Strange Worms In My Gravel!!!

Adrian Burke

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I just filled up my 25 gallon freshwater tank, and there’s weird worm things crawling out of my gravel! I’ve found 4 so far. They’re about one centimeter long and I can’t tell what they are. They have little bubbles at their mouths, and are beige. Are these dangerous for future fish? Are they baby centipedes that crawled in while it was dry and just got drowned? Should I try to remove them? I will attach a picture of one... very scary.
 

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Adrian Burke

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I got the gravel and tank from another fish keeper. They washed it out before they sold it... I killed 3 of them, and 2 more are in hiding under the gravel now. I don’t see how they could be exclusively aquatic specimens, since the tank has been dry for weeks.
 

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Awwwww. Baby millipedes! They’re so cute!

Adrian Burke said:
I got the gravel and tank from another fish keeper. They washed it out before they sold it... I killed 3 of them, and 2 more are in hiding under the gravel now. I don’t see how they could be exclusively aquatic specimens, since the tank has been dry for weeks.
Catch and release? I love millipedes. Glad it’s nothing dangerous.
 

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Adrian Burke said:
I just filled up my 25 gallon freshwater tank, and there’s weird worm things crawling out of my gravel! I’ve found 4 so far. They’re about one centimeter long and I can’t tell what they are. They have little bubbles at their mouths, and are beige. Are these dangerous for future fish? Are they baby centipedes that crawled in while it was dry and just got drowned? Should I try to remove them? I will attach a picture of one... very scary.
Yes it does look like some kind of millipede, you should probably remove them, although if it is, you could, (I wouldnt ) feed them to any future fish. You should take the one in the picture and put it INA ziploc bag and show it to a fish vet. (Surprisingly there are those almost everywhere)
 
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Adrian Burke

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Its a good thing that they arent harmful aquatic worms. I will show tge next one I catch to an expert. Im less concerned about putting fish in the tank now. Maybe the corydoras will find the ones I dont.
 

FishLoverEmma0

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Adrian Burke said:
I just filled up my 25 gallon freshwater tank, and there’s weird worm things crawling out of my gravel! I’ve found 4 so far. They’re about one centimeter long and I can’t tell what they are. They have little bubbles at their mouths, and are beige. Are these dangerous for future fish? Are they baby centipedes that crawled in while it was dry and just got drowned? Should I try to remove them? I will attach a picture of one... very scary.
It actually looks like an lllacme plenipes, which is native to northern California, and is the leggiest centipedes ever found! Depending on where you live, or where the gravel came from, it could be one of these.
 
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Adrian Burke

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I live in hawaii. Theyre pretty strict on plant and animal imports here, but it might be. If they are centipedes or millipedes, theyve probably already drowned. Good to know, baby centipede was my first thought when I saw the little guys.
 

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Adrian Burke said:
I live in hawaii. Theyre pretty strict on plant and animal imports here, but it might be. If they are centipedes or millipedes, theyve probably already drowned. Good to know, baby centipede was my first thought when I saw the little guys.
Millipedes are wonderful. Centipedes are painful. One of the most painful hits I’ve taken actually. Even worse than the hornets. I’m just happy you don’t have anything nasty in there.
 
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Adrian Burke

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So, I left them overnight and they definitely breathe water. They are still wriggling around and bury in the gravel. I found 2 more. I will remove all the ones I see... Will they die off if I don’t add fish or food? How long can that take?
 

FishLoverEmma0

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Adrian Burke said:
So, I left them overnight and they definitely breathe water. They are still wriggling around and bury in the gravel. I found 2 more. I will remove all the ones I see... Will they die off if I don’t add fish or food? How long can that take?
There is a chance that they are some kind of parasite. There is also a chance that they could be eating bacteria in the tank. I would reccomend boiling the gravel and the water, just to kill any bacteria and any other water millipede babies or whatever they are.
 
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Adrian Burke

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I just got a stupid idea. What if I exposed the tank to an electric shock that could kill all the crawly thingies but wouldn’t harm the tank for future fish! Yeah, I know that’s stupid. Or is it? I will probably just remove them by hand.

After some research I still cannot identify them. They are similar in size to nematodes, but with rounded ends and antennae. They look like they have little legs, so I’m thinking underwater millipede? Here’s another pic... I really wanna know what these are.

Okay, these are definitely millipedes. They have 2 legs on each segment. They’re kind of cute actually... can there be any risk to my fish from aquatic millipedes, or can they help?

I found it. These appear to be parajulidae, an aquatic millipede. Knowing they aren’t worms or parasites, do I need to get rid of them?
 

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TexasDomer

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Not parasites, and likely not harmful to healthy fish (though if a sick fish was laying on the bottom not moving, it may try to eat them then). What fish are you planning to keep in this tank?
 

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I found some info and there is one species of millipede that can live submerged for up to 11 months. Only the young ones can though, the adults can't. They come from an area in the Amazon forests where there is periodic flooding. They normally live on land. They feed on decomposing plant matter. So, it's very possible they could have been living in the dry gravel before you put it in the tank.
 
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