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Suspected detritus worms


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@koko & @Arctic Mama

I finally got around to catching one of the suspected detritus worms and popped it under the microscope.

Not the best videos, but you may be able to identify it.

The first is the original video I took after catching one of them, the others were taken yesterday.


As an aside, I also did a scrape on Piggy yesterday - I didn't find squat parasite-wise. I'm going to have another go, as I'm pretty sure I should have seen something, right? As in all fish have some kind of wriggly thing, whether it be harmful or not, living on them yeah?

Think I just need to brush up on my scope skills.


Edited by titch
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1 hour ago, shakaho said:

Yes, you found a "detritus worm", one of the harmless annelids that eat tank and filter debris.  

Thanks Sharon. Just so confused as to how they got in there in the first place.

I'm re-cycling my tank after nuking it with bleach. There's no substrate and no plants. All filter media is brand new, the airline & airstones are new, there are no inhabitants. Nothing.

Maybe they were present in my previous setup (although I never saw any) and a couple survived the bleaching (and have since gone nuts reproducing!). Or does an insect lay eggs that turn into these?

I have PP on hand to kill them, but if they're definitely detritus worms and are harmless, I may just let Piggy eat them all :teehee (when he eventually goes back in the tank that is).

If we're not 100% certain, then I guess I'd better wipe them out to be sure.

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No, insects cannot lay eggs that turn into annelid worms.  I first found these worms as a teenager looking through a toy microscope at crud from a filter.  I wasn't able to identify them until I found them again in a university lab course, when I had access to a university library. 

I've never taught a lab course in which students look at pond water where some didn't yell "Eeeww, what is this?"  when they found one.  Just about everyone here who looked at stuff from their tank bottom or filter through a microscope has found them and had the same reaction. 

I don't know how they got there.  I do know that virtually every tank/pond has them.  They make great fry food.

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