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Re: In defense of planaria
Matt Hirvonen wrote:
> Hmmm, much as I hate to... I have to disagree with Wright's comments on
> planaria. There are many species which range from microscopic to about
> 1/2" in length.
No argument, but the most common type we see in the aquarium is in the
middle of that wide range, and looks flat and not round-worm-like. I
understand there are giant tropical ones (>1") that come in gaudy colors,
but forget where I heard that.
> Most have the arrow-shaped head, but some do not. They are
> primarily detritus feeders, eating decomposing organic matter. In that
> sense they could be seen as a beneficial addition to the aquarium, i.e.
> maintenance engineers. Altho I concede that they may eat the occasional
> egg, given their fondness for decaying matter, it seems likely that given a
> choice they would prefer "bad" eggs.
> Like infusoria, planaria are likely to be found in any aquarium that has
> been set up for more than a few months - especially if it contains live
> plants. I would argue that if you don't have planaria in your tanks they
> are too clean. And any treatment that would kill planaria would probably
> also kill beneficial organisms (bacteria, infusoria, etc...), so think
> twice before attacking your tank with copper cures, or bleach, you might
> not be doing your fish a favor.
I wouldn't dream of using either just to get rid of planaria or hydra. A bit
of formaldehyde every other day for three or four treatments should do the
job with minimal collateral damage (as the army types are wont to say). As I
recall, I use 3-5 drops (37%) per 5G, each time. Overdosing doesn't help,
and it quickly dissipates or is bound up by tank detritus, hence the
multiple dosage. It harms no fish or plants, and does little else to the
tank. An infusion of water from another tank easily replaces any infusoria
that are lost.
A bit of extra "Amquel" added to the tank probably works just about as well.
I'm pretty sure "Fluke-Tabs" would really nuke them.
> OK, those of you who are practicing planaria-phobes, hit me with your
> worst planaria-related death and destruction scenarios ;-)
I've had small killies (most recently, A. aff. gabunense) go from
productive, to no eggs at all, to productive. The inverse factor was the
planaria count was high at no eggs. I have never seen one *eat* an egg. I
have just observed high egg loss when flatworms were around. [Same as the
loss of tiny fry to hydra, but that one is way more visible.]
We are always at risk of adding them to our tanks, so I'm delighted there is
a simple way to get rid of an excess population. They come in with plants,
our blackworms, and probably even in fish water, AFAIK.
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679 huntleyone at home dot com
If it ain't broke, don't fix it -- and, especially,
don't let politicians fix it. ... Thomas Sowell
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