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New Library Article - How to Combat Hydra in an Aquarium


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NoGi

Hydra_oligactis.jpgAquariums make a wonderful hobby. They are soothing, interesting and can provide a lot of fun and entertainment. However, in order to make the most of your aquarium, taking proper care of it is exceptionally important. It must be maintained, and part of proper maintenance is understanding issues that can develop.

One of the side effects of improper aquarium maintenance is the development of pests, and Hydra oligactis – more commonly referred to as just hydra is one of the most dangerous. Also known as freshwater polyps, these pests hail from the Coelenterata family of aquatic invertebrates. They have a tubular body and a sticky foot located on one end and tentacles on the other end. The tentacles contain stinging cells, which the hydra uses to immobilize its’ prey.

Why Hydra are Dangerous in Aquariums

Though hydras are basic creatures that lack a brain, a respiratory system or even musculature, they are a real threat to aquariums. As mentioned, they use their stinging tentacles to immobilize their prey and are able to kill and eat fish fry and even adult fish. Additionally, they reproduce very quickly, creating buds that turn into new hydra that eventually break off on their own. And, though they do tend to stay in one place (using their sticky foot to secure them to a surface,) they can easily move around if they choose.

Given their ability to eat fish, how quickly they reproduce and that they can move about when they want, it’s easy to see why hydra are a real issue in an aquarium.

Treating Hydra in an Aquarium

Once an aquarium has infiltrated an aquarium, they can be hard to eradicate; however, getting rid of them is possible. The treatment for these pests depends on the extent of the infestation.

If the infestation is relatively small, you may actually be able to physically remove them. If they have taken up residence on plants and rocks, they can be killed by removing the plants and rocks and sock them in a solution of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water for about 15 minutes. After soaking, rinse the plants and rocks with fresh water and let them air dry.

If you are looking for a less intrusive method of removal that will not disturb the aquarium, you can do so by introducing fish that will eat the pests. Mollies, Paradise fish and Spot (blue) Gouramis are known to favor hydra and can rid an aquarium of them.

Heat is another option that can be used to treat an infestation of hydra. With this treatment method, the fish must be removed from the tank first. Once they are removed, increase the temperature of the water to 40°C (104°F) for a few hours. This will essentially cook the hydra and kill them. Turn the temperature of the water down, clean the gravel and change the water. Ensure that the temperature of the water is safe for the fish before reintroducing them.

Chemicals and medicines can also be used to treat hydra; however, do keep in mind that they can be harmful to aquatic life. Copper Sulfate and Potassium Permanganate are two of the most common and safest options in fish only aquariums.

Also take a look at the following article regarding common medication used in aquariums:

Image credit: 

Wikipedia: Hydra oligactis


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      TL;DR - I had a shrimp become paralysed and die with no obvious red flags and stable water parameters. I found about 10 hydra and would like to know if I can treat with LCA Planaria Fix without harming my shrimp, particularly my berried shrimp and new shrimplets.
       
      Hi everyone,
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      Local fish shops will often freely take any unwanted animals (even sick ones) and there are always plenty of other hobbyists who will jump at the chance to take them as well.
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      ? Do not release any fish or invertebrate from your aquarium to nature regardless of whether it is native to the area or came from that exact place; this is because they may have acquired a disease or parasite in your aquarium/pond and you could do much more harm than good. ? Do not allow any of your aquarium water or other contents to enter stormwater drains or go anywhere that might find its' way into a body of water e.g. creek or lake etc. The Australian government advice is to dispose of your water down the sink/toilet. ? Do not bring exotic animals into the country unless they are on the approved specimens list (link is below). ? Do not collect wild specimens unless you have checked first that you are allowed to do so. ? Do humanely euthanise your animals if/when necessary. (link is at the end of the article). ? Do enjoy keeping aquariums and treat your animals and our natural environment with the respect they deserve. Below are links to lists of noxious species and guides at a state and national level as well as links to RSPCA instructions for humane euthanisation
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      http://www.agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/aquatic/disease_watch_aquatic_animal_health_awareness/other_aquatic_biosecurity_materials National
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      ????????
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      Humane euthanisation of fish:
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      Humane euthanisation of crustaceans:
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      disease-watch-brochure.pdf

      View full article
    • NoGi
      By NoGi
      Planaria is a species of flatworm from the Turbellaria class and is the name for a member of the genus Planaria that is a part of the family Planariidae. It also often refers to the genus Dugesia.
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      Planaria are a common pest in freshwater aquariums. In freshwater aquariums that house shrimp, planaria often develop as a result of overfeeding. In freshwater aquariums that house other species of fish, they can develop as a result of dirty substrate. When there is either too much uneaten food in an aquarium, or the substrate in the aquarium is not kept clean, the ideal environment for these pests is created. Planaria thrive in these environments, as they consume small shrimps and fish fry.
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      View full article
    • NoGi
      By NoGi
      Planaria is a species of flatworm from the Turbellaria class and is the name for a member of the genus Planaria that is a part of the family Planariidae. It also often refers to the genus Dugesia.
      These free-living flatworms have three layers of tissues including an ectoderm, a mesoderm and an endoderm. These three layers of tissues are classified into both organs and organ systems, making flatworms the simplest animals that feature mesoderrmic layers and organ-system levels. It should be noted that flatworms do not have a body cavity, therefore they are acoelomates.
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      The best way to treat a planaria infestation is avoiding one in the first place. How can you do that? - By not overfeeding your fish and/or shrimp, and by making sure that you properly clean the tank on a regular basis. When cleaning the tank, it is important to clean all surfaces, including the substrate, in order to prevent these pests from developing.
      If an infestation of planaria does occur, there are several treatments available. Some of the most common treatment options include:
      Treating the tank with a shrimp friendly chemical dewormer Thoroughly vacuuming the substrate in the tank and performing a 30 to 50 percent partial water change. Minimize the amount of food being placed in the tank and performing water changes weekly while stirring the substrate. Partially changing the water on a constant basis when the tank is overcrowded. Using planaria traps The following article also provides some treatment advice: 
       
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    • ineke
      Hi Crabby, I’ve been popping in and out quite often and answered a few questions here and there .  Im glad to have been of so assistance to fellow shrimp keepers over the years.  It’s a bit sad to see the forum so quiet. We were a very active and friendly bunch over the years. Helping each other out, giving away shrimp to new members who showed interest. Even playing games between us and generally having fun while learning about our new hobby. As to my tank the reason I queried about the spike of ammonia is mainly because if you play with substrate , move it around etc you can cause a small spike. As my substrate had been outside for quite some time I fully expected it to take a week or so to go through a mini cycle. I’m pleasantly surprised that it still isn’t showing any change just the tiniest bit of nitrate so tomorrow i will catch out 20 culls I have in my pond outside and see how they go. I need a reasonable number because it’s a big tank - if I only put 1 or 2 in I might never see them. I’m wanting to put all my black pinto, galaxy and Taitibees into the tank plus some Blue Bolts and Steel Blues. I will also put my Bloody Mary’s in for a contrasting colour. I only have 3 tanks now so it’s a bit hard to do proper selective breeding but as all my shrimp are hybrids it doesn’t really matter about mixing them. That leaves a tank for my Red pintos and Taitibees and a tank for fancy Tiger patterns and Blue Diamonds. That should keep me happy again.🥰
    • Crabby
      Hi Ineke! I must say, I was pretty surprised to see a post from you, it’s always pretty interesting to see a past member come back to the forum. Some of your posts were really helpful to me when I was getting started with shrimp, so thanks!   I think I would personally wait a week to be sure, but to be honest, I can’t see any reason for an ammonia spike. If the substrate has already run for 4 months, and you have 4 fully cycled filters, I reckon you should be fine. Definitely go culls first though. 
    • sdlTBfanUK
      I uderstand your concern, it is concerning! You are probably just going to have to ride this out, as JayC, add another filter and bacteria, the bacteria you will just have to buy what the shop has and give that ago? Do as thorough vac as you can, moving things out of the way where you can. Keep up with water changes as well as that will reduce the ammonia etc, but add new water slowly. Simon
    • ineke
      Thanks Simon . I just needed someone else’s thoughts. I will pop a few culls in over the weekend if the ammonia hasn’t spiked. Better to be over cautious than sorry. It just didn’t seem right that there was no spike but I guess 2 large canisters full of bacteria are a big help too. I will let you know how the culls go after the weekend.  As you say sometimes things just go right but not very often when you have TB type shrimp involved 😳 No not really I’ve been very lucky over the years with no actual disasters with my shrimp.
    • sdlTBfanUK
      I would thnk everything is ok as the sustrate was used and passed the point it may cause a spike, but just check it for a week (occassionally ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, you could leave it for the week but I would prefer the extra peace of mind you will have from more frequent testing for this week) and try some culls now to be on the safe side! Using the old water will have helped, undoubtedly! There doesn't sound like anything mentioned would cause anything other than what you have seen, but I understand your concern, rarely does everything go so well in this hobby, but with your years of experience and from your post all looks great - I will however keep my fingers crossed................ It is always great to have past members return and hear how it is going? I have read many of your old posts with interest. Simon
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