Tiny Worms in Snail Enclosure

deadhd5

Avid Member
Hello everyone. I am hoping someone can offer some ideas or shed some light on a worm situation I discovered in my baby snail enclosure (any entomologists on the forums?).

I noticed these small clear worms moving about in the snail poop on the wall of the baby snail aquarium. I have not seen them go in or out of a snail, so I am not sure if they are parasites or are feeding on the organic material in the enclosure. Obviously, this freaked me out a little as I don't want to feed these to my chams if these are parasites that can be transfered to them (and I don't want them in the house if I can get them!!!).

They are about 1/4" long and clear. I can see them moving. Here is a picture; they are amongst the poop and snail babies. (this is how dirty a snail enclosure gets just 2 days after cleaning).

NX1000.jpg
 

little leaf

Avid Member
are they by chance baby earth worms? the pic is hard to see kinda- but I know I always have baby worms in my dirt - they are white at first too- but ya, better find out what they are just encase - but hey, at least your snails are "doing there thing " :D
 

jknight

New Member
It looks like you have nematodes. There are many species of nematodes , most are harmless. There are some parasitic species though in which case a can not help you identify what kind you have. Its likely they came from the soil you used and will just be there eating the feces of the snails, further research on them will be helpful to you. I don't know if nematodes are or can be harmful to chams.
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
Thanks for the input Cheryl and JKnight... I was thinking nematodes but hoping not due to the uncertainty that would create regarding which of the 1000's of species it is.

I see a couple of these things in my adult snail enclosure, but no where near as many as in the baby enclosure. The baby enclosure stays much more wet that the adult to the difficulties creating airflow for the babies (they crawl through all but the smallest of ventilation holes.

I think I am going to move the babies into a new aquarium with new dirt and better airflow and see if the worms return before I feed anymore off to my chams. I am going to put the small possibility that I could pick them up to the back of my mind for the time being (and wear rubber gloves when doing any maintenance.
 
given that they're around snails and snail poop, id say something from the Trematoda class. Flukes often use snails as part of their complex life cycle and are frequently parasitic
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
given that they're around snails and snail poop, id say something from the Trematoda class. Flukes often use snails as part of their complex life cycle and are frequently parasitic

I pull the eggs from the adult enclosure and hatch them in a separate aquarium, so I am not sure how they would have picked up any parasites. I use organic top soil and wash all leaf litter with hot hot water before using it in the cage.

edit: I googled trematoda and they are more likely nematodes imo. These things are long and very skinny and the trematoda are more flat (or other shapes). These are kind of like a 1/4" gooey blond hair. I appreciate the input either way :)
 

jknight

New Member
Thanks for the input Cheryl and JKnight... I was thinking nematodes but hoping not due to the uncertainty that would create regarding which of the 1000's of species it is.

I see a couple of these things in my adult snail enclosure, but no where near as many as in the baby enclosure. The baby enclosure stays much more wet that the adult to the difficulties creating airflow for the babies (they crawl through all but the smallest of ventilation holes.

I think I am going to move the babies into a new aquarium with new dirt and better airflow and see if the worms return before I feed anymore off to my chams. I am going to put the small possibility that I could pick them up to the back of my mind for the time being (and wear rubber gloves when doing any maintenance.



Better to be safe then sorry. Its most likely the ones you have are harmless. I assume your using coco fiber as your substrate? It is pretty common to get nematodes when using coco fiber, especially if its going to be a very wet and humid environment. I would get them all the time with my dart frog vivs, they were harmless to my frogs, and sometimes they would even make a snack lol I imagine they would die rather quickly after being out of an extremely humid environment, so handling the snails probably wouldn’t be an issue.
 

deadhd5

Avid Member
I just wanted to follow up on this thread for information purposes for anyone encountering a similar problem in the future.

The reason these worms appeared is that my baby snail enclosure never dried out and became overcrowded and dirty (with snail waste). I have prevented the return of these worms by moving the babies to a larger enclosure and allowing it to dryout between heavy mistings. It is a challenge to keep the soil from becoming waterlogged because the snails really love a good misting and will go into temporary hibernation and seal themselves off (estivation) if it becomes too dry.

I believe the worms were harmless nematodes, but I have to admit, they grossed me out like nothing I have encountered before in insect breeding. Just thinking about those tiny little clear worms wiggling around gives the chills. So long and good riddance!

(Now just need to kill off the fungus gnats!)
 
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