how to get rid of planaria in aquarium?

Planaria are among the most common invertebrate aquarium problems faced by aquarium owners. They enter the tank along with plants, driftwood, or soil that has not been thoroughly treated before starting the aquarium. After that, the worms become a real nightmare for invertebrate inhabitants. The emergence of planarians in the aquarium is a problem, but not a disaster, as there are many ways to secure aquariums from such problems. More details about what Planaria is and how to get rid of planaria in aquariums will be discussed in this article.

how to get rid of planaria in aquarium

What is Planaria In Aquarium?

Planaria belong to the ciliary worm family. Often their body length exceeds 40 cm. Worms can be both freshwater or marine, and terrestrial. Planarians prefer small invertebrates as food. Since there are special venom glands in the skin of worms, fish do not feed on them. Of course, there are exceptions in the form of cockerels or gourami who do not mind eating ciliated worms.

Considering the most common types of worms, it is worth highlighting the brown, mourning and white-milk Planaria. They are most commonly seen in home aquariums. The favorite habitat for worms is plants and soil . Also, worms can hide in decorative elements, for example, between stones or in snags.

For an aquarium, Planaria are definitely pests. They love to feast on shrimp eggs. Often, worms, settling in the spawning grounds, significantly reduce the population of aquarium inhabitants by eating eggs. They also harm adult crayfish by eating their food. There have been cases when Planaria harmed adult shrimp, settling under their shell and clogging their gills. This eventually leads to the choking of the shrimp. After a while, this shrimp is eaten by worms.

Where do Planaria In Aquarium come from

Many aquarists ask this question. Even if there were no intruders in the tank yesterday, an unpleasant picture may be observed today. In fact, there are not many reasons why worms appear in an aquarium. As a rule, they are applied along with soil, infected plants or aquarium inhabitants.

Note! Often, Planaria enter the water along with decorative elements transferred from an infected aquarium.

If even a small amount of Planaria does get into the aquarium, they will begin to multiply at a high rate, gradually spreading throughout the entire aquarium. Untimely cleaning or sudden changes in temperature will only speed up this process.

is planaria bad for aquarium

Planaria can cause enormous damage to the aquarium environment, so at the first sign you need to start fighting worms. The danger of the Planarium is as follows:

is planaria bad for aquarium
  • the diet of worms consists of protein, so they eat crustacean and shrimp caviar, thereby reducing their population;
  • some species of Planaria can harm adult crayfish or shrimp during molting ;
  • ciliary parasites can harm not only shrimps, but also some types of snails and small fish;
  • Planaria are capable of secreting mucus, which is toxic to most aquarium inhabitants.

On a note! Also, the appearance of Planaria can spoil the appearance of the aquarium, since the tank after the invasion of worms looks dirty and unkempt.

Best Methods of dealing with Planaria

Removing parasites from an aquarium is neither quick nor easy and should be taken very seriously. Of course, it will be easier to prevent the appearance of worms, but if this does happen, then you need to know how to deal with them. There are many effective methods of dealing with Planaria, but only their complex application will increase the effectiveness of treatment. Now let’s talk about each of the methods separately.


The first thing to look out for when Planaria appears in the aquarium is nutrition. It needs to be shortened. If there is still an excess of food in the aquarium that the fish or invertebrates did not have time to eat, get rid of it by siphoning the soil. This will also prevent worms from breeding. Consequently, fewer of them will be much easier to fight.

Add worms eating fishes

There are some types of aquarium fish that eat ciliated worms. We are talking about fish such as rainbow, melanothenia, and gourami. Add some of these fish and wait for the result. After a while, the Planarian population will begin to decline sharply.

Cleaning siphon

Not all aquarists are willing to use medication to avoid harming other aquarium inhabitants. In this case, you can place special Planarium traps in the tank, for example, JBL PlaCollect. Protein foods such as meat (beef or squid) are suitable as bait. In the morning, the trap must be removed from the aquarium and boiled well. When boiled, all the parasites that were there will die. The trap itself can then be reused. The correct application of these traps will help get rid of the parasites.

Table vinegar

Another equally effective method of dealing with Planaria. By itself, table vinegar has a detrimental effect on almost all pests in the aquarium, including worms. A weak vinegar solution (0.2 or 0.5%) is suitable for this. All aquarium inhabitants must first be removed from the aquarium. The same goes for plants.


It is necessary to prepare a solution by mixing 1 g of table salt with 1 liter of water. Before starting the procedure, all living inhabitants should be removed from the aquarium. After adding the solution, the effect will appear almost immediately. The pest population will begin to decline gradually.


To combat Planaria, different drugs can be used, differing only in composition and cost. The most effective ones are presented below.

  1. No Planaria ControlThe catechu palm, or rather, its seeds, acts as an active component. Due to this, the effect of the drug is observed within 48 hours after use. As practice shows, in a day, the first corpses of parasites will appear on the surface of the water . After a few days, many corpses must be disposed of by mechanical cleaning of the tank. You need to use the medicine according to the instructions.
  2. “caniquantel”. An effective remedy for combating parasites. It has an antihelmintic effect, having a negative effect on most types of parasites. Unlike the previous product, caniquantel must be used twice. This will maximize the effect.

The appearance of the Planarians is an unpleasant phenomenon, but quite solvable. It is important to identify parasites in a timely manner and begin treatment. Of course, it will be easier to prevent their occurrence. To do this, it is necessary to regularly clean the aquarium and monitor new inhabitants.

How to prevent Planaria In Aquarium?

When using a medication, it is important to remember that the accumulation of dead worms in the aquarium will begin to release ammonia. It is a very harmful gas for all aquarium inhabitants: it has a detrimental effect on shrimp and fish. For the period of treatment, you need to regularly replace the water and monitor its performance. Some potent drugs destroy not only pests but also decorative snails, therefore, before using the medicine, they must be moved to another container.

There is still a debate among aquarists about the best method of dealing with Planaria. Experts test methods, choosing the most effective ones. But today there is no way that would be absolutely safe for all aquarium inhabitants and at the same time adversely affect the parasites. Therefore, when using this or that method, it is important to strictly follow the instructions. If it states that all fish and shrimps must be moved to another tank, then this cannot be ignored. You have to be careful.

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