How To Get Rid Of Nematodes In The Aquarium? 4 Important Things You Need To Know

Last Updated on May 5, 2022 by Guillermina

Learn how to get rid of nematodes in the aquarium.

When you establish an aquarium, you want to ensure a safe and healthy environment for your aquatic pets and live plants. It should be a place of harmony and coexistence for many fish, coral, sand, rocks, and plants.

However, one thing that does not add to the peaceful, natural beauty of an aquarium is nematodes. Nematodes can cause enormous damage. So keep reading in order to find out how to get rid of nematodes in the aquarium.

Nematodes, Definition & Facts

Did you know that nematodes are among the most widespread animals on Earth? They most often appear as parasites in animals and plants. In addition, they can appear as free-living forms in soil, freshwater, and marine environments including vinegar, and beer malts but also various water-filled cracks somewhere deep within the Earth’s crust.

 Are detritus worms nematodes?

This group also called roundworms, numbers about 20,000, but it is likely that only a small proportion of free-living forms have been identified. Various researches are conducted on them because most of them have some medical, veterinary, or economic significance.

As for their appearance, they are mostly bilaterally symmetrical, elongated, and usually tapered at both ends. It is important to note that some species of nematodes possess a pseudocoel, a body cavity filled with fluid located between the digestive tract and the body wall. Furthermore, they secrete an external cuticle that is periodically molted, just like arthropods and members of six other phyla.

Read more about the two common species, as well as how to get rid of nematodes in the aquarium.


Camallanus are cylindrical roundworms that infest aquariums with low oxygen levels causing various diseases in animals. They live in the form of live larvae and find their way inside the fish when they ingest the water. They mostly affect freshwater fishes such as cichlids and live-bearing fish.

They are very easy to recognize, try looking for reddish-brown worms extending from the anus of the fish.

 Can nematodes infect fish?


Capillaria is another type of nematode very similar to camallanus worms; however, they don’t protrude from the anus of your pets. On the contrary, they are found in necropsies of the fish that develop symptoms of bloat, such as not eating and white feces.

Infection with this type of worm is most easily identified by the increased number of deaths in your tank.

Now we finally move on to the key part of this article, the answer to the question of how to get rid of nematodes in an aquarium. So, let’s go.

How To Get Rid Of Nematodes In The Aquarium?

Changing The Water In The Aquarium

 how to get rid of nematodes in the aquarium

Simply put, nematodes thrive in dirty water. Since the high number of bacteria in the water lowers the immune system of fish, this encourages nematodes to multiply more easily while infecting your pets. To avoid this, you need to make sure the water is clean. A quality filter and regular water changes will help you the most.

In addition, it is important to emphasize that nematodes thrive in warm water conditions. That is why it is important to avoid heating the water to more than 800F if you want to reduce their population.

Treating Infection In Aquarium Pets

If you are wondering how to get rid of nematodes in the aquarium, you can simply add dewormer to your pet’s food. The most effective drugs for treating nematode infection that are also FDA-approved include Fenbendazole, Levamisole, Piperazine, Flubendazole, and Pyrantel Pamoate.

It is important to emphasize that they do not kill nematodes, but paralyze the jaws around the worms that hold the fish’s entrails. Once paralyzed, the worms will be completely removed from the fish’s gut.

Tip: Separate the infected fish in a quarantine tank that has no substrate at the bottom. This will allow you to easily spot and remove worms from your aquarium tank.

Giving Medicine To Your Aquatic Pets

Another answer to the question of how to get rid of nematodes in the aquarium is medications. Namely, medicines should be mixed with food in a ratio of 1 to 5.

The process goes like this:

  • Heat about a quarter cup of water in a microwave for a few minutes.
  • Mix about a quarter ounce of medication in hot water and stir well.
  • Mix the heated water with two tablespoons of commercial fish food and stir until you get a paste-like texture.

Feed your fish this medicinal mixture for about a month.

Treatment Of An Infected Aquarium

In order to remove all the remaining parasites, it is necessary to treat the aquarium tank itself. To treat the tank, you should add about 2-milligram of any of the above medications per liter of aquarium water. Leave on for about 24 hours, and then change at least 70% of the water. Note that the substrate must be thoroughly vacuumed. This treatment should be repeated after 2 weeks and again at 5 weeks.

This was the last answer to the question of how to get rid of nematodes in the aquarium.

In Conclusion

 What causes nematodes in fish tank?

Nematodes are one of the most common pathogens found in our aquarium tanks. They tend to infect freshwater more often than saltwater aquariums. It is important to emphasize that they are a disaster for most fish species.

That would be it, now you know how to get rid of nematodes in the aquarium. If you have your own tips and tricks for removing them from your aquarium, please share them with us.

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What Causes Nematodes In Fish Tank?

Warm, dirty water and lack of oxygen are among the most common causes of nematodes in an aquarium.

Can Nematodes Infect Fish?

Yes, they can infect fish. They can infect all fish organs but are most commonly found in fish intestines.

Are Detritus Worms Nematodes?

Detritus worms are not one species of nematode. However, it is important to emphasize that this is a collective term used for all roundworms that can occur in a freshwater system.

What Eats Nematodes In Aquarium?

Most fish, especially saltwater ones will eat nematodes if they're out in the open. This is especially true for those fish that spend a lot of time at the bottom, including any type of catfish or loach.