Worms while cycling

  1. MsMercenary

    MsMercenary New Member Member

    Good day, All! This is the first time I am cycling my tank using the fishless method (with food). I admit that I had been lacking in checking my parameters, mostly because I don't plan on introducing my incoming Betta for several weeks yet.

    I have a 3 gallon nano with plastic coral (which I don't like and will likely toss) and an Anubias with a couple of threads of bacopa, and was using fish flakes wrapped in cheesecloth for the ammonia source. It's on a timer for light (about 10 hours), albeit a very strong light, but the tank gets zero direct sunlight.

    I went to change out the flakes today (they were in for about a week) and noticed a lot of white worms in the gravel (Seachem Flourite Black), and tiny (a touch over microscopic) on the glass.

    I have one 1-cm "trash" snail and a couple 3-mm babies of the same, who seem to be doing great - but not sure if they eat those.

    My question is: if I stop introducing food, will the worms break down, and will that be sufficient for continuing the cycle?

    In addition, any help in identifying the worms would be appreciated.

    I've never encountered this problem before, and everything itches now that I've seen them. :)

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  2. Junne

    Junne Fishlore Legend Member

    Sounds like Detrititus worms. The population explodes generally due to high amounts of decomposing matter and or not cleaning good enough, poor filtration, etc.

    Instead of using fish flakes/food, why not do a fishless cycle using pure ammonia? Its much cleaner and will probably give you quicker cycling results AND NO worms!
     
  3. OP
    OP
    MsMercenary

    MsMercenary New Member Member

    Thanks! Aside from the yuck factor, I'm almost happy about it - from what I read, means the water quality is getting where I want it. My concern is whether ditching the food will be sufficient to control the problem and whether they will start decomposing to feed the cycle.

    I don't want to kill the snails. Yet. ;) This is why I don't want to start the ammonia which would, from what I understand, would kill the worms. Unless I misread info from my searches.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    MsMercenary

    MsMercenary New Member Member

    Update: Great. Apparently I cross-contaminated my Betta tank with the worms - unless they appeared on their own, which seems unlikely.

    Lav, my Betta, I suspect is blind - he had an issue with what I initially thought was popeye, but did not respond to antibiotics, so could be just a wanky eye. It's humongous. Why I suspect he's blind - he has problems locating food; I remedied the situation by installing a floating feeder ring so he doesn't need to randomly gulp around the entire surface, just that little spot. Worked very well until a couple of days ago.

    I noticed the white worms all over the sides of the feeder. There is never any food left over - I only give him two pellets per meal and make sure he finishes them - so it's difficult for me to understand why they were hanging around there.

    I again took to the internet and actually now think they're nematoids - the attached picture resembles what I see most (I thankfully have fewer of them, and somewhat smaller in length - more on that below).

    I am posting this here because I'm not sure they're parasitic nematodes - they're white and I've never seen any coming out of Lav. Nothing red or pink or anything like that.

    I skim them off with a paper towel, however, and on the towel they have a brownish hue. They're tiny - even thinner than a thread - and I've been doing water changes/skimming daily, but they keep coming back. I wouldn't necessarily say there are huge amounts, but enough of them to drive me bonkers.

    My concerns are mostly to figure out if they are parasitic or not - I'm worried for Lav. As he doesn't see well, he's not feasting on them, but who knows?

    And I guess my second question - just in case they ARE parasitic - how do I get rid of them without harming Lav? He's been a sickly one since the day I brought him home, but I'm quite attached to him (maybe specifically because he's such a handful).

    He's been hanging around on the floor or around a corner a lot, but that's his usual personality. He's never been very active, I'm afraid. But generally he does swim around and has a great appetite. He's constantly asking for food (I know, sounds weird, but we communicate and he responds to my voice) and excited when some comes his way.

    Please help? I'm going nuts. Do snails eat them? I've not had much success with that - while I get the ones that cling to the walls and filter, there's always a few floating around which are impossible to get.

    The ones in the cycling tank went away, thankfully. Likely because no food?

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  5. Dayna Ann

    Dayna Ann Valued Member Member

    Are you sure they might not be detritus worms?
    Anyway you can get a pic of them? Hopefully someone more experienced can help soon.

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    Sorry didn't see all the replies.

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