Little White Worms in Tank

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Hey, can anyone help me ASAP, please. My axolotl has little white worms in her tank, slithering across her glass, her old filter has a ton around them. What do I need to do to get rid of these? Please help, I don't want her getting sick. She has 2 things of drift wood, a rock, 3 fake plants, 1 sponge filter, and 2 anubias plants. I am assuming I need to take her out entirely and remove ALL the water, sand, and thoroughly clean her drift wood, but what can I use? I'm inclined to take the stuff to bathtub and clean them with a lot of salt water, then rinse then and reintroduce them later. Please help. Everything is closed in my area till tomorrow.
 
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I did a full sand and water change. We were sure they were planaria, got a magnifying glass. We got all her water ready, got new sand, spent about 2 hours cleaning it, then we put her sponge filter in and one of our backup turtle filters, just to get it circulating better. That other filter had never even been opened, it's just really strong and produces current they don't like. We cooled the water with frozen bottles of water, I did a test on everything, the only stat that was high was her pH, it was above 7.5 but below 8.0. Nitrates, ammonia, nitrites, all 0.

I took her drift wood and scrubbed it with a light salt water and then soaked it in normal water for about a half hour before letting it get sun dried outside. She had some freshwater snail in her tank, must of come on an anubias plant, well he got iced. The rags I used to scrape the worms off the tank, I threw away, and tonight, before I shower, I'm gonna blitz her bucket, siphon hose, and transfer tub with some hot water from my shower, no soap or anything. I'll hold them so they don't touch the bottom of the tub.

She's swimming around her renewed tank now. Did I destroy her tank cycle? I took her filter, hit it with only scolding hot water, rung it out, then left it outside to dry in the sun, that was at 4pm, it was reintroduced around 7pm. How did these worms get in her tank? The one anubias had a guarantee "no worms or snails!" and the other came from an aquarium store, straight out of their plant breeding aquarium. On the bright side, after she was done freaking out, she let me pick her up and reintroduce her with ease. She stopped being real defensive after a bit. Her water is idling at like 68 degrees. I have her fans on and I am gonna turn the lights out and leave her alone till morning.

I'll probably check on her over night since I doubt I will sleep. I hope she likes her new sand, it's really brown compared to her old sand but it was the only color they had.

Oh, and her other sponge filter, it is sitting in her spare tank right now, with water that was taken out the other day for her water change. That water could potentially have the worms in it, correct? I should dispose of it immediately? Please let me know as soon as you can, I'm gonna go for a drive and get a milkshake or something, I'm entirely too stressed right now.
 
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Never heard of those, plus everything was closed.

You could have recommended those in the first post around 5ish.

So is there anything I need to watch out for? I did a full test, nitrates were like 20, ammonia was 0, nitrites were 0, pH is leveling back down.

I have her spare filter in with water that I siphoned out from her tank a few days ago, it probably has worms on it as well?
 

Calgarycoppers

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I won't ever suggest a med without a pic or video which I DID request and suggested what I thought they may be.

I said to do a thorough water change not nuke everything.

I won't be blamed or continue to help.

Have a wonderful time with your axolotls life

Never heard of those, plus everything was closed.

You could have recommended those in the first post around 5ish.

So is there anything I need to watch out for? I did a full test, nitrates were like 20, ammonia was 0, nitrites were 0, pH is leveling back down.

I have her spare filter in with water that I siphoned out from her tank a few days ago, it probably has worms on it as well?
 
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I couldn't get a good pic or video. None of them turned out well, we even tried using our Nikon, it couldn't pick them up.

Valid point though to not suggest anything until learning what the thing is but you could have said something to the effect of "If you are able to get a pic, and we can identify it definitively, we can maybe recommend somethings but without a confirmation, just clean and do a water change."

And that's fine, you gave vague and generalized answers, often, that were inadequate to answer a paragraph discourse. It's been a pleasure.
 

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To make this a teachable moment (for you or others reading):

Worms
Most aquaria will have small little detritus worms.
Planaria (a flatworm) isn't rare either: it usually comes with plants, filter media or substrate.
Almost all of these little worms are harmless. They eat gunk such as left-over food, poop, rotting plant material, and usually hang out in your substrate without you ever seeing them.
They're doing a good job there!

If you're seeing a sudden population increase for these worms, do not worry about the worms. The worms are harmless. Removing the worms doesn't do anything.
What you can worry about is the reason for the sudden increase in worms. Since they eat gunk, a sudden increase in worms can be a sign of too much gunk. If they suddenly crawl out of your substrate it could also mean they don't like the water anymore, which is also a sign something might be wrong.

Again though: the worms are not the problem. The worms are nice guys. What could be a problem is the balance in the aquarium.
If you suddenly see a lot of worms, make sure your water parameters are OK and give the substrate a good shake to make sure there's not a big pile of poo hidden somewhere.
If they're still here afterwards - shrug. They'll probably disappear eventually, and even if they don't it's not like they're harming anyone.


Hasty action
I'm a big advocate of chilling out and being patient when it comes to aquariums.
Aside from injuries and illnesses, there are very very few Axolotl problems that can't wait a day.
Rushing into action often does more harm than good. Doing a water change will solve most of the immediate problems while you take the time to investigate if there is another problem and what to do about it.

Not saying this to blame you personally, but I see it a lot on forums in general.
You had a likely harmless worm infestation that would have probably disappeared with a minor cleaning (like, ten minutes of work). Instead you spent an entire afternoon doing hard work, killed all your beneficial bacteria, crashed your cycle and stressed yourself.

My brother is a doctor and always jokes: "A good doctor does as little as possible". I feel like it applies to aquariums as well.


Forum advice
Most of us are hobbyists as well. It's already very tricky to give advice based on text only. We can't always give the advice you need or as soon as you need it (nor can that be expected, I feel).
As you might notice, Calgarycoppers replies to almost all forum threads, often within a day - which is honestly pretty amazing.

If the help you get is not the way you want it or not fast enough that is understandable, but I would advise not to blame or take it out on people on the forum. Especially not if they have gone out of their way to try to help.
 
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@Murk

First, thank you for replying with info I can work with.

Second, I, me, alone, take responsibility for my actions. I didn't blame anyone, I simply stated that information was clearly withheld. If I was given said information, and able to look at the product and think it over, it is ultimately my decision to do it. So many people give like 2 sentence replies here when someone lives a paragraph of info. I'm beginning to assume that people just skim posts. If someone asks me for help with something I specialize in, I give them all the info, then warn them "so you may not want to use India ink with watercolor, it could damage the marker if you don't clean it every stroke." Since I am an artist and if someone asked how to paint with watercolors and yadda yadda, I'd give them all the info. That's an example. I feel this is something that's not coming across when I make a thread, not usually anyways.

Third, after we got a magnifying glass, 3 of us all thought they were planaria or whatever but you may have been right on a bowel movement not being removed or whatever. When I fully lifted out her drift wood and everything, I found an old one buried deep. I don't like to remove her drift wood when I'm cleaning her tank, she usually climbs under it, or on it to watch. I guess that's something I need to do more thoroughly.

As for the quality of the water, I had JUST done a water change 1 day ago, and then boom, worms. They were crowded around the corner where the filter is. Either way, she has 100% new water, and I did pH, nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia tests before and after reintroducing her, levels are the best I've had in weeks. I've been struggling with nitrates since June so we resolved to stop doing 20% water changes and going for 50%. I got rid of the anubias plants, they're currently sitting my dad's map turtles' tank, waiting to be chewed to pieces. Of the three people who face to face helped me, we agreed the plants were more than likely the culprit.

On the bright side, I think she really likes the new sand and set up, she's been exploring, crawling, perching on her driftwood, coming up in curiosity, she's very bright, alert, and retentive, which is the veterinary practice of first observation. She isn't coming up to the surface for air for flicking her gills. I don't know if I should feed her. I did give her 4 pellets yesterday at like noon. I did not notice the worms then but when I came home at 3:30pm, I noticed them. I would say, about 50 of them, mostly on the glass, slithering around, again, by the filter.

Now, my final point, a question, "what do I need to watch out for?" I know about ammonia spikes and how to deal with them, same with nitrate stuff. But should I still feed her tomorrow or give her a break? She took to me handling her way better than she did the first time, she's acting like nothing happened. Should I just go back to the routine I had, as if this never happened, and just be vigilant for worms, ammonia spikes, and aberrant behavior?

Reply to this whenever, I'll be around.
 

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Planaria are common hitchhikers on aquarium store plants. Same thing goes for a.o. pond snails and damsel flies - their eggs are often hidden in plants.
Those with patience advise to quarantine everything you want to add to an aquarium for a month. Those of us without patience learn to like the hitchhikers (though really - quarantining can also prevent some more serious problems).
Old buried driftwood will be a nice home for critters, too. Most of the time you won't notice them.

Since the stowaways have already jumped ship, I don't see why you would need to get rid of the anubias. Might as well enjoy them now.

Anyway, I don't know why the planaria acted the way they did. Maybe their eggs just happened to hatch and they were looking for something to munch on. Maybe they didn't like the increased water changes and wanted to migrate. Since they were all around your filter, maybe something yummy was stuck in the filter and they wanted to eat it (yummy for planaria, that is. Probably something gross for humans).

The point I'm somehow trying to make is that it doesn't really matter at this stage. Something got 'em riled up and they went out for a walk. I'm pretty sure they would have left eventually as well.
If you see them pop up again, wait a few days and see what happens! I would be interested to know.

As for your question,
Should I just go back to the routine I had, as if this never happened, and just be vigilant for worms, ammonia spikes, and aberrant behavior?
That's what I would do*.

Do note that your tank is probably uncycled now. I think you managed to save some filter media? Maybe that and the plants will be enough to save some of the cycle.
Anyway, you will probably see some ammonia (and later, nitrites) the coming weeks, and a little less nitrates than normal.
The most responsible thing would be tubbing your axolotl until you're sure the cycle is fixed in a few weeks. In-tank cycles can be done but aren't everyone's cup of tea.
That's up to you, in the end.

As for feeding, I feed axolotls whenever I have time. As long as they are willing to make an effort for food, you're not overfeeding.


(*Follow my example at your own risk :p)
 
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@Murk

Well, we are back to the usual routine, she ate all her pellets today. She seems to like the new set up a lot. I moved her drift wood and fake plants around and now she's able to hide and kinda slither through the one. As for the tank cycle, yeah, I know it's not cycled. I've done a water test every night, her stats are still good but I'm keeping a close eye on it. I already have dechlorinated water ready to go if I need to do a water change. As for the real plants, I have them in a spare tank. We have 2 spare tanks, one is a teeny 5 gallon and in it is a sponge filter that has been on for about 2 weeks, just cycling that water. The water is old water taken out of my axolotl's tank. I want to test it in a few weeks and see it's readings. Nothing is in that tank other than the two anubias plants. Maybe when I do a water change next for my axolotl, I'll take her drift wood out and tie the anubias back on.

As for tubbing, that's so dangerous in my house with my mom's new puppy. She's eaten everything that isn't above 4 feet off the ground, including the carpet and the kitchen tiles. If I tubbed her, and brought her into my room, that would be risky because my room is the hottest room in the house and we don't have AC. My mom said she is not allowed in the fridge under any circumstances because "she's ugly." Right now, she's having no trouble in her tank, until I see trouble, I'm going to leave her alone. I've caused her enough stress this week and it's only Tuesday here.

And yeah, ok, I will keep an eye out for the worms and watch for ammonia spikes.
 

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@Murk

Well, we are back to the usual routine, she ate all her pellets today. She seems to like the new set up a lot. I moved her drift wood and fake plants around and now she's able to hide and kinda slither through the one. As for the tank cycle, yeah, I know it's not cycled. I've done a water test every night, her stats are still good but I'm keeping a close eye on it. I already have dechlorinated water ready to go if I need to do a water change. As for the real plants, I have them in a spare tank. We have 2 spare tanks, one is a teeny 5 gallon and in it is a sponge filter that has been on for about 2 weeks, just cycling that water. The water is old water taken out of my axolotl's tank. I want to test it in a few weeks and see it's readings. Nothing is in that tank other than the two anubias plants. Maybe when I do a water change next for my axolotl, I'll take her drift wood out and tie the anubias back on.

As for tubbing, that's so dangerous in my house with my mom's new puppy. She's eaten everything that isn't above 4 feet off the ground, including the carpet and the kitchen tiles. If I tubbed her, and brought her into my room, that would be risky because my room is the hottest room in the house and we don't have AC. My mom said she is not allowed in the fridge under any circumstances because "she's ugly." Right now, she's having no trouble in her tank, until I see trouble, I'm going to leave her alone. I've caused her enough stress this week and it's only Tuesday here.

And yeah, ok, I will keep an eye out for the worms and watch for ammonia spikes.
Yikes, I really wouldn’t recommend keeping your axolotl in a cycling tank. I would test the parameters in the 5 gallon and see if you can put her in there for a bit. Or I would set up a large tub in your room and use frozen water bottles and 2 fans to keep her tub temperature down. In my opinion, in tank cycling is cruel unless you do daily maintenance, such as doing daily water changes to keep parameters at a acceptable level. By your previous posts, it sounds like you would not be able to do daily maintenance and care that is needed in an in tank cycle.
 

Binditheaxolotl

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@Murk

Well, we are back to the usual routine, she ate all her pellets today. She seems to like the new set up a lot. I moved her drift wood and fake plants around and now she's able to hide and kinda slither through the one. As for the tank cycle, yeah, I know it's not cycled. I've done a water test every night, her stats are still good but I'm keeping a close eye on it. I already have dechlorinated water ready to go if I need to do a water change. As for the real plants, I have them in a spare tank. We have 2 spare tanks, one is a teeny 5 gallon and in it is a sponge filter that has been on for about 2 weeks, just cycling that water. The water is old water taken out of my axolotl's tank. I want to test it in a few weeks and see it's readings. Nothing is in that tank other than the two anubias plants. Maybe when I do a water change next for my axolotl, I'll take her drift wood out and tie the anubias back on.

As for tubbing, that's so dangerous in my house with my mom's new puppy. She's eaten everything that isn't above 4 feet off the ground, including the carpet and the kitchen tiles. If I tubbed her, and brought her into my room, that would be risky because my room is the hottest room in the house and we don't have AC. My mom said she is not allowed in the fridge under any circumstances because "she's ugly." Right now, she's having no trouble in her tank, until I see trouble, I'm going to leave her alone. I've caused her enough stress this week and it's only Tuesday here.

And yeah, ok, I will keep an eye out for the worms and watch for ammonia spikes.
Have u taken her out yet? What’s her parameters looking
Like?
 
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Nah, she's in her nice clean tank and is happy. Did a water change today, she enjoyed it. Didn't have any ammonia spikes, no nitrites, and super low nitrates. I guess I didn't kill the bacteria in the filter, or the charcoal attachment is really helping, idk. Plus I've been able to get her tank down to 62 degrees, so she's a little more active. Still eating, still bright, alert, and retentive.
 

Binditheaxolotl

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Nah, she's in her nice clean tank and is happy. Did a water change today, she enjoyed it. Didn't have any ammonia spikes, no nitrites, and super low nitrates. I guess I didn't kill the bacteria in the filter, or the charcoal attachment is really helping, idk. Plus I've been able to get her tank down to 62 degrees, so she's a little more active. Still eating, still bright, alert, and retentive.
That’s great! I can’t think of how you saved it but that’s good!!
 

Murk

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A new tank with low nitrates, no ammonia and nitrites probably just means an uncycled tank that hasn't produced ammonia yet ;)

Even so, I agree that after all the hassle of the past few weeks the tank, the axolotl and the owner could use a rest.
Sure, it might technically not be the best, but you're clearly keeping a close eye on things and both you and the axolotl deserve some time to relax!
 
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@Murk

Thank you. That's the goal for now. Just sit back, feed her on her feeding days, keep her tank cool, clean it like every 3 days just to be safe, then come like, idk, October, go down to cleaning the tank once every week. It should be cycled by then.

And she did have ammonia the day I did her water change, hardly any at all, and after the water change, it was back to 0, so I picked the right time to clean her tank. I just want my axolotl to have a good quality of life. She makes me happy, she is my pet, not one of my mom's 10,000 other annoying creatures. Except the cat, he is good boy.

Puppy is a monster and my mom's parrot is obnoxious, right now he's making the sound of the doors opening and closing. Oh now he's laughing and swearing. He does however, shout Tiger Uppercut from how often I play Street Fighter, so I guess he's ok. He can't say my axolotl's name yet though, idk why. He has a hard time with Ws and Ss.
 
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  • Murk:
    Hi Nerdybirds - open a thread, that usually gets more views and also allows you to post pictures and give more background information: water parameters, age, etc.
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  • Roadrunner:
    My axolotl can you all take a look at that thread, I am freaked out about my axie
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  • MVM1991:
    His gills seem kinda small, I don't think that's normal but I'm not a huge expert on axolotls
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    Yeah his gills is kinda small and it can be caused by nitrate level, I am taking care of it atm, I am worried about his weight, is he only overfed or are there any kinds of problems there ?
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  • MVM1991:
    Well, again, I'm no expert. But I did just read axolotls are supposed to have a body about as wide as their head. The gills I'd say are the biggest problem, which could reduce oxygen intake, which could make a whole mess of problems.
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  • LauraLobster:
    Hello, I am a new owner of a 3 month old axolotl, and although I have done a lot of research on axolotls, I can barely find any for babies. If anyone can help me with these questions, I would be super happy. How many hours do baby axolotls tend to sleep per day? How many times should I feed it and what would be considered too much (it's current diet is freeze-dried brine shrimp and blood worms, and I currently feed it around 3 bloodworms since they are not that big)? How many times a week should I change the water and how? I have a good filter and use Prime as my conditioner to remove the chlorine and other chemicals, but I still need to figure out how to deal with ammonia and such in the water. How do I clean it's waste (should I use a dropper to easily pick it up)? I need a better cooling system because currently I use ice packs on the side of the tank and I make sure to angle my ac so that it hits the tank.
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    I also leave the lid open during the day so that evaporation can cool down my tank. I want to buy a fan, but since winter is coming I won't have to buy one yet. Lastly, what water testers are effective and affordable for a broke student like myself? Please, if anyone has any advice I will love to hear it. I care for this creature too much at this point, but I have no one to help me with caring for it other than the internet :,)
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  • EmilyP:
    Hi LauraLobster I am a new owner of axolotls myself and have been getting advice from things like this, I feed mine twice a day on blackworms and brine shrimp blood worms are more of a treat food, a question on where you are keeping you axolotl are you keeping it in the main tank or in a tub also if in the tank did you cycle it first? and if not i suggest tubing it until the tank it cycled, mine are still tubed since I was given bad advice by the shop people about cycling my tank and am still in the process of cycling it. I use pipettes to clean up the mess of my axolotls. I use the API mater test kit for freshwater tanks I am also a student and had to look around to find it the cheapest I could.
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    Hi LauraLobster, like you I got my first ever Axolotl back in July. Iv found that he has enjoyed and eaten red wigglers well. They are a good source of protein and help provide the nutrients a young lotl needs to grow up big and strong. You will probably need to break it up into smaller pieces until they get bigger but they are what I have primarily fed my buddy since I got him. He’s actually so picky that he won’t even eat his pellets anymore and will hold out till he gets his favorite wormy.
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