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Author Topic: Hydras in my shrimp tank...  (Read 5360 times)
4LegsGood
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Tanks: 30 Gallon Tall: 12 Blue Emperor Tetras, 6 black neons, Amano shrimp - Planted; 40G R - 8 Bloodfin Tetras, 7 Julii cory cats, 7 Black Emperor Tetras, 7 Neon Tetras, Amano Shrimp; 10 Gallon QT: Red Cherry Shrimp
Posts: 194



« on: May 15, 2009, 11:48:55 PM »

Hi everyone!

I've had these tiny white womrs (look segmented to me, maybe 2mm length, maybe 3 worms/square inch at its worst) in my RCS tank for a few weeks. I've been changing the water frequently and wiping the glass with paper towels, which seemed to get the number down, as long as I was changing the water every other day, but they quickly came back if I slacked off. It's a 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter.

There are maybe 100 total RCS of various sizes in there, maybe 15 adultish ones and lots and lots of juveniles, usually a couple pregnant females.

Today when viewing the glass, I definitely spotted some hydras - unmistakable.

I don't feed the shrimp hardly anything at all, maybe once a week drop an algae tablet in, and usually clean it out the next day. I did QT a pleco in there for a couple weeks, so he was getting fed, and maybe that's when the hydras showed up (i'm not sure on their life cycle, and if maybe the worms were hydras at an earlier stage). But anyway, normally I'd guess overfeeding as a major contributor, but I just don't see me actually doing much of that. I'm actually surprised they survive on what little I do feed them.

My goal was to grow these shrimp out and add them to my main tanks, but I don't want to infest the other tanks with any of these things (or the worms if they're different). I'm already nervous that the pleco might have transmitted something to my main tank, and if I try to net the shrimp, I'm afraid I'll net whoknows what in the process.

I'm not overly attached to the aquarium, so I suppose I could just burn the damned thing, but I hate to lose all the shrimp - poor guys!

Also, doing serious gravel vacs is hard these days because if I want to do deep vacuums, I'm definitely sucking up and probably crushing some baby shrimp.

Does anyone have any tips? I don't want to use any perscription medication (seems like more trouble than it's worth), and I'd rather not destroy the shrimp, but I definitely don't want to be housing these things.

Any tips would be appreciated!

David
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4LegsGood
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Gender: Male
Tanks: 30 Gallon Tall: 12 Blue Emperor Tetras, 6 black neons, Amano shrimp - Planted; 40G R - 8 Bloodfin Tetras, 7 Julii cory cats, 7 Black Emperor Tetras, 7 Neon Tetras, Amano Shrimp; 10 Gallon QT: Red Cherry Shrimp
Posts: 194



« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2009, 12:26:42 AM »

P.S. in an old thread (http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/forum/index.php?topic=851.0) Dan mentioned salt also working, but I'm not sure what 0.3-0.5% salt means in a situation like this. Can someone fill me in?

P.P.S. Either I need be much more vigilant about keeping things in proper condition in my tank to be less squeamish about strange things lurking in there. Oh, I should never have picked up the magnifying glass for a closer look!
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Aquatot
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Tanks: 2 g shrimp-only, 5 g, 20 g, 55 g, and 150 g
Posts: 2,297



« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2009, 08:22:41 AM »

Heh heh. There are so many creatures in our tanks that we never realise are there... as long as they don't get out of hand, they're all part of a healthy ecosystem. But if the numbers get too high, then you do have to figure out why. Thorough gravel vacs and regular, large volume water changes are your best bet, although I can see how vaccing properly could be hard with baby shrimp around. But it may be your only option... you might have to be prepared to lose a few shrimp in order to get the problem under control, if you really can't avoid them. If you aren't overfeeding, overstocking could be your problem? I don't keep shrimp, so I'm having a hard time visualising them, but 100 in a ten gallon sounds like rather a lot to me. Overcrowded conditions can provide plenty of nutrients for worms. Are they nematode worms? Tiny, translucent-looking, and moving in a regular S-shaped, thrashing motion through the water? If so, they're probably harmless, although some species can be parasitic... but you don't normally see those in large numbers in the water.

Hydra are more of a problem because they're predatory. Again, not being a shrimp keeper, I'm kind of guessing here, but if the young shrimp are small enough, hydra can catch and eat them. That said, I've had hydra in my tanks before... only a few, and for no apparent reason, but they've always gone away on their own and haven't been a problem. Most fish will eat them (and the worms) and enjoy the snack. It's only tiny fry that are at risk unless the hydra get big enough to pose a threat to small species, which is unlikely in a community tank.

But, of course, yours isn't a community tank. If you don't want to resort to chemicals (and I don't blame you... they'd always be my last resort), I would suggest removing some of the shrimp so that you can get your stocking at a more reasonable level, increasing your water changes and gravel vacs as much as is possible with the baby shrimp around, and if you can, I'd also add a few small fish that could help keep the hydra/worm population down by eating them (without being a predatory risk to your shrimp, of course...). Maybe a platy or two (ensuring they're both males so you don't end up with platy fry as well!), or something else, like a few small tetras that won't pose a major risk to your shrimp fry?

I think someone else will have to jump in on the salt method. I've successfully used salt to treat ich, but not other infestations, and I wouldn't know how the treatment methods compare. And again, not being a shrimp keeper, I can't advise you on how well they cope with salt, which has to be added gradually to any freshwater tank to avoid shocking the occupants.

I hope some of this helps...!
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A fish is for life; not just for Christmas.
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Dan's our man! Always was, always will be.
suebe333
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 09:58:00 AM »

I saw afew  hydra in my RCS tank a week ago and I actually just reached in aand sqquished them "hide"  havent seen anymore LOL
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gomezaddams
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Sharing water brings us closer


« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 01:45:14 PM »

 rofl Gotta love the direct approach!
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Waiting will fill
4LegsGood
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Gender: Male
Tanks: 30 Gallon Tall: 12 Blue Emperor Tetras, 6 black neons, Amano shrimp - Planted; 40G R - 8 Bloodfin Tetras, 7 Julii cory cats, 7 Black Emperor Tetras, 7 Neon Tetras, Amano Shrimp; 10 Gallon QT: Red Cherry Shrimp
Posts: 194



« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 11:51:04 PM »

Thanks Aquatot  and Suebe333!

Let's see, the worms were mostly on the glass (at least as far as I could tell), and moved fairly  quickly, maybe 2 inches in a minute, and were about 2mm long at best. I didn't see the S movement nor did they look quite as long as nematode pictures I've seen, but they definitely didn't look like planaria either - they were more segmented.

Anyway, I'm still wiping the hydras from the walls at every water change which happens every 2-3 days.

Another problem is that it's impossible to starve them because the shrimp are constantly reproducing, and the hydras, I believe, thrive on the free swimming babies. I've actually started to think this is fine, I'm just concerned about moving shrimp (per my original plan) and conatminating the new tank with hydras.

I think what I'll do is add a few cardinal or neon tetras and call the tank a habitat. Hopefully the fish will eat enough of the baby shrimp that the population will get more reasonable and the hydras will eventually starve.

In the end I don't want a bazillion RCSs anyway, I was just hoping I could get a colonies going in some other tanks (and friends' tanks) such that they could be food for their fish, but still sruvive well enough to not die off.

At any rate, we'll see how the new plan works out.

Thanks again for the tips. The hydras are bothering me alot less than they did when I originally posted.

David
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Aquatot
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Tanks: 2 g shrimp-only, 5 g, 20 g, 55 g, and 150 g
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2009, 06:07:24 AM »

That sounds like a pretty good plan... you should find that the tetras eat plenty of hydra and worms as well as the baby shrimp, so with any luck you'll get things generally under more control. But yes - hydra will grow and thrive and multiply with a steady food source, and if they're living off baby shrimp you'll have a hard time eradicating them with no natural predators. Although I'm guessing adult shrimp will probably eat hydra as well?

The worms are puzzling me, though. Definitely not nematodes, then - they're actually moving around on the surface of the glass and not swimming? That's definitely more characteristic of planaria, but like you said, planaria aren't segmented. Any chance of getting a photo of them?

Water changes every 2-3 days are a good plan, and if you are managing to wipe plenty of unwanted creatures off the glass while you're at it, at least things are somewhat under control. Hopefully introducing a predator (ie the tetras) will give everything a boost as well, but of course you do have to be careful that introducing fish on top of all those shrimp doesn't create even more of an overcrowding issue. Can you remove some of the shrimp before adding fish? You could put them in a quarantine tank (assuming you have the facility) and keep an eye on the water for a couple of weeks to see whether any hydra or worms appear before moving the shrimp into more permanent setups.

Have you tested your water for nitrates, btw? It'd be interesting to know what the reading is.
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A fish is for life; not just for Christmas.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dan's our man! Always was, always will be.
4LegsGood
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Gender: Male
Tanks: 30 Gallon Tall: 12 Blue Emperor Tetras, 6 black neons, Amano shrimp - Planted; 40G R - 8 Bloodfin Tetras, 7 Julii cory cats, 7 Black Emperor Tetras, 7 Neon Tetras, Amano Shrimp; 10 Gallon QT: Red Cherry Shrimp
Posts: 194



« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2009, 11:46:50 PM »

Thanks again Aquatot!

I changed the water (I do 50% water changes in the 10 gallon tank) 3 days ago, and just did a water test. I actually haven't done one in a few weeks. The numbers for Amonia and Nitrite were zero. Nitrate was about 7, so it's not as high as one might guess with so many shrimp in there.

Keep in mind that most of the shrimp are tiny, still maybe 10 which are 3/4" and everyone else is smaller with maybe 50 about <1/4".

I can't find any worms right now, but I do also have lots of those little things that look like tiny snails. They're definitely multiplying faster than hydras. Limpets (I think). I still don't think the worms were planaria, but I could be wrong. I'll keep an eye out and see if I can get a photo.

Anyway, I'm going to try to redecorate the tank and try the tetras, and if I can figure out somewhere to move some of the shrimp, I'll try to cut their numbers in there down too.

Thanks again!

David
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Aquatot
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Tanks: 2 g shrimp-only, 5 g, 20 g, 55 g, and 150 g
Posts: 2,297



« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2009, 12:30:37 PM »

You're welcome. happy

Your nitrate readings are great, then... it would be odd if they were high considering your frequent water changes, but I just wondered based on your stocking levels. But yes, if the shrimp are mostly that small I guess it's not quite as crowded as it sounds!

Here's a photo of a planarian worm... you'll notice the distinctive angular head shape. This little guy was just under half an inch in length - about a centimetre, actually, and is on the glass in the photo. Does it look anything like your worms?

Good luck with the plan! Let us know how it goes. Smiley

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A fish is for life; not just for Christmas.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dan's our man! Always was, always will be.
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