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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I started a 20 gallon fishless cycle two weeks ago (using flake food as ammonia source). 20 gallon was bought used, but gave it a thorough cleaning. The heater, substrate (gravel), canister filter are all new. Have 3 stones (yamaha and koke) and a piece of Malaysian driftwood (purchased from King Ed Pets, and soaked the driftwood overnight) in the tank as well. I did bring over a piece of intake sponge filter over from my 10 gallon to help the cycle.

Yesterday's reading showed Ammonia at 0 and Nitrite at 0.7ppm. Today I was going to put some java moss and a couple more plants into the tank, so I turned the tank light on, and noticed some small "threads" moving around the water at different levels in the tank in the current. I don't know how long these have been in the tank as I never really turned the tank light on during the cycling process until today. Initially saw maybe three or four of them. When I look closely, they do look like white or brownish coloured worms.

Difficult to see any on the gravel as my gravel is a lighter colour. However, upon closer inspection of the driftwood (as that is darker in colour), I see maybe about 5-7 worms crawling on it (a bit difficult to see them).

I did manage to try to take some pictures of the worms in my tank with my mobile device, but they came out blurry:

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Managed to get one out, and placed it on a tissue to take a more clear picture:

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I'm estimating maybe around 20 of these worms in my tank (that I can see).

Are these some type planaria or nematodes? Should I be concerned, and if so, what should I do? Guessing I should do a water change first and maybe less fish flakes? I just didn't want to skew my cycle.

Thanks for any help or advice.
 

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If they are nematodes, they are harmless. When you put fish into the tank, the worms will be a good source of food for a while.
 

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They appear to be segmented. They almost look like larval chironomids...but I would have to one move. Hard to tell what they are. Get a close up pic or vid and someone might be able to id.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your input TomC and Hammer.

I took a video earlier (apologies about the quality):


I've seen the worm kind of curl itself up and then uncoil to try to move through the water sometimes. In the current in my tank (from the spraybar) they look curled up and spin around very quickly before uncoiling and then drifting.

Will try to get a better picture tomorrow, and hopefully someone can help ID these as I plan to add fish soon (once cycle completes of course).
 

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They might be detritus worms. They're harmless, but it's a sign you have too much waste in your tank. Is it possible you put too much food in to start the cycle?
 

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I've seen these before. I think that they are a harmless worm that thrive on the decaying food in your tank that you are using to kickstart your cycle. As a previous person said, your fish will be happy to feast on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rogo and Morainy,
Thanks for your replies. I wasn't able to get any more close up picture as I didn't have much time this weekend.

Yes, I probably put too much food during start of cycle, which probably contributed to the worms. I did a small water change yesterday, as well as add some plants that I was intending to put in earlier.

I also see some of those worms crawling on the sponge I have on my filter intake.

Maybe another week or two then I will add some fish (once cycle completes), then they can have some of those worms to eat.

Thanks again for the input and replies all!


Sent from my SM-G900W8 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks TomC. Just watched the video and the worms you had in your tank seemed much longer and lighter in color (unless mine are just newly hatched worms). Mine are also not that white in color, as they seem a bit brown in color (sometimes in patches). Not sure if the brown color is from whatever they are eating in my tank (whether it was the fish flakes or the driftwood).

Sent from my SM-G900W8 using Tapatalk
 

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Just a suggestion, stir up the gravel / substrate before you do a water change, or use a gravel vacuum to remove as many as you can before you add fish. There's a chance your fish won't eat them, and then you'll need to figure out how to get rid of them. Using a chemical to kill them off can cause an ammonia spike due to the mass die-off, and since it's a new set-up, your bacterial colonies won't be established enough to handle the extra ammonia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for your suggestion Rogo, as I definitely do not want to use any chemicals. However, if I use a gravel vacuum would I lose some of the bacteria that has settled onto the gravel? Maybe I will do a section at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Hello,
Bought some mosquito rasboras and galaxy rasboras/CPDs from April's the other day and the next day before I went to feed them, I saw them eating the worms (what is left of them), and actively searching the gravel and decor for more worms.

Kind of difficult to see them in the pic as when I took the pic they were near the back of the tank. Please ignore the big chunk of java moss on the right side (I am still trying to figure out where to place certain pieces of decor).

20160130_081006_resized.jpg

Thanks again for the tips and suggestions regarding my previous questions!
 

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If the rasboras are anything like my dwarf puffers, they'll be gone in a week. If they nematodes or detritus worms, they should be safe. I think they are common in newly established tanks that are cycling or finished cycling.
 

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After watching the vid, I still think they look like larval chironomids...very common all over the world...many different species, colours etc. They are an important food source for fish in nature....the bloodworms that we feed fish are but one form. That all being said, I wonder how they got in there. An adult singed fly can scatter eggs on they water....maybe some eggs were in a dormant state. I don't know. I also imagine there are many other segmented larvae or Annelida that look and move like that. I guess the main concern is if they are parasitic to fish as many parasites rely on being eaten by a host. ...that being said...I think you got some free live food and that is all that comes from it. No guesses on the source? Any more showing up?
 

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I don't really have an answer to solve your worm problem, but I've had worms in my tank for a very long time and they do not have any negative impact on any of my fish. (As far as I can tell anyways)

They live I my sand and I'll see them every time I stir the water during a water change.
The good thing is that all my fish would eat them when given the chance. And I would vacuum them out whenever I can.
But it's nearly impossible to 100% get rid of them.
I have 3 canister filtees, and every time I break them down to clean, I would find literally thousands of them swimming in my filter.

As far as I know I don't over feed as there isn't any food scraps left decaying. So I'm really not sure how they got there. But I do know that they're harmless as I've had this issue for a while now.
 
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