Leeches

Discussion in 'Inverts' started by bogwood, 23 Jan 2010.

  1. bogwood

    bogwood Member

    Messages:
    410
    Location:
    Merseyside
    In both my planted tanks small leeches are appearing. Probably a max of 3/4 visible on the glass at any one time.
    The tanks contain only shrimps and ottos, so nothing to predate on them.
    They appear as either a small blob, or half inch long when travelling across the glass.
    Initially only came out when lights went off, but now are getting hard faced and appearing throughout the day.

    Im not to concerned, is it right for me to to assume they are harmless.
    Occasionally its possible to crush them on the glass if your quick, but usually they shrink on contact, and float away in the water current.
    Does anbody else have them.??????
     
  2. andyh

    andyh Member

    Messages:
    1,933
    Location:
    Derby
    Hello

    They are not leeches, they are Paramecium. They feed on bacteria, algae and the decaying matter in your tank. If you had fish they would get eaten, as most of the time the wouldn't leave the safety of the gravel.

    borrowed this image:
    [​IMG]
     
  3. bogwood

    bogwood Member

    Messages:
    410
    Location:
    Merseyside
    Thanks for your thoughts, interesting little critters, but not quiet the same as mine.
    These are too oval/cigar shape, mine are thinner with a leech type sucker at one end, i will show you them when you next call.
     
  4. andyh

    andyh Member

    Messages:
    1,933
    Location:
    Derby
    cool, get some fish in there b4 they take over! ;)
     
  5. andyh

    andyh Member

    Messages:
    1,933
    Location:
    Derby
    Have you got any pictures then?

    Has anybody else got any ideas what they could be?
     
  6. JamesM

    JamesM Member

    Messages:
    1,913
    Location:
    The BIG End, South Wales
  7. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

    Messages:
    8,057
    Location:
    nr Bath
    Hi all,
    Paramecium are mainly too small to see, so my bet would be Planaria (Flatworms), they glide over the glass, and should have some eye dots at the pointy end, a bit like this - :> (head end in the image).
    Planaria%20SEX%201.jpg
    If they are Leeches they will loop over the glass, rather than glide and swim like eels when detached.
    cheers Darrel
     
  8. bogwood

    bogwood Member

    Messages:
    410
    Location:
    Merseyside
    Thanks James. A very informative article.
    I think you right with Detritus worms, just watched a couple leave the gravel and slide up the glass.
    I just assumed they were leeches, but on closer examination, i agree they slide, and dont loop. (Thanks for pointing that out Darrel)
     
  9. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

    Messages:
    8,057
    Location:
    nr Bath
    Hi all,
    The article has a bit of a misleading title, detritus worms are true segmented worms (like earth worms, grindal worms or tubifex) and they mainly live in/on the bottom, the things sliding up the glass are "Flat worms" or Planaria and they are unsegmented Platyhelminths.
    http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/docs/invertebrates/flatworms.shtml.
    cheers Darrel
     
  10. AndyOx

    AndyOx Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    South Oxfordshire
    Planarians will feed on any left over food etc so it's worth being doubly sure that all is clean on that front. Most fish species will eat them, especially tetra species. They are basically harmless but unsightly. The main threat they pose would be to fish spawn. I'm sure they are present in most if not all aquariums but are at very low density due to being eaten by fish present. Some modern antiparasite treatments will kill them off, but if you don't have a problem with parasites it's not worth the stress to your fish

    Andy
     

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