Aquarium and Pond Care with EcoBio-Block

Planaria: How to Get Rid of White Worms in the Aquarium



It can be an extremely upsetting feeling for the beginning aquarist…you’ve spent so much time researching your fish, setting up the aquarium properly and getting it up and running. The aquarium cycled well and looks beautiful, the fish are lively and in great health. One day, you turn on the light and notice filamentous white things on the sides of your aquarium. A closer inspection reveals that these aren’t just some weird algae, they’re actually thread-like white worms that are crawling up the sides of your aquarium.

First off, take a deep breath. This is a common problem. Your fish are not in imminent danger from the worms. Planaria outbreaks often occur due to overfeeding, too much excess food in the bottom of the aquarium provides an excellent environment for them to thrive. Improperly-cleaned aquariums in general can cause outbreaks, especially in carnivore tanks as their digestive systems tend to let a lot of nutrients pass through their bodies unabsorbed, making even more food available for the planaria.

Now for the bad news, while those little white worms won’t harm your fish (in fact, many fish love to eat them), the conditions that allowed them to thrive in your aquarium are potentially fatal if they’re not recognized and corrected. Excess food puts more ammonia into your aquarium system as it decomposes, which can cause deadly ammonia spikes. If the beneficial bacteria are sufficient to deal with the ammonia you will still see rising nitrate levels. While nitrates aren’t as dangerous as ammonia, it is still hazardous and must be corrected or it will eventually cause deaths.

To get rid of these worms, you have to remove their food source. Start with a thorough gravel vacuum and partial water change (30%-50% change) or, if preferred, stir the gravel on a daily basis until all the excess food and waste runs through your mechanical filtration. This should be accompanied by weekly partial water changes until all your parameters are within an acceptable range. The worms themselves can be removed if you really want them gone fast or if you’re trying to breed fish (they will eat fish eggs), though left alone the fish will probably eat them and the remainder will die of starvation as their food source is systematically removed from the aquarium.

While regular checks of the water parameters will help you identify problems before they become serious issues, I strongly recommend having a secondary precaution in place. Water maintenance products such as EcoBio-Stone will go a long way toward keeping the parameters healthy and preventing ammonia spikes. EcoBio-Stone keeps high levels of beneficial bacteria in the aquarium for up to two years, which can readily deal with these spikes. This product also provides essential minerals that the fish need to be healthy, ensuring they’re in peak condition to deal with any issues in the aquarium.

Planaria can be an unsightly problem. Luckily, they’re easy to deal with and it’s easy to correct the problems that caused them. If you’re new to fish keeping and don’t want to risk dealing with planaria or water quality issues, make sure you do your research on the care of your aquarium and its inhabitants as well as add in additional safeguards such as EcoBio-Block.

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February 13, 2009 at 4:45 PM
  • March 11, 2011 at 10:45 PMDaniel Moskalenko

    I got those worms in my live plans!!! What do I do to get them out of the plans? I have a moss ball and its like a house for them!! They live there! Its crazy!!

  • September 6, 2011 at 6:36 PMGrant

    So my fish wont die even if it does ave the worms in its stomach because my fish is not floating anymore.

  • October 4, 2011 at 5:34 PMJessica

    Where did the little worms come from in the first place?

  • October 7, 2011 at 2:50 PMAquarium Care

    The planaria are hitch rides on your gravel, plants or possibly from decorations that have been passed down to you. They are too small to see, but when the conditions are good for them, they start to multiply.

  • November 3, 2011 at 12:57 PMKevin

    I used guppies they ate them like crazy if not fed much other food.

  • November 26, 2011 at 10:39 AMTheresa

    Actually, like a tape worm, heart worm or many other worms you may hear about when it comes to animals, these little worms actually will kill your fish if the outbreak goes unnoticed and untreated for too long.

  • December 10, 2011 at 12:42 AMJackie Hartman

    Dumb question #1? I have small cuts on my hands, if I stick them in the tank to clean it will the Planaria harm me?

  • December 12, 2011 at 10:32 PMAquarium Care

    It’s never a good idea to put your hands into standing water if you have cuts on them and even without cuts, it is recommended that you wash your hands right after immersing them in aquarium water.
    There is always the possibility of getting an infection.

  • December 30, 2011 at 12:18 PMAimee

    I have noticed the little worm things in my tank and I’ve just sorted out a snail problem and now this. I’ve had tanks for years but haven’t had problems like this overlapping the worms freek me out alot is there a way of getting rid of them or any breed of fish that eat them.

  • January 2, 2012 at 10:20 PMAquarium Care

    You need to do a good gravel vacuum and water changes every week to keep the food source for pranoria at a minimum. And use EBB to keep good bacteria population high to avoid ammonia spikes.
    Almost all fish will eat them and eventually you won’t have any more white worms.

  • January 6, 2012 at 1:59 AMkatie

    I have these and a snail problem, looks like im gonna b busy tomorrow…

  • January 18, 2012 at 12:50 AMPrakash

    Because of Over feeding (Un eaten food on the bottom of the tank), i have noticed the little white worms generated in my flowerhorn tank and I added more salt to it, Next day I changed the Complete water and Washed the Gravel. Problem seems to be resolved :)

  • March 8, 2012 at 12:57 AMMatt

    One of my cats drank out of my fish tank that has white worms (Planaria) in it. Can these worms live in my cat or harm it? Can they be harmful if a person ingested them due to siphoning?

  • March 8, 2012 at 2:47 PMAquarium Care

    Planaria are not parasites, so they will not harm either you or your cat.

  • April 21, 2012 at 6:09 PMmichelle lothian

    I think this is what we have just noticed in our tank – are they harmful to turtle’s?

  • April 21, 2012 at 8:07 PMAquarium Care

    Hi, Planaria are not harmful to turtles, but they indicate that the tank has too much waste in it. You should reduce the amount of food you give your turtles, vacuum the tank and get rid of any debris. If you have an EcoBio-Block, it will break down organic waste.

  • May 5, 2012 at 5:45 PMFlower horn liker

    The way of choice to Get rid is , by adding a measured amount of aquarium salts and see what happed within 10 min

  • June 8, 2012 at 2:06 AMgapi

    i just notice this white spots in my fish tail.i don’t know what it is and its starting to eat the fish tail and it kills them what should i do

  • June 8, 2012 at 3:03 PMAquarium Care

    It could be white spot, ich, or fungus. Identify the symptoms by visiting this site and treat as indicated.

  • June 9, 2012 at 12:10 PMJoseph Rodriguez

    I must say im very thankful to have vist this website i learn alot i just have one qustion these white worms are in my 10 gallon tank are thy harmful to frogs and tadpoles? and if i clean my fish tank with hot water will those white worms die?

  • June 9, 2012 at 1:36 PMraven

    Are they hurtful to a Catfish?

  • June 9, 2012 at 8:54 PMAquarium Care

    No, they are not hurtful to Catfish. But you don’t want too many of them. You can keep the population down by reducing the amount of food you feed your fish, doing water changes and vacuuming your tank regularly.

  • June 9, 2012 at 8:57 PMAquarium Care

    The planaria will not hurt your frogs or tadpoles, but you don’t want too many of them. Just do water changes, vacuum well and don’t overfeed your aquatic population. You could use hot water to clean the tank, but then you will have to restart the tank and you will have to go through new tank syndrome again.

  • June 10, 2012 at 12:14 AMEmily

    I have these worms in my tank and I’m not breeding fish at all but I don’t have the money for a gravel vacume well I might but I don’t know how much they are. Im new to keeping fish and I really want to know how to get rid of these little guys! Thanks so much !

  • June 10, 2012 at 12:16 AMEmily

    Oh and also, my fish seem to be weak could this be the reason cause I have these worms? Well I know if you over feed ur fish You’ll get them but I also wanna know if this could be it also

  • June 12, 2012 at 1:43 PMAquarium Care

    Planaria shouldn’t cause weakness in your fish. It could be build up of organic waste and by products. Check your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels to make sure that they are not too high.

  • June 19, 2012 at 10:11 PMJoy

    We currently have these worms as well as fry in our tank (fry are 2 1/2 weeks old) of cichlids. What type of treatment is safe for them? I don’t want to vacuum or even stir the gravel since that is where they hang out. Help! This is our first batch of babies in this tank, and we want at least a couple to survive. :(

  • June 20, 2012 at 3:17 PMAquarium Care

    At this point, there is really nothing you can do. You will have to wait until the cichlids are bigger. Or you could move your baby cichlids to another tank and thoroughly vacuum your tank, then you can safely return the baby cichlids to their tank.

  • July 8, 2012 at 12:58 PMSalv


    a good question was asked earlier, *where* do these Planaria originate from? Obviously they will feed off excess waste in the gravel, but WHAT is their origin? I have a Large Fancy Goldfish measuring 6 inches (15cm) head to tail-tip and an apple snail in a 60 litre tank! I feed my fish 3 times a day about a pea-sized worth of specialist Tetra sticks that sink. The Snail finds his/her own food and Im assuming the plants that keep rotting are not helping. Can you give any advice? I squish out my filter sponge in tank water weekly and do 20% change every week (well i try to)! The washed out filter turns the water black! So im assuming weekly is needed for the filter sponge. Last time i washed out the gravel carefully but thoroughly by hand (saving 70% of my treasured and cycled tank water) and made sure no chlorine or contamination occured that would affect Sparky (my fish)! :) Days later I noticed these Planaria! I was shocked to see them. I hate them and I’ve had a tank for years and never noticed them. This is probably my fourth outbreak. I don’t think im overfeeding as im following the instructions on the packet (bearing in mind food producers want you to use as much as you can so you buy more!!) but am sparing too. I wish there was a medicataion that could be used to WIPE these nasty poor things out like a snail solution that you can buy to rid your tank of snails. Please help. Thank you for a great site.

  • July 11, 2012 at 9:19 AMAquarium Care

    Nearly every aquarium has planaria. They probably came in with your plants. When the conditions are right, they multiply. We found this site, which may be helpful to you. If possible, we would suggest that you remove your fish, but that is not indicated in the article, so it’s probably not absolutely necessary. If you have EcoBio-Block, you must remove it during treatment.

    Good luck, let us know how it goes.

  • July 22, 2012 at 11:18 AMbigjohnnofish

    look i dont believe these worms are in your tank waiting for the right conditions… they are introduced somewhere from an external source they dont just appear… i have had one outbreak in a tank last year. treated with no-planeria as per instruction and killed them all… never been re-infected so to speak… and i feed large quantities of food to large numbers of fish… and funny enough the tank i got them in only had 5 fish in it… and was being fed minimal food!
    so does anybody actually know where they come from??? or will you just conject a theory!!!

  • July 29, 2012 at 10:40 PMchrissy

    hi, im unable to vaccume my tank due to having cherry shimp and guppys wat can i do ? will they harm my shrimp

  • August 1, 2012 at 11:49 AMGeorgette

    The worms that are in my tank are only sticking to my Catfish’s fins. What can I do?? i tried a medication that the pet store recommended but it’s not working…I see more and more everyday. Please, someone help..I feel so sad for Harry my Catfish.

  • August 1, 2012 at 4:32 PMAquarium Care

    No, planaria will not harm your aquarium’s inhabitants. Some people just don’t like the looks. Planaria are encouraged by organic waste, try to reduce the amount of food you put in the tank. The fish only need as much as they can eat in a minute. You can even go a few days without feeding your fish. If you put EcoBio-Block in your tank, that will also help as it helps to eliminate much of the organic waste.

  • August 1, 2012 at 4:36 PMAquarium Care

    They could be anchor worms. You should google it and check the pictures online. The best way to treat anchor worms is by removing them physically with tweezers and use stress coat. You will need to keep putting your fish back in the water though, so that it can breath. Antiparisitics may help, but be very careful as these are very strong chemicals. Hope your catfish does well.

  • August 1, 2012 at 7:01 PMGeorgette

    Thank you so very much.

  • August 6, 2012 at 2:16 AMJoy

    Tonight is the second time I’ve had these, both times the worms came from a dead snail. The first time, a couple of years ago, they just multiplied despite my doing everything you list above. I ended up drying out the gravel in the hot sun for 2 weeks before they all died. This afternoon my daughter picked up a snail for me at the local pet/fish store. After several hours of no movement, I checked to see if he was just ‘sleeping’ as they tend to do. Nope, he was dead and had been for some time…nothing in the shell but the most awful smell and zillions of these worms. (going to talk to the store manager tomorrow)
    You say above that “The worms themselves can be removed if you really want them gone fast…” Please…how? If I use the No-Planaria, do I need to remove my fish (a large angel) for 72 hours? What other ways are there to get rid of them…short of drying the gravel out again. Truly appreciate your help.

  • August 6, 2012 at 8:24 AMAquarium Care

    We would normally tell you to pick out the worms, but at this point the only thing you can do is take out all the gravel and boil them for 10 minutes and you will have to start your tank all over again. Also wash the tank out well.

  • August 6, 2012 at 1:43 PMJoy

    Thank you for your reply. The tank is already cleaned out and the gravel is currently baking in the sun. “Boil them for 10 minutes…” I really don’t relish the idea of using one of my cooking pots. Will using a floor/carpet steamer do the trick? Will the steam it puts out be hot enough to kill the little buggers?

  • August 7, 2012 at 7:47 AMAquarium Care

    Probably it will work, but we don’t know. You could try it. Normally to kill anything takes several minutes of high heat. Sunlight would eventually do it, but it takes time. Good luck!

  • August 8, 2012 at 6:03 AMsofie

    So if i have a tropical fish tank which needs cleaning, should i brake it down, and take the fish (1) out of the fish tank while cleaning it?

  • August 11, 2012 at 4:35 AMRichard

    I have a nano shrimp set up and there’s worms have appeared
    I dont think I can stir up the base as its not gravel but a shrimp
    Substance any tips please as I’ve seen a small shrimp
    Being eaten by the worms

  • August 11, 2012 at 11:21 AMAquarium Care

    Starting over again is a last resort. The first thing you should do is vacuum the gravel often, at least once a week for several weeks. That may take care of it. Also, reduce the amount and frequency of feeding. You only need to give your fish as much as it can eat in a minute and you can skip a couple of days with no problem.

  • August 11, 2012 at 11:31 AMAquarium Care

    There are some meds you can try. No Planaria is supposed to work well and is not that expensive. Or Panacur.

  • August 11, 2012 at 2:06 PMsofie

    uhh.. question.. how do you use a vaccum cleaner? thanks for the reply :)

  • August 13, 2012 at 10:06 PMAquarium Care

    You need to get a siphon for your aquarium. It’s available at any pet store.

  • August 14, 2012 at 2:19 PMsofie

    okay, i have purchased one but i don’t understand how to use it ??

  • August 14, 2012 at 7:03 PMAquarium Care

    there are several kinds of siphons. Does yours have instructions? If not, you can ask the pet store where you got it.

  • September 4, 2012 at 4:33 AMAsh

    I been trying to breed my bettas and today actually happen. As I was looking at the egg I saw the little tiny things moving in the water like little worms so I think it’s planaria. I don’t know what to do now since this page says they eat fish egg. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them? I took out the male and female already and the only thing in the tank is the bubble nest, I was thinking of just transforming the bubble net but I still be moving those things into the other tank. Some help ?

  • September 9, 2012 at 9:33 PMallan

    hi i have a problem with my two tanks 55 and 125 gallons they have a white worms this is my first time to have it. my friend who is working at local pet store he told me that gona remove all the water and clean with hot water change the filter and the carbon i did what he told me after couples of minutes i run my tanks with hot water without my fish and i still have the white worms both of my tanks… what should i do get rid of this planaria(white worms)…

  • September 9, 2012 at 11:26 PMBekah

    I found these little white Planaria in my tubefix worms when I bought them.

  • September 10, 2012 at 9:22 PMAquarium Care

    Sorry it took so long to get back to you. We have been trying to puzzle out the best way to do this. We think that the only way you can save your fish eggs is by putting them in a separate tank and hoping that the planaria don’t transfer with them.

  • September 10, 2012 at 9:33 PMAquarium Care

    Planaria come out when there is too much leftover fish food, gravel hasn’t been vacuumed sufficiently and there are high levels of ammonia. All of which EcoBio-Block can help. To get rid of the planaria you have, your friend at the pet store is correct, but you need to keep the temperature in your tank high (about 95 degree Fahrenheit) for about 24 hours in order to kill them (remove fish first). Or you can take everything out of your tank and either boil or pour boiling water in and through them, clean out the tank thoroughly and let the tank air dry for a week.

  • September 10, 2012 at 9:38 PMAquarium Care

    Your tank should be okay as long as you don’t overfeed your fish, vacuum regularly and do enough water changes (25% at least once a week). EcoBio-Block’s beneficial bacteria gets rid of the organic waste that causes the imbalance in your water that allows planaria to flourish.

  • October 4, 2012 at 2:27 PMpat adlard

    Hi, I have been keeping a fish and planted aquarium for almost 40 years, and heve never encounted these planaria before, Earlier in the year I puchased some aquarium ferns from the far east,never again/ and ever since then I have noticed a few of these white planaria worms. As there were only a few it was easy to pick them out,at the same time I was completely emptying my tank to get rid of an infestation of lemna minor. after a week of a totally dry and empty tank, I filled up again using Duckweed Buster to eradicate the Lemna,which seems to have worked, filled up again and some of the white worms appeared,may have been some eggs trapped in moist corner, it is a week since I last saw one so hopefully the problem has gone away!!!!

  • October 4, 2012 at 2:38 PMAquarium Care

    We really hope so too! Thank you for sharing your story.

  • October 7, 2012 at 6:09 AMJulie

    Pleased I found this site. I had these little white worms and they seem to come and go. I am worried though as they are in an Assassin Snail only tank, there are babies under the sand too. I have also noticed some tiny dot size black insect things in there – scurrying round the substrate and I have no idea what they are!! I only feed the Assassins on Ramshorns and water change weekly, sometimes more. There is no possibilty of there being too much food in the tank. I don’t want to strip the tank and boil everything as it will kill the babies… Help!!

  • October 7, 2012 at 9:56 AMAquarium Care

    The white worms are probably planaria and the black dots are probably one of several scavengers like fleas. Both are problems that come out of poor water conditions. Try doing a partial water change (about 30%) twice a week,vacuum the top of the substrate lightly and check your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. EcoBio-Block helps a lot with these kind of problems because the beneficial bacteria colonies constantly replenish the good bacteria in your tank which keep the water clear and clean.

  • November 25, 2012 at 6:38 PMBianca

    I have a turtle and this wormy like things are in the aquarium is it harmful to my turtle this thingys give me the creeps what do i do to get rid of them i see you put to vacuum the tank but im on a fixed income and my 9 year old daughter really wants her turtle

  • November 26, 2012 at 10:26 AMAquarium Care

    It sounds like you have planaria. They won’t hurt your turtle, but you can try to get rid of them by reducing the amount of food you give your turtle, keep your aquarium very clean, and do frequent water changes. That should help. Try it for a month or so and if the conditions are not better, get back to us.

  • December 10, 2012 at 9:26 PMSalv

    Thanks for all your help on these! It seems everyones problem is down to overfeeding/high waste levels. The SOLUTION? Vacuum the gravel, waster changes and less food OR/AND use “no-planaria” to treat the water.

    Thank you for constantly replying to all of us and saying the same thing over and over again…it must get tiresome! lol x

  • December 11, 2012 at 10:25 PMRoo

    Thank you for the great information. I have had a turtle for 9 years now, and these little worm things just appeared recently. I have never had them in the tank before, and there is no change in the way I have cared for the turtle, no increase in food, nothing new introduced into the tank like plants, or anything. The worms do not seem to be clinging to the sides as indicated by questions above, but rather floating on the surface of the water squirming. Does this sound like the planaria? Or is it possible I am facing some other aquatic horror?

  • December 12, 2012 at 12:45 PMAquarium Care

    Yes, planaria do swim, and we think it is planaria.

  • January 5, 2013 at 2:26 AMBrent

    Thanks for all of the great information thus far.

    As a last resort, you mentioned boiling the gravel and decorations, then leaving the pieces to air dry for a week. The problem is that I don’t have a second tank to keep my Betta in while the the first is drying. I usually transfer the fish into a fish bowl when I need to do maintenance on the tank, but the time the betta spends in the bowl is rarely more than an hour. I feel like any longer would be pushing it, as the bowl is not heated.

    So I guess my question is, does the tank and accessories need to air dry for a week to ensure that any worms or their eggs die?

    Also, to ensure that the tank itself is sterilized with hot water, I thought of putting it in the dishwasher without soap, as it will fit, being only 5.5 gallons. Is this a bad idea, in terms of soap residue in the machine, or the silicone seals seperating?

    Also, I believe that a plant I recently introduced into the tank (Green Cabomba) was responsible for the outbreak, as I do not over feed, and the paramaters were all OK prior to the addition. Should the plant be tossed, or can it be saved?

  • January 7, 2013 at 12:46 PMAquarium Care

    Boiling the gravel and decorations will take care of the planaria. It’s primarily the tank that needs to air-dry for a week to get rid of any worms and eggs. How big is your heater? Can you put it in your fishbowl? Or you could put the fish and the heater in a bucket while you are drying out the tank?
    As a reminder, this process will result in re-starting your tank and it will have to go through the nitrogen cycle again.
    Just to recap, vacuuming thoroughly, limiting food (to as much as they can eat in 1 minute) and regular (at least weekly 20-25%) water changes will help.

  • January 18, 2013 at 1:46 PMjeanette

    I have two large jack dempsey’s and a large plecostomus in a 50 gallon, I’ve had the jack dempsey for about 5 years, and the plecostoumus for about 2 months.Last month i noticed small gnats floating on the top of the water (dead)and live ones on the top of the glass of the tank. i took the gravel out washed it with hot water did a 50% water change and a week later they are back. now i noticed the planaria at the bottom in the gravel. why do I have the gnats? I am going to start with taking out the gravel and clean it and let it soak in boiling hot water. what other suggestions do you have? what size if ebb should I get?

  • January 19, 2013 at 9:16 PMAquarium Care

    Start with a thorough vacuuming and do a water change of 30-50% weekly. Clean any debris off of the inside of your hood. Don’t overfeed your fish.
    Do you have any potted plants nearby? Gnats often lay eggs on soil. Re-potting with sterile soil would get rid of any eggs.
    Try these before you put your gravel in boiling water. You can do this and it will probably help, but it will also destroy the good bacteria which keeps your water clear and clean.
    If you get an EcoBio-Block, an EcoBio-Stone M would be good for your needs.

  • February 3, 2013 at 12:59 PMKris

    I have a 20 gallon tank with an over population of guppies and snails. I’ve been trying to weed down the number of fish and snails I have but recently I’ve notice these worm/slug type things moving around my tank. It seems like they might be planaria as they are not on any of my fish. I did find a dead fish last night and a bunch of those worm things came out, which completely freaked me out. Are planaria known to do that? Also, I think I am overfeeding my fish, if I stop feeding them for a few days and use a gravel vacuum should this solve my problem? I have a 10 gallon tank I could transfer some of my fish to but not all will fit.

  • February 3, 2013 at 10:51 PMAquarium Care

    It does sound like you have planaria. Worms will definitely eat dead organisms if they are available. Your solution is a good one, but you may have to do it for a while. Feed the fish every few days and vacuum frequently, the problem should eventually go away.

  • February 3, 2013 at 11:20 PMKris

    Thank you so much for your quick response. I appreciate it! :)

  • February 16, 2013 at 3:08 PMgemma

    Hi, is no planaria really safe for use with shrimp, I have heard conflicting stories, my parmaters are spot on and I removed the food after an hour for the shrimp, it is med to heavily planted with recently added plants that I washed soaked before planting, I was heart broken to see these little white lines all over my tank glass at lights on, they slither along the glass, not very thick, about 3-6 km bit nervous about adding fish as a natural biological rememdy, although natural is my preference I’m not sure who would be the safest buddies for my Red cherry shrimps, I’ve not actually seen these critters swim, I dislodged some and I didn’t see anything resembling swim, just sort of helpless flicking til they landed. Any advise welcome, if I can avoid a tare down that be great, I don’t want to disturb the shrimp if poss, any shrimp safe tank mate suggestions welcome. Thanks for time guys. :-)

  • February 16, 2013 at 5:25 PMAquarium Care

    Check out here:
    I haven’t tried myself, but seems good.

  • February 17, 2013 at 9:29 AMgemma

    Cheers I read that as advised, I,be started swiping the little critters off in filter floss at lights on, then dropping the worm smothered floss in a jar of freshly boiled water, doing lid up and leaving it til cool enough to touch, hopefully this will help too, only had the shrimp 4 days, and the plant 5. Gravel was sterile, sponge filter was run in with tank, witn bio balls, would endlers be OK with shrimp? assassin snails? Let you know how floss swiping goes, just thought I’d put the idea out there, :-)

  • April 11, 2013 at 10:58 PMDominick

    I had white worms so i boiled my gravel and decorations cleaned my glass with hot water and completely
    Changed the water 2 days after that the
    White worms came back what do I do

  • April 12, 2013 at 3:18 PMAquarium Care

    Did you clean out your filters? If you didn’t, you probably have to do everything again and let your aquarium air dry for a few days.
    However, you will be restarting your tank again, so you will probably experience the cloudiness that comes with the nitrogen cycle.
    Or if they are only a few, your fish might eat them.

  • May 1, 2013 at 3:16 AMRuth

    Iv just looked into my daughters fish tank and seen a mega white worm, I’m so freaked out, there’s only little fish in the tank and this one mega worm that’s come from no where, no joke it must be about 4+ inch long, is this worm a planaria ? as iv only read the replys and no one has said about big white worms only small ones… if it is why is it so big? and would the worm eat the little fish? as I have noticed that there are less fish in the tank but iv not had to fish any dead ones out

  • May 3, 2013 at 9:58 AMAquarium Care

    We are not sure what kind of worm this is, but it is probably better to get rid of it. You can either buy a worm trap or make one.
    Get an opaque plastic container with a lid and cut an x shape in the top. Push the opening inwards, making the opening large enough for the worm to get in. You can use clam or shrimp meat or fish meat for bait. The bait should be cut up small but not mushy. Place in tank and leave overnight.

    If anyone is aware of what this worm is and how to deal with it, we would appreciate a post! Thanks.

  • May 22, 2013 at 1:16 PMJ F Coop Jr

    For planaria, I’d highly recommend a product by Green Leaf Aquariums called “NO-Planaria”.

    I had a sudden outbreak in my nano shrimp tank a couple months ago and used this stuff. With black stratum, I could see them moving and totally freaked out. In three days, all planaria were gone. (Bonus was it took care of the growing snail population, too.)

    When I noticed the snails in the nano were gone, I quick treated my 46 gal bowfront just to get rid of the snails. Amano shrimp – unaffected; Angels – unaffected; platys and fry – unaffected; and snail population gone!

    No harm to shrimp or the multitude of shrimplets (fry), and the nano tank is still planaria free!

  • May 22, 2013 at 2:51 PMAquarium Care

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience.

  • June 7, 2013 at 12:50 AMKimmie

    So my angel fish are breeding almost every week and now these little worms show up what’s a safe way to get rid of them and keep my angels happy and healthy?

  • June 7, 2013 at 9:39 AMAquarium Care

    The worms are planaria. They are not harmful to the fish, but they are bad for eggs because they eat them. They are generally the result of overfeeding. The safest way to get rid of the planaria is to carefully clean the tank and reduce the amount and frequency of feedings. It will take a while to get rid of them though.
    Does anyone else have any experience with planaria and baby angelfish?

  • June 8, 2013 at 1:52 AMKimmie

    Dang thank you I had a batch of fry that was doing great now half are dead should I be doing major water changes or adding a treatment to get rid of them?

  • June 23, 2013 at 9:04 PMcarin

    I have them in my glow fish fry tank … I think the over abundance of food might of been glow fish eggs .. but while over hauling the tank would work … I actually have live fry in the tank also …. which being delicate I’m afraid to salt it or mess with the ph too much … the fry are so small at 2weeks old the worms are bigger than the fry … but trying to hold off treating the tank cause of the fry the infestation it getting bad

  • September 7, 2013 at 7:27 PMc

    have a tank with water snails and I have theses worms and its what you have described. Will they crawl out of tank?

  • September 7, 2013 at 9:07 PMAquarium Care

    No, they won’t crawl out of the tank. Planaria usually develop as a result of too much organic waste. To get rid of them, you need to do frequent water changes (try 20% twice a week at first), and vacuum the gravel at the same time. Try it for a month or so, it should help a lot.

  • October 9, 2013 at 11:21 PMLisa

    I’m wondering if it’s possible for Planaria to grow or be found in a cat’s water fountain dish? We’ve had planaria in a fish tank before but tonight, when I was cleaning out our cats’ water fountain- the kind that keeps water flowing continually and comes with a filter- and noticed some squiggly things that looked very much like the planaria we had seen before in a fish tank. The only difference was these were brown instead of white.

  • October 10, 2013 at 10:45 AMAquarium Care

    Hi Lisa,
    Planaria are white. You are probably looking at some kind of beetle or fly larvae. Insects often have larvae that need water. Cleaning out the water fountain should get rid of them.

  • October 31, 2013 at 5:48 PMSara

    Hello my name is Sara. I have these worms in my tank. Some of them are black and have scales. and I have some small worms which are white and clear. They were in the basking area. how do I get rid of them without touching??

  • October 31, 2013 at 8:07 PMAquarium Care

    Hi Sara,
    It sounds like you have planaria. This usually comes from overfeeding, so there are a few things you can do. Don’t feed your fish more than they can eat in about a minute. You could even skip a day. Vacuum your gravel well and change about 1/3 of your water. Change the water again about 5 days later. That should help a lot.

  • February 23, 2014 at 9:46 AMShidohari

    I think i just noticed planaria in my tank, that or it could be flat/round worms. It was clear to white in color and very thin almost like angel hair pasta shape but much thinner. I killed the one I saw but really don’t know how to treat safely as the tank is one i’m trying to breed cherry shrimp in. It also has a molly, a dwarf gourami, one otto cat, a nerite snail, one orphan emperor tetra, two algae eating shrimp and one orphan ornate/candy cane tetra.

    Can you please advise. tank has driftwood and the plant is narrow leaf java fern. Tank temperture due to the shrimp has to be kept at 76.6 degrees

  • February 23, 2014 at 9:47 AMShidohari

    Also said worm which i reached into the tank and squished with a kleenex was crawling up the side of the ten gallon tank.

  • February 23, 2014 at 10:56 AMAquarium Care

    Yes, it sounds like you have planaria. The best way to get rid of them is to clean your tank thoroughly. They basically live on the leftover fish food, so if you do several water changes, stir up the gravel several times and vacuum, you should see the population eventually die out.

  • April 4, 2014 at 10:59 AMHA559

    Hello there. Is it a bad thing to pour water containing live planeria down the drain, sink or toilet?


  • April 4, 2014 at 3:34 PMAquarium Care

    May be good idea to pour some chlorine in.

  • April 4, 2014 at 5:12 PMHA559

    Tap water here (UK) contain a little bit of chlorine as treatment before we get it. Is that enough or does it need to be really concentrated, like bleach? Thanks for answering everyone’s questions here.

  • April 10, 2014 at 10:26 AMAquarium Care

    It’s not necessary to be really concentrated. It’s not bad idea to add it little more than tap water to be safe.

  • July 14, 2014 at 11:38 PMJay

    I have a red devil and she just laid eggs and the little white looking worms just came out of no where just change the water a few days ago and took all the gravel out.. and they pop up…out of no where…whats the cause of of it. and what would you do to fix the problem….i thought they was her babys stuck on the glass is or not…..? im confuse..

  • July 17, 2014 at 7:16 PMAquarium Care

    Those are planaria worms and they probably came in on a plant or some gravel. To get rid of them, you need to clean your tank well. Vacuum the gravel and change 30-50% of the water. Don’t overfeed your fish. To speed up the process, don’t feed your fish for a couple of days (they will be fine) and stir up the gravel a little to help your filter get rid of the debris. An EcoBio-Stone will help you get rid of the organic waste that is feeding the worms even more quickly.

  • October 24, 2014 at 9:54 AMMarilyn

    I got these long skinny thread like wriggly creatures in my fish bowl, they seems to try to catch my goldfish, are they some kind of parasites or planaria? I did a complete water change and treated it with a chemical, but this creature, came back after few hours. How do I get rid of these hells? Are they harmful to my fish?

  • October 24, 2014 at 8:21 PMAquarium Care

    It does seem to be planaria. Basically, they often appear when there are lots of things to feed on in the tank. The best way to get rid of them is to vacuum the gravel frequently; feed your fish less and less often (once a day and as much as they can eat in a minute or even skip a day or two) and change about 25% a couple of times a week until it clears up.

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