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Platinum 20-10-2004 02:04 AM

White Worms in our Freshwater Tanks.
I'm sure most observant fish hobbyist at 1 point or another would have discovered or been plagued by something known as "WHITE WORMS".

What are really "white worms" which we commonly call them?

Let's proceed on with worm identification to know what is exactly "worming" your tank:

Identification of Freshwater Nematodes:

.Free swimming thread like white worms which rarely grows longer than 2cm.

.Tends to thrash back forth in a swish swosh motion and sometimes looks entangled whilst it's thrashing.

.Infest in huge numbers that some will claim thousands or even more.

.Often seen conspicuously after filter is turned off for minutes and tonnes of them gush out from output once filter is turned on.

.Some even make meals out of leftover pellets/fish poo as you see them grazing/digging onto them.

Identification of Freshwater Planaria:

.Small white colored slug like flatworms seen sliding across your tank glass premises at very slow pace.

.Must be observed with a closeup view on tank glass, Planaria(Dugesia) are sized 3-4mm, below 1cm definitely.

.Once tank lights are turned off turned on again moments later, you find a colony of them gathering on the tank glass interiors.


Now that you have identified what is "worming" your tank, now let's go into some commonly asked questions pertaining to these "white worms".

Question 1:
Are these "white worms" harmful to our fishes?

Answer 1:
No, these "white worms" are not harmful to your fishes and they merely graze on algae, fungi, spores, bacteria, small living/dead organisms.

Furthermore, they act as initial food source for fish fries, for smaller fishes like loaches, cories, bettas, guppies, mollies etc etc, they are a nutritional food supplement source.

Question 2:
Why do they keep coming back even after i have changed more than 50% water and replaced the filter sponge every week?

Answer 2:
Reasons are numerous and subjective, listed below are some examples:

.Once hardy resistant cocoons are laid, they hatch 2-3 weeks later as replicas of their adults.(gravel is good hiding space)

.Planaria are sexual/asexual and can reproduce fast especially if temperature hits an optimal low of 24-26 degrees celcius.

.Your tank is constantly high in "gunk" residual from overfeeding. (Especially hobbyist keeping/overstocking carnivorous fishes)

Question 3:
Is there an ultimatum solution to prevent these pesky "white worms" from coming back ever again?

Answer 3:
.There is no absolute solution as these worms are part and parcel of the living organisms in our freshwater tanks.

.It's through evolution that these harmless worms hang about in freshwater husbandry.

.It's just a matter of how many worms you can see and feel eye-sorish about....versus the extra regimes of water changes, filter maintenance, optimized feeding control and optimal stocking of fish in a tank.

Undesirable alternatives to curb these white worms:

.Utilising copper based medications to annihiliate these worms - Unsafe especially for inexperienced hobbyists, taints the tank and seriously jeopardizes fish's organs.

Just remember that medication is not mandatory for such white worms infestation.....many hobbyist have spent unnecessary money and time on medications which could optimally eradicate temporary the worms but adversely affect the fish's health.

On the contrary, hobbyist in have raved about a product which reportedly kills tonnes of white worms, Vermex.
Please refer to this website if you wish to venture using this product:

Now, at least we know that "white worms" are relatively harmless, nothing much more than a serious eye-sore that even defeats having a "crystal clear water condition" in your tank.

The very next time you spot "white worms", it seriously hints that there is an imbalance in your tank husbandry and it's time to balance it up. :)

ydolphin 05-11-2004 11:26 AM

Just a thought, when the filter is switch on again and lots of it gush out, what can be done is to have a hose inlet (during wc) at the outlet itself to suck all the ww coming out. Probably can do this a few times continuously and the ww population should be cut down somewhat... will be trying this soon coz my tank also got this problem!

scopeyeo 08-09-2005 01:20 PM

These worms are actually one of the first food for my apisto fries...
i think it is okay for them to stay in our tanks...

French Kiss 13-09-2005 05:01 PM

i tink it is protein worm u r refering to if it is try to increase ur KH it will go off slowly :D

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