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worm identification + strange bowel movements

axolotl nerd

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hello all,
i've recently discovered some strange worm-like organisms in my axolotl tank. i'm not sure what they are, or if they're harmful to my girl, but she has fallen ill with fungus recently. i have seen these once before, in an old tank i no longer have, housing an axolotl i also no longer have.
her tank is bare bottom and has recently become covered with these, as well as what seems to be the remnants of odd bowel movements. it's almost like dust, but not the same as her actual waste, which she passes normally (fairly large, oval shaped, dark pellets.) i am positive it is coming from her, as she is currently tubbed and i saw she had some in her tub with her.
could it possibly be vomit? i'm just not sure. her parameters are perfect, and her tank has been established for a number of years
any identification and advice on removing the worms would be appreciated, as well as any guidance on the strange waste.
pictures below.


worms on the bottom of the tank, accompanied by the waste material i mentioned
20230123_195453.jpg






worms in the back of the tank, on the glass as well as on her hide
20230123_195445.jpg
 

Ya_Boi_Eon

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I’m no expert, but that’s definitely an infestation of those things and not vomit. I don’t know what those things are but I would recommend going to a vet.
 

axolotl nerd

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I’m no expert, but that’s definitely an infestation of those things and not vomit. I don’t know what those things are but I would recommend going to a vet.
the last time i had them, the axolotl in the tank was completely unaffected. she was in great health, which makes kip's situation even more confusing.
some added notes
- we have had some gnat larve in her tank. i introduced an airstone to create water disturbance and discourage more from being laid, and i have noticed them decrease dramatically.
- i just had the thought that her bloodworm treats may be expired? she eats them occasionally, usually when i have to tub her (just as a little treat so that she's not so upset about being moved) but now that i'm trying to think of possible causes, i've had them for a pretty long time. a quick google search says they can last six months, and it has definitely been longer than that.
- i recently switched her to red wigglers in place of earthworms. she eats them fine, and the odd waste started appearing beforehand, so i don't think it's related.
- the worms appear segmented, and they do not move at all. they do not float freely in the water, they only stick to the glass.
- i have ghost shrimp in her tank with her. they are all healthy and none have ever been sick or died of natural causes (all that have died met their end by kips jaws)

i have preformed a 75% water change, and scrubbed all tank decor thoroughly.
i'm stumped. i'm not sure what's going on, but she seems to be alright, other than some inactivity and recovering from fungus.
summoning @wolfen and @Autistic Catholic for their expertise
 

Autistic Catholic

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They look to me like detritus worms.
Detritus Worms: Causes & How To Get Rid Of them

They probably hitchhiked on a plant. They're harmless but I would recommend giving your tank a good water change and test the water.

Also, they could have hitchhiked on a ghost shrimp too. They are 100% harmless.

That said, I believe there are other harmful parasites as well that look like that and @wolfen would know better.

Since you say that you have had gnat larvae, it could just be gnat larvae.

But it could likely just be a detritus explosion due to old tank syndrome.
 

Ya_Boi_Eon

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the last time i had them, the axolotl in the tank was completely unaffected. she was in great health, which makes kip's situation even more confusing.
some added notes
- we have had some gnat larve in her tank. i introduced an airstone to create water disturbance and discourage more from being laid, and i have noticed them decrease dramatically.
- i just had the thought that her bloodworm treats may be expired? she eats them occasionally, usually when i have to tub her (just as a little treat so that she's not so upset about being moved) but now that i'm trying to think of possible causes, i've had them for a pretty long time. a quick google search says they can last six months, and it has definitely been longer than that.
- i recently switched her to red wigglers in place of earthworms. she eats them fine, and the odd waste started appearing beforehand, so i don't think it's related.
- the worms appear segmented, and they do not move at all. they do not float freely in the water, they only stick to the glass.
- i have ghost shrimp in her tank with her. they are all healthy and none have ever been sick or died of natural causes (all that have died met their end by kips jaws)

i
They look to me like detritus worms.
Detritus Worms: Causes & How To Get Rid Of them

They probably hitchhiked on a plant. They're harmless but I would recommend giving your tank a good water change and test the water.

Also, they could have hitchhiked on a ghost shrimp too. They are 100% harmless.

That said, I believe there are other harmful parasites as well that look like that and @wolfen would know better.

Since you say that you have had gnat larvae, it could just be gnat larvae.

But it could likely just be a detritus explosion due to old tank syndrome.

preformed a 75% water change, and scrubbed all tank decor thoroughly.
i'm stumped. i'm not sure what's going on, but she seems to be alright, other than some inactivity and recovering from fungus.
summoning @wolfen and @Autistic Catholic for their expertise
At least I got the infestation thing right… -.-
 

axolotl nerd

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They look to me like detritus worms.
Detritus Worms: Causes & How To Get Rid Of them

They probably hitchhiked on a plant. They're harmless but I would recommend giving your tank a good water change and test the water.

Also, they could have hitchhiked on a ghost shrimp too. They are 100% harmless.

That said, I believe there are other harmful parasites as well that look like that and @wolfen would know better.

Since you say that you have had gnat larvae, it could just be gnat larvae.

But it could likely just be a detritus explosion due to old tank syndrome.
i thought about detritus, but i've only ever had white detritus worms. these also look remarkably different, not just in color. could they be dead detritus? it's like they're made of dust.
i did a water change last night and a small one this morning, just to siphon all of what was left.
thank you for the advice!! hopefully we can figure it out for sure.
 

wolfen

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unless you actually see any wriggling then the chances are it's mulm (the debris in the water that is normally removed by the filter), does it break up/disperse when you swirl water over it, detritus worms tend to look like small pieces of thread (not to be confused with thread worm which are a parasite that uses dogs, cats and even humans as hosts)
give your filter sponge a clean.
 

axolotl nerd

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unless you actually see any wriggling then the chances are it's mulm (the debris in the water that is normally removed by the filter), does it break up/disperse when you swirl water over it, detritus worms tend to look like small pieces of thread (not to be confused with thread worm which are a parasite that uses dogs, cats and even humans as hosts)
give your filter sponge a clean.

thank you so much! i looked it up and that is exactly what im dealing with! i did attempt to clean my sponge filter the other day (i just squeezed it and shook it around in the tank to avoid washing away bacteria and crashing my cycle) but i'm not sure how effective it was. i'll do a more through cleaning tomorrow

update: did it just now and it was absolutely disgusting. definitely needed to be cleaned. i suspect this is also contributing to kips illness as of late, so hopefully once she is back to 100% and in her tank, we won't have further issues
 
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