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White "worms" in my fish tank!!!
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Redtailshark
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Joined: 13 Jun 2009

PostPosted: 2009.06.13(Sat)12:27    Post subject: White "worms" in my fish tank!!! Reply with quote

Hello everybody,

I have just come home from holiday, to realise that my c. 3 week old fish tank has been infested (I use that loosely) with tiny white worms/larvae. These are only a few millimetres long, have a round body, and hundreds of tiny legs on either side of their slim bodies. They seem to mainly reside above the water level, on the glass.

In my tank, I've got two dwarf gouramies, one german blue ram, two guppies, one marble hatchet fish (the 2 others I bought with it a couple of weeks ago were dead the next morning) and 1 redtailed black shark. It is only a c. 10 gallon tank. Even though it is a new tank, I did a 30% water change just over a week ago, as I had had to treat my new shark for white spot!!

I feed my fish with Tetra Pro Colour Crisps, and Tetra Treat Tablets. While I was away, I left Tetramin Holiday food in the tank, which the fish hardly seemed to touch.

I've added fish on 3 occasions, and added Nutrafin Cycle (biological supplement) every time to avoid ammonia poisoning.

I used to have tropical fish for years when I was younger, but have never seen anything like these little creatures before!! Have I done something wrong?? What are they?? And most importantly, how do I get rid of them???

Many thanks!

Redtailshark
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Darkblade48
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Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Location: Yokohama, Japan

PostPosted: 2009.06.13(Sat)21:48    Post subject: Re: White "worms" in my fish tank!!! Reply with quote

Redtailshark wrote:
In my tank, I've got two dwarf gouramies, one german blue ram, two guppies, one marble hatchet fish (the 2 others I bought with it a couple of weeks ago were dead the next morning) and 1 redtailed black shark. It is only a c. 10 gallon tank.

Your tank is quite overstocked. The fish that you have are not compatible with each other, and a 10 gallon tank is much too small for the Red Tailed Shark.

Redtailshark wrote:
Even though it is a new tank, I did a 30% water change just over a week ago, as I had had to treat my new shark for white spot!!

You should be carrying out 25-30% water changes on a weekly basis in a regular tank. In overstocked tanks, daily or every other day water changes are not uncommon.

Redtailshark wrote:
I left Tetramin Holiday food in the tank, which the fish hardly seemed to touch.

Those holiday food blocks are usually a bad idea, they are uncontrollable and will release food into your tank at an unknown rate, etc.

If you are on vacation for a short time (say, up to a week), you can easily leave without feeding your fish for that time. If you must, you can have someone you trust feed your fish. To ensure they aren't accidentally "too nice" to your fish and overfeed them, you can put one day's worth of food into small envelopes and label them clearly.

Redtailshark wrote:
I've added fish on 3 occasions, and added Nutrafin Cycle (biological supplement) every time to avoid ammonia poisoning.

Cycle is a product that does not work. For a bacteria/biological supplement to work, the product itself must be refrigerated so that the bacteria do not die off. In addition, once your tank is properly cycled, there should be no need to add any biological supplement anyway.

Redtailshark wrote:
I used to have tropical fish for years when I was younger, but have never seen anything like these little creatures before!! Have I done something wrong?? What are they?? And most importantly, how do I get rid of them???

If you are overfeeding the tank, then it is likely that these white worms are Planaria. Do you have pictures?
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Redtailshark
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Joined: 13 Jun 2009

PostPosted: 2009.06.14(Sun)2:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all your pointers!! Sounds like I need to find myself a new LFS! That's where I've gotten most of my info and advice from. They told me I could have up to 12 small tropical fish in my tank! I will also have to find some kind of alternative arrangements for the fish I've got!

A mistake on my part in my previous message was to say that I've got a 10 gallon tank (sorry, am in the UK, and have a 10 UK gallon tank). It is in fact 12 (US) gallons. I suppose this doesn't make any difference when it comes to the shark though?

Which fish are incompatible? They seem to have gotten along great so far, but that doesn't mean they will work in the long run.

Now back to the issue at hand... The worms are too small to take pictures of. I've read up on Planaria on the internet, and they don't seem to fit the description. The worms I've got, are approximately 3-4 millimetres long (if that), completely round and white. Their bodies seem to be in segments (not completely smooth), but that is really to hard to really tell with the naked eye. That's what it seems like based on the way they move. I will try to get a magnifying glass today to get a better look at them.

Will do another water change straight away, and see if that makes any difference. Will also take a sample of water to my LFS for testing as I haven't bought my own testing kit yet.

Any suggestions of alternatives to Nutrafin Cycle? If it's overstocked I assume I need something else until I've found a longer term solution for my fish!!

Thanks again,

Redtailshark
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stefanita123
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Joined: 18 Nov 2008
Location: Bath, UK

PostPosted: 2009.06.14(Sun)5:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you have a gravel syphon? If so it would be wise to use that with your water changes to get any un-hatched worms out of the gravel.

There aren't any cycling products that work in my experience, other than letting the cycle take it's course naturally, however you shouldn't need to be adding any products to your tank other than a something to take the chlorine out of the tap water.

I'm not sure about red tailed sharks, never had any experience keeping them but if both your dwarf gouramies are male then they won't get on well for long in a tank that size. Gouramies can get pretty agressive and in as small a tank as that they will probably fight. Is there any chance you can rehome one, or return it to your LFS?

(Ps: always remember that a fish store is a business, and they will sell unnecessary products to inexperienced fish keepers, and also sell fish for uncycled tanks knowing that you will be back to buy more once the first lot die Sad )
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Darkblade48
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Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Location: Yokohama, Japan

PostPosted: 2009.06.14(Sun)5:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

Redtailshark wrote:
They told me I could have up to 12 small tropical fish in my tank!

It is possible to keep 12 small tropical fish (such as Neons, perhaps) in a 10 gallon tank. However, a Red Tailed Shark, Rams, and Gouramis definitely do not fit this bill.

Redtailshark wrote:
A mistake on my part in my previous message was to say that I've got a 10 gallon tank (sorry, am in the UK, and have a 10 UK gallon tank). It is in fact 12 (US) gallons. I suppose this doesn't make any difference when it comes to the shark though?

A difference of 2 gallons does not really make a difference.

Redtailshark wrote:
Which fish are incompatible? They seem to have gotten along great so far, but that doesn't mean they will work in the long run.
As stefanita123 mentioned, the Gouramis will likely start to fight as they mature. Males can be quite territorial.

Redtailshark wrote:
Any suggestions of alternatives to Nutrafin Cycle? If it's overstocked I assume I need something else until I've found a longer term solution for my fish!!

You shouldn't need any alternative to Nutrafin Cycle. Assuming your tank is established, then there should already be enough beneficial bacteria present to convert ammonia into nitrates.
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Shai
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Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Location: Calgary, AB

PostPosted: 2009.06.14(Sun)10:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given the situation, this is what I would do:

1. Take all the fish back to the LFS. With your tank only being about 3 weeks old, it is still cycling. It needs to finish doing this before being stocked.

2. Buy liquid test kits so you can monitor the water quality. Strips are horribly inaccurate. At the very least you need to be able to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

3. Tear down the tank and give it a good cleaning. Keep your filter media wet and oxygenated so you don't lose the beneficial bacteria already in it. Scrub down the inside of the tank with white vinegar (no soap!) and give your gravel a lengthy rinse in hot water plus vinegar. This should take care of the worms. Be sure you rinse everything extra well afterwards so there is no vinegar left.

3. Set the tank back up and finish cycling. Read this article on fishless cycling to learn how to do it.

4. Once cycled, think about restocking. Research the fish you want before you buy them and come up with a suitable stock plan. There are lots of people here who will help you. : )

In addition to the shark, the German Blue Ram is unsuitable for your tank. He needs at least a 20g (long). GBRs also need pristine (very clean) water and their temperature requirements tend to exclude many other tropical fish as tankmates. GBRs are not a "beginners" fish.

Best of luck.
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Redtailshark
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Joined: 13 Jun 2009

PostPosted: 2009.06.15(Mon)13:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for all your advice!

The worms weren't actually in the water. Only on the glass above the water level. Have, however, bought a test kit and done a 50% water change today. Also cleaned the glass properly to get rid of all worms. Will see if that helps or if they come back. The test results weren't as bad as I had feared, so will leave the fish in for the next few days while checking the water, until I've come up with a permanent solution to rehouse some of them.

Thanks again!!!!

Redtailshark
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stefanita123
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Joined: 18 Nov 2008
Location: Bath, UK

PostPosted: 2009.06.15(Mon)15:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have ammonia and/or nitrite readings at all then do 10% water changes every day until they disappear.
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Redtailshark
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PostPosted: 2009.06.16(Tue)4:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, will do. Thanks again!!!
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