How to Get Rid of Detritus Worms in Aquariums

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by Jason Matthews



Aquariums are a beautiful addition to any home, but they can also be a place for detritus worms to thrive. These tiny creatures can be a nuisance, but you can get rid of them and keep your aquarium looking great with the proper steps.

How to Get Rid of Detritus Worms in Aquariums

To get rid of detritus worms in your aquarium, you can use a gravel vacuum to remove them from the bottom and water changes. Filtration will also help reduce their numbers but be careful because it’s important not to overdo this. In addition, feed sparingly or introduce new species that eat these pesky creatures for an easy win-win situation.

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This post will discuss how to get rid of detritus worms in your aquarium and maintain a healthy ecosystem. We will also provide tips on preventing detritus worms from taking over your aquarium. So read on to learn more about detritus worm control.

Top Ways of Getting Rid of Detritus Worms in Your Aquarium

1.   Water Changes

When your aquarium has detritus worms, all you need to do is a water change. This means changing everything in there and starting over again. You’ll want to remove all of the accessories and plants first, then scrub your tank clean. You can even wash away any stones or pebbles that are in there.

Replace the water inside your aquarium and organize everything again before finally setting up a filter. It’s also time to look for fish that any detritus worms have infected so they can be removed for treatment. To ensure that your aquarium stays clean and healthy, change forty percent of the water every 4-5 days to eliminate detritus worms and their eggs.

Example of an aquarium with tons of detritus worms, caused by overfeeding and lack of water changes:

2.   Work With a Gravel Vacuum

With a gravel vacuum, you can easily remove any unwanted substances from your aquarium. They’re great for cleaning up after fish meals and other underwater adventures that leave behind messes on the bottom.

Gravel vacuums are not just for cleaning up dirt, but they also help to suck out detritus worms. You should use one on the side or above your aquarium glass, in between plants, and below gravel – especially if you have heavily planted pieces that need extra attention.

Related article: How to use an aquarium siphon correctly

3.   Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an effective method for keeping your aquarium clean and free from detritus worms. It’s also worth mentioning that this chemical will not harm most plants in the process, but please be careful when using it near your aquarium animals as it can be harmful.

Using it can kill off any algae that might be growing on plants and stop it from spreading elsewhere in the aquarium. This will help keep detritus worms populations under control as well.

4.   Filtration

The automatic aquarium filters are usually what cause problems. They should cycle the elements and water, keeping an ecosystem thriving in balance with healthy thrips.  However, sometimes they need cleaning; or you might end up promoting worms or parasites that will infect your fish tank – not to mention make them sick too.

With the help of a good-quality mechanical filter, your aquarium will be able to stay clean and healthy. These filters are easy-to-use as they don’t require much maintenance compared to the automatic ones.

5.   Change Your Aquariums Feeding Practices

Live feeds are a substantial attracting factor for detritus worms because they contain tiny particles that the fish can eat. If you have any type of predatory freshwater creatures in your aquarium, then it’s likely these pests will find their way into live feed provided by such sources and start growing out of control.

Freeze-dried feed and fish pellets can cause a problem if they float down as these types of food become mushy. Detritus worms feed on compost, meaning that if you don’t vacuum your tank or overfeed fish in any way, then it’s likely these pesky creatures will find themselves at the bottom with all other waste materials – so make sure not to.

6.   Reduce Bio Load

The more fish you have in your aquarium, the greater risk of an infestation from detritus worms. These curious creatures feed on decomposing materials and animal waste such as dead shrimp or lobsters, and excess nutrients.

If you desire to keep your aquarium clean, the bioload mustn’t overwhelm you. Worms survive in an environment with low oxygen levels and can start feeding and multiply very quickly.

7.   Maintain  Aquarium Plants

Your aquarium plant’s health is a good indicator of how good you’re doing with maintaining the environment in your aquarium.

Detritus worms are addicts of waste, algae, and other things like compost. They need to feed on these substances for them to survive. Keep your tank clean and maintain the plants in your aquarium to avoid detritus worms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Detritus Worms Bad for Aquarium?

Detritus worms are tiny, white-brown creatures that live in your tank and eat fish waste. They’re so small you may not even notice them at first. These particular annelids can also help keep the water clean by breaking down organic matter like leaves or stems from plants for food sources – without harming any of our beautiful aquatic friends.

How Do I Get Rid of Worms in My Fish Tank?

Worms are pesky little creatures, but they’re not as challenging to get rid of once you know-how. Start by giving your tank a thorough cleaning with some gravel vacuum and water changes; this will remove the majority of detritus worms from inside their habitat and also any food sources. Next, ensure that everything in sight – like filters- works correctly for optimal performance.


Aquariums are beautiful to look at and provide a calming environment, but sometimes they can be home to detritus worms. These tiny creatures may not be harmful, but they can be unsightly and annoying.

Thankfully, there are several ways to get rid of them without too much effort. By doing a water change, using a filter and gravel vacuum, reducing your bioload, and keeping your plants healthy and well-maintained, you can minimize the chances of detritus worms taking up residence in your aquarium.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

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