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We have recently discovered fine, tiny little red hair like organisms in our net tank.  We noticed the waste was disappearing and didn't know what to attribute it to.  We know that gammarus have just literally appeared in in many systems in Hawaii, so we thought maybe the gammarus had finally made their appearance here.  However when I scooped up a little bit of the poo from the bottom of the tank and began inspecting it, there were these tiny little worms.  Friendly has them too.    Anyone else have these or know the name and where they originate?

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Hi Gina,

I used to have a pale colored wriggling worm like mosquito larvae but only about a hundred times smaller. They swim well in all directions and were in their millions in my swirl filter. When i ran the trial with the local feed(had steroids or antibiotics in them) they reduced and finally disappeared from the system. To date they have not returned. My AP plant growth has diminished from when they were present leading me to believe they are a sign of a healthy AP ecosystem. 

Gina, they may be bloodworms. I too, have them in my swirll filter, if I don't clean it often.

 I have a lid on the filter, when I lift it off...I'll see flying, what appears to be mosquitoes, but they aren't. (They don't bite)   I call them 'midges'. Midges is kind of a generic name...I think 'no-see-ums' are also called midges.

Might make a good food for something like mosquitofish or guppies.

David Hart said:

Gina, they may be bloodworms.

I do believe the red little worms are midge larva.  I've had them appear in places where the fish can't get at them to eat them.  My ducks love to eat them and there is evidence that feeding midege larva to certain types of fish can greatly improve their feed to weight ratio far beyond just the amount of larva fed to the fish.  How to go about feeding them to the fish, well that is the challenge  I've heard of using burlap or other coarse fabric in the bottoms of shallow tank and then hanging them in the fish tank when they are full of midge larva.  Might just be easier to stock some mosquito fish in the raft tanks.
Bloodworms. Make excellent fish food.
Thanks for all the feedback.  Their presence was not a cause for concern as anything breaking down fish waste is a friend in my book!  Was just curious if anyone knew their origin or name.
Yes they are midge fly larvae and a sigh of a good ecosystem. I have tens of thousands of them in my systems, The larvae do a similar job as gammarus and live in plant roots, the sludge at the bottom of the trough and even in my gravel beds. If I stir up the trough sludge the skeet fish will eat up any larvae they can find.

Hi All,

Cleaned out my swirl filter today and guess what? They've returned but its a different type. After some searching, i believe the first set was bloodworms(thanks Chi) and now these new ones look like a very tiny guaramus. AP creates an inter dependent eco-system unlike all these other types of agriculture which diminish nature, its good to be a part of assisting nature in this way, don't you think? 

Yes it is Harold!  I am amazed at the life that is teeming in AP systems and proliferates all on its own.  I was just talking to Susanne at Friendly  a couple of days ago and they recently learned something new about Gammarus.  Apparently if there is not enough waste for them to consume, especially if they have completely colonized a system by the millions, they will begin to feed on plant roots!  Uh oh, have we found a down side to Gammarus?

Hi Gina,

This is by no means conclusive, but in the case of media beds with the standard AP ratios of fish and feeding, I think there is sufficient solid waste available as feed for them. Perennial roots may not be as appealing to them as softer roots in fast crops, and also nature has a way of limiting symbiotic colonies in inter dependent eco-systems anyway. I think also, if your feeding regime establishes a population proportional to quantity of feed and feeding is then reduced they will for sometime use the roots as subsistence until the colony reduces to match the new inputs. Of course this is just speculation on my part

Gina, did they see the feeding on the plant roots as being detrimental?  I know most plants tend to grow roots then some die back and they grow more.  Is it possible that the Gammarus were feeding on the die back and not actually harming the plants?  I know Chi has shrimp growing in with his plant roots and notes that the shrimp groom the roots of organic matter without seeming to harm the plants.

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