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Aquarium Pest Prevention: Tips and Tricks

Welcome to the world of freshwater aquariums, where you get to bring a bit of underwater magic right into your home.

But just like any ecosystem, your watery paradise can sometimes get a few unwanted guests – those annoying pests that can mess with your underwater buddies.

In this guide, we're here to give you some down-to-earth advice on how to handle these common freshwater tank nuisances.

1. Battling Pesky Algae

Spot the Problem: Sometimes, algae can take over your aquarium, making the water all green and murky. A little is healthy... but a lot? It's often a sign that something's not quite right, like too much light or too many nutrients.

Maybe the water looks like pea soup, or you have lots of long stringy masses tangling up your floaters. Maybe its just a thing green or brown film all over your glass. Either way... algae is here!

Here's What You Can Do:

  • Adjust the Light

Try cutting down on how long your aquarium light stays on. My personal fishroom has timers that keep the lights on between 6-8 hours a day.

  • Control Nutrients

Regular water changes and not overfeeding can help keep nutrient levels in check. I aim for a weekly water change, but If the tank is heavily planted, and there are no other water quality issues, sometimes once a month at minimum.

  • Call in the Algae Eaters

Consider adding fish or snails that have a taste for algae. Nerite snails and Otocinclus fish are the gold standards!

2. Dealing with Sneaky Snails

Spot the Intruders: Those little, fast-reproducing snails can be ugly to look at, although most types do not cause any harm whatsoever- quite the opposite!

If you just don't like the look of these little recyclers, there are a few strategies:

Here's the Deal:

  • Snail Patrol

You can pick the snails out by hand or use a snail trap. The 'Lettuce Trick' is also great!

  • Watch the Feeding

Don't go overboard with feeding your fish; it can lead to a snail population explosion!

  • Get Snail-Eating Buddies

Some fish, like loaches and pufferfish, actually enjoy snacking on snails. Assassin snails are also a thing- they don't harm anything else in your tank like shrimp or fish.


3. Handling White Spot Disease (Ich)

Spot the Problem: White spot disease, also known as Ich, is a common fish ailment that shows up as small white cysts on the skin, gills, and fins.

It's sometimes been compared to a grain of salt on the skin.

Here's What to Try:

  • Isolate Sick Fish

Put any infected fish in quarantine to keep the disease from spreading.

  • Turn Up the Heat, then Treat!

Gradually raise the water temperature to speed up the parasite's life cycle. 85F is commonly the temperature recommended for most community fish.

Treat with either aquarium salt at 1tb per gallon, or a commercial Ich product. We like Hikari Ich-X.

  • Seek Expert Advice

Talk to an experienced aquarist for help with the right medications.

4. Navigating Planaria Worms

Spot the Invaders: Planaria worms are flatworms that can multiply fast. While they can be a snack for almost all fish, Planaria have been known to prey on baby shrimp.

Here's How to Handle It:

  • Ease Up on the Feeding

Avoid overfeeding; it can lead to a planaria takeover.

  • Manual Worm Removal

Use a turkey baster or a dedicated worm trap to get rid of them. If you don't have snails in that tank, try Genchem's No Planaria. It's plant and shrimp safe, and also kills Hydra. NOT SNAIL SAFE!

  • Recruit Fish Allies

Most fish, like Bettas, don't mind a planaria snack. It also helps to keep your fish a little hungry for a while. Almost all kinds will opportunitically feed on any worms they see.


Remember, preventing problems is often the best strategy when it comes to dealing with aquarium pests! 

Keep up with your water changes and vacuuming!

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