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RE: Argh! Leeches

Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 21:03:31 -0500
From: "Derek Wingert" <dwingert at MNIC_net>
Subject: Argh! Leeches!

Hello List:

I recently set up a 30gal planted tank. I ordered the plants from a
mail-order plant company which shall remain nameless.  Anyway, it took four
days to get here, and the weather was a bit cold. They didn't look like
take a bleach/water dip well at all. Plus, they were mostly hairy-leaved
foxtail, etc) plants, which tend not to do well in these treatments in my
So, I did it. I put them right in the tank with little more than a fresh
water rinse.

Well, two days later I'm looking closely at my tank and I see a wormy-like
Then, I see it is sucking onto the plant and also moving via a
"foot". It's a leech. I mentally scream, get a needle-nose pliers, and
squish the
living (Not for Long!) daylights out of the thing. Upon close inspection I
see any more (but then again, there's not much open space). However, a
feeling stays in me, and I keep looking at my hands expecting to see leeches
on me.

I then put a Phos-Zorb on the outflow of my cannister filter... hanging it
with a string.
It stays near the surface. I come back an hour later and check things out. I
see a little speck on the Phos-Zorb pouch. Another leech! Same small (1/6"
size. I mentally scream again, and perhaps made an audible yelp. I look
and there's maybe five "baby" leeches along side the cursed "big brother".
My mouth
drops open. I keep hearing "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"
in my head.
I keep feeling little itches on my arms and feet and half expect a leech to
be there.
I try to pick them off, but two let loose, wriggling as they drop to the
depths of the tank.
A half hour later I came back and there were no more on the Phos Zorb
pouch... but....
I have leeches. They hitched a ride on my lovely plants.

What will I do? I remember reading that leeches sometimes get into tanks. It
is rare,
but it does happen. Well, it's happing to me. Is there any danger here, and
what can
I do about these little "suckers"! I can't have a loach... the plants are
not rooted yet
and they'd tear apart the tank looking for them. Should I just buy a lot of
and hope they have babies and eat the ugly leeches? The only inhabitant in
the tank
right now is a single White Cloud Mountain Minnow.

I'd like any advice or direction you can give me. If Erik Olson wants to put
up a "Leech"
section at TheKrib that would also be cool. I only hope these little things
don't find their
way into my other tanks....

Well, off to bed. I'm sure I'll have nightmares about leeches. Sheesh... I'm
not afraid
of anything, but leeches gross me out.

- -- Derek Wingert
dwingert at MNIC_net

I recently read an article about how to rid new plants (before planting) of
leeches. I can't find it now, but the remedy was to use 1 TBS. salt in a
gallon of water and soak them before planting. I don't remember the length
of time but it would seem the salt treatment would be less harmful to the
plants than bleach. Someone jump in here and fill in the exact details as I
can't find the article I read! Maybe there is some way to treat your tank
with this method?
Bob Buettner
In CT- where is the warm weather?

Visit my new Freshwater Aquarium site