Caterpiller-like critter in my freshwater tank? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-05-2010, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Caterpiller-like critter in my freshwater tank?

So, this is my first attempt at a Freshwater tank with live plants. I've got Flourite with all sorts of fun plants in it. Driftwood from Petco, some granite rocks thrown in. The tank has been up and running for almost 2 months now and is pretty much stable (with the exception of a high ph which I'm going to remedy with some peat moss) and I'm seeing all kinds of...erm...critters, come to life.

First there were the snails. Little buggers, maybe as big as pea, dark greyish/black shell, they just mosey along doing their thing, don't seem to be bothering my live plants so I've left them alone as long as they don't start multiplying out of control.

Then there were the little teeny tiny white worms I found one or two of sifting through my substrate. I checked about them online and all reports said they were harmless and just eating the excess fish flakes and such. Okay, worms are kinda odd, but I guess thats part of the ecosystem too.

Now, I come out to the tank and see what appears to be a leaf from one of my Monywort stalks clinging to the side of the tank about midway up. Odd, I think, so I take a closer look at it and see something's head poking out, crawling along my tank (hopefully) eating the algae that the Chinese Algae Eaters don't seem to want. I take it out of the tank, and figure out that its actually two pieces of leaf stuck together. I actually have to peel the leaves apart, and find this little critter wriggling around - he was NOT happy to be out of the water or out of his little enclosure. He died and I fed him to the fish, who were only too happy for a late night snack. But after some research online, looks to be that hes an aquatic caterpiller; I never even knew such a thing existed.

A quick look at my plants, especially my Monywort, showed damage consistent with caterpiller munching. So now its time to kill all of them that may still be lurking. How is the best way to go about doing this without hurting the fish in my aquarium?
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-05-2010, 05:32 AM
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That's a first for me. No clue what to tell you but good luck.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-05-2010, 10:59 AM
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I've never came accross those before... I'll look into it when i get home, at school now.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-06-2010, 04:42 AM
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Welcome to TFK!

Well, that's a new one for me. I've never heard of aquatic caterpillars before.

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post #5 of 6 Old 04-06-2010, 07:22 AM
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are you able to get pictures? How big are they? color? etc

I've been looking through my books and other resources and found several larvae that are aquatic that look like caterpillar.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-06-2010, 07:50 AM
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my first thought was mayfly larvae....i have heard of things like that hitchhiking in on plants.

i had something very similar happen to me...there was this little wormy creature with a head and legs and it was sandwiched between two leaves. it sounds like the same creature.
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