Why Are There Worms In A Turtle Tank?

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Why Are There Worms In A Turtle Tank

Worms in a turtle tank can be an unknown entity for many turtle owners. Discovering these squiggly creatures in your pet’s home can be a cause for alarm, but there are actually a few reasons why they might be there – and not all of them are bad.

There are a few reasons why there might be worms in your turtle tank and having them could raise some health concerns for your turtle.

Most commonly, the worms are present because of poor husbandry practices or because the turtles are wild-caught.

The most common reason for worms in a turtle tank is because the turtles are eating food that contains worms. If you are feeding your turtles live food, such as crickets or minnows, the worms may be coming from these live foods.

Another possibility is that the worms are living in the water and have been drawn to your turtles because they are swimming in the water.

This is more likely to occur if you do not clean the turtle tank regularly.

What Kinds Of Worms Are Present In Turtle Tank?

The typical types of worms in a turtle tank are detritus and planaria. They’re both the result of carelessness.

Let me go through each one in detail, as well as how to get rid of them from your turtle tank:

1. Detritus Worms

Detritus Worms

Detritus worms are the most common type of worm that belongs to the same family as leeches and earthworms.

There are several different types of detritus worms, and they vary in size and shape.

Detritus worms are usually white or light-colored, and they have a small, round head.

They can range in size from 0.3 inches to two 2 inches long and they are found in nearly all habitats, including freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water.

The detritus worms are detritivores, meaning that they only eat decomposing plant and animal waste materials and can arrive in your turtle’s habitat by several means.

Why Are There Detritus Worms In Your Turtle Tank?

Sometimes the worms can be brought into the turtle tank through substrates that’s been transferred from another tank or they may have been carried in on a new plant or even on a turtle.

If you notice large numbers of detritus worms emerging from the gravel in your tank, that means there is a problem with the cleanliness of the environment and the oxygen levels in the tank.

The usual reason for a population explosion of white worms is poor tank maintenance or overfeeding your turtle.

Are Detritus Worms Harmful For My Turtles?

Detritus worms are not harmful to your turtles, and in fact, they can even be beneficial as they help to aerate the substrate and eat decomposing waste materials.

However, if the number of detritus worms in your turtle’s habitat is excessive, it can create problems such as lowering the quality of the water, which can lead to health issues for your turtle.

Types Of Detritus Worms Found In Turtle Tank

  • Tube Worms – Tube worms are one of the most common types of detritus worms found in turtle tanks. They are long, thin, and segmented, and they can grow up to two inches in length.
  • Hair Worms – Hair worms are another common type of detritus worm found in turtle tanks. They are thin and look like strands of hair, hence their name. They can grow up to one inch in length.
  • Red or brown worms – These worms are a little larger than the hairworms and can grow up to two inches in length. As their name suggests, they are red or brown.
  • Tubifex worms – Tubifex worms are one of the largest types of detritus worms, and they can grow up to four inches in length. They are red or brown and have a tubular shape.

How To Get Rid Of Detritus Worms in Turtle Tank

  1. Use a gravel vacuum and change the water to remove the majority of the detritus worms and also their food sources.
  2. Check your filtration system for any issues.
  3. Regularly clean the substrate, review your feeding practice and be sure you don’t overcrowd the tank with other aquarium mates like fish.

RELATED READ: How to Keep Turtle Tank Clean?

2. Planaria Worms

Planaria Worms

Planaria are another worm species that may infect a turtle tank. If unchecked, their number might swiftly rise and fill an aquarium. As a result, many aquarists consider them pests.

One unusual planaria feature is that even if they are chopped into five parts, they will regenerate from those pieces. If you see planaria in your aquarium, it’s best not to smash or crush them since they will regrow regardless.

Planaria worms are a type of flatworm that can be found in freshwater and saltwater habitats.

They are small, thin worms that can range in size from 0.5 inches to 2 inches long.

Planaria worms are usually white or light-colored, but can also be black and brown.

Some species of planaria can alter their coloration to reflect the nutrients they consume. Colored flakes, for example, might turn a planarian pink.

They can be distinguished from other types of worms by their two eyespots, which are located on either side of their head.

Planaria have a distinctive triangular-shaped head, unlike other flatworms.

What Causes Planaria To Appear in your Turtle Tank?

Planaria are tremendous hitchhikers, and these little flatworms hide in rock cracks, on vegetation, and even attach themselves to fish. After they get in your turtle tank, planaria reproduce quickly.

All it takes is a single flatworm to start the process. Planaria can also reproduce asexually, which means that one worm might eventually become hundreds. If you see hundreds of planaria in your tank, there’s a good chance someone aided in their creation.

Planaria flatworms, which are black and brown, feed on waste. Planaria love all types of biofilm, uneaten turtle food, and even feces. If you see these planaria in your turtle tank, it’s an indication that you’re not cleaning it properly.

Planaria in the white varieties are known to consume microscopic worms, shrimp, and even live foods such as daphnia or bloodworms. If your tank has a lot of food for white planaria, you’ll notice the increase in number soon.

Are Planaria Worms Dangerous For My Turtles?

Planaria of various colors are hazardous in their way. While detritus worms are not known to hurt turtles, they can quickly overrun a tank. As a result, detritus worms can compete with your turtles for food, and this might lead to health problems for your reptile.

Aquatic turtles kept in captivity need a well-balanced diet, and detritus worms can interfere with this. If your turtle isn’t getting enough to eat because of the presence of planaria, it might become malnourished.

Certain species of planaria are also known to be carriers of parasites and diseases, which can affect both turtles and humans.

How Do You Get Rid of Planaria?

It’s difficult to get rid of Planaria from your turtle tank. It can produce many offspring if you miss a single flatworm and there is no guarantee that you are going to capture all the planarians in your turtle tank.

You can use anything that contains Fenbendazole which is said to be effective against flatworms.

You can also use a planaria bait but this can be somewhat useless if the planaria are not attracted to the bait you placed inside it.

A good bait would be raw chicken if you don’t have any ideas for what to use as bait.

RELATED READ: How to Clean a Turtle Tank

How To Get Rid Of Worms In Turtle Tanks?

If you find that your turtle has worms, there are a few things that you can do to get rid of them. The first thing that you should do is to increase the frequency of water changes.

This will help to remove any worms that are living in the water. You should also clean the turtle tank regularly to prevent the worms from coming back.

If you are feeding your turtles live food, you should stop doing this and switch to freeze-dried or canned foods.

This will prevent the worms from coming into the turtle tank in the first place. You should also check the food that you are giving your turtles to make sure that it does not contain any worms.

If your turtle has a severe case of worms, you may need to take it to the vet for treatment. The vet will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics to kill the worms.

RELATED READ: White Spots On A Turtle Shell

Do Turtles Need Deworming?

Do Turtles Need Deworming?

Turtles do not need to be dewormed unless they are showing symptoms of a worm infection. If your turtle is lethargic, has a loss of appetite, or has diarrhea, it may be infected with a worm and should be seen by a veterinarian.

A vet can prescribe a dewormer for your turtle if it is infected with worms. It is important to follow the vet’s instructions on how to administer the dewormer and how often to treat your turtle.

There are a few things you can do to prevent your turtle from getting worms in the first place. These include regularly cleaning its tank, not feeding it live food, and keeping its environment clean.

RELATED READ: How To Clean A Turtle Shell

Worms in Turtle Poop

If you see worms in your turtle’s poop, it is likely that your turtle has a worm infection. The most common type of worm that affects turtles is the roundworm. Other types of worms that can infect turtles include the fluke, hookworm, and tapeworm.

If you see worms in your turtle’s poop, you should take it to the vet for treatment. The vet will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics to kill the worms.

RELATED READ: White Film Over Turtles Eyes

Can Humans Get Worms From Turtles?

Yes, it is possible for humans to get worms from turtles. These worms are usually contracted by handling a turtle or coming in contact with its feces. The most common type of worm humans can contract from turtles is the roundworm.

Other worms that humans can get from turtles include the fluke, hookworm, and tapeworm. These worms can cause a variety of symptoms in humans, including diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain.

RELATED READ: What can Turtles Eat from Human Food?


Worms are tenacious that can be harmful to the tiny creatures in your aquarium but relatively safe for your turtles.

And it’s heartbreaking to see them crawling all over your aquarium glass, as they quickly take control.

They don’t have to be dreaded! You may get rid of them for good in a few days if you follow the guidelines above.