Planaria Flatworms – How to Get Rid of Them From You Aquarium

planaria flatworms

Today I’m going to tell you everything I know about aquarium planarian flatworms. You will understand what it is, its life cycle, different varieties, what causes the infestation, preventative methods, and how to get rid of it. Let’s get started.

Planaria (or Planarian as a single form) are common aquarium visitors. They generally occur when you overfeed your residents and leave an excessive amount of unfinished food in your tank. When this occurs, the flatworms begin to multiply rapidly.


Body structure of Planaria

To combat these worms, you must first recognize your adversary.
Planaria may be differentiated from other unwanted parasites in your aquarium, such as detritus worms and hydra. It looks like a flatworm with a triangular head and two light-sensitive eyespots. Extremely sensitive cells can be found in lobes (auricles) that extend from every side of the skull. Which it use to locate food. When it finds food, it begins to consume it using its protruding muscular pharynx. Planaria use a siphon-like motion to push food into its stomach by cyclic contraction of the muscular pharynx. The flatworm has an acoelomate body, which means it lacks lungs and a circulatory system. It contains flame cells instead of anus, which act to eliminate waste.
Even if you stretch out the planarian flatworm, it will only reach a length of one inch.


Planaria Reproduction

Planaria are hermaphrodites (reproduce asexually), but they may also reproduce sexually. Two flatworms will mate and inseminate the eggs of the other. Then they place them in a cocoon and release them. There are two kinds of eggs based on their temperature:
Summer” eggs (thin-shelled and transparent) Winter” eggs (black)
Summer eggs have a shorter incubation time (a few weeks) than winter eggs. Winter eggs can survive the winter in the wild.
After hatching, the embryo resembles the adult form exactly.
Planaria are well-known for their immortality. When you split it in half, the two halves develop into two new ones. Furthermore, according to scientific study, planaria require just 1/279 of their body to regain its entire body! They will then rebuild everything in two weeks.

Aquarium Planaria Species

Planaria flatworms may be found in aquariums in two varieties:
– Procotyla (white planaria) – Procotyla (black and brown planaria) (Dugesia)
They are both carnivorous. They may consume both living and dead animal materials. As a result, there isn’t much of a distinction between these two forms of planaria for aquarists.

What is the source of the planaria in the aquarium?

These are the primary reasons why you could encounter these tiny worms in your aquarium one day.

  • Overeating
  • Delivered with plants, driftwood, substrate, and so on.
  • There is no systematic upkeep.

Shrimp and Planaria

Planaria may be a nightmare for shrimp breeders. The thing is that they unquestionably kill shrimp and snails. So, how do they get the shrimp to die?
Only weak/small or dying specimens are frequently killed by planaria. Keep in mind that if the shrimp has recently molted, the planaria will have an easy go of it. Shrimp is extremely susceptible without its shell. Planaria will try to connect or crawl onto the shrimp as soon as they have the chance. Most shrimp have the capacity to leap and knock the planaria off balance. Planaria’s slime has the ability to paralyze shrimp, causing them to do little to protect themselves. The Planaria then begin their quest for a soft place to penetrate the shrimp’s body. They will devour the shrimp alive if they find their way into it. This is a heartbreaking story for all shrimp growers.

How to Get Rid of Planaria

They are two popular methods for getting rid of planaria.

  • Treatment of chemicals and natural goods.
  • Planaria traps

You may count yourself fortunate if you have some fish in your aquarium (such as Bettas, Neon Dwarf Rainbowfish, and Pleco types). Because they will consume them and take care of the situation for you. The only drawback is that these fish can devour shrimp with equal gusto.

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