makes sense to throw more $$$ at it as we grow our business. <The offer I make is the right shared border (the "static" ad space of 100 by X pixels...) PLUS the Rotating Banner Ad (468 by 60)... For the low, low price of... what you're offering... the Three Hundred U.S. per mo.> Thanks again for your help with this and for the great Kona info as well! <I do hope we can/will all make it out there sometime soon. Oh, forgot Pete's email last time... He's cc'ed above...> P.S. - Bob, when you have a moment can you provide me with the contact name/phone number or email address to get info on your house rental fees etc. <Ah yes... the Jabulani addr. there above... and his phone: 858 722 XXXX... FWIW, you're welcome to come out sometime when I'm there (go out every few months, generally for a month or so at a time, more if folks will be coming to visit/stay) for free... Do keep in touch re times...> I am planning to head out to Hawaii sometime later this year with my girls and my girlfriend (the plein air painter) and son may join. Is there is web site with info on the house or can you tell me a little about the location, number of bedrooms, sleeping room, etc., have any pictures? Thanks a bunch! <Oh, the house, addr. can be seen here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/holualoaproperty.htm BobF> Sincerely, Rene Macare Dir.of Marketing Euro-Reef, IncT ph:(949)770-9913 x16 fx: (949)770-3099 www.euro-reef.com

Subject: The Big Island... Notes to Bob and Jeff Hey Rene! Thank you for taking the time to chat this AM... For your kin's upcoming visit: Do make sure to pick up a cooler either at the King's Shops or Costco, Kmart, Wal-Mart... these are great places on the Big Island... for packing sodas et al. during your stay... going to, from the hotel... Though is a haul over the rough hallways there at the Hilton in Waikoloa... Maybe two coolers. While you're there, do call on Gerald Heslinga (if he'll see you... he's more than a bit of a recluse) at Indo-Pacific Sea Farms... and Carol and Craig at Ocean Rider (they're listed in the local phone books)... down at NELHA (just south of the airport/Keohole... Make sure and get in a "pizza night" down at Kona Brewing Company... in town (Kailua Old Industrial)... And the usual pitches for nice beaches... Hapuna (public) and Mauna Kea's (private, go early to get a parking placard... it's free otherwise)... Up for adventure? Got to make a run down to Kilauea Volcano Park... a day or so at Hilo's waterfalls et al... (do bring some lightweight rain gear if you have it... and flashlights if you're going to stay till dark to see the lava... And Waipio... a haul but real fun... And Parker Ranch has many attractions for young folks... Do look in "101 Things to do on the Big Island"... a circular at the Airport... esp. for the coupons for discounts, two-fors... And don't be shy re asking the locals what they do, where they eat et al... there are many great things to experience there... I will be out (at "A" Bay just south of where you're staying) for the Lavaman tri, but leaving unfortunately a day ahead of your arrival... Do send along your cell numbers (I don't have one...) and I'll call you if I extend. Our house number there is 808 331 0889. Cheers, Bob Fenner Dear Brandon, <Hello again Jason.> I know putting the BTA in my 180 gallon was a bit premature however its previous 55 gallon tank had sprung a leak and I had to transfer it over. <You gotta do what you gotta do. I was just illustrating that these animals need established systems that's all. Further, I suggested that you read up on the care of these critters, because you seemed shocked by what is an ordinary occurrence.> Most of the fish I was able to store in my QT tank however I did not want to combine the BTA in that small an environment as it is crowded already with the fish. <Likely a stressful event.> My question is what should I be looking for in the anemone to see if it is doing O.K. or if it is in distress? <Droopy mouth, staying closed all the time, turning to goo.> The water levels are normal 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, ph 8.4 <Nitrite, Calcium, Alkalinity?> The tank has 3- 250W MH with 2 rows of actinic bulbs, a 30 gallon trickle sump and a 2- gallon mud refugium with mangroves. <Interesting setup.> Thanks again, <You are welcome. Brandon.> Jason

Plant Leech 03/23/07 Hi Crew! Hope all is well with you, you've helped me so much in the past. To make a long story short, I have a 10 gallon tank that has been used as a plant refuge for when I thin plants out of the aquariums. I throw them into this tank. At one time the tank was a failed attempt to raise daphnia, I never cleaned it out after that, just started throwing plants into it. After a few months I was given some cherry shrimp that were too small to go into the main tanks, so I put those in there. When I added the shrimp I put in a sponge filter and heater. I don't perform routine water changes on this tank. This tank has been a fascinating biological experiment of sorts because it has a blanket of live blackworms now that must have accidentally come in there on plants. (I feed the fish live blackworms a couple of times a week.) The tank is full of shrimp that have bred like crazy and hitchhiker snails. The water is green, and amazingly there is no algae in the tank, whatsoever. However, it is time for me to transform it into a usable tank and I was thinking of putting a couple of killies and a group of sidthmunkis in there, of course making sure the parameters are good first. I really wouldn't want to see all of this "food" go to waste. Sound like a good idea? Probably not... But anyhow, I also have these in my tank. Do you have any idea what they are? Are they good slugs/flatworms? Or bad slugs/flatworms? Should I just forget my dream of giving some lucky fish the feast of their lives and clean the tank out before I introduce any fish into it? Thanks! Take care, Mary. < This is a typical FW plant leech. Fish don't eat them but they really aren't much of a problem.-Chuck>
FW Plant Leech 03/23/07 Hi Crew! <Hello Mary!> Hope all is well with you, you've helped me so much in the past. To make a long story short, I have a 10 gallon tank that has been used as a plant refuge for when I thin plants out of the aquariums. I throw them into this tank. At one time the tank was a failed attempt to raise daphnia, I never cleaned it out after that, just started throwing plants into it. After a few months I was given some cherry shrimp that were too small to go into the main tanks, so I put those in there. When I added the shrimp I put in a sponge filter and heater. I don't perform routine water changes on this tank. This tank has been a fascinating biological experiment of sorts because it has a blanket of live blackworms now that must have accidentally come in there on plants. (I feed the fish live blackworms a couple of times a week.) The tank is full of shrimp that have bred like crazy and hitchhiker snails. The water is green, and amazingly there is no algae in the tank, whatsoever. <Because it's balanced. In balanced tanks, the rate of algal growth is checked by the growth of plants and predation by algae-eating animals. In aquaria (and ponds, and eutrophic waters in the wild) the balance is lost, and often the algae prosper because their natural limiting factors are taken away.> However, it is time for me to transform it into a usable tank and I was thinking of putting a couple of killies and a group of sidthmunkis in there, of course making sure the parameters are good first. <You'll lose almost all the fun, I suspect. To reach a balance with fish, you need a *lot* of water volume per fish. Look for a copy of the excellent book "Dynamic Aquaria" for a scientific (and highly detailed) investigation of balanced aquaria with complete ecosystems. Certainly possible, but very challenging if you include fishes, miles easier with just inverts.> I really wouldn't want to see all of this "food" go to waste. Sound like a good idea? Probably not... But anyhow, I also have these in my tank. Do you have any idea what they are? Are they good slugs/flatworms? Or bad slugs/flatworms? Should I just forget my dream of giving some lucky fish the feast of their lives and clean the tank out before I introduce any fish into it? <Those are small leeches, annelid subclass Hirudinea. Now, the vast majority of leeches are predators on invertebrates. Very, very few are bloodsuckers. But obviously those that are can be very damaging to fish, particularly very small fish. Identifying leeches to species level is difficult, and definitely a job for your friendly neighbourhood freshwater ecologist or parasitologist. Identification beyond subclass level is below me, I'm afraid! In the meantime though, don't kill it out of hand. Leeches are lovely animals, and if you can encourage it to go swimming you will be treated to one of the most beautiful little spectacles in the animal kingdom. They also have a very cute "inchworm" mode of walking. The sucker at the front (blunt end) is armed with teeth with which it catches its prey, and most species suck up the "juices" of whatever they've caught either directly or through a neat little stylet. You can also see the digestive system quite nicely in your photo, too. All in all, charming, if weird, animals.> Thanks! <No problem.> Mary.

White Worms In Tank... not punks on dope 2/6/07 I have had my two Oscars for about two and a half years now and have had no problems with them until now. I was gone for the weekend and came back to little white worms the size of hair swimming around in my tank. I cleaned out the tank and scrubbed everything really good. When I put the fish back in the tank they were still there. What do I do? <Nada... these worms are not deleterious; will "go" with improved water quality, maintenance on your part. Bob Fenner>

Round worms in swimming pool 12/11/06 I know this isn't a typical question you get... but.. thought you may be able to help. We have a salt-water swimming pool and we recently noted 2 worms in the pool we've never seen before. They were about 7-10 inches long, round (not flat), very very thin (think 0.5mm pencil lead). They were swimming just fine in our hot tub - the water was not hot. When we brought them out of the water, they flip flopped around somewhat spastically with both ends moving independently. There were a brown-ish/yellow color. Their skin/skeleton was quite "crunchy" when we tested to see how tough it was. :) Any idea what this could be? -Bruce <Mmm, as you state, could be Nematodes... if you have a good magnifying loupe, you could cut through (make a coronal section) through the esophagus (just a bit back from the head...) and look/see if this is tri-radiate (three-sided)... diagnostic for the Phylum... could be Horsehair worms... other "wormy" possibilities. Not toxic, or dangerous to human health assuredly. Bob Fenner>

Not urgent. Calcium, and worms. 11/01/06 Hello Crew! <<Hi, Rachel. Tom>> I know you're all terribly busy, and this isn't terribly important, so please feel free to skip over this one! <<Can't do that Rachel. Yours is important to you which makes it important to us.>> I have a 2.5 gallon tank with a 25-watt heater, 10-watt fluorescent lighting, and in-tank Whisper filter set on low, in which I keep a spoiled-rotten Betta of about a year and a half old. The system was started about a year ago, and was moved/remodeled two months ago. About a month ago I added a Java fern and some red Ludwigia. I added a lovely blue mystery snail (Pomacea bridgesii) a week ago, and he is doing a remarkable job on eating the algae (working on getting the plants to thrive instead!). <<I completely understand'¦>> Temperature is 80, ammonia and nitrite 0, nitrate usually under 5 now since adding the live plants... I think the pH is 7.4, though I'm not at home right now to look it up. I try to do 25% water changes every week or two, though I've been lax lately. Anyhow, my water is on the soft side, and the snail's shell is already looking a little worn. I am planning to add "something" to the tank for calcium. I've heard of crushed coral or marble. However, since I also keep a cockatiel, I have cuttlefish bone handy as a source of calcium for the bird. Could I put a well-rinsed (and obviously unused) piece in the aquarium? <<I've not run across this for aquatic snails but I have for land snails. Frankly, I find it a good option to try especially given that your pH is already at ~7.4.>> And how big a chunk are we talking? <<Try a piece with a surface area of about one square inch, or so.>> The bones are about five inches long by two or three inches wide, half an inch thick, and can easily be snapped into smaller pieces. Was just planning on tucking it behind a rock somewhere with a little water flow to help it dissolve. Right? <<You might find that your snail will actually 'feed' on the bone as land snails do. (I'm somewhat curious about this myself.) Obviously, you'll want to monitor pH levels though I don't believe that this should prove to be a problem.>> Secondly, I've noticed "the little white worms" floating around and wiggling on the tank walls. White, threadlike, about 1 cm long. I had these once maybe nine months ago. Up until yesterday I was assuming they are harmless Planaria, and I was stepping up the water changes as I know these are a sign of excess nutrients. However, yesterday I noticed Terrence the Betta eating them as they floated by. If they're just free-living Planaria I'm pretty sure this is harmless, but is there any chance these could be parasitic worms which Terrence has passed and he is re-infecting himself somehow? <<Parasites, by definition, require a 'host' in order to survive. In all likelihood, they're Planaria.>> His feces are never stringy-white, but very occasionally his normal feces will include some little clear sections that look like mucus. I believe I'm just paranoid, but better safe than sorry! He is acting quite normally, swimming around, flaring and nipping at the snail, eating voraciously -- he has even started to pick at the algae wafers for the snail, and will steal them out from under him! <<Don't be overly concerned about the occasional clear sections in his feces. This isn't uncommon or an indication of a problem any more than a very occasional sneeze means you're getting a cold. Just happens'¦>> Thanks for all your hard work! Rachel North Carolina <<Thank you kindly, as well, Rachel. Best regards. Tom (Michigan)>>

Planaria - On The Menu for Plecostomus? - 10/19/2006 <<Tom here.>> Do Plecos eat Planaria? <<Not without mustard and ketchup. Actually, I suppose they will but Planaria sure wouldn't be a Pleco's first choice off the menu. If you're experiencing a Planaria "outbreak", better to give your aquarium a good cleaning, particularly the substrate, and keep nitrate levels to a minimum, i.e. below 20 ppm. Tom>>

Planaria, toxins and breeding fish 10/4/06 Tom, <<Hey, Lisa>> Yeah, I think so, too. I think that the Pacu has more noticeable "spots" on them. Well it's in a larger aquarium now, probably about 150-200 or gallons. But, I think it will be alright for now. <<What fish wouldn't be? :)>> Oh, okay, so only thing you can do with the nitrates and ammonia is to water change regularly right? <<Yes and no. Water changes for nitrates, absolutely. Ammonia and nitrites are, ultimately, dealt with biologically. That is, once both beneficial bacteria populations are established through proper cycling, these toxins will, for our purposes, be eliminated without resorting to water changes. There are times, however, when it may become necessary to fall back on water changes to handle these. This could occur due to a spike in either of these compounds. An example? Let's go back to the Silver Dollars. You've done your research and learned that these are best kept in groups. You purchase six beauties and, following quarantine, you transfer them to the display tank. Being conscientious, you keep a close eye on water parameters and note, to your dismay, that you've got measurable amounts of ammonia even though it had been zero for some time. In short, your well-balanced system just took a "bio-hit" from the addition of six more fish. Solution? Dilution. Perform water changes to get the ammonia (or nitrites) back to "safe" levels until the beneficial bacteria can increase in population to bring the system back to equilibrium.>> I have one more question, where does the Planaria come from? <<Well, you take a boy Planaria and a girl Planaria and... Okay, I'm being silly and, frankly, inaccurate. There's no such thing as "male" or "female" Planaria. Seriously, they're almost always "imported" with plant life. Planaria are exceedingly common critters in natural freshwater systems like lakes, streams and ponds and will highjack a ride, if possible, with plants that we put in our aquariums. As with nearly any life form, the more abundant the source of food, the more likely you are to have an "explosion" in the species in question. Interestingly, Planaria are capable of regenerating themselves from very small parts taken from a host worm. One researcher, presumably with too much time on his hands, found that a new worm can be generated from a portion as small as 1/279th of a host. There's something you can use to dazzle your friends! :)>> Was it already there and it came all of a suddenly abundant like Ick? <<Ich is believed, by some anyway, to lie basically dormant in fish until stress or some other factor weakens the immune system enough for the parasite to "take hold". Planaria must be "introduced" into an aquarium via some other avenue as they're non-parasitic, i.e. don't "attach" themselves to fish.>> That's cool about you keeping freshwater. Some pretty cool species. Okay I lied, one more question :). Do you breed your fish? <<Actually, Lisa, no, I don't breed my fish. I've toyed with the idea from time to time but "construction" projects around the house as well as my oddball work schedule have really limited the amount of time I have to devote to the task. (As we speak I have a beam running the width of my family room that's calling for my undivided attention but, that's between you and me.) ;)>> Have a good day, Lisa <<You do the same, Lisa. Tom>>

Worms? Hi Robert, <<Tom here, Lisa, "disguised" as Bob.>> Today I just noticed A LOT of worm looking things in my tank, many on my glass, some 'swimming' around. They are white, I don't see anything on my fish yet... There are quite a few long ones (1/2 or more) and many small ones. ( have to look hard) I really don't know what it is! <<Planaria, Lisa. They're a type of flatworm and aren't harmful to your fish though they're indicative of poor water quality.>> I had my tank for about year and a half (First tank) Recently I added new fish to my tank, it was about a couple weeks ago, but my biggest one ate them. I don't know if that had to do with anything. <<Your biggest one, what, Lisa? This wouldn't have had anything to do with the Planaria but it was certainly rough on your new fish.>> Right now I only have 3 fish. <<Thanks to your biggest one... :)>> I am thinking that I need to do a water change and clean the tank really good. I'm not sure. <<Absolutely what is called for here, Lisa. I'd do a couple of 20% changes a few days apart and vacuum the substrate, if any, thoroughly and deeply. Do this in sections, though. You don't want to vacuum all of substrate at one time since we want to keep the beneficial bacteria residing there as intact as possible.>> Your advice would be great! <<You don't mention whether, or not, you have a water test kit, Lisa. If not, I'd recommend purchasing one. All of your tank's parameters are important to know but, after having been established for a year and a half, nitrates are going to be the big issue. These should be kept below 20 ppm to avoid letting the tank get to the point where Planaria present themselves again.>> Sincerely, Lisa Scott <<Good luck, Lisa. Tom>>

Re: FW Worms? Tom, <<Hi, Lisa.>> My biggest one, my biggest fish, ate the 4 fish I just got... (I was thinking that I got it from the new fish). It's a silver dollar. The pet store said it was a peaceful fish! Obviously not!! It ate a crab too!! <<Silver Dollars are "herbivores", which makes this all the more strange. (Yours apparently didn't get the memo!) Kidding aside, other than being notoriously "nervous" fish and wreaking havoc on live plants, I've never anything "bad" about these fish. Quite the contrary is true. They (typically) get along with other fish so well that they're recommended as tankmates for a rather broad spectrum of other species.>> How often should I do a water changes? I was doing them about once a month. <<I would cut this time frame in half, Lisa. Perform a water change every couple of weeks.>> And I just put a new Filter in - it wasn't very dirty at all before I saw the worms. <<A dirty aquarium isn't really what it sounds like. "Dirty" refers more to water conditions/parameters than it does to visible "unsightliness". The two, particularly in the case of nitrates, can go hand-in-hand but, without testing, you really wouldn't know for sure. Out of curiosity, did you leave the old filter in place or, put some - or all- of the old filter media in the new filter, when the new one was installed? If not, your aquarium has to completely re-cycle, leaving your fish to deal with the inevitable spiking of ammonia and nitrites. You'll absolutely need to keep a close eye on this.>> The one thing that does not help the nitrates is that the tube for the filter is really far up from the ground. I need an extension tube ( I guess I better go get it). <<Save yourself some money, Lisa. Nitrates aren't removed by the filter. These are removed via water changes. Extending the pick-up tube won't help in any discernible fashion.>> I just bought a siphon so I can get the stuff in the rocks. I can admit I've been kind of neglecting them. (I have been REALLY busy since school started). <<Ever wish there were more than 24 hours in a day? :)>> So those worms won't harm my fish at all? <<Nope. They're not interested in your fish, just what your fish leave behind, particularly uneaten food.>> On Monday I took two of my fish out and gave them to another person (not knowing or seeing the worms). So they won't transfer to the other tank? I'm really worried about that! <<They could "transfer" with the water from the tank but not on the fish. Strictly non-parasitic critters...>> And no'¦ I don't have a nitrate testing kit (I know I should have known better). <<But, then, we wouldn't have had this opportunity to chat. :) >> Thanks for your help, you're a fish saver! Lisa <<Best regards and good luck with school. Tom>>

FW... Planaria 8/28/06 Hello <<Hi, Shannon. Tom with you.>> My friend's mother's tank has white flat worm type of bugs/worms in the tank. <<Planaria. Harmless to fish.>> One day there was none. Next there was thousands. It's a freshwater tank. Any ideas to remove them? <<Yes, Shannon, but you'll have to slow down a little. (I'm correcting more punctuation, etc., than offering advice. (hint, hint) :)>> They are starting to freak her out. <<Well, we can't have that! Your friend's mother needs to vacuum the gravel at the bottom of her tank. Planaria feed on the "gunk" that's left over from feeding, pooping,...well, you get the picture. Clean gravel? No little white worms.>> It is a fresh water tank also. <<You mentioned that. Take a deep breath, Shannon. :)>> P.S. They attack the live worms they feed the fish when they fall to the bottom of the tank. <<That's what Planaria do, Shannon. They're "opportunistic" feeders. If there's no "opportunity", they die and/or disappear. In short, the tank's dirty. It needs to be cleaned...thoroughly. Recommend that your friend's mother purchase a gravel vacuum from a fish store. Once she figures out how simple it is to use...Bingo! Sayonara to the little white worms!>> Thank you Shannon <<Happy to help, Shannon. Tom>>

Worms and platy fry 6/16/06 Greetings from Australia to all the crew, <Returns from sunny southern Cal. in the U.S.A.> having only a few months experience in keeping fish we have been running into quite a few problems with the poor things. Our latest involves something as unpleasant as worms. The local aquarium guy has assured us it has to do with the drought affecting our area and dams and not just something we did. We bought fluke tablets and after fishing out a few platy fry (all of which seemed fine) and we set up an emergency tank for them with water from the big tank. We then added the fluke tablets but being new at this and apparently not very clever we took out the wrong piece of the filter, with the result that worms are still in the fish and tank! We had a few mishaps with the little fry in the emergency tank with a new heater going berserk and killing the poor things, we were trying so hard to save, so we decided to leave the two last fry who seemed affected by the worms in the tank when treating next, but just as we were about to add more fluke we saw about 20 little fry swimming around. To make it worse we also have a speckled Cory which the before mentioned fish guy told us will not appreciate the fluke. Now what do we do? <I would treat all> One of our nice big platy females is having big worm issues and is in big trouble but what about all the little new ones? <All> Do we risk killing them in the new little tank with water from the big tank and a crazy out of control heater or do we leave them in the big tank and hope for the best? <I'd treat all in place, in your main/display tank> Please help. My kids have named 10 of the little fry and will be pretty upset if I kill more than I already have.. Oh and we also have some tough neon tetras in the tank. They have survived terrible water conditions due to our inexperience, ich, etc and now worms . We managed to kill 5 guppies, and 3 tough platys early on, yet the Neons live nice and strong. Totally opposite to what we have been told. (It may not sound like it but we really tried and we do care about the fish. We have bought every single form of equipment and medicine available. We are just not clever) Marianne in Australia <Bob Fenner>

Fresh water - centipede 6/10/06 I've got 35 gallons of freshwater - only a few tetras while the tank is cycling. We had some major problems with a Molly (from a local pet store - ugh) and we're rebuilding our tank. I've got fake plants, no "live" rock - the substrate is a mix of aquarium rock and river rock (long ago cleaned, boiled, soaked in water for weeks on end, etc, etc, etc) Everything is settling down and looking good - then I notice this centipede in the middle of my fake plants. <!> I don't think it was a bristle worm - after looking at all the pics of both - it really didn't resemble a bristle worm, it looked exactly like a centipede (that and I've seen centipedes before...) <Likely some sort of insect larvae... does it have many legs?> It was about 1 1/2 inches long - curled up on the plants. Colors kind of orange and dark brown or black. When I pulled it out, it was still moving around, had the legs, head and tail of a centipede. Tossed him out and gave a good look through my tank - no sign of any other uninvited critter. <Good> So, where would this thing have come from? <Might have been "laid" there... fallen in, perhaps came as a juvenile in food..> And does it mean my tank is not ready for new fish? Help? <Shouldn't be a factor if removed, the system is cycled. Bob Fenner> Thanks! Rochelle

Water Quality Update/Worms on Glass 6/9/06 Hi Crew, <Hi Matt, It's me, Pufferpunk again> As per Pufferpunk's advice I added Bio-Spira and my tanks nitrites and ammonia are now zero and have been zero for more than a week (great product!). <Sure is!> All the fish seem ok (except one somewhat bloated platy) but I noticed last night that there were small, whitish/transparent (hairs-width wide and a max of 1 mm long) worms squirming on the side glass. There is also a couple of concentrated pockets of them under the gravel. No sign of anything on the fish. Any ideas on what they are, if they're harmful and how to rid my tank of them would be greatly appreciated (I'm very disappointed I was planning on adding fish today now that the ammonia and nitrites are stable). <Those worms are a creature that comes from overfeeding your tank. Try scraping them off & do a nice big water change. Clean the gravel with a gravel vac too. Be sure to match the temp & use a dechlorinator (I like the product: Prime). Be sure to only add a couple of fish at a time to your tank.> If it matters, all the fish are from PetSmart whom supposedly guarantees no ich. <There is no way for them to guarantee no ich, unless they have quarantined all their fish for a month, before adding to their system. Even so, I just bought a fish from a friend's tank that had been long established. Within 12 hours, it was covered in ich. Good thing I QT'd the fish or my whole tank would have been infested!. ~PP> Also all of the equipment is brand new. Thanks, Matt

FW worm 6/23/06 Hi Bob. I have a tank with an African brown knife, mollies, ghost cats. This morning I saw what appears to be a tiny, tiny black worm crawling at the bottom of my tank. What can this be? <Mmm, could be an Oligochaete (something akin to an aquatic earthworm)... even a Hirudinean (leech)...> Everyone is eating & appears healthy. Water is good. Thanks! Diana <What is that Ted Nugent lick? "Where in doubt I take it out... it's a free for all"... I would remove this mystery creature just in case. Bob Fenner>

White Worms on Glass 7/23/06 <Hi Valarie , Pufferpunk here> I have enjoyed browsing through your site and have a question if you have time. I have a 90 gallon freshwater tank with no new fish added for over a year. The fish are all fine, but I have noticed a white film on the tank sides. When I look at the film, there are very small (worms?) no longer than 1mm that are slowly moving. I clean the tank, and have used parasite products with no change. Any ideas? Your help is greatly appreciated! <Harmless--generally comes from overfeeding/not enough water changes. Wipe them off, do a good-sized water change (should be done weekly 25-50%) & feed less. ~PP> Valarie Ikerd

Little White Worms In Cichlid Tanks - 05/20/2006 Hi, I have a problem, well about a million little problems. First let me say that this web site is very helpful, and well put together. So, about my problem. I have a 60 gal, 50 gal, 45 gal, and a 20 gal, all freshwater aquariums. Most of the tanks have South American Cichlids, with the exception of the 60 gallon, which has my African Tigerfish and a Raphael cat. About three months ago I noticed these little white worms about 1 centimeter to 3 centimeters long. They pretty much stay out of sight, until I do a water change, or disrupt the gravel. Then the tank is full of them. I cleaned the 50 gallon out with bleach, changed the filters, and even bought new gravel. Then a week later I notice that they were back!!! They have spread to all of my tanks now due to my constant rearranging of plants and decorations. Please help me with this, are they good, bad, or does it matter? I also noticed that my Jaguar Cichlid in the 50 gallon acts sick when the worms are swimming around. < They are probably harmless but go ahead and treat all the tanks with Fluke-Tabs. This will kill all the invertebrates in the tank. These worms may have come in with the gravel.-Chuck>

Weird Worms!!!!!???? We have tiny, clear (almost white) worm-like things on the inside of the glass in our freshwater aquarium. We were told that they are anchor worms <your counsel was grossly mistaken... parasitic anchor worms would never be observed living on the glass without a host... many non-parasitic worm and Planaria populations do occur in tanks that are overfed, overstocked or lack adequate gravel siphoning. I suspect that is the case here. And although they are harmless, their presence indicates a level of pollution in the tank that is harmful to fishes> and have treated the water with CopperSafe, but the worms are still there. I don't know if they are really anchor worms or not. <they are not> Several fish have died. Some of them had white spots and/or fin rot. <mitigated by water quality perhaps> We moved all of the fish into a bowl (filled with fresh, treated water) and drained the tank, but now there are tiny worms in the fish bowl. Before moving our surviving fish back into the big tank, we want to be rid of the little nasties crawling around on the glass. HELP????!!!!! <consider if you are overfeeding. Fish food should be consumed at the surface of the water and caught if necessary midwater (some species). Food should never hit the bottom of the aquarium as a rule (even the bottom dwellers learn to feed at the surface). Keep the fish stable in the main tank and do water changes to maintain water quality... the worms will wane naturally on their own as nutrients are controlled. Best regards, Anthony> -- Thomas Kennedy

White worms crawling on the glass of my aquarium I have a 90 gal. tank with four discus in it which is also planted. I have noticed what appears to be small white worms crawling on the glass and swimming freely, can you tell me what they are? <Not specifically... as in down to species. But I assure you, these are likely some sort of innocuous earthworm-like animal (Oligochaete annelid) and not harmful to your fish or system. These sorts of critters "pop-up" quite often, particularly in aquariums that have excess food, too little circulation/filtration... and very often "disappear" of their own accord. Do keep your eye on water quality and in time you will likely find they have gone. Bob Fenner>

Worms in Freshwater Tank I sent the email earlier about the worms in the goldfish tank. <Ok... For future reference, if following up on a previous Q&A, it is always best to send along the original query and response. We get 30-60 emails daily and really need all the correspondence as we have six different people answering to keep up with the volume of mail we get.> I've just read your posted questions and answers. Based on your responses I wanted to note that the high population level of this invertebrate has not been caused by inadequate filtration or gravel siphoning. I have an optimum filter as well as gravel filtration, and I change their water one to two times a month via gravel vacuum. I also had only three inches worth of fish in a twenty gallon tank when these things appeared. So, I really would like to know exactly how I can control their population level, if you do not have enough information to identify them. <My best guess is that you have experienced a bloom of a Tubifex like worm. They are not pathogenic to your fish, but I can categorically state that they are always seen in instances of excess food or fish waste. I understand that this is not the response you wanted to hear, but it is the truth. They feed off of the waste material and uneaten food. If you have neither, they could not live, let alone reproduce to a plague level. Basically, they have to be eating something. A couple of big water changes, thorough vacuuming of the gravel, and a dose of a copper based medication should knock them out for you. Note that the copper is not safe for other invertebrates.> Your time is appreciated! Thank you. Sincerely, Courtney <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

What worm be this? Planarian? >>Good day, Michael, Marina to help you here. >I started only 3 weeks ago and bought the following : a.. 3 small fantail goldfish b.. Plexiglas tank (4.5 gallons) c.. air pump d.. submerged power filter (mechanical filtration only) e.. gravel siphon cleaner I treat tap water by allowing to stay in a bucket for 24 hours and before carrying out a partial water change I add dechlorinator. >>Very good. >I usually carry out water changes of 50-80% every day but I am planning to build a Plexiglas tank of 70 gallons capacity and add another goldfish. Tanks in Europe are very expensive -- I bought the 4.5 gallon tank for USD 68 (Euros 57). >>Holy canoli! >Once a week I clean the filter element of the power filter. During the 3rd cleaning I noticed many small red worms in the filter element which were clinging in the sponge and could not be removed by washing with tap water. I fitted a new sponge element in the filter. The biggest worms were about half an inch long -- please see attached photo. Can you please advise if these worms are dangerous for my fish and how can I treat the water so that they will not appear again? >>The photo is not very clear, but I am guessing some sort of planarian. I do not think they will pose any threat to your fish. I have not had any experience with them, but I think that if you added some salt to the tank it would be enough to prevent them. This is actually a help to the fish, and is helpful in preventing or alleviating the incidence of some maladies. Use either Kosher or sea salt (anything that has not been iodized--very common here in the States), at a ratio of 1 teaspoon/gallon. I believe that one teaspoon U.S. = roughly 5cc. And 1 gallon (US) = 3.8 liters. I do hope this helps, and best of luck to you in sunny Athens, Michael! Marina (in what is *supposed* to be sunny southern California, but it's 62F and RAINING here! What first day of summer??)

What are these things?? More planarians? Good evening crew. <Good evening, Susan! Sabrina here> I sent the following message Saturday but haven't seen any answer as of yet'¦.soooo I thought I might try again. Know you all are busy but any help you can give me would be much appreciated. <I'm so sorry I wasn't able to get back to you last night; I've been battling an illness in my wild angels and totally stressing about it, so I've been quite preoccupied.... many apologies> Since I sent the request I have been doing as much research as I can. I'm now about 99% certain these guys are planarians and I know they are supposed to be 'harmless' but I also understand they will eat eggs. <What I know/can find, planarians really are harmless, and I've never heard/read about them eating eggs, but I'm certainly not positive about it. Can you describe the worms? You mentioned in your original message that they were white, flat, wider towards the middle, and about 3/4 of an inch long. The size alone is suggesting to me that they may not be planarians, which (from my understanding) are typically 10mm or smaller. Do they have a "V" shaped head? That's pretty much a dead giveaway that they are, in fact, planarians.> I would really like to get rid of the planarians before breeding my fish. <I can certainly understand!> Also, I inadvertently spread the problem to my 30-gallon community tank by 'seeding' the smaller tank with mature filter media from my big tank. <Oh, ugh....> This happened before I knew there was a problem in my 125G. I also forgot to mention that we are on well water if it makes a difference. <Mm, possibly, but I wouldn't think so. Worm infestations can happen in tanks that use the best of water. Usually, huge amounts of worms are the result of overfeeding, or otherwise excessive nutrients, and most often seen in predator tanks, like yours (several large predatory cichlids, an electric catfish, and an ever-messy Plec, in a 125 gallon tank, yes?). Try cutting back extensively on feeding for a while and see how that affects the worm population. Also, keep up with hefty gravel vacuuming to see if you can pull some of the little suckers outta there.> I treat any new water (with Prime) before adding to the tanks. Even though we test our well'¦.you just never know. I have talked to the three LFS I patronize and two advised Copper... NO WAY was I going to put this in my tanks. <Ugh! No.... Avoid this desperately! Especially with your scaleless Plec and catfish. Bad LFS, bad! Deserves a swat on the nose!> One finally suggested a fluke eliminator. But he was a little hesitant and unsure so I haven't done anything except vacuum and perform water changes in both tanks and cut the food by ½. <Ah, yes, perfect. Keep it up for a couple weeks, and see what happens with the wormies. Also, I'd like to mention that I had the occasional planarian showing up in my plant tank (well, lots of 'em, really), and they seem to have been eliminated by a very minute amount of Fenbendazole (proprietary name Panacur) that I used to rid my tank of (shudder) hydra. I certainly haven't seen a single planarian (or hydra!) in a month or two. But then again, my planarians were about 2-3mm long. Tiny. The Fenbendazole did not affect my bacteria bed in the slightest, nor did it have any effects on any plants, shrimps, or fish. It is usually sold as a goat-worming medicine, but can even be used as a wormer for discus.> My water parameters have not changed and all the fish are fine. I still have all 14 new Platy babies and they are growing like crazy. And I still have a gazillion 'creatures' that give me the creeps. <Well, keep up with what you're doing, for the time being, and see if the worms start to die out. I'd also like to mention our chat forum http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ as we have rather recently had another fellow with a similar problem - perhaps you guys can compare notes.> Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide. <Glad to help, and again, sorry for the late response!>

Planarians Hello. <Hi. Sabrina with you today.> I have a 20 gallon cichlid tank with a Fluval 4 plus filter very good water and pH, NO2, NO3, KH, GH. <I assume ammonia checks out, too? Can you give us your test results for your water parameters?> Same problem back again with little white worm type things on glass front and sides and back. Tried salt and Methylene blue and they seemed to have gone. Two weeks later they're back again, about 50 of them. When I have the light off for a day they're all out on glass but soon as I turn the light on most disappear only 5 or 6 left on tank front. <These are probably planarians. Harmless to fish, these show up usually as a result of overfeeding.> One of my keyholes has red marks around face and did have a bit of fungus on side fins but gone now with MelaFix, but red marks remain. All fish rubbing on rocks and flat stone. <All of this might be attributable to water quality issues/overfeeding - how often do you do water changes? Gravel vacuum? Clean out the filter?> Please can you give help on what they are and how to get fid of them? <Do some good sized water changes, and some rigorous gravel vacuuming. Check your filter and clean. Decrease the amount you feed your fish for a while. This should all help reduce the amount of Planaria, if that is in fact what they are. Basically, when their food source is gone, they'll be gone, too.> I don't know if they're parasites or something else. The worm things are about 1 cm to 1 1/2 cm long white thin body. <Planaria are particularly easy to tell, with their classic "V" shaped head.> Thank you for your time.

Planarians - Part 2 Good evening Sabrina <Hello again, Susan!> Thanks for responding so quickly! I do hope you are successful with your angels. My research of Turbellarian flatworms (freshwater planarians) indicates they can be up to 1 inch in length. I was able to capture one of these little buggers and compared it to pictures found at www.planarians.org and it looks like the picture. Yes... they have a V shaped head (upside down V ). <Yeah.... "V" shaped heads almost always mean planarian, IME.> For now I am going on the assumption they are planarians and I am trying to obtain some Panacur. However, I am a little uncertain about the dosage. Somewhere on the Internet I read that the dose for hydra is 0.5 grams per 100 liters. What dosage did you use? <Honestly, I used so little, I don't know the actual dose. Likely less than a gram in my 72 gallon tank (filled to ~60 gallons). It took a couple of days to wipe out the hydra completely, and I'm really not sure about whether it nailed my little planarians or not, but I used to see 'em frequently, and since treatment have seen none.> Assuming that I treat both tanks this will work out to about 3 grams of Panacur. Also, do you think I can safely use this in the tank with the Platy fry? <Possibly, but if you can, perhaps wait a couple weeks for the fry to grow up a bit, if you can, just to be on the safe side.> I worked on the large tank some more today...moving rocks, vacuuming, cleaning the pump lines and changing the water. Didn't see as many critters today, so maybe I am getting them under control. <Hope so! Sounds like you're doing a good job of reducing their chances of getting a meal, so they may very well die out on their own. Give it some time, and keep doing as you're doing, especially if you think you're seeing results already.> Thank you again for your help. Susan <Glad to be of service! -Sabrina>

Planaria, or Parasites? I have 2 10 gal. tanks with feeder guppies that have been breeding. There is a parasite in the tanks that looks like a clear, small leech. What do I need to do to clear the tanks of these "leeches". Our local pet store told us that these are probably beneficial parasites that the guppies will feed on, but this information was supplied without their seeing the parasite. We have not seen any of these on the fish themselves but on the sides of the tanks and in the filter. Please advise. <Well, if they're not attached to the fish, if they're only on the glass or other areas of the tank, I doubt that they're parasites of any sort - "parasite" means that it's something that attaches to or lives in the fish and hurts the fish. What you have are probably Planaria. A planarian is a small worm, usually just a few millimeters long, and are best identified by a "V" shaped head - take a look at this: http://www.naparcd.org/planarian.htm . The presence of these little wormies suggests an overabundance of "stuff" in your tank that they are feeding on. To get rid of them, simply eliminate their food source - more frequent water changes, being sure to vacuum the gravel, and cleaning out the filter will help with this. They are essentially harmless, but it'd be a good idea to clean up the tank a bit to reduce their numbers or eliminate them completely. Hope all goes well, -Sabrina> Janet

Small worms in freshwater tank (11/06/03) <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon> We have a 29 gallon regular fish tank, we have 2 angel fish and some small plants, lately the water has started turning green and now we have some kind of small worms on the inside of the tank and was wondering what they are and what we can do about it? <Well, the water turning green is an algae bloom. That's usually triggered by an excess of nitrates and phosphates. To combat that, you'll want to do more frequent water changes. Also make sure you aren't over-feeding -- if there is any food your fish don't eat, it adds to the phosphates in the tank. You might get a phosphate test (I like the SeaTest/FasTest one for freshwater) and some phosphate remover (like Phosguard) if your phosphates are high even after several water changes. Once you get the nutrients (nitrates and phosphates) out of the tank, the algae should die off, and the worm population should decrease. I'm not sure exactly what you have, but they are most likely not harmful for your fish. --Ananda>

Lair of The White Worm! Do you know anything about white worms. in freshwater tanks. <These are Planaria. Planaria are flatworms and members of the Platyhelminthes phylum. Planaria are often found in aquariums with uneaten food. The Planaria won't hurt the fish, but they are a symptom of too much gravel containing too much uneaten food, and that is not good for fish. You should do a water change and vacuum your gravel to help remove the uneaten food and some of the worms. Doing this will reduce the number of worms in your tank. Good luck -Magnus>

White Worms, and a Bit More Info - III - 02/10/2004 Ok I put some food in the tank and the lobster never ate it. So I got worms from uneaten food. Now there are a lot of white worms in my tank little white ones. <With this as the most (only) information that you've given us, I can guess that you probably have some sort of nematode or Planaria infesting the tank.... not so much a direct threat to the crayfish or other inhabitants, but a sign of less than adequate husbandry.... Do not overfeed, be sure to remove uneaten food, change water regularly, vacuum gravel properly, change filter media as necessary.... basically, remove the food and nutrients that is fueling these worms, and they will gradually die off on their own. On such little info, that's the best I can give you. I hope it helps. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

White Worms In Gravel Hello, I have a 55 gallon aquarium and have noticed small white worms in my gravel. The fish I have in the tank are guppies and two Plecostomus. I have had no problems until now and just need some advise to get rid of them. Thanks, mike <<Dear Mike. It sounds like Planaria, in which case, you will also see them on the tank glass. This is generally caused by overfeeding. Cut back on the feeding, vacuum your gravel with each water change, and this problem should rectify itself quickly. Some fish, like gourami's, will eat Planaria. However, you do need to be careful to keep your tank clean, and keep up with your regular partial water changes. HTH -Gwen>>

Re: Tiny white worms in my aquarium - II Hi Gwen, Thanks for the info. I don't think I've been getting deep enough into the gravel when vacuuming, even though my water changes have been several each week, approx 20% each time, I think I will have to vacuum more thoroughly. I saw a cardinal tetra eat one of the worms that I knocked off of the glass when cleaning tonight. Thanks so much. Mark. <<Mark, you are most welcome :) -Gwen>>

I think I have Worms Hey, AGAIN sorry to be such a pain I realize you u guys got lots of letters. Anyway I got these worm like things in my tank well they look like very very tiny maggots all most they are like 3 mm long and very thin are they parasitic? please get back to me. Thanks for reading, Aaron <<Dear Aaron, they sound like Planaria. Are they on the glass? Is this a freshwater tank? This is generally caused by overfeeding and improper maintenance. Try to cut back on the amount of food going into the tank, and make sure you vacuum thoroughly with a siphon when you do your water changes. Once a week is a good idea, specially till your worms go away...which they will when they no longer have a food source. -Gwen>>

Strange red worm like thing Hello <Hey Lukas, MacL here with you on this fine day.> Lukas here. I have recently observed a odd looking red worm like things at the bottom of my 90 gallon and on some of my plants in my Betta enclosure. It seems to be growing at the top of the Betta tank on some plants. <Sounds like algae to me.> But in my 90 gallon its at the bottom around the gravel. I try to suck this stuff up when I do my water change but it keeps coming back. If you need a pic I can get you one on Tuesday. <Pictures definitely help, send it to me if you don't mind.> What is this stuff and is it bad for my fish? Thank you L

Little red worms in my filters Hello, I'm new to this. We have an outside pond and we have pond Koi in it. Well we haven't really been able to see the fish, so we thought we'd bring in the Koi into a tank inside. <Good idea... done while the water is not too cold yet outdoors... keep the tank covered!> Well the fish are looking wonderful and acting great. But it came time for me to clean the filters when I noticed a bunch of little about 1/4 of an inch deep, bright red worms. I can't really recall them alive, I just wanted to get rid of them fast. Now my question is.... What are they? <A few possibilities... but likely oligochaetous annelids... maybe even of the family of worms used as fish foods (Tubificids) around the world> Did they come from my Koi? Are they something I need to treat? Are my fish sick? <No, no and no... likely "came" from an aquatic bird (happens all the time) visiting your pond, or an aquatic plant... Not harmful very likely, and no need to treat, kill, remove... as a matter of fact these are very beneficial organisms that will help keep the system clean, improve water quality> I'm so sorry for bothering you all, But I don't want to loose them.... Thank you bunches for taking the time out to read my email.... <Thank you for writing> P.S. I have other fish in with my Koi.... Like an Angel Fish, a few Mollies, a Firemouth Meeki, a Jack Dempsey, and a Albino Plec (sp) and a clawed frog. All the fish get along fine. Are the worms something I need to worry about? Thank you again, Lawona Goodman <Not to worry, they are all fine. Bob Fenner>

FW worm id This morning when I was feeding my baby mollies I noticed at the top of my aquarium these black worm like things. I took some toilet paper and got one out and looked at it. It was about as big as this (----) it was solid black with what looked like little hairs or legs on its side sorry for no picture. I looked on Google and all I can find is information about black worms and that's not what they are kinda look like leeches. My question is how did they get in my tank and what are they. Please help. < If it had legs then it is some sort of insect or larva that is feeding on the excess food found on the surface of the tank glass and may have fallen in while you went to feed the fish. An adult insect may have come to feed on any left over fish food and laid some eggs. The other possibility is that it is an aquatic insect that may have flown in as an adult and laid some eggs in the water and flew away. Larger fish should eat them. Truly aquatic insects are carnivorous and should always be removed. I would clean the surface of the top glass of any excess food and remove any strange creatures just as you have done. I don't think they pose a problem to your fish.-Chuck> Alissa

Freshwater Bristle Worm? Hi, I hope you can help me! I used to keep a marine tank about four years ago and gave up and said that was it no more fish. Well now I have set-up a small freshwater tropical planted fish tank, it has been running for about five or six months now. My question is we have seen the fish go mad over a worm found in the tank, it was about two inches long, alive and being eating by a small angle fish and a Congo tetra. This worm was identical to the bristle worms we had in our marine tank but did not think you could get them in fresh water is this correct? <Yes> But how could it get there as we have not added any rock only dry gravel plants and fish. And could these cause problems to the tank inmates? < There are lots of little freshwater creepy crawlies that come into a freshwater aquarium. Usually they come in as eggs or larvae attached to the plants. They grow to a point until the fish realize that they are around and soon become live food. Some become parasitic on fish but I think you would have seen them by now.-Chuck> Kind Regards Grahame Brown

Leeches??? Hi <Hello> I have had guppies for a few years and not experienced any problems. A few months ago I added a small Pleco followed by two elephant nosed fish. Shortly after introducing them to the tank I developed white spot. <Hopefully your fishes... not you!> I managed to cure this but lost a few guppies and one of the elephant nosed fish. I since read up on the elephant nose fish on the internet where it said not to keep them in pairs as the weaker one would be killed by the stronger. <Yes, very often... particularly in small systems> Since I have had all of these problems, I did a gravel clean and disturbed only what I can describe as a leech. It was about an inch long, white and had a sucker. At first I thought it was a dead fish. All of the info I have found on leeches describe them as fairly small and I have not found any of this colour. This leech (?) is bigger than some of my guppies. I cleaned the tank and a couple of days later found another one. I know they can be introduced by new fish... <Or live food/s> ...but surely I would have spotted them when I bought them. How can I determine that it is a leech and if so make sure there are not any more, I am really unsure of what to do. <Mmm, you could look at them carefully... leeches/Hirudineans are pretty distinctive... Take a look on the Net re: their superficial morphology... from your description already, I am pretty sure this is what you have> Can you please help? Many thanks <By thoroughly cleaning, gravel vacuuming your tank, you have very likely removed all the leeches from your tank. There are chemicals that to a large degree will poison just these worms... but I would not use them. Bob Fenner>

Mystery Worms - 01/14/2005 Hi. <Hello.> I have a 10 gallon fresh water aquarium. It contains 4 female guppies and one baby. <No problem there, that's for sure.> I just recently noticed small white skinny worms. They wiggle and move and the guppies seen to not even notice them. I don't know what to do. <The short answer: Nothing. The long answer: These are probably harmless nematodes or Planaria. Many freshwater aquaria will have such creatures. They rarely ever become a nuisance unless the tank is overstocked (which yours is not) or overfed. Be very cautious of how much you feed the guppies, and if you're not already, I highly recommend that you start testing your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. If your nitrate is over 20ppm, chances are that you might be overfeeding and/or not changing the water often enough - start changing the water more often and you should notice the worm population recede. But to put your mind at ease, these worms are very likely completely harmless to your fish, so chances are that you don't need to fear for the well-being of the guppies.> Please help me soon. <All should be well. Let us know if anything further is amiss or if the worms appear to be giving the guppies any problems.> Thanks, Lena <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Mystery FW Worms Hi Guys. This is Alvin here. I am currently keeping a Scleropages jardinei together with a Pleco in a 50 gallon tank( inclusive of a sump tank). My feeding has been kept to minimal and no leftovers are noticed. However, I noticed a population of white crawling worms which I suspect are Planaria. Any ideas of how I can get rid of them? I use only Filter wool and Biohome in my sump tank. Thanks. <Mmm, Planaria are flatworms... flat, not circular... and move in a distinctive gliding motion... these are likely annelids (segmented worms)... and very likely not dangerous to your livestock... in fact, perhaps helpful in keeping the tank clean... And their numbers are best kept in check through careful feeding, regular vacuuming and water changes. Bob Fenner>

Worms that I just cant figure out! First of all I would like to say that your site is amazing! It has helped me in so many ways, and brought me the closest to solving this than any other site. yet, I still have one little question.... what's in my aquarium? I have two freshwater aquariums that I keep in use about 8-9 month out of the year. In the summer I move everyone outside, our Wisconsin winters are a little too cold though;) <Brrrr! I'll bet> I'm one I have a hand raised snapping turtle. (Now you probably think I'm crazy, but you have to understand I am an animal obeisant! He was not properly cared for after hatching, and within a few weeks was passed on to me, and have had no problems with him for the last 6 years. I love him so much.) There is also a, going on 3 yrs FISH, everyday blue gill from my pond in with him. I have him mainly from attachment, after catching minnows to feed my turtles-he always survived the feedings so I just kept him around. I'm my other tank I have a 2 yr old map turtle that was given to me by an animal rehab friend that was given a nest of eggs found in a road construction site. Sadly to say out of all of them mine was the only survivor-she had two others for a while but they passed from shell rot. There is no plant life/or life of another type in either aquarium, with exception of the summer. That is until now. my larger aquarium (with the snapper) is under invasion. I know you've heard this 100+ times by reading the FAQs but I just cant put my finger on it. I have tons of little worms everywhere in my water, gravel, underneath the floating island, underneath the filter-one of those under gravel type deals, etc! I've talked to my friend in rehab and she's unfamiliar with the problem. She merely said its sounds like a parasite and to separate my fish and turtle for a week or two while I clean out the tank... easier said than done. I don't really have a place to go with them for that length of time. These worms appeared fairly quick and have no fear of light but do seem to spaz when they get in the current of the bubbles-spinning and twisting frantically then they relax and float around or to the bottom. They are incredibly tiny-as thin as hair but maybe 2-3 cm long at most. They seem practically clear too! Although maybe pink or white at the most for color but regardless you have to look super close to see them and when you do they really are everywhere. I'm at a loss of what to do. I know its not from the turtle & from what I've read it sounds like a worm that you said just show signs of maturing tanks. <Very often, yes> However, I did run into this once before. A very long time ago I had a blue river cat. He was doing great for the longest time and then started to frantically dart from side to side or try to jump from the water. I cleaned the tank even mildly bleached it then cleaned some more than a little while later it came back but I wasn't around. I had been on vacation for a week so I left him with a 7 day food wafer. When I returned he had some how managed to flip the top of the Aquarium open and fell to his death. I cleaned it some more and but it away until I was giving the snapper and now here I am. My blue gill hasn't gone nuts....YET but my snapper is constantly sitting himself right were the bubbles are strongest as if to flush them off. I don't believe it can be from their food either because in winter they receive pellet food (i.e. ReptoMin) and occasional night crawlers for calcium and a change. Please help me or steer me in a direction! I would love to have this under control in time for my next vacation (in a month) not having to worry about spreading it to friends who will take care of them , or their critters. Thanks so much for your time! Hilary <Well, there are MANY worm species... could have come "in" with food, just in/on the livestock during their move to/from in/outside... but, the real issue, what to do? Actually, I would do "nothing"... in terms of harming the worms... they are actually very likely more beneficial than harmful... helping to keep the system clean, less smelly... I would just continue with your regular maintenance routine... gravel vacuuming, water changing... and ignore them. Bob Fenner>

Worms: a nematode? Hi Crew!! <Claudine> You wonderful people have answered one of my questions re: general tank set-up before, and were very helpful - thanks! Now I have a more specific question for you. <Okay> I have a 13 gallon tank with goldfish, currently using around 5-8g salt per gallon, some Vallisneria (sp?)<This is it>, and some snails. I do a thorough water change (~50%) once a week via a gravel vacuum, and try to do a small change (~10-20%) in the middle of the week. I feed my goldfish a mixture of fish flakes and frozen peas. They're superbly healthy and doing well. <Sounds good> However, 2 weeks ago, during a water change, I found a worm (1 inch long), round diameter, with a sucky mouth (like a leech), kind of brown in colour. Not knowing what it was (it was on a plant leaf), I killed it and got rid of it - didn't want to take changes with my fish! However, last two gravel vacuums I have done, I noticed that there are some very minute, white worms (maybe 5 - 7mm long, very very skinny - they look like hairs) coming out of the gravel, up my vacuum. I can't actually see them in the tank when it is cycling, only when I vacuum. They seem to be around one particular plant's roots. I haven't actually seen anymore of those big fat worms I described, and I'm not sure if the two are related. Should I be concerned, and is there any treatment necessary? <Interesting... the first animal, with the sucker was actually, very likely a leech... and these latter ones... more likely segmented, though they could be round worms... having a microscope, doing a coronal section near the head, one might see a tri-radiate esophagus... definitive for the phylum...> Also, I have a black and gold goldfish, 6 months old, that is now fading to pure gold. I take it this is normal, and there isn't anything actually causing his black to fade, other than maturation/amount of light/ food he is being fed, anything like that? <Sometimes do fade... normal... sometimes can be reversed, slowed with the addition of foods rich in HUFAs, "carotenoids"... like shrimp pellets...> In advance, sincere thanks. You guys do a great job, and I love the joy my tank brings me. Tis a beautiful thing to have happy, healthy, live things in one's home! Claudine <I would not be concerned re: the worms... nor the color change... your protocol is perfect... though the system could be larger... Bob Fenner>
Re: Worms: a nematode?
Cheers Bob! Glad I got rid of the leech!! :) Am working on a bigger tank..... Will let you know if the wormy situation gets out of hand/continues/changes. Kind Thanks, Claudine <Real good. Bob F>

Worms floating in tank? Hello! <Hi there> Yesterday after our 30 gallon tank was clearing from a cleaning (debris was floating around that was stirred up from the bottom)... I noticed 2 very small white/clear worms that were being taken for a ride on the current. The only way I was able to distinguish them from feces or a plant root was that they were writhing - otherwise it was indistinguishable and too small to think it was something living. They were not swimming, and had no control of their movement other than their contraction and expansion of trying to find a place to anchor on to. Should we be worried that this worm may be a fish parasite? <Nope> Our tank is only 3 months old and the worms could of come in via the fish or the plants. Our fish are for the most part healthy. We did have 2 deaths within the past month - one was a royal Farlowella cat and the other was a long fin rosy barb. I don't think the deaths were related - the Farlowella could of possibly been sensitive to our water conditions as he lived under a week in the tank, <Very common> but the Rosy barb death was sudden and strange. He showed no symptoms of illness before death and was even active and eating an hour before. The 2nd barb in our tank had a white bump on her side that was surrounded by redness the day after the male died, but a day later the bump was no longer red and a couple of days after that the bump disappeared. I assumed it was a small trauma or blister that healed. To be honest, it kind of looked like a zit! <Good description... and likely of similar "cause"> Anyhow... the question is - Should we treat for parasitic worms, or should we leave the tank alone. <The latter> Will increasing the salt concentration kill the worms? <Maybe... but stressful to your other livestock as well... not worthwhile IMO> Should we even worry about the worms? <No... they will "pass" in time... with regular maintenance> A small side note - we have a clown Pleco, 2 Cory cats, and an upside down cat, will increasing the salt concentration hurt these fish? <Could, yes> Thanks! Heather <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Worms in Gravel Hello, I am just writing about some worms I found in our freshwater aquarium. I have searched all over your site trying to locate them but can find nothing that exactly matches their description. They are very long and skinny and incredibly small, with a pink/reddish spine running through their translucent bodies, and they have tiny little bristles on both sides that look like feet. They were living in our gravel and were excellent swimmers and very quick, and we never saw them before until we scraped the gravel while we were doing a full tank clean. There were about thirty of them and they were very hard to locate and catch. We keep American Cichlids who really dirty up the tank. When looking at some photos the only pictures I found that looked like these worms were ragworms, except of course the worms in our tank were tiny miniature versions. I have NO idea what they are. Help! <There are several types of worms that can live on the waste left in the gravel. Most will not harm the fish. Just use a gravel vac to clean things up and they will starve out. Don>

Microscopic "worms" 7/19/05 Hello, I've been searching for an answer all over the web. Hopefully you can help. I work in a laboratory here in sunny California. We have a fish tank in the lab for our entertainment. No, we don't do experiments with the fish! For training purposes, I wanted to look at some the algae on the glass. So, I used a loop and scraped some off. When looking at in under the microscope, we saw several little "worms". They seemed to move in either direction, but still had a main head. The head was covered in cilia that you could see moving. There were several spots of "hair" growing out of the sides of this little thing that looked like whiskers. You could see through it and it moved with a peristalsis type movement. Some of them have bright orange specks throughout the body, while some had them only at the end. You could also see what appeared to be mouth shaped like a "U". It looked like an amoeba and a caterpillar cross. Could anyone please give me any idea as to what this is. The fish are fine and don't seem to be bothered. This thing is microscopic, but I still am curious. I have taken pictures and hope to send them soon. Thank you for your time. <Mmm, due to the external processes we can likely rule out Nematodes... this/these are likely annelids... could be Oligochaetes (like Tubificids) or Polychaetes/errantiates... there are dichotomous keys for determining down to family, genera... rank. Bob Fenner>

Red parasites in filter, nice pix of Cestodes 8/14/05 Hi there. I'll get right to the point. <Ah, good> I was about to clean the two filters used for my 25 gallon aquarium. I don't know if this is of importance, but there are just four goldfish living in the tank, and no plants or gravel. <All is important> Anyway, there were tiny red worms in the (bio) sponge of one filter, and some more on the exterior of the cartridge of the other filter. We removed these immediately, not knowing whether they were harmful or not. The parasites are a bright cherry red, maybe about half an inch in length, not extremely thin, but not wide either. They seem to have an anchor at one end. <I see this... good pix> We administered salt to the tank as well as to the 'worms.' It took about 5-10 minutes for them to die. What we would really like to know is what these worms are, how they managed to get into the filter--or tank for that matter--and if they're harmful. <Mmm, look like insect larvae to me... not harmful> Here are two pictures we were able to get of them: http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b335/stromeo/2005081301-redworm.jpg http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b335/stromeo/2005081302-redworm.jpg Thanks for any help you can offer. <Bob Fenner>

Weird Worms? - 08/08/2005 Hi, <Hello, Sabrina with you today....> I have a quick question I have small 1/2" worms (brown/grey) in the filter box under water & at the end of the pipes (still under water) they have a kind of sucker to stay in place with the force of water going over them, but they are not leeches (I have these also). So my question is are they harmful. All my fish are fine its just there are a lot of these worms type things. <Likely these are harmless. It is quite difficult, even impossible, to identify them without a very, very in-depth description or (better) a very clear photograph. But, chances are, these are not harmful and just making use of excess nutrients in the system.> Thanks <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Earthworm Farming - 08/08/2005 Namaste! <Good morning! Sabrina with you, today.> Hello people. This is Mitra from India. <Nice to hear from you, almost halfway around the world - thanks for writing in!> Can you please tell me how to store earthworms because we have a very dry soil over here and the worms come out only when it rains. So I need to collect them and store them when they are out. So please help me. <Try a Google search with the words "earthworm farm" or "vermiculture". Here is one excellent site I found: http://www.jerusalemcityfarmers.org/earthworm.html , and there are many, many others. You might try searches containing "raising earthworms" or "keeping earthworms", as well.> Thank you, Mitra <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Ooey Gooey Was A Worm.... - 07/21/2005 Hi, <Hello.> After many weeks of struggle, I have completed a fishless cycle with Ace ammonia in my 46-gallon freshwater tank. I have not added any fish, but I have in the course of establishing this cycle added some gravel from the existing inhabited tank for good bacteria, and for a while (before an algal bloom that required death by total darkness) I had live plants in there. Evidently, somewhere in there I brought in some worms. I had seen some roundworms while vacuuming gravel in my existing tank, and so was trying to be very careful not to overfeed, etc. The water chemistry in that tank has been OK, as have the fish. So, I wasn't happy with having worms but figured I'd have to slowly vacuum them all out. <Yeah, not a problem. They'll either slowly disappear, or be constant friendly residents, cleaning up after your fish. Not to worry.> But, now they've transferred to the new tank, and tonight as I was finally contemplating moving fish in, I noticed flatworms on the side of it. <Probably just as harmless.> Have never seen this in the older tank. <Quite possibly your fishes eat them as they turn up.> I'm assuming they could do damage - <Very unlikely.> is there a way to treat the tank without killing my biological filter? I work in a lab and so have a microscope to identify these worms further, but no key to use. <You might try a Google search on "worm identification key" or some such.... But to be quite honest, I don't believe you've got anything to fear. My last planted tank had quite a variety of interesting things - mayfly larvae, Planaria, and lots more. It is far more than likely that they are harmless or even helpful than in any way harmful.> Any advice on the next steps? <Move on as normal.... And enjoy the tiny life that you find. Ah, and DO put a dab of filter goo under a microscope - you'll be amazed what you see, even at a low power! Such fun....> Thanks, Christina <Wishing you and your worms well, -Sabrina>

Do leeches cause Ich?...We're going with No... 10/11/05 I have a 200 gallon fish tank. At the present time my tank has experienced an ich breakout. My co-worker purchased some leeches from the fish/bait shop and put them into the tank without informing me. Two days later white spots began to appear on the fish. I began treatment with ich medication on Thursday. On Friday the fish slowly began to die, by this past Saturday all the remaining fish were dead. Did the leeches have anything to do with causing the ich ? Should leeches be added to community fish....rosy barbs, black mollies. Help ! >>>The parasite may have been introduced along with the water the leaches came in. Next time just tell this tremendous genius to just dump some bleach in your tank and be done with it.. really...leeches? Jim<<<

Capitalization, Spiny "Eels" - 12/06/2005 Hi, my name is Silas. I <Your name, I, beginnings of sentences.... PLEASE capitalize....> have two peacock eels I got from a local PetSmart. Tonight I went to clean my tank and I noticed some little worm like things swimming around. I thought they were parasites but then I thought they could be baby spiny eels. <Highly unlikely that these are baby eels. Also, they are not necessarily parasites. Please search on WWM.... start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinvertfaqs.htm .> I was wondering if they can have babies and how big they are. <I recommend a Google search on "breeding spiny eels" or "breeding peacock eels" for more information on the topic than we have available here.> I don't know what to do, so I e-mailed you. Please try to e-mail back soon. the "things" are really small and look like parasites so please tell me if they can be babies or if they are parasites. <Read, my friend; much to be learned here and elsewhere.... I suspect your worms are "visitors" of a sort, indicating an overabundance of "food"/nutrients in your tank. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

More Information, Improved Grammar - 09/03/2005 Hey Sabrina and other WWC! <Hello, again.> I'm sorry, I did not realize that you could not receive forwards. <Our Webmail is a little rough around the edges at times.> My dilemma is that I have a 55 gallon freshwater tank and had just recently noticed that there were tiny things -white worm-type creatures about 2mm long- and would like to know what they are <Likely Planaria, possibly nematodes.... Most are harmless, some are beneficial to an extent.... very, very few are harmful. I would not worry.> and what to do about it. <Decrease their food source (maintain a clean, healthy environment for your fish), and otherwise nothing. Some fish will nibble them occasionally. I actually enjoy such things popping up in my planted aquaria. I especially enjoy the occasional mayfly larvae that hitchhikes in from plants I grow outside. Small and tiny life is almost more fun than fish!> Sorry again about the last one. <No worries, and thank you much for the improved grammar/punctuation.> Christine <Wishing you well, -Sabrina> FW Parasites? Nah 2/26/06 I have noticed in my tank that there are some little worm like organisms floating around. They are about 1cm long and about as thick as a human hair. Have you got any idea what these are, and if they are harmful to my fish how do I get rid of them, thanks for your time. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinvertfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

White Hair like Worms - Freshwater Tank 2/17/06 Hi! Gee once again, I need to call on your expertise as I really need to calm down here. I have recently written regarding my slightly over a month old, cycled 10 gallon tank, cycled with Bio Spira, used media (bio wheel, gravel, rocks, & plants) from my 3 gallon Eclipse. My water param.s are Ammo 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 7, PH 7. <Sounds about right.> I have 8 java ferns and a ball of java moss. The tank is home to 1 OHM male Betta. The only thing new added was a thin layer of smaller TopFin gravel at the beginning on which I laid some old gravel from the 3 gallon. I have an AquaClear 20 HOB with sponge, carbon bag and Biomax pouch set on it's low setting for less crazy current for my Betta. I also have an airstone toward the top of the dead side of the tank to ever so slightly agitate the water to ensure no film buildup from plants, etc. Also there is a Stealth heater that maintains the water temperature at a constant 78 degrees. <Sounds nice; good temp control, big enough space, plenty of caves for the Betta.> I have searched your website for white hair like worms for freshwater tanks and I see a lot on saltwater tanks; however...the few posts regarding freshwater tanks indicate these white worms, for the most part, relate to water quality? <Yes.> This is confusing to me as each week since the Nitrates began rising towards 20 and other parameters (Ammo/Nitrite) remain at 0 (PH 7) I remove 20 percent of the water and replace with stored, treated (Nova Aqua/Amquel) water. I have lightly vacuumed each time various areas of the tank and have deeply vacuumed once. I did have a slate bottomed piece of driftwood that I have since removed because it developed some kind of white fungus looking stuff. yuck. When I feed my Betta (alternating combinations of frozen bloodworms, Mysis, daphnia and Adison's Betta Pro pellets), I feed 1 at a time and if anything floats toward the bottom I chase it with a turkey baster, so very little food (if any) finds the bottom of the tank. Anyway...on to the question...when I get up each morning and turn on the light, I see on the back glass, a few tiny white hair like worms! Once I saw one swimming! My Betta eats these! <He can eat them. They're probably quite a tasty treat for him; he doesn't get much live food.> I suck them up with the turkey baster if I can beat him. Eeeeeek and Egad...I hate these things and would like to really know if he should be eating them and if there is something I am doing wrong in this tank and if so how can I correct it to get rid of these? Most people would probably think having a live food source for their Betta is great as he spends a lot of time searching around the plants stalking for these little hair worms. Please advise and let me know what I should do and why they here. I never had these in my 3 gallon Eclipse tank. As always, thank you for your time, patience, and expertise, everything I have learned I have learned from you guys, particularly Mr. Fenner he is the Betta god in my book. Sue <These white worms are a just a pest flatworm, probably Planaria. They aren't harmful to your tank, per se, just a sign that there is uneaten food or fish waste for them to feast on. If you are more aggressive with your gravel vacuums, being sure to push the vacuum deep into the gravel, these worms will disappear on their own. Do be careful around any plant roots. Myself, I think of Planaria like algae that wiggles -- a sign that I owe my tank a gravel vacuum! Jason N.>

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