Detritus Worms Everywhere!

alliemac

Member
They just appeared out of nowhere. It’s a 10 gallon cycled planted tank. The parameters are kept at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 10 - 20 nitrates.

I will say this, I tested out having neon tetras in there to see how my betta did, but all three died within 24 hours. No reason why. They were properly drip acclimated and there was no different between the waters when added. My betta did fine and my ghost shrimp has not changed. They literally dropped one after another though. Do you think because there were dead fish floating in there that that caused the worms?

Some also say overfeeding, but I don’t think that would be it. I do a big fish flake or two for my ghost and he eats it all and 3 betta pellets for my betta. Occasionally I do bloodworms, but I use tweezers and only do up to three.

The water was changed on Friday, I added the tetras and they passed, and then I changed it again yesterday. I noticed the worms Wednesday morning.

I also turned my air stone back on just in case oxygen was an issue. But they’re everywhere. All over the tank walls and I can see them swirling in the water column. What do I do?
 

sinned4g63

Member
First, the tetras need to be in schools usually around 6 or more. It could have been stress from not having a proper group. Or maybe related to the nitrates but I'm not positive on that.

Second, the worms come from decaying plant matter. I usually have them in my 5 gallon but never had an issue with my other tanks. I have read they don't like clean water so as usual simple small daily water changes should help. Other then that they are almost always there just not as unsightly as you describe, but they feed on the dead plants and debris.
 

IHaveADogToo

Member
I agree with the above post, but to add, they also feed on fish waste, decaying dead fish bodies... if it took you several hours to find a dead tetra that may explain the sudden jump in detritus worm activity.

To be honest detritus worms are a sign of a healthy ecosystem, just, they’re supposed to stay hidden in the substrate. Do a good deep gravel vac. Because an excess of detritus worms is a bad thing. Also, feed the fish less often. There will be less fish poop and less uneaten food, which are sources of food for those worms. Detritus worms in excess are often a sign of overfeeding.

As for the tetras dying, I’ve said it several times before and I’ll say it again. Something is wrong with the neon tetras in North America right now. I don’t know if the fish farms have been breeding them poorly, or inbreeding them, or whatever, but it’s like genetically they’re just very weak right now, very susceptible to disease, very short lived. I’m pretty sure it was neon tetras that brought an onslaught of diseases that killed off half my community tank.
 
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alliemac

Member
First, I understand they need a school of 6, but who adds 6 fish to a 10 gallon tank in one day? I was working on bioload first.

Second, I’ll do a deep vacuum on the tank. It could be the plants. Some melted just a tiny bit but they’re looking good again.
 
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jdhef

Moderator
Member
Well actually...I believe the minimum recommended tank size for neon tetras is 20g. They apparently are pretty active fish and require more swim space than 10 gallons. Also, I do not think that neon tetras are temperature compatible with a betta. Betta's require a water temp of 79 to 81 degrees, whereas neon tetra's I believe require a tank temp in the low to mid 70's.

But you are correct in wanting to stock slowly.
 
  • Thread Starter

alliemac

Member
jdhef said:
Well actually...I believe the minimum recommended tank size for neon tetras is 20g. They apparently are pretty active fish and require more swim space than 10 gallons. Also, I do not think that neon tetras are temperature compatible with a betta. Betta's require a water temp of 79 to 81 degrees, whereas neon tetra's I believe require a tank temp in the low to mid 70's.

But you are correct in wanting to stock slowly.
I got 50/50 responses on the Tetras so I thought I’d try. I feel bad that they didn’t survive so I’ll definitely wait until I get my house in March. That way I can get at least a 20 gallon if not more for any more fish. I’ll probably go with guppies or mollies who are more compatible next time. But yeah, I didn’t want to overload the tank and glad I wasn’t able to do the full school.

I can tell my betta doesn’t mind others being in his tank, but I think he feels happier with the tetras gone. I think he likes the shrimp since they’re a bit slower and don’t fly by him.

I appreciate everyone’s help!
 

sinned4g63

Member
alliemac said:
First, I understand they need a school of 6, but who adds 6 fish to a 10 gallon tank in one day? I was working on bioload first.

Second, I’ll do a deep vacuum on the tank. It could be the plants. Some melted just a tiny bit but they’re looking good again.
I didn't mean that as criticism just that it could have been stress and resulted in poor health or something related.. but when I did my 10 gallon I added 11 fish after it was cycled so I'm guilty of doing all that in the same day. 7 green tetras and 4 fancy guppies but the guppies have all gone.
 
  • Thread Starter

alliemac

Member
sinned4g63 said:
I didn't mean that as criticism just that it could have been stress and resulted in poor health or something related.. but when I did my 10 gallon I added 11 fish after it was cycled so I'm guilty of doing all that in the same day. 7 green tetras and 4 fancy guppies but the guppies have all gone.
Haha. It’s ok. I wasn’t trying to sound mean when responding. I freak out a lot and have heard about ammonia spikes killing fish and have heard that three is max in smaller tanks. I really think stress/fear was the issue though. Whether it was the small group or my betta scaring them. Their color kept going in and out and I know that means stress or fear.
 
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