Help Microscopic White Worm-like Things

ElC

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Recently found some very small white worm-like creatures in my tank. They weren’t very noticeable as they were so small but I looked closer and they move around on the glass. They’re way too small to get a picture of, but does anybody have any idea what it could be, and how to solve it if it’s parasitic?
Thank you!
 

Fahn

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ElC said:
Recently found some very small white worm-like creatures in my tank. They weren’t very noticeable as they were so small but I looked closer and they move around on the glass. They’re way too small to get a picture of, but does anybody have any idea what it could be, and how to solve it if it’s parasitic?
Thank you!
Are the string-like, rice-like, or arrow shaped?
 
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ElC

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They’re not very long so I’m not sure but I’d say string-like because they’re so thin. I read that they thrive in environments where there’s a lot of left over food. I feed my fish a small pinch once a day, so it doesn’t really add up
 

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ElC said:
They’re not very long so I’m not sure but I’d say string-like because they’re so thin. I read that they thrive in environments where there’s a lot of left over food. I feed my fish a small pinch once a day, so it doesn’t really add up
More than likely they are detritus worms, harmless nematodes that live in your substrate and feed on food and organic matter. In a tank with sand or gravel you can vacuum most of them out. I often see them in my shrimp setups and leave them be as they aerate the aquasoil and consume leftover food. Fish love to eat them.

If the worms are kind of squat and resemble tiny grains of rice, they are rhabdocoela flatworms. The kind typically found in aquariums are harmless, and usually eat biofilm and detritus. I see them on the glass in my tanks often.

If they appear to have an arrow-shaped head and are somewhat large and tan/brown, you have planaria. While many species are harmless, there are some particularly nasty predatory varieties that will prey on shrimp and small fish. Best to get rid of these, though be careful as some of the treatments are not snail safe.
 

TheBettaSushi

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ElC said:
Recently found some very small white worm-like creatures in my tank. They weren’t very noticeable as they were so small but I looked closer and they move around on the glass. They’re way too small to get a picture of, but does anybody have any idea what it could be, and how to solve it if it’s parasitic?
Thank you!
Do they look like this?


BFC28666-5C27-4FFF-894A-CE995DA1A28A.jpeg
ED5F6FCD-F53A-4BD6-8927-EF766C727F97.jpeg
2A0E458D-EC76-4705-992E-DDDFBAF7AD32.jpeg
A1005B78-A094-42B1-B90B-B06D5281B42D.jpeg
5A4CA60E-4EA7-4C1A-ADA0-E617251FED46.jpeg
 
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ElC

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The ones in my tanks seem to be longer and thinner, but they’re definitely white, so not planaria.
 

TheBettaSushi

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ElC said:
The ones in my tanks seem to be longer and thinner, but they’re definitely white, so not planaria.
Yours sound like detritus worms. I still don’t know what mine are.
 
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ElC

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TheBettaSushi said:
Yours sound like detritus worms. I still don’t know what mine are.
The ones that were described to be flatworms seem like the ones you have, pretty sure they’re the most common. May have to look into it though as I’m unsure myself
 

TheBettaSushi

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ElC said:
The ones that were described to be flatworms seem like the ones you have, pretty sure they’re the most common. May have to look into it though as I’m unsure myself
Mine hang out on the surface. They don’t slither like worms do... they crawl from what I can see anyway. I saw a bigger one.. it was long and thin but my betta ate it before I even got a chance to really look at it. They look like dust particles in my tank.
 
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Usually, the harmful/parasitic worms won’t be visible on the gravel or glass, so maybe see them as the odd snack for your Betta. Could always vacuum them out if they get annoying
 

TheBettaSushi

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ElC said:
Usually, the harmful/parasitic worms won’t be visible on the gravel or glass, so maybe see them as the odd snack for your Betta. Could always vacuum them out if they get annoying
Betta has been eating them so I’m assuming they aren’t harmful. I don’t overfeed or I don’t think I do anyway. I have a lot of live plants and it produces oxygen during the day but I still see them when the lights are on.

I can’t see them on the substrate because I have white sand. I only see them on the glass. I think a huge water change is in order. Maybe they’ll go away if I do that and stop feeding the betta for a few days.
 

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If they're detritus worms outside of the substrate, could be that your water is not oxygenated enough. I found I stopped seeing detritus worms outside of the substrate after adding an air stone to my tank. I still have the worms in the substrate, but I let them be since they do a bit of cleaning, aerate the substrate, and provide the occasional snack for my guppies and corys.
 

TheBettaSushi

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guppgirl said:
If they're detritus worms outside of the substrate, could be that your water is not oxygenated enough. I found I stopped seeing detritus worms outside of the substrate after adding an air stone to my tank. I still have the worms in the substrate, but I let them be since they do a bit of cleaning, aerate the substrate, and provide the occasional snack for my guppies and corys.
I think that’s what it’s come down to. Ive had an airstone running for the past 4 days nonstop but it’s still no use. I have almost 0 flow at the front of the tank and this is where I see them. Haven’t figured out a way do anything about it that will actually work because my tank is a pain in the butt (fluval edge).
 

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TheBettaSushi said:
I think that’s what it’s come down to. Ive had an airstone running for the past 4 days nonstop but it’s still no use. I have almost 0 flow at the front of the tank and this is where I see them. Haven’t figured out a way do anything about it that will actually work because my tank is a pain in the butt (fluval edge).
Can you not move the air stone to the front of the tank for a bit, just to increase flow in that area? You can always just spot vacuum them out, but they'll repopulate.
Honestly, if you aren't bothered by their appearance, I wouldn't stress too much about having detritus worms. You can also try not feeding for a day or two to lessen up their food source.
 

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