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Planaria in the aquarium

maintenance, care, compatibility

Unwelcome guests in your tank – worms – give cause for concern and look somehow not very. Do I need to be afraid of them? Do they pose a major threat to the inhabitants of the aquarium?

In the article you will find a description of this species, possible effective methods of controlling worms and preventive measures.

Planaria – a type of ciliated worms. They can be as long as 40 cm in length. They are marine, freshwater, terrestrial, and feed on small invertebrates.

Fish do not eat them, because in their skin are glands containing poison. The exceptions are labyrinth fish, especially young gourami, males.

Planaria can harm in the following ways. They eat shrimp eggs, settling in spawning grounds, significantly reduce the number of caviar, eat crayfish, devouring their food. Damage may be inflicted even on a mature shrimp population.

Planaria settle under their armor, slaughter their gills, which provoke choking. In the future, the worms eat the victim.

In addition, the view of the walls of the aquarium becomes unaesthetic. These worms can creep out not only at night, but during the day.

Where do planarians come from? Why has the habitat just recently been in perfect order, and today you are so worried and are seeing an unpleasant picture? Possible reasons:

  • worms brought in with the ground;
  • sat down already infected inhabitants, plants;
  • Interior items and toys from the old aquarium were added.

In the future, if planarians have already started, they will multiply at a tremendous speed, especially when temperature conditions change and untimely cleaning.

Lime them is very difficult, planaria reproduce themselves. That is, when cutting, for example, in two, the tail and the head again grow out of new parts.

Ciliated worms are distinguished by their vitality, but it is still possible to reduce their number or withdraw them, with some effort.

One option is to hook up the fish, which is the natural biological enemy of the planarians. it iris Melanotaenia praecox.

Effective way aquarists also called trap. As a bait for the night, they put a bag of gauze with protein food, which planarians love – raw beef, squid, at the bottom, and in the morning they scorch the boil in boiling water, destroying unexpected visitors. It will take patience.

Such procedures will have to be repeated several times over a long period of time.

Chemically active substances will work faster. Apply drugs that contain fenbendazol.

Among them, Fluendazole, Flueenol, the active component of which is harmless to the permanent inhabitants of the aquarium, but effective in the fight against planarians. The applied dosage is up to 0.4 g per 100 l of water, the rate of onset of the visible effect is in 24-48 hours.

A very simple and good way to deal with planarians is to use salt at a concentration of 1 g per 1 liter of water. The only caveat is that it can be detrimental to plants, so it’s better to remove them for a while.

With success and use table vinegar: 0.5% or 0.25% solution, the quickest death of planarians will provide the most concentrated, but if radical measures are not required, it is better to use more gentle. After applying vinegar and salt baths, it is necessary to subject all the objects in the aquarium to thorough treatment and rinse in clean water so as not to harm the fish and shrimp even more, mechanically clean the water and change it.

Among other options used in the fight against planarians apply various types of pesticides, the passage of a charge of current through the water (about 12 V), heating the water in the aquarium.

Every day you can mechanically clean and wash the stones, the walls of the aquarium, filters, plants, various objects in cold water, thereby washing out the planarium. But such a struggle will get you tired of the order, it will be quite long, besides, you will also have to rule out favorable conditions for their reproduction.

Types of planarians in the aquarium can be found such: mourning, brown and milky-white. They live in the soil layer, on the vegetation, sometimes they creep out and sit on the walls of the reservoir.

It is very difficult to find a planarium in an aquarium because of their color, it is easier to detect whites than brown ones.

How does a planarium harm in a closed aquatic system? This worm can eat shrimp eggs, settling in the spawning tank, can reduce the number of eggs, there are crustaceans and their food.

Planaria can also harm mature shrimps by settling under their armor, clogging their gill covers. As a result, the shrimp may suffocate and die, or the planaria will eat the affected shrimp.

In addition to physical harm to living creatures, planarians make the walls of the tank ugly – they can be seen both during the day and at night.

Look at the planaria on the wall of the aquarium.

The first question aquarists who noticed these worms: “Where can they come from?”. Under the proper conditions of care for the tank, they are unlikely to appear, but there are a number of reasons that can trigger their growth:

  • Planaria are introduced into the water along with the ground;
  • They can live on sick fish, crustaceans and shrimps, on plants that have been hooked in an aquarium;
  • Worms were brought into the interior of the aquascape along with the decorations from the old tank.

In the case of entry of planarium worms into the aquarium, they will begin to multiply rapidly, the favorable conditions for them are changes in temperature, irregular cleaning of the water space.


Planaria in the aquarium can cause a lot of trouble. First of all, parasites threaten shrimp.

They destroy the entire population. The main prey of planaria are female shrimps.
Deadly damage to parasites can cause crustaceans and snails. In most cases, worms cause the death of fish.

They are able to penetrate the gills and eat live fish, literally pulling out pieces of flesh.
Fishes start to hurt, many die from suffocation. The main sign of the presence of parasites in the aquarium is the restless behavior of the fish when they jerk their heads from side to side and rub against the ground.
White Planaria has no natural enemies in the aquarium. Even large fish do not eat worms, as their skin is covered with bitter mucus.

The appearance in the small underwater world of new inhabitants always causes admiration and special attention. But sometimes there may be quite unexpected guests.

Small worms, whose distinctive feature is the triangular shape of the front part and pink color, appear quite unexpectedly. These worms are known by their beautiful name – Planaria.

Planaria in the aquarium appear along with live food that is meant for fish. You can also bring these creatures into the pond with mollusks and vegetation.

It would seem that harmless at first glance worms carry a hidden threat to crustaceans. These individuals can be both in the soil under water and on the surface.

Planaria can move in water through cilia.

If the water appeared, at least one worm of this species, the fight with planarians in the aquarium is inevitable. As these creatures breed by internal fertilization.

In addition, parts of the organisms are able to regenerate. If planarians appeared in the aquarium, we will show you how to get rid of this scourge.

Harm from planarians

Harmless, at first glance, creatures present many problems to aquarists, sometimes causing irreparable harm to the life of the crustaceans in a domestic pond.

The main problems that cause worms:

  • unattractive appearance;
  • the threat of shrimp life;
  • extermination of shrimp eggs.

If there are even the slightest suspicion of the existence of these worms, select the optimal and effective variant of the struggle.

Get rid of the problem

To cope with such inhabitants is not easy at all, since they are constantly breeding or reproducing themselves. However, there are quite a few tips on how to get a planarium out of an aquarium.

  1. Iris – fish-savior, which allows you to quickly cope with unwanted inhabitants. Planarians eat this species in their natural environment. In the artificial pond, the iris is also able to exterminate the enemy.
  2. For more patient and persistent aquarists, it may be recommended to organize trap for planarians. At night, a gauze bag of raw beef or pieces of squid should be placed in the water. By morning, the bag should be doused with boiling water, thus destroying the “catch”. This procedure is not one-time and requires constant repetitions.
  3. The saving and win-win option is to use chemicals from planarians in the aquarium. Do not worry about the state of the inhabitants of an artificial reservoir. The action of the active substance of these drugs – fenbendazol – is directed exclusively at planaria. Fluendazole, Flueenol should be added to the water at the rate of 0.2 g for every 5 liters.

Planaria in the aquarium: how to get rid of? Step-by-step instruction

When planaria appear in an aquarium, this becomes a cause for concern, and these worms look somehow completely unattractive. Is it really worth worrying about this and are these creatures really dangerous?

Today we will get to know them better, learn how to deal with planarians in an aquarium, and what preventive measures exist.

Planaria are flatworms, covered with a scalp that resembles small cilia. The main habitat of their habitats are freshwater.

However, some species of planaria can be found in seawater, less often on land. In nature, there are many species of these worms that are distributed throughout the world.

Adults of some worms living in the wild can be as long as 40 cm.

In home aquariums most often white-milk, brown and mourning planarians occur. The peculiarity of parasites is that they prefer to be nocturnal.

Planarians in an aquarium hide behind stones in the midst of plants. That is why it is not easy to find them, especially if they are brown or mourning worms.

Fish do not eat them, because in their skin are poisonous glands that produce toxic substances dangerous to others. The only exceptions are labyrinth fish (roosters, gourami) that live in a freshwater aquarium.

Here they are eager to eat the parasites and their eggs. In the marine aquarium of these worms prefer different types of wrasses.

The main feed planaria – protein food. The basis of their diet consists of small invertebrates, in particular shrimps and crustaceans. They love to eat caviar, fish, snails and crustaceans, as well as their food.

Often planarian in an aquarium (see photo below) attack adults. They are able to penetrate under their shell and clog up the gills, causing choking.

After which the worms eat the victim.

Planarias in the marine aquarium cause no less damage. Due to the colossal speed of reproduction, parasites are able to cover living stones, corals, glass and soil in a solid crust in a matter of months.

Excreted planarian corals begin to suffocate and may die over time. In addition, in the presence of parasites, the walls of the aquarium acquire an unaesthetic appearance.

The causes of ciliary worms may be several. They are often brought along with untreated soil or plants. Also planarians can get along with toys and interior items from the old aquarium.

As a source of infection can be live food or newly settled inhabitants.

When they enter the aquarium, the worms begin to multiply at a very high rate, laying eggs under stones, leaves of plants or in the ground. Planarium contributes to active reproduction by irregular cleaning of the aquarium and changes in temperature indicators.

Get rid of parasites is quite difficult. This is due to the fact that planaria is very tenacious and has the property of self-production.

In other words, if it is cut into pieces, each of them subsequently grows a tail and a head. According to some information, only 1/279 parts of the planarian body are enough to renew the whole organism.

Moreover, these worms easily go to “suicide”: in the event of a threat to life, their body falls into pieces. This ability in medicine has received the name of autotomy.

In addition, these parasites are able to withstand a rather long hunger strike.

And yet, with some effort, it is possible not only to reduce their numbers, but also to withdraw them altogether.

It is worth noting that in aquariums where fish live, it is much easier to cope with the task. Some species of fish, for example, fairly hungry cichlids and macropods, will help get rid of worms quickly and for sure. After all, these fish are resistant to poisonous mucus ciliary worms.

But to make it in the shrimp is very problematic. This will require a lot of hard work.

If white worms appeared on the walls in the aquarium

Planaria is a flatworm that can appear in a freshwater aquarium. Planaria fall into the water with untreated soil, plants, decorations, and live food. Bringing out these worms is quite difficult, as they can recover quickly.

There are mechanical ways of destroying worms — a trap is set in the tank, and in the morning it is taken along with the worms. After that, worms are thrown into boiling water, and boiled for 30 minutes to complete destruction.

The problem is that this method is not always effective. These worms are dangerous for snails, crayfish and shrimps.


Planaria worms have hair on their bodies, or the so-called cilia. There are many types of planarians. In home ponds worms are usually infused the following groups:

  1. Dendrocoelum lacteum, or milky white worms. They are considered safer, do not cause severe harm to the inhabitants of the aquarium. They are easy to see in glass containers, especially on the walls and dark decorations.
  2. Planaria torva, or brown planaria – they are harder to notice because of the dark color, are active at night.

Watch the video about planaria and how to deal with it.

All planarian species of this species feed on protein products, including: shrimp eggs, small invertebrates, crayfish and shrimp feeds. Unfortunately, brown planaria can destroy the shrimps themselves from the inside, settling under their armor.

How can you destroy these worms in a home aquarium? The first and most important way is to clean the stones and scenery.

From worms they can be washed off with water and treated with boiling water. This also applies to the soil that needs to be removed from the tank and boiled.

Use special traps that you can cook with your own hands. Take a cheesecloth, make a small bag out of it, into which you should put small pieces of meat. In the morning you will notice that the entire bag is filled with worms.

He, along with the planarians need to extract from the aquarium, and destroy. Traps do not give a full guarantee of the destruction of these organisms, only reduce their numbers.

There may still be many worms under stones, snags and decorations.

You can also pass an electric current through the aquarium water with a charge of 12 volts. In such actions, you must comply with security measures, and before the procedure, remove all pets from the tank, their eggs, fry, and plants. Warm water with a temperature of 27-29 ° C can quickly destroy unwanted “guests”.

But not all fish tolerate this temperature.

Worms can be destroyed with the help of special preparations. They are very afraid of the means that include fenbendazole, they are: Fluendazole, Panacur, Fluvermal, Fliubenol.

Before use, carefully read the instructions. Usually the main dose is 0.2-0.4 grams per 100 liters of water.

The preparation needs to be diluted in water, and then brought into the aquarium. Nowadays fenbendazole is sold as a suspension.

In a few days you will see the dead worms, and the only thing that remains for you is to cleanse your body of water from them.

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