Canh Shrimp

Worms in Shrimp Tank

Seeing uninvited creatures and harmful parasites in a shrimp tank is something no shrimp player would hope to experience, just thinking about such an appearance is quite upsetting.
Thin worms on the aquarium glass

However, lack of knowledge can play a very negative role here as not all worms in freshwater tanks are bad.

Thin worms are quite common in shrimp tanks, so there is no need to overstress. Even so, they are quite beneficial and have no problem appearing in small numbers. In addition, these tiny worms do not harm the inhabitants of the tank.

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In this article, NuoiTep.Com will take a brief look at thin worms, what they are, how they get into our shrimp tank, in addition to effective measures to control their population.

What are thin worms in shrimp ponds?

In case you're wondering what this worm is, it's a family of gnats called Naididae. Being filariates implies that they are closely related to species such as earthworms and that they share similar physical and reproductive characteristics (hermaphrodites).

Worms are hermaphrodites which means they have both male and female reproductive organs.

The family Naididae includes about 800 species. Therefore, the average shrimp farmer cannot find out exactly what species is in the tank, and fortunately we do not need to worry about that.

How to identify Thin Worms


Thin worms can be identified by their appearance — existing as thin, white, wiggly worms in the shrimp tank. When viewed from a distance, they look like long, small pieces of white string or thread.

These worms have a fragmented and white body. They move by crawling on a substrate or on glass in a manner similar to earthworms or by rapidly wriggling (snake-like motion) when swimming.

These worms are remarkably small, ranging in size from a millimeter to several centimeters in length, and they can be seen lying on the ground, swimming freely in the water or clinging to the walls of tanks.

Worms are only more active when it's dark. During the day, they often burrow in the ground or hide under driftwood, rocks, etc.

The Behavior of Thin Worms

Debris reside and breed in media and even in filters, where they can all eat food scraps, detritus, and decaying organic matter. They are carnivores, so they are forced to eat the waste that accumulates in the aquarium.

| Worms eat only decaying organic matter (plant and animal waste).

Notably, when the oxygen levels at the bottom are significantly depleted, the thin worms will migrate from the bottom of the shrimp tank towards the surface of the water to access the higher levels of dissolved oxygen needed for their survival, therefore, It is normal to see them floating in the water.

How do thin worms get into the shrimp pond?

worms ho tep

Thin worms are present in many aquariums, and their means of entry is usually through new new shrimp or live plants. They are excellent hitchhikers, so it's easy to accidentally get them into the tank. 

They often find their way into the shrimp tank by clinging to plants and shrimp, which is why it is important to disinfect or isolate new arrivals before introducing them to the shrimp tank. In some cases, they exist in abundance in shrimp tank substrates taken from other tanks.

Poor water quality and overfeeding are other reasons why they enter our tanks.

Once there are crumbs in the tank, they are easy to make at home. Many experienced shrimp players have accepted them as a natural part of the hobby.

So if you've been running your tank for a year or more, chances are you have a colony of worms in your tank. Maybe you don't know about it J

The main causes of helminths:

  1. Hitchhike.
  2. Bad water quality.
  3. Poor maintenance.
  4. Overfeeding.

Are thin worms dangerous for shrimp?

Ginseng grapes in the capital
Small worms on glass

See more: Peeling Process Of Shrimps

The good news is that the slime worms are harmless, they won't harm the shrimp and other creatures in the tank.

So it's perfectly fine to have a little bit of this worm in the shrimp tank

yours, you should only destroy them when they are overpopulated.

Pros and cons of Thin worms in shrimp tanks

Clean. These worms will help keep the shrimp tank clean by eating small organic debris on the bottom of the tank. Worms are beneficial to the ecosystem as they aid in cleaning the tank by picking up food scraps and debris for consumption and decomposing waste.
Unsightly. They don't look good.
Oxygen depletion. Can cause oxygen depletion when your tank has too many worms in the tank. Eventually, the worm population will have to compete with your shrimp for oxygen. Therefore, it will be very detrimental if the dissolved oxygen is low in the shrimp tank.

How to get rid of thin worms?

I know that many new shrimp players get nervous when they see them for the first time. Calm down, there's nothing to worry about here.

These roundworms are a harmless and beneficial part of the ecosystem. Therefore, it is not advisable to remove all Detritus worms from your tank. You just need to reduce their population to prevent possible bad effects.

How to determine if the lake has too many worms?

Thin worms are found in most shrimp tanks, but you'll probably never see them because they live in the substrate. However, if you see them everywhere like swimming in water, clinging to glass and protruding from the substrate, in this case, you should deal with them less.

  • Improve your maintenance methods

First of all, you should take care of your tank cleaning & maintenance measures.

Regular floor cleaning with a vacuum cleaner will remove a significant amount of fine worms from the substrate. This activity will help remove plant and animal waste, as well as leftovers for the shrimp.

Vacuuming is a really effective way to remove excess worms from the substrate, in addition to the food they consume.

  • Water exchange

Another necessary step is to perform a water change (up to 50%) to eliminate the Worm population present in the water.

Note : Such a water change will cause peeling problems for your shrimp.

Simply stir the substrate to bring the worms to the surface, then gently target and suck them out of the tank along with the tank water. Then, fill the tank with dechlorinated water and ensure that the tank is cleaned properly from time to time.

  • Stop overfeeding. Review your feeding schedule

Furthermore, you need to cut back on feeding. Do not overfeed, only feed your shrimp enough to consume in the shortest possible time, and the shrimp diet should be one that can be easily digested.

You can leave it for about 2-3 hours before removing the leftovers.

Feeding shrimp less will help reduce waste, which will help preserve water quality and indirectly cut off the food supply for the worms to keep them from multiplying.

  • Excessive amount of shrimps

Also, watch your bio count, overstocking shrimps in the tank will increase the production of excess waste that damages the water and improves the health of the slime worms.

  • Filter

Filtration is another factor that can affect the growth of thin worms in shrimp tanks. So check your filtration system for any problems.

An outbreak of worms will easily occur in tanks with poor filtration systems, poor water quality and increased amounts of humus. Shrimp tanks require a capable and efficient filtration system (mechanical filtration and biological filtration) to treat waste and pollutants.

Having a good filter and enough water movement in your tank will help improve the water quality and also increase the dissolved oxygen level in the tank water.

  • Chemical removal

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The first thing I should mention is that I really ARE NOT recommend using it against these worms. Using drugs to kill worms is just a terrible thing.

There is no need to use harmful chemicals to treat the problem of filariasis, using drugs such as:

  • No-Planaria,
  • Fenbendazole (Panacur and Canine Dewormer),
  • PraziPro,
  • AAP Dyacide, etc.

can have good initial results with bad consequences. The problem is that during and after treatment, a lot of worm debris will stay in the media. So they will die there. As a result, over a period of about a week or two, they will essentially rot in the substrate with a large amount of ammonia accompanying it (it can kill your shrimp). 

So killing too many at once can be very dangerous for the tank's ecology. 

Reducing the number of thin worms is the best approach.
Simply implement proper tank cleaning methods, reduce your bioload, avoid overfeeding and ensure that your aquarium is well-filtered.
  • Biological removal

Of course, there are some fish that will eat worm debris, for example:

  • Endlers,
  • Mollies,
  • Corydoras,
  • Tetra Neons,
  • betta fish,
  • Rasboras,
  • Guppies,
  • God fish.

Warning: Unfortunately, these fish can also become a problem for your shrimp

Of course, you can try some small fry (like guppies), but in the end you will have to move them elsewhere or they will continue to pose a risk to your shrimp.

Keep in mind that large fish generally do not like to eat thin worms.

CO2 and Temperature Tricks

Some shrimp hobbyists have aerated the tank with enough CO2 to completely deplete the oxygen level. It forces the worms to leave the substrate and swim for oxygen. This way, it becomes easier to suck them out of the water.

These worms do not like warm temperatures. Therefore, increasing it by 15 degrees will also shock them.

The problem, however, is that both of these methods are possible harm for pets in the tank.  

What is the Difference Between Thin Worms and Planaria

Shrimp players often use the phrase worm when they don't know the scientific name because there are so many different species. As a result, it only creates more confusion and misunderstanding.

Planaria worms

Planaria worms

Planaria quite different from thin worms.

Planaria have flattened bodies, spades-shaped heads and two eyes, and they exist in fewer numbers than crumbs, which tend to proliferate more readily. In addition, Planaria often clings and crawls quickly on glass.

Planaria are capable of both asexual and sexual reproduction, and they possess extraordinary regenerative abilities. For example, cutting a worm into pieces will produce entirely new individuals after a while.

Additionally, these are carnivores and scavengers, known to consume insect larvae, live or dead small fish, and live carnivores. Planaria worms are very scary in shrimp tanks because they can cause injury to shrimp.


No matter how you look at it, thin worms are not enemies for shrimp tanks. Through their daily activities, these worms actively contribute to tank cleaning and that's good.

Population growth is often a problem, so it is necessary to significantly reduce their mass through thorough vacuuming and water changes. Some go as far as changing the entire substrate, but that means eliminating the beneficial bacteria that form there.

By implementing proper cleaning and maintenance measures, reducing feed intake and maintaining appropriate feeding and stocking levels, worm populations will remain normal.

For planaria worms, cleaning the tank has nothing to do with their reproduction, so you have to face them and treat the water in the tank with a good dewormer is definitely the way to go.

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