There are a number of potential threats to your aquarium that you should be aware of. 

Some of these threats are more serious than others, but you should learn about all of them. Detritus worms can quickly overrun and ruin an otherwise painstakingly maintained tank.

What are Detritus Worms?

Detritus worms are part of the “annelid” phylum, which also includes earthworms, leeches, and thousands of others. While these worms aren’t going to directly harm the fish, they can do quite a bit of damage to the plants in your aquarium. These worms feed off rotting plat matter. They can therefore actually be quite helpful at keeping your tank clean, but too many of them is a big problem that can be difficult to deal with.

1. Change the water (Best way)

Remember that replacing all the water can be dangerous to your fish, but it is needed to be done under some circumstances. If you want to get rid of the detritus worms you’ll need to dump out all of the water and replace it with fresh H20. You’ll want to keep your fishes in a separate container meanwhile.

After you have dumped out all of the water in the tank, you should take out all of the substrate and accessories. This will make it easier to give the whole inside of the tank a good scrubbing. This is the only way to thoroughly clean your aquarium. Clean through the gravel and accessories.

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Once you have cleaned the inside of your aquarium, you’ll want to fill it up with freshwater and put everything else back inside. Be cautious when you are doing this, as putting even a single worm back in the tank can ruin all of your hard work.

Make sure that you change out thirty percent of the water in the take every three or four days. This will be sure to get rid of any leftover worms.

2. Cleaning the Gravel

It is very important that you are able to clean the gravel inside of your aquarium as thoroughly as possible. You should really consider investing in a gravel vacuum. These devices can be invaluable when it comes to maintaining a clean tank and avoiding excess detritus worms. You can use this type of vacuum to suck out these worms as well.

One of the best things about a gravel vacuum is that it lets you get rid of detritus without needing to change out all of the water. Many people swear by this method when it comes to getting rid of these worms, so it is worth looking into. A good gravel vacuum can be purchased for around $20 to $40. Take the time to find one that works well.

3. Consider Replacing Your Filter

There is a good chance that the filter you are currently using with your aquarium is not adequate or needs to be cleaned itself. If you want to replace your current filter, you should consider getting a mechanical one. These filters are relatively low maintenance, and they will do a good job of keeping your tank clean.

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The importance of proper filtration cannot be understated when it comes to keeping your aquarium clean and your fish healthy. The right filter can be a very powerful weapon in the battle against detritus worms. Just make certain that you look into your options before deciding to get one in particular.

4. Use Hydrogen Peroxide when Cleaning

Hydrogen peroxide has been shown to be very effective at cleaning everything from gravel to plants in aquariums. Believe it or not, you can submerge your plants in this substance without hurting them at all. A quick dip is all you need to get them clean.

If you are going to use hydrogen peroxide to clean the contents of your tank, you will need to make sure that it is diluted. A good formula is one part HP and four to five parts water. This will help you clean what you need to without damaging anything.

5. Don’t Overfeed Your Fish

A lot of people give their fish live food like brine shrimp, which can result in an excess accumulation of detritus worms very quickly. It is crucial that you avoid overfeeding your fish and practice regular vacuuming. Pay attention to how much your fish eat when you give them food. This will give you a much better idea as to how much you should really give them at meal time. This is one of the biggest causes of detritus worm problems in aquariums.

6. Maintain Your Plants

Another great way to avoid issues with detritus worms is to maintain the plants in your aquarium. Keep a close eye on these plants to make sure that they aren’t rotting, or that algae isn’t growing on them. If you find that this is the case, it is important to take action immediately.

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If you have plants that are diseased, you need to medicate them as soon as possible to limit the spread. By doing this you will take away the worms’ source of food, which will help to get rid of them.


  • Detritus worms are common in aquariums, feeding on rotting plant matter.
  • While these worms won’t directly harm your fish, they can be very problematic to the overall tank environment.
  • One of the best ways to combat these worms is to change out the water in your tank on a regular basis.
  • Replace all of the water in the tank once in a while, and replace about thirty percent every few days.
  • When you replace your tank’s water, make sure to clean the plants, gravel, and accessories. Diluted hydrogen peroxide works well for this.
  • A gravel vacuum is a good investment, as it can help you suck up these worms quickly and efficiently.
  • Be careful not to overfeed your fish when giving them frozen or live food like brine shrimp.
  • Take good care of the plants in your aquarium. If you notice that one of them is diseased, you’ll need to treat it immediately.
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Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".