Please HELP! with parasite - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-23-2013, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Please HELP! with parasite

Hello, I have a 29 gal freshwater tank with mostly Rainbows. I noticed tiny white caterpillar-like critters on the inside of the tank glass about 2 months ago. I told a local fish store about them and they said that since they didn't appear to be on the fish, it was probably nothing to worry about. Well since then I've had 3 fish die and the tank glass seems infested with these things. They are barely big enough to see with the eye, look like a thin white worm and if you watch them long enough they obviously move and crawl across the glass. I believe I had them once before about 10+ years ago and I thought they were called "flukes" or "tank lice". I have tried quick-cure with no effect. I also tried coppersafe and that doesn't seem to be working either. If anyone has any experience with these or can at least identify these things, please let me know. Thanks in advance for any info offered!!
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-23-2013, 12:52 PM
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A clear photo would probably help members ID these. You might find photos on the internet, check for planaria, worms, etc. and see if you can find a good photo of what you see in the tank.

Some additional data on this aquarium might be helpful too. Many of these creatures occur due to overfeeding or inadequate maintenance, and the death of fish could be related indirectly if not directly. What sized tank, how many (and which) fish, how often are water changes performed and do you clean the substrate, filter, etc.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-23-2013, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Byron. I will try to get or find a pic of these things. So far I have not found one on the net and they're so tiny that I must really strain to see them with the naked eye, but I will try to work something out. My tank has mostly Rainbow fish including one Austrailian, two Red-Tailed, two Praecox and one New Guinea Rainbow. I also have a large Amazonian Tetra; A Clown Pleco; a Bumblebee Cat; a Salt & Pepper Cat; three Neons and two Harlequins. I use an AquaClear 50 w/ the 3 elements; mech. filter, carbon and ammonia. I do maybe 1/3rd water changes about every month. I vacuum the gravel maybe once every 3-4 months. I test for ammonia and nitrites about once a month or so. My temp is pretty steady at 78 F. I've had very good luck with my aquariums over the years but my knowledge is limited to personal experience so any help or info is greatly appreciated.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-23-2013, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Aerixx View Post
Thanks Byron. I will try to get or find a pic of these things. So far I have not found one on the net and they're so tiny that I must really strain to see them with the naked eye, but I will try to work something out. My tank has mostly Rainbow fish including one Austrailian, two Red-Tailed, two Praecox and one New Guinea Rainbow. I also have a large Amazonian Tetra; A Clown Pleco; a Bumblebee Cat; a Salt & Pepper Cat; three Neons and two Harlequins. I use an AquaClear 50 w/ the 3 elements; mech. filter, carbon and ammonia. I do maybe 1/3rd water changes about every month. I vacuum the gravel maybe once every 3-4 months. I test for ammonia and nitrites about once a month or so. My temp is pretty steady at 78 F. I've had very good luck with my aquariums over the years but my knowledge is limited to personal experience so any help or info is greatly appreciated.
From this information, I would suspect these are planaria or similar. They are usually harmless to fish, and reslt from overfeeding and/or insufficient cleaning of the substrate/water changes/filter. And the latter is certainly present here.

Water changes must be weekly at a minimum, once each week. Change 1/3 to 1/2 the tank volume. Vacuum into the substrate especially in open areas such as along the front. If you have live plants rooted in the substrate, don't vacuum around them, just the open areas.

Tank size isn't mentioned, so I can't say if the fish load is or isn't an issue combined with the above. Pleco are notable waste factories, though the Clown is small (3-4 inches) but without more regular water changes/substrate cleaning this can still add up.

Planaria are small, you may need a magnifying glass to see them more clearly on the glass to ascertain their shape. I've sometimes seen very tiny white worms, but not more than a very few, and in my 10g which is loaded with dry leaves decomposing [my Farlowella fry feed on these].

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-23-2013, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the information Byron. My tank is a 29 Gallon (high). Is there something I should do to remove these planaria or do you think the increased maintenance will actually get rid of these?
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-23-2013, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Aerixx View Post
Thank you for all the information Byron. My tank is a 29 Gallon (high). Is there something I should do to remove these planaria or do you think the increased maintenance will actually get rid of these?
If they are planaria, or some similar type, doing a good vacuum of the substrate during a water change will start cleaning them up. You will likely remove many with the substrate vacuuming. Then keeping up with weekly water changes, and not overfeeding.

On no account use any preparation to kill them, this willonly make things much worse. The solution is to remove the cause and they will lessen and likely disappear.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-23-2013, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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I will get on that today! Thanks again.
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