Betta Tank, White Stringy Things at Waterline

  • #1
Recently I noticed these buggers in my Bettas tank at and above the waterline. I checked his water parameters to include: Ph, Nitrites, Nitrates and Ammonia. All are on target! His water temp is 78 degrees. I don't know how it happens but his tank loves algae! I do my best to vacuum most of it during weekly water changes but I sadly and embarrassingly admit, he went 2 weeks this last time (you know when you keep saying "I'll do it tonight!" and the next thing you know!). I've read here on FL that green algae is more aesthetically annoying than dangerous so I don't worry about it too much anymore. No matter what you do, those spores spread during vacuuming anyway and it feels like a never ending battle.

Anyway, does anyone know what these are? They are ONLY at the waterline of my tank and on the glass. I've never seen anything swimming around in Sebastian's tank except for him. No squiggly worms, etc. He does have a Nerite snail buddy. Hmmm..... Never noticed it until the last month or so. Thought maybe it was those little harmless worms but I never see them swim and they're always above the waterline. Any ideas? I KNOW someone out there knows

I do want to add that yesterday I noticed my Betta is quite bloated and after reading everything that I have..I'm thinking he's constipated. I also worry that maybe he got in a couple pellets that puffed up after he ate them. Before you scold me, he's been eating 3 of these each morning for the last 18 months I've had him and it hasn't been an issue..until now. So clearly I will no longer be giving him the pellets without crumbling or pre-soaking. Lesson learned. I posted about this issue yesterday with limited replies. If you have any feedback, please share. But first know that I've taken all morning (and a good part of yesterday) reading articles on Constipation, Dropsy, Air Bladder Disease, etc. and the only symptom he has is that he's bloated. He swims fine and can stay stationary without issue. He's on Day 2 of fasting.

If anyone has any helpful info..please let me know! Thanks so much!


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  • #2
Can't really help with the bloating but those white things are detritus worms.
  • #3
Well the first thing with the worms, they look like detritus worms. They are usually from overfeeding or lack of cleaning which both sort of go together. With poor oxygen levels in the substrate and excess food they will usually pop up, the betta actually snacks on them so they should keep it somewhat under control but they will continue to exist in the tank regardless. How much and how often you see them is going to depend on how clean the substrate is.

Given the bloat, again I would assume overfeeding so you're on the right track with fasting. A piece of frozen blanched pea may also do some good to relieve the constipation. Lastly for the algae, first thing I would ask is if the tank is by any windows or direct sunlight. If not think about how long the lights are on for, most of the time in a small tank without ferts 3-4 hours can be plenty. If it's larger with ferts you may have to consider balancing the light period and fert dosage a bit more.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thank you so much for your feedback I appreciate it!
  • #5
Agree with the assessment the white things are tubificid worms, likely from the Naididae family. They shouldn't pose a threat and in fact serve as snacks for fish. I find it an interesting detail that they only stay at the waterline though - usually they feed off nutrients on the substrate, not on the surface.

With regards to the bloat, did this happen overnight? The way the scales stretch around the swelling doesn't look good. Do a 3-day fast to see if it's mere fecal impaction. You may use epsom salt baths to help him along.

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