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View Full Version : Aaah! Giant leech worm monster!



fatboy
18th Oct 2005, 03:04 AM
I could use some advice on this awful beast I had in my shrimp tank.

I was pulling a dying plant out of my shrimp tank when this wiggly monster swim away. It was 3 inches long, brown, flat and wriggled like an eel. It swam to the glass and the attached itself with a large sucker on its rear and a small one on its pointed front. It moved on the glass by stretching out, attaching with the front sucker then squeezing irself short and fat.

Edit: I've been informed it's probably a piscicola leech, not the worm I initially thought it was.

This is the second wierd creature I've noticed. A few days agoI spotted a small (3mm) green creature that looks like a scud (gammarus pulex). I don't know where this camefrom either. I suspect the appearance of both creatures in the same tank is related.

Do you know of anything to kill leeches that won't kill the shrimp?

Since this is the tank I discovered was very dirty, I might just strip it and steralise it.

NanoDave
18th Oct 2005, 07:42 AM
I found a similar thing in my discus tank before... I have absolutely no idea where it came from but mine was about 1.5 inch and reddish brown in colour. I caught it and threw it into a bare betta tank where it could not hide but strangely it did not get attacked. Possibly it has either something toxic or something that smells unpleasant... so I think bio control is out.. probably need some chemical control.. :)

Santos_Esther_17
18th Oct 2005, 09:23 AM
Me too i also had this experience before. My tank got a few but i try to get them out when i saw them lurking in the tank.I wonder what had happened to my tank? :(

retardo
18th Oct 2005, 01:53 PM
Yikes! :shocked: :shocked: That's one creature I don't want lurking around in my tank!! :x I'd had leeches in my tank, too, and they are unsightly... and worst of all, they can latch onto shrimp. The last one I had stuck onto the exoskeleton of the shrimp and just stuck itself out to feed. I managed to get rid of the leech (one, maybe two at most)

The best way to avoid unwanted creatures in your tank is prevention. You didn't specify where the worm/leech came from, but more often than not, they hitchhike onto plants. We all get plants from all different places and with it some creature features. Some new introductions we like... most of them, we don't. You could use a 1:20 bleach:water solution (or less) to shake out some of the unwanteds, but be sure to always dechlor (be it chlorine or chloramine) after you have done this.

Another solution is to quarantine the plants. Place them in a clear plastic or glass container and fill with water. Whatever is in the plants will eventually come out scavenging for food if the plant doesn't provide enough of what it needs. This will give you an idea of what is on the plant itself, but it won't kill it.

I've also tried placing plants in warm/hot water (the plants can take it for a brief period of time). This seems to work to some degree.

None of these methods are full-proof. YMMV.

NanoDave
18th Oct 2005, 08:43 PM
I think I might have them under the gravel in my shrimp tank.. sometimes I see the shrimps happily looking for food when they suddenly jerk back like they got bitten >(

retardo
19th Oct 2005, 01:38 AM
I see that, too... I haven't been able to locate any mysterious unidentified creatures though, so I'm not entirely sure that's necessarily true either. Oh, well... as long as my shrimp live long prosperous lives... :cool:

NanoDave
19th Oct 2005, 03:20 AM
I wish your shrimps live long prosperous lives too!

Do update us if you find the mystery creatures too I'm dying to hang them by the noose!

fatboy
19th Oct 2005, 03:52 AM
Thanks folks.

Dave, I think you're right that bio control is out. I've spoken to someone about chemical control and it's not always effective. Itkills the adults and not the eggs. I was advised to strip the tank, put in new gravel and steralise the plants. Retardo, good thinking about the plants - I haven't done this recently and I'm sure the leech (and scud) came from some java moss/dwarf rush I bought recently.

I almost crapped in my pants when the leech swam towards me. :p

NanoDave
19th Oct 2005, 03:57 AM
I almost crapped in my pants when the leech swam towards me. :p

lol Maybe you can use your finger as a bait to catch them lol

fatboy
19th Oct 2005, 07:29 AM
lol Maybe you can use your finger as a bait to catch them lol

I need both hands to catch it. I wonder what else I could stick in the tank as bait? :shocked: :D

NanoDave
19th Oct 2005, 07:53 AM
I need both hands to catch it. I wonder what else I could stick in the tank as bait? :shocked: :D

err.. I don't wanna know.. :D

silane
20th Oct 2005, 05:37 PM
I need both hands to catch it. I wonder what else I could stick in the tank as bait? :shocked: :D


Make a trap like this:
http://www.shrimpnow.com/mygallery/files/2/p_trape.jpg

A dead fish will do the trick for carnivorous worms and leech, put it in before off the light and harvest them early in the morning. :)

simcb
21st Oct 2005, 09:17 AM
if the leech is out in the open just use a plastic or metal tongs used for planting to remove from your tank?

If not use fruitpie's trap , you can try bloody liver/meat if u dont have any dead fish.

:wreck: Btw how many leeches are in your tank?

spinex
21st Oct 2005, 09:34 AM
if the leech is out in the open just use a plastic or metal tongs used for planting to remove from your tank?

If not use fruitpie's trap , you can try bloody liver/meat if u dont have any dead fish.

:wreck: Btw how many leeches are in your tank?

Leaving those dead fishes ...or raw meat/liver in the tank overnight won't foul up the water ? Only afraid the shrimp can't take it.

simcb
21st Oct 2005, 09:38 AM
its not neccsary overnight.... just off the lights for a while ....or even leave it on...for a few hours once u caught any just remove them from the bait....see as u do fit. The shrimps can take it... they even snack on it. Mine did.

silane
21st Oct 2005, 11:13 AM
Leaving those dead fishes ...or raw meat/liver in the tank overnight won't foul up the water ? Only afraid the shrimp can't take it.

Choose the size of a death fish that is suitable for the tank size. :D Use liver like Simcb said, and can cut to any size.

In cool water, fouling is minimal.

fatboy
22nd Oct 2005, 02:45 AM
Good idea, fruitpie. I'll try that in the evening and check before I go to bed. If that doesn't work I'll leave it overnight.

I've had a good look in the tank and they're really good at hiding. When the squeeze into the gravel they can disappear.

fatboy
23rd Oct 2005, 04:03 AM
Final update:

The Fruitpie trap worked. I used a bit of kidney as I had steak & kidney pie in the fridge. :D

It didn't take long for the leech to find it. I'm surprised how quickly the leech figured out how to get into the trap. The bottle top was wedged tight against the bottom and left no visible gap. It's a clever trap and I'll keep it handy in case I find other worms.

While I was taking the trap out I was shocked again at how much dirt was in the gravel. I decided to grab as many shrimp as possible and move them to the big tank before clearing the tank. It was only when I'd emptied it that I remembered the tank used to have an oto in it. No idea where it went. Perhaps the leeches ate it. I'm throwing out the plants (mostly java moss) and bogwood then disinfecting the tank (light bleach solution, 1 part bleach to 20 parts water).

In total I found 3 leeches. I removed 2 with a net and the trap caught the final one. I've sifted the gravel and can't see any more.

At least I've learned something from this. I'm going to be much more careful about new plants,using the light bleach solution with them in future.

Walter
25th Oct 2005, 01:01 AM
Haha wow you have some amazing ecosystem in there. lol

You might want to just catch them out instead of using chemical since they are rather large. 3 inches?

droid
13th Apr 2008, 08:52 PM
I caught another clear leech, 1cm. I've never had leeches, but lately, I tried Indian Almond leaves for the first time. Is it possible the leeches came from the leaves? I did not boil the leaves, as I know boiling breaks down some of the goodies.

I think I remember seeing leeches hatching from dry leaves on TV. It may be another reason to use oak and so on.


Go Pens! Fish On!
droid