Tiny white worm problem again :/ - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-12-2014, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Tiny white worm problem again :/

I made a post about this in the past, but I have better pictures now and I'm wondering if someone can help me identify these annoying little things.

Back info:
I had a 10 gallon tank with 4 African Dwarf Frogs. I noticed some little white worms floating on the surface. I made a post here and I searched all suggestions (detritus worms, Springtails, etc) and none of them really match what mine look like? The detritus worms are close but it looks like they get a lot bigger than what I have.

Fortunately I have better pictures than I had in the past.
Here on black background
Next to tadpole
And a whole bunch

I recently (4 days ago) moved to a 25 gallon long aquarium. I moved all the rocks from the old tank (I rinsed a little but I wanted the bacteria to move to the new tank so I could move everyone over quicker) all plants and about 80% of the old water.

I noticed lately it looks like my worm population was either bigger than I first saw, or growing. I feed my ADF's about 3 times per week. Since I first noticed the worms, I've been sitting and watching to be sure the frogs eat every single bloodworm I put in, and they always do. There is never left over food in the aquarium. I vacuum the rocks about once a month (or more if I see it's dirty).

I've tried scooping the top since that's where they seem to be mostly. (Though now I see them flying through the water from the filter pushing them, and now I see they are on the back and side of the glass) But they seem to still be growing.

While they're a nice food source for my tadpoles (which no, I haven't successfully raised any. :() they're starting to grow in numbers and it's grossing me out. No one seems bothered by them but I'm wondering if anyone knows how to get rid of them, or at least decrease their numbers? I'm sure cleaning everything top to bottom would help but I'm hoping I don't have to go that far.

And most of all, what ARE they? They have never grown bigger than what is shown in the picture.

It was suggested at the fish store to try placing a fish in that may eat them (though they couldn't give me an idea of what fish :/) I really want to try to keep this aquarium a species only tank for my ADF's, but I can go that far if it's not a fish that will bother my frogs at all.

Oh! A last thing. I was thinking of adding live plants in the aquarium (just purchased the right light for it) but will this increase the worm population even more? Or should it be ok?

So sorry for writing a book, I'm just really irritated by them. xP

(The little tadpole in the picture was moved out of his parent's tank into a smaller tank with his siblings. ^-^)

Thank you so much to anyone who can give any information. :)
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-12-2014, 11:16 AM
Get some corys or Khuli loaches. They should eat them.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-12-2014, 05:34 PM
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Planaria perhaps.Just start manually removing them each time you do water changes.
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Last edited by keepsmiling; 01-12-2014 at 05:37 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-13-2014, 09:24 AM
on the surface ?

from what i've red and experienced.

worms (when the population is sufficient) can form themselves into balls of many worms (tubifex worms do this, as do blackworms and even microworms - if the population is sufficient) - overly simplified

i don't know about other worms.

floating on the surface ...

just under the surface, or ontop of the water ?

vinegar eels also come to mind (i didn't include above as i have no experience with them)

as i'm currently at work, i can't see the pictures you have, so i'm at a bit of a disadvantage to see what you see.

i'm assuming what you say for "detritus worms" are tubifex worms - these grow to be about 1" i think (just looked up), and if the population is sufficient the worms will be sticking up out of the substrate like pinkish hair

blackworms will do more to burrow through the substrate (from what i've red) like terrestrial garden worms, and are about 2" in size

neither of these worms live at the surface of the water

microworms (aside from bad B.O. they have) tend to stick to the sides, and swim through the water, and when populations are high will form small white balls in the water that slowly sink and have you scratching your head going WTF is that thing falling - nothing to consider in an aquarium. these worms are typically raised for food in a whole different environment - so you won't find this description for culturing these worms.

i stayed away from considering any knowledge of vinegar eels (actually a worm) due the the PH requirements (i think about ph 3 or 5 - so not sustainable outside of their culture container i don't think). ... the pH for raising these guys i just stayed away from.

if you have planaria (a freshwater flatworm) well ... either either food (not likely as you still have them) or they're more parasitic (i'm going to guess not as you haven't spoken of your critters suffering), ... and could just as likely be undesirable by your tankmates. a lack of knowledge about planaria as a viable food source has moved me towards it being easier to stay away from these guys, not a 'written in stone' rule, just for now till i find out more (i stumble across something that says "this species is a must have")

planaria (with it's lack of clear searchable information) these guys can be near any size, from 1mm or less to large enough to give your fish nightmares but their body shape is their tell-tale sign the larger head instead of the typical worm shape that makes it hard to tell "what is the head?"


going to search your other post as i am interested in all kinds of live food options and am curious what has been suggested

i don't know if this is a taboo request or not

if someone can repost those pictures so i could see them that would be great,
doesn't change what the OP is going through, only satisfies my own curiosities.

Last edited by Flear; 01-13-2014 at 09:29 AM.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-13-2014, 09:52 AM
from other post

so far microworm or planaria sounds like it, ... doesn't sound like anything to worry about

if your tadpoles are eating them, that's good (as opposed to the reverse of them eating your tadpoles)

frogs are ... (relating to diets) i view them as rather discusting creatures (nothing personal), like pigs, and a few other animals, ... they eat anything, if it moves eat it, if it doesn't move, give it a try, ... if it fights back, leave it alone, but try anyway, ... kinda stands to reason that they'll eat whatever it is you've got :)

but that's live food, ... i don't want to say "give it a test", but if you find they are of no harm to your frogs and/or tadpoles, you've got a great accidental setup, free live food that your critters will love you for, sure feed them normally, but it's an added bonus that processed foods will never compete with "live food" :)


if i'm out to lunch on what they are, ... your tadpoles are still eating them, so it's good regardless, just don't let the mystery population get too high and you're good to go (too many hungry mouths to feed of any species is dangerous
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-13-2014, 12:13 PM
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I'm 99% sure that its planaria. They wont hurt your pets, but infestations can be unattractive and can become dense. They eat decomposing food, so clean your substrate and feed sparingly for about three weeks. They thrive in high nutrient environments so do extra water changes and really sift the gravel to remove tiny bits of food and poop.
Good luck!

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post #7 of 12 Old 01-13-2014, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all that information. :D I'll post a picture at the end of this post. I just didn't want to fill my first post with massive pictures that would annoy anyone.

They look sort of similar to the vinegar eels, but they're a fraction of the size. They're 1mm to at the absolute most 2mm.

But yes, most of them are just floating right under the surface (I use a syringe to suck them up and put them in the tadpole tank) but it seems like with the bigger tank and my new filter, the filter is pushing them around and now they're floating through the tank a little, but they're mostly on top and sticking to the glass.

Hopefully that's not too large. Making it smaller to fit better makes it harder to see the worms. But any white speck you see, is them.

As you can see, the worms are much too small for my frogs to even notice. So they aren't helping me keep the population down. And now that they're floating in the tank and on the glass, just scooping them out won't get rid of them forever.

I'm learning to accept the fact that I'm probably stuck with them forever unless I do a full blown clean up of every little thing but I worry that's going to disturb the frogs too much and I'm sure I'll miss a few and I'll be right where I am again.

I'm very interested in knowing what they are since I haven't found anything quite like them. I'm going to look into more of the worms you've posted. But since my guys are just 1-2mm, it hard to see much of them.

Thank you so much for taking the time to give me suggestions. :) Once my tadpoles grow up or (hopefully not) die, I'll go back to scooping the top out. I'm just glad no one seems to be negatively affected by them. I noticed a worm inching towards a tadpole and when it touched the tadpole it immediately inched away. So if they're afraid of tadpoles, I think my big guys are ok. No skin irritations that I can see. :)


Oops, you posted while I was writing up a reply. :)

Most planaria look a lot larger than what I have, but I'm guessing that's probably what I have. I'm glad mine at least stay really small. But unfortunately even my vacuum cleanings and making sure all the food is eaten, I still can't get rid of them. :(

Should I hold off on getting live plants? Will it encourage them in any way to keep populating?

Last edited by Missing; 01-13-2014 at 12:23 PM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-13-2014, 01:11 PM
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Thats planeria. While they themselves dont cause issues... The reason they are there likely is an issue. You will need to test your ammonia nitrite and nitrates. Extra nutrients (food, poop etc) are what causes them and that can screw with your water. Now from your explanation you didnt move filter media from the old tank to the new? Water does not carry the bacteria.. And your gravel not enough. For the most part in most tanks your main bacteria colony is going to be in the filter. Getting rid of planeria means you'll need to correct whats wrong .. Which will include more water changes and gravel vacuuming. And it will take time. 1, 2 or even 5 water changes will not get rid of them usually. Adding plants now is just fine. Honestly since i suspect your water is off ... More then likely that'll help too.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-13-2014, 01:49 PM
with frogs i can't suggest fish to eat them, fish small enough to want to eat those worms (or whatever) are going to be food for your frogs.

as riskylight mentioned, cleaning, feed less

if they're like the worms i have in a little fish bowl (more of an experiment) it doesn't take much for a huge worm population explosion to take place it's almost like 100% of the food given turns into worms.

seems that way anyway, ... if that's the case (or close enough) it tends to show how important it is to be ontop of cleaning and avoid excess feedings
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-13-2014, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Is vacuuming the rocks once a month not enough then?

As I stated a few times before, I only feed the frogs about 2-3 times a week, and there is never any extra food laying around. They eat it all within a minute. I can't get much better than that?

I'll just do more cleanings more often and see if that helps.

Last edited by Missing; 01-13-2014 at 02:47 PM.
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