Do you love keeping fish and other aquatic life in your aquarium? Then you’ve probably noticed those small, white worms wriggling around in the sediment in your fish tank. Do you know how to get rid of detritus worms in your aquarium?
There are several reasons why people love keeping aquariums. Aside from allowing you to care for a wide range of beautiful fish and other aquatic animals, aquariums bring beauty and a splash of color to any room. What’s more, studies have shown that having an aquarium helps relieve stress and can be helpful for people dealing with anxiety. Finally, if you live in a condominium or apartment, keeping aquariums is generally more acceptable compared to having other pets such as dogs or cats. Fish won’t make noise, annoy the neighbors, or destroy the property!
However, investing in a proper aquarium setup does take some time and money. You need to have the correct size of the aquarium for the animals you will keep, as well as the right type of water, sediment, and aeration. If you don’t clean your aquarium regularly, worms can invade your tank and make it unsuitable for your pets.
Here’s how to get rid of detritus worms in an aquarium.
First, What ARE Detritus Worms?
If you’ve ever seen thin, long, and white worms wriggling around in your aquarium, chances are that you have a detritus worm aquarium infestation. They are annelids, which means that they belong to the same family as earthworms, leeches, and ragworms.
Many times, detritus worms can be hard to see in aquariums especially in large setups with lots of sediment because they live in the sediment at the bottom of the tank where they feed on the decomposing plant and animal waste material.
How Do They Get into my Tank?
There are three ways that detritus worms can enter your tank. First, when you introduce new animals into your tank. Fish and other marine animals can come from environments where detritus worms are already present, so when you introduce them into your tank, they will bring the worms with them. The worms will settle into the sediment at the bottom of your tank and start multiplying. Detritus worm larvae can “hitch” a ride on your fish!
Second, you can accidentally introduce detritus worms in your tank if you feed your pets live bait. The larvae of detritus worms are known to penetrate the exoskeleton of cherry shrimps, krill, and other bait crustaceans.
Finally, you can accidentally introduce these worms into your tank if you use sediment that’s already infested with detritus worm larvae or adults.
Are Detritus Worms Harmful?
The presence of detritus worms, by itself, is not harmful to your pets. In fact, having a small population of detritus worms in your tank can be beneficial because they are detritivores, which means that they eat organic waste material in your tank and prevent the buildup of decomposing material.
Detritus worms become harmful to your tank when their population explodes. While there is no “level” where you can say that there are too many worms in your tank, there are some signs that you can look out for such as:
- The visual appearance of worms in your sediment (note: this can be subjective, but if you have thousands of worms in a tank, it’s a sign of overpopulation)
- Water gets cloudy or murky quickly
- Fish and other tank inhabitants move to the upper part of the tank (this means that the oxygen level in the lower part of the tank is dropping)
When there are too many detritus worms in your tank, they will compete with the other inhabitants of the tank for the oxygen levels in the water. They also generate a lot of anaerobic bacteria which will further cause the water in your tank to become cloudy.
The Three Important Steps to Get Rid of Detritus Worms
If you have an overpopulation of detritus worms in your tank, you cannot get rid of these worms by treating them with medication or de-wormers. If you use improper detritus worms treatment methods, not only will these chemicals not kill the worms, but you might even kill your aquatic pets by mistake!
The only way to get rid of detritus worms from your tank and keep your aquatic pets safe is by cleaning the tank and its components manually. Here are the three steps that you need to do to remove detritus worms from your tank after placing your pets in another container and draining the water.
- Vacuum the Sediment – Detritus worms live and breed in your tank’s sediment. The easiest way to remove them is by regularly vacuuming out the sediment at the bottom of your tank. Vacuuming the sediment not only removes worm adults, larvae, and eggs but also removes any decomposing waste material that serves as food for the worms.
- Scrub the Tank and Other Components – After cleaning the sediment, you need to scrub the inside the tank as well as scrub any components inside the tank such as your aerator, filters, light sources, and ornaments. Scrubbing ensures that you remove any microscopic larvae or eggs that can cause another popular explosion of the worms down the line.
- Change the Water Completely – Finally, you need to change the water in your tank completely. Changing the water removes any remaining eggs or larvae as well as ensures that your tank is clean and fresh.
If you are serious about keeping your aquatic pets healthy, you need to know how to get rid of detritus worms in your aquarium whenever the population becomes too much for your setup to handle. This also means that you don’t need to panic every time you see a wriggling white worm at the bottom of your tank; remember, they’re beneficial to your tank as long as their population is kept in check! The best way to check their population is by keeping your tank clean, changing your water regularly, and providing the proper nutrients for your aquatic pets. Get more tips on aquarium care.