You may find yourself peering into your aquarium, only to be appalled by a colony of thin white worms. Although detritus worms are unappealing, they are not all bad. They may look unsightly, but they are NOT harmful to live fish or invertebrates.
These tiny worms are common in most aquarium environments and are usually found in large clustering groups. Most of the time, a few detritus worms are present in your aquarium’s substrate. They are not always visible until they start to reproduce when the environment is suitable.
Where you’ll see detritus worms
Detritus worms commonly sit on the walls of the tank, behind aquarium suction cups (like those from a stick-on thermometer), and even underneath gravel or sand. Luckily, they are easy to keep under control. Getting rid of detritus worms does not call for a chemical additive depending on the severity. In some cases, your fish will happily snack on them. It may be helpful, but your fish will not be able to control a rising population for long.
In this article, we put together some simple methods to get rid of detritus worms, while informing you how to keep the colony under control.
What are detritus worms?
Detritus worms are small, thread-like aquatic worms that consume decomposing organic waste in an aquarium. They are detritivores part of the annelid phylum. Detritus worms resemble a white to light brown color with a needlepoint head.
Their diet in an aquarium primarily involves the worms feeding off your inhabitant’s waste and uneaten food leftover in the tank. It makes them beneficial to your aquarium as they are helping to breakdown the bioload in the aquarium.
Detritus worms move around the tank by crawling across the glass and between the substrate. You will notice the worms catching a ride in the aquariums current to get to new areas. You may see them using a zigzag pattern to support themselves in the water.
Determining why detritus worms are in your aquarium
There can be a few factors why detritus worms have decided to accumulate in your aquarium. Most of the time the worms are introduced into your aquarium via a new live plant or fish.
Keeping your aquarium clean alongside regular gravel vacuums will kill off and remove detritus worms naturally. Aquarium deformers and hydrogen peroxide should be used with caution and only in severe infestations. Detritus worms are an indication that an aquarium is in good health so do not be alarmed when you notice a few throughout your tank. With a good balance in your aquarium, you will be able to keep your aquarium free of detritus worms.