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5 Tiny White Bugs In Your Fish Tank And How To Remove Them!

With more and more people taking up aquarium keeping every year, we always see an increasing number of questions being asked about the various aspects of keeping an aquarium from beginners.

With there being so many things that can go wrong with the aquarium itself without even factoring in the fish you keep, its not surprising that we see so many questions each month.

One of the more commonly asked questions that we have noticed more recently is based around having tiny white bugs in your fish tank as well as how you can get rid of them.

Due to seeing so many people reaching out about this recently as well as there being five different types of tiny white bugs that can infest your aquarium, we have decided to publish this article going over each of the five bugs and how you get rid of each type.

If you already know the type of tiny white bug that is infesting your fish thank then you are able to use the table of contents below to skip directly to the specific section for that bug.

Laying the article out in this way should make it easy for our readers to navigate and quickly get to the information required to identify the white bugs that are in your aquarium.

What Are These Tiny White Bugs In Your Fish Tank?

Any small white bugs in your fish tank are usually either planaria, detritus, limpets, copepods or hydras.

There are some small white snails that may also live in your aquarium but these tend to be much easier to identify with some aquarium keeps intentionally keeping these snails in their aquarium.

Please keep in mind that these small white bugs are common and do not mean that you have done something wrong or that you are bad at maintaining your aquarium.

On top of that, some people will keep these bugs in their aquarium rather than take steps to remove them so depending on your situation, this may be a path to take too.

All five bug types do tend to be easy to remove from your aquarium though and most situations, if you choose to, you will be able to remove them.

Sometimes you may have to purchase a specific product to remove the bugs where as other times a regular generic product will be able to get the job done.

Planaria In Your Aquarium

“planaria sp.” by Ursus sapien is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Planaria are probably the most common tiny white bug that infests aquariums. They can either be all white or dark brown depending on if they are the Procotyla or Dugesia variant of planaria.

They look like small flat worms and tend to have a small arrow tipped head as shown in the image above helping you to quickly and easily identify them over other types of white bugs in our list.

They move in a similar way to slugs and will often be found crawling along the glass below the substrate level of your fish tank.

What Causes Planaria In An Aquarium?

Due to planaria being so common, they can easily be added to an aquarium by adding new fish or plants to it. It can also be common for planaria to be in the containers for various types of live food that some people choose to feed their fish too.

This is why you can do everything perfectly for your fish tank but unknowingly add planaria to your fish tank in some situations even if you do everything else correct.

How To Remove Planaria From My Aquarium?

You can often starve the planaria out of your fish tank by doing your best not to overfeed your fish as they feed off the discarded food from your fish.

Getting something like a cory catfish can also be a great option as they will consume the majority of the discarded food in your tank before the planaria are able to feed.

Cory catfish will also eat any planaria that they find while digging through your substrate for food too helping to quickly reduce their population.

Detritus Worms In Your Aquarium

Detritus worms are another very common white bug that can be found in many aquariums and fish tanks.

They look like very small white worms and will often be as thin as a strand of hair that wriggles erratically sometimes.

You will usually find them laying on the substrate of your tank but you can sometimes find them in the substrate of the tank with detritus worms being

What Causes Detritus Worms In An Aquarium?

Detritus worms usually make their way into your fish tank by being in the water that comes with new fish, new plants, or live food. In some very rare situations, they can be introduced to your aquarium by adding new types of substrate to your tank that already have detritus worms or their eggs on the substrate too but this really is so rare when using commercial substrate products.

How To Get Rid Of Detritus Worms In An Aquarium?

You can get rid of detritus worms by reducing the amount of dissolved oxygen in your tank to force the detritus worms towards to surface of your tank in search of oxygen allowing the fish in your tank to eat them.

Depending on the fish that you keep in your tank, this can be more time and effort than its worth due to detritus worms being harmless to your fish.

Some people simply opt to add something like a loach to their tank to consume any detritus worms it finds even if they stay in the tank’s substrate.

Limpets In Your Aquarium

There are a large number of different types of limpets that you may find in your aquarium.

The ones that look like tiny white bugs are common limpets and as the name suggests they are very common with many people who keep planted aquariums intentionally adding them to the tank due to common limpets being harmless to fish but being great algae eaters while also being great for generally keeping your tank clean.

What Causes Limpets In An Aquarium?

Common limpets are usually added to an aquarium when adding new plants but they can be added to your tank in a few other ways but it is much less common.

As we touched on above, some people do intentionally purchase bags of common limpets to add to their plant’s aquariums as a way to reduce their workload for maintaining the aquarium so some people do intentionally put them in their tanks too.

How To Get Rid Of Limpets In An Aquarium?

Using a bait trap is a common way to manually remove limpets from your tank but it is often a waste of time if you are trying to remove all of them as the traps tend not to get all of the limpets so they remaining ones simply reproduce.

The best way to get rid of common limpets in your aquarium is to add a single nerite snail to the tank as it will rapidly consume the majority of the algae in the aquarium and starve the limpets out with their bodies then becoming food for your fish.

The nerite snail can be easily removed if you wish but most people will keep it in the tank due to being such a good, low maintenance algae eater that is not aggressive to fish.

Copepods In Your Aquarium

It is very common to have copepods in aquariums with a copepod essentially looking like a tiny white flea.

Some aquarium keepers will intentionally keep copepods in their tanks due to them being detritivores and helping to keep the dead organic material in your aquarium to a minimum resulting in less maintenance being required from you.

Copepods are usually very small and difficult to see in you tank unless you are specifically looking for them so many people do just choose to leave them in there.

What Causes Copepods In An Aquarium?

There are a large number of ways that copepods can end up in your fish tank but the most common is when using sand or dirt substrate that as not been cleaned correctly.

Adding new plants that are seated in dirt can also be a common entry method for copepods into aquariums too with them being less common when added via new fish due to the fish usually eating them in their transport bags and tanks.

How To Get Rid Of Copepods In An Aquarium?

Copepods are the easiest tiny white bug to remove from your tank as you can add a few tetras, guppies or rasboras to your tank and they will enjoy hunting them for food and quickly round them all up.

Larger fish will often not bother chasing them for food unless they are particularly hungry anyway with other means of removing copepods from your tank usually being too much of a pain than it is worth.

Hydra In Your Aquarium

Hydra are not actually bugs but are related to coral and sea anemone but their strange look often make people think that they are tiny white bugs but they can sometimes be green.

Hydra can pose a danger to baby shrimp and fish fry so most people will try to actively remove them from their fish tanks and aquariums as quickly as possible but they tend not to pose any threat to larger fish.

What Causes Hydra In An Aquarium?

Hydra are usually added to an aquarium via new plants and sometimes new substrate with a small number of hydra being able to quickly spread to a surprisingly large level if there is enough food to support them.

Hydra can reproduce quickly too often swelling their numbers within a new tank within weeks if they have enough food available.

How To Get Rid Of Hydra In An Aquarium?

The quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to remove hydra from your aquarium is to stop using any powdered or live foods for your fish until the hydra have been removed.

Due to the way hydra consume food, they need tiny particles to be able to process their meals so reducing this will often starve them out quickly with it often being able to get rid of all of the hydra in your tank at once too.


That brings our article going over how to get tiny white bugs out of your fish tank to an end. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to help you better understand the best method to use to get rid of each type of these common white bugs. Provided you follow our recommended method for each type of bug, you should be able to quickly and easily get them out of your tank with minimal additional effort being required on your part too.