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Method for Removing Planaria

tmarmoratus

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As some of you may know, my Triturus marmoratus are currently laying eggs. As I've taken to removing these eggs from the adult enclosure into an enclosure in which to raise the larvae, I came across an ever developing colony of planaria in the adult tank (Possibly came in with the elodea?). Naturally many of these planaria hitched a ride on the plants that were transferred into the larvae enclosure. As planarians have been known to feed on eggs, I found it in my best interest to come up with a method for ridding both tanks of these potentially dangerous little flatworms.

What I used to get rid of them was a bucket, a fish net, a temporary enclosure (to keep the plants/eggs) a paper towel and a container to scoop water.

As you can see in the picture below, I placed the paper towel inside of the fish net, creating a filter, then put the fish net on top of the bucket. Next I used the container to scoop water out of the primary enclosure, then poured it through the makeshift filter and into the bucket. Once I had enough water in the bucket to fill the temporary enclosure with enough water to submerge the eggs, I put the filtered water into the temp. enclosure, then carefully removed the plants and eggs from the primary enclosure and placed them there. The next step was to filter the rest of the water from the enclosure through the filter and into the bucket. Once empty, I thoroughly washed and dried the primary enclosure to ensure no straggling planaria were left inside, then poured the water from the bucket back into the enclosure. The last step was, you guessed it, putting the eggs and plants back into the primary enclosure.

Using this method, I was able to eradicate approximately 90-95% of the planaria population that was in the tank, without seriously disturbing the nitrogen cycle.
 

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tmarmoratus

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Unfortunately the remaining planaria population was able to repopulate quite rapidly, so I had to take this method to a more drastic measure.

The first thing I did was take a fine pair of scissors and cut off the leaves of plants with eggs on them, then examined the cut-offs / eggs for planaria (and as a side note, I found that taking the plant by the tip and twisting it in the water was fairly effective at shaking off planaria). After inspection, I placed them in the temporary enclosure. Once all the good eggs were taken out of the tank, I proceeded to take a few select elodea and placed them to the side, discarding the rest. I took these elodea and washed them in a steady stream of tap water, then examined them for planaria. After inspection I placed them in the temporary enclosure with the eggs.

The next step was to filter the water as described in my initial post, only this time I used a finer filter than paper towel - coffee filter - and filtered approximately 80% of the water. I discarded the remaining 20%, and gave the enclosure a thorough washing. While filtering the water, I examined the temporary enclosure periodically for planaria - in all I found 3 within the 30 minutes it took to filter the water.

After filtration I added the water back into the enclosure, then put the cut-offs / eggs and remaining elodea back as well. Since adding everything back (approx. 1 hour ago) I have checked periodically (every 10 minutes or so) for planaria in the tank - I've found and removed two thus far, both within the first 20 minutes. I will continue to check the enclosure over the next few days to ensure I've removed every last one of those pesky nuisances.
 

michael

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When I got my assassin snails I read that they might be helpful in attacking planaria. I don't know if they work or not but will be giving them a try.
 

tmarmoratus

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It'll be interesting to know if that works, Michael. Unfortunately, I needed to eradicate these planaria as quickly as possible, because they'd already killed around a half dozen freshly hatched larvae, and possibly many of the eggs - I was getting significantly less than a 50% hatch rate. I would have acted sooner, but I was hoping the planaria was going to be a great food source for the larvae - unfortunately the reverse seemed to have happened. :(
 

berksmike

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I always leave to soak my aquarium plants in carbonated water for at least 24hours before putting in the tank.
Does the plants no harm (as long as they are soft water varieties) and is good at seeing off any unwanted hitch-hikers too!
 

michael

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The assassin snails are o.k. and slowly reproduce. They have not really eradicated much of anything. My guess is they exist but don't thrive in cool water salamander tanks.
 
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