02-01-2010, 02:07 AM
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If I kill them with fenbenzadole, am I masking a larger problem with my tank?
Yes. While that product may not harm the tank or the biological system inside of it, it may indeed be lethal for your fish, and for sure would kill any inverts in the tank. I am not sure if that is one of them, but many of those types of medications leave residue in the tank after treatment, which means long term low/tiny amounts leeching back into the water column for a long period of time, and it also means that tank would always be unsafe for any type of invert, such as shrimp. Those types of medications will also kill snails. I would definitely not use that product/medication in your tank.
Should I leave them alone and let nature take care of them?
Yes and no. Yes, let nature take care of them, but help it along in other ways... such as finding the cause of their population explosion and fixing the cause of the actual problem. The appearance of them is a symptom of a larger problem. If you resolve the original problem they will go away naturally. Getting on a good maintenance routine is a good start. 30% water change once/wk is a good schedule for most tanks, provided they are not overstocked with fish or overfed. In a situation where water quality may be in quite bad status (if you post test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH then we can help sort that out) or where the water chemistry in the tank differs greatly from the source water being used for water changes, then 10% every day for a few weeks is a better schedule until all is in good standing. Be sure to gravel vac once/month, and the first one should be done with the next water change. If there is an extreme amount of food/organic waste in the tank, gravel vac can be done with each 10% change daily until the entire substrate has been covered.
Or are they actually correcting a problem with my tank that, without the hydra to keep it in check, will get out of control."
I would not say they are correcting a problem, simply reacting or thriving in their proper conditions. What is proper for them is not usually proper for the fish, so there is the indication of the actual problem. As I explained above, if the original problem goes away, they go with it. When feeding the fish they should be able to completely consume the amount of food you offer within 1 - 2 minutes (if you have bottom feeders I would give it 2 minutes). If there is excess food in the tank beyond this time it should be removed. This can be done with a siphon hose, airline tubing, or a turkey baster. Also remember to change any carbon in the filter every 30 days.
Proper maintenance and feeding practices should resolve this problem for you. Unless you have fry in the tank, be patient but diligent. Your fish are going to thank you!
I hope this helps.