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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have found what appear to be very small, white nematodes in my tank.
From what I've read, they are pretty harmless overall (except for the gross factor) but I just wanted to make sure.

They are free swimming or on the glass just under the water's surface.

They do stretch out when they move around.

Will these be an issue?
I've read that having larger isopods may help keep the population of these down. I have dwarf striped but they have not really established themselves in the viv yet.

Thanks
 

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Those aren't nematodes. They are a freeliving flat worm that shows up in aquariums with a high bioload or a high free organics load. They aren't typically noticed until the population is very high.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
And if they are nemerteans?
(they just feast on springtails instead of molds, etc right?)
From my reading, there's no "cure" for them either.
Correct me if I'm wrong but nemerteans body shape tapers off and they may have a type of stinger at the end?

I doubt they are slugs from my inspection of a few of them.

These look like mini versions of a fly maggot, just longer and skinny.

I'm hoping they become tadpole snacks....
(just don't want them to cause health issues with the frogs or other microfauna)
 

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To repeat myself from above... they are flatworms which rules out both nematodes and nemerteans.

They show up in many systems and there are population blooms of them whenever the water quality is impacted by bioload or dissolved organics. They are often considered to be indicators of poor water quality. There are records in the aquarium literature of excess populations irritating fish simply by residing on the fish (although they do not parasitize the fish or feed on the fish at all). This can presumably happen to frogs or tadpoles as well.

They are typically easily controlled by improving your water quality.
 

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I wouldn't bother dosing the tank as there is a high probability they will be added again in the future probably with plants.

Ed
 

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If I were the OP, I would look to follow Ed's advice... From the pics, there seemed to be a lot of organics underwater, and this will just encourage the flatworms. As stated, although not considered parasitic, they are proven to cause stress. I would both remove the existing worms, and consider removing some organics(maybe even a spongefilter to correct stagnation and biodeposits, etc.).

JBear
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm lucky enough to be able to watch this tank randomly throughout the day. (the tank is on my desk at the office)

The worms are always around but usually only appear in the afternoons.
I'm going to be removing them manually (for aesthetic reasons) and cleaning up some of the plant matter. The tadpoles don't seem to mind the worms just yet but their health is what I'm most concerned about. The water does get filtered by being pumped up to the top of the drip wall then filtering through the wall of sphagnum and java moss.

Thanks for reassuring me that the worms are not parasitic.
 

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Passing the water through the leca ball provided it is aerated enough is simply going to act as a biological filter (provided the pH isn't too low, which can prevent conversion of ammonia to nitrite to nitrate) resulting in conversion of ammonia to nitrate. This doesn't automatically mean that there is a decrease in dissolved organics... as that depends on a number of factors including how fast uneaten material or plant matter decomposes.
 

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If the flat worms are living there due to the accumulation of nutrients in the water, do what every aquarist does to combat the problem, a water change. Take a turkey baster and remove some whater, and add fresh water to replace what you removed. The fresh water dilutes the nutrient rich water that you have in there right now. Do that several times (once every few days) and see if that alleviates the problem. And by all means continue to remove them manually if you can.
 

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i've had a ton of aquariums in my time so i can telly ou that these are in fact planaria. they are a result of overfeeding and/or decaying plant matter in the water. they are almost always present, but not in high enough numbers to show like that.

usually you can cut down on their numbers by feeding less and removing dead plants as well as changing the water. they *seem* to be harmless, but from what i have heard they will attack fry/tadpoles and shrimp. never had it happen to me though.
 

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As I noted above, they do not "attack" in the form of a parasite or predator... instead if the numbers of the flatworms gets high enough, they may also take up residence on the other animals in the tank and act as an annoyance. This is usually not seen until the populations reach very very high levels.

Ed
 
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