Eradicating Detritus Worms? Please Only Respond If You Have Been Through It And Have Had Success! Question 

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TheBettaSushi

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Hey all! As some of you may know, my tank has recently been infested with what seems to be detritus worms. Here’s the link to my previous post with photos

https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/great-i-think-i-have-worms.401014/

The amount is getting pretty out of control. I’ve stopped baffling my filter in hopes to catch these tiny monsters out of the water and into the filter media (hoping they get caught in the filter floss) however, no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get any flow towards the front of the tank thanks to the Fluval edge (6 gallon) design (this is where I see them the most on the glass as well as above the water column when they are not floating in the water).

I was feeding my betta daily (either 2-3 pellets or bug bites, 1-2 frozen blood worms, 3-4 frozen baby brine or 2 frozen mysis... and no, not in one feeding). I would rotate these foods daily except on Sunday’s which are water change and fasting days.

I have now cut back to feeding every other day as my betta keeps chomping down on these worms.

I know that with more frequent water changes, I may be able to get their numbers down significantly to the point where I no longer see them but how often should I change the water and how much?

Also should I feed my betta every two days instead or will every other day with water changes work just fine in lowering the amount of detritus worms?

I manually siphon snail poop at least every other day with a small diy siphon I made using Tupperware, airline tubing and a straw but that isn’t sufficient enough and isn’t doing anything to rid these worms.

Any advice? Suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
 

SFGiantsGuy

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I just cleaned my substrate a lot after my infestation. Like...a lot. and cut back on feeding so much. Now, all I ever see is maybe 1-2 worms. And w/c's of course.

Maybe try a 30% w/c twice per week, and clean the substrate a lot as well, every other day perhaps...and keep the feeding sparingly. Every other day sounds good. Well...that's what I did to get rid of 'em....
 
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TheBettaSushi

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SFGiantsGuy said:
I just cleaned my substrate a lot after my infestation. Like...a lot. and cut back on feeding so much. Now, all I ever see is maybe 1-2 worms. And w/c's of course.

Maybe try a 30% w/c twice per week, and clean the substrate a lot as well, every other day perhaps...and keep the feeding sparingly. Every other day sounds good. Well...that's what I did to get rid of 'em....
I can do pwc twice a week but I have sand as substrate so the gravel vac won’t work. I’ve tried to stir it up but that doesn’t work so well since I have diatoms on my sand.
 
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SFGiantsGuy said:
I just cleaned my substrate a lot after my infestation. Like...a lot. and cut back on feeding so much. Now, all I ever see is maybe 1-2 worms. And w/c's of course.

Maybe try a 30% w/c twice per week, and clean the substrate a lot as well, every other day perhaps...and keep the feeding sparingly. Every other day sounds good. Well...that's what I did to get rid of 'em....
Well... did a water change, upped the flow on my hob a little, baffled it with a plastic mesh used for arts and crafts and also got rid of the steel mesh filter guard and used the plastic mesh sheet to cover the intake instead since it had bigger holes for the intake to suck up. I don’t see as many worms as I did this morning... still there but my glass is no longer covered... think that did the trick?
 

SFGiantsGuy

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Keep at it. They could be down in the substrate though hiding/chillin'...
 
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SFGiantsGuy said:
Keep at it. They could be down in the substrate though hiding/chillin'...
I don’t think I’ll be able to get rid of them completely but I’ll do another water change on Saturday and stir the sand again. As long as they stay in the sand and I don’t see them, I’m ok with that lol Thanks!
 

SFGiantsGuy

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I saw a few earlier in my tank. Only about 6 or so, and they were dead and just...floating there lol If they were alive, they usually get eaten anyway.
 
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TheBettaSushi

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SFGiantsGuy said:
I saw a few earlier in my tank. Only about 6 or so, and they were dead and just...floating there lol If they were alive, they usually get eaten anyway.
6 is better than 100s of them that’s for sure. My betta keeps eating them but it’s so much that he can’t get to all of them. They’re so tiny that it’s hard to tell if it’s detritus worms or sand or just particles. I have to stand there and stare closely to see them. Whatever the case, I really hope that the new mesh intake guard I made and putting the flow on medium is enough to suck them into the filter at least. As long as I don’t see them, it won’t make my skin crawl.

One thing I have noticed though is that I keep getting little air bubbles in my sand. I can clearly see them from the front of the glass. I’ll poke them out but it will come back. Not sure if it’s the worms causing it or my sand just isn’t compacting. I don’t have any air bubbles on the sides of my tank... it’s the strangest thing!
 

SFGiantsGuy

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Ehh don't worry about the bubbles. They happen to everyone all the time. I used to have THOUSANDS of D. worms, so I know what you're going through! Mine were so bad, that I had to shut down the tank...it was super gross...
 
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SFGiantsGuy said:
Ehh don't worry about the bubbles. They happen to everyone all the time. I used to have THOUSANDS of D. worms, so I know what you're going through! Mine were so bad, that I had to shut down the tank...it was super gross...
Just in the front though? That’s so weird. I’m also getting algae under the substrate just in the front of the tank... I’m not a newbie but I’ve never encountered this before. It’s definitely a first for me because I’ve always either used flourite if I wanted to plant or sand if I were keeping Anubias (as I am now).

I’ve had it happen to me too.. semi long detritus worms... so many of them! It got to a point where I waited for my fish to die off since he was old anyway then destroyed that tank. Bleached the heck out of it and left it outside for weeks! Threw away all of my media and started the cycle again. Now they’re back! Sucks because this tank has only been running for a few months. You’d think they’d show up at least a year later but nope... they just had to show up now and ruin my life lol.
 

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The sheer amounts were comparable to ant hills. THOUSANDS. It was too overwhelming, so I dumped it all and started over.
 
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SFGiantsGuy said:
The sheer amounts were comparable to ant hills. THOUSANDS. It was too overwhelming, so I dumped it all and started over.
How did you let it get so bad??? Lol
 

SFGiantsGuy

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It was when I first started the hobby and was only about 13. I overfed like crazy. Most of the worms were in the substrate...and some on the back of the tank, but I never really noticed all of the ones in the back, because if was mostly a shady part of the tank...saw at least thousands when the substrate was churned up...it was quite disgustingly shocking... >_< D-:
 
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TheBettaSushi

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SFGiantsGuy said:
It was when I first started the hobby and was only about 13. I overfed like crazy. Most of the worms were in the substrate...and some on the back of the tank, but I never really noticed all of the ones in the back, because if was mostly a shady part of the tank...saw at least thousands when the substrate was churned up...it was quite disgustingly shocking... >_< D-:
Oh my!!! Yeah that is disgusting. I’m no longer feeding every day... I feel bad but there’s a bunch of free food in the tank if he wants it. I fed him 4 tiny bug bites today but that was it. He’s getting nothing tomorrow. What I don’t understand is how I got these things in the first place. Nothing gets left over because I hand feed with tongs. And if one drops, he’ll chase it down and grab it. I watch him eat, giving one at a time. I’m kind of mind boggled by it. Maybe they came from the small amount of diatoms I have? Or the green hair algae I had? Or the plants/rocks? I don’t know.
 

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They sometimes come in with plants and other things. Pretty sure mine came in with some plants, then they obviously multiplied like crazy over about 2 years...sucks! : (
 

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How do you do your water changes? You need to be squirting water around the substrate to stir up the top layer of it so all the poop and stuff gets moving and you suck the dirty stuff up with a hose or gravel vac type of thing. Detritus worms are in every tank, but overfeeding really cause them to multiply. The good news is that they are harmless and luckily your fish have taken a liking to eating them, so I don't see what the issue is here, unless you enjoy spending more money on fish food. I'm sure your fish would prefer live food anyway. Consider it a blessing in disguise and let your fish have its fill and monitor your feeding. You'll never get rid of all the worms. I don't know where they come from but they are always going to be in the substrate, so it's best to just realize that your tank is actually a small microcosm full of small organisms that live in harmony. So long as they are not harmful, I don't see the issue. I get that they can look disgusting to you, but that's just life.
 
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eustoma01 said:
How do you do your water changes? You need to be squirting water around the substrate to stir up the top layer of it so all the poop and stuff gets moving and you suck the dirty stuff up with a hose or gravel vac type of thing. Detritus worms are in every tank, but overfeeding really cause them to multiply. The good news is that they are harmless and luckily your fish have taken a liking to eating them, so I don't see what the issue is here, unless you enjoy spending more money on fish food. I'm sure your fish would prefer live food anyway. Consider it a blessing in disguise and let your fish have its fill and monitor your feeding. You'll never get rid of all the worms. I don't know where they come from but they are always going to be in the substrate, so it's best to just realize that your tank is actually a small microcosm full of small organisms that live in harmony. So long as they are not harmful, I don't see the issue. I get that they can look disgusting to you, but that's just life.
I do my water changes like any other person would do. It’s kind of impossible to “squirt” water around the substrate since I have sand... unless I want to make a sand tornado, I don’t think it’s very wise to do what you just stated. All debris lays on top of sand... I stir it up a little once a week after I get the poo/ debris out though. I don’t overfeed (read my initial post). I’m almost 100% positive those worms came from my dragon stone I purchased from my LFS as it was in their tank previously. Whatever it may have been, they’re almost completely gone now. I see a few here and there but it’s nothing compared to what it was months ago.
 
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