The main purpose of an aquarium is to provide a perfect home for your fish and shrimp. That’s why it is important to keep it in good condition for the survival of your fish.
A little negligence can turn out to be disastrous especially when it comes to the environment within your tank. This can lead to the emergence of destructive and ferocious pests, invasive species, aggressive algae, and even deadly diseases. In such an environment, you cannot expect your fish to survive any longer unless you find a working solution as soon as possible.
Pests such as Hydra have wreaked havoc in various aquaria for a very long time. This soft-bodied polyp can be a thorn in the flesh for aquarium owners from all corners of the world. Should you spot even a single Hydra in your tank, it is advisable to take action immediately. But if your aquarium is already infested with these pests, just know that there’s a way out of that mess.
So, how do you eliminate Hydra from your aquarium? The simplest way of getting rid of Hydra from your tank is by removing them manually every time you spot them. After that, you may go ahead and clean all the places infested with this pest. Read on to find out more about Hydra and how you can effectively eliminate them from your aquarium.
What is Hydra?
Hydra is small freshwater vertebrae that are closely related to coral or jellyfish. They normally feed on shrimp and small fish. These freshwater vertebrae look small in size but they are fully grown just like other animals.
Mostly, Hydra are characterized by their tubular-like bodies that measure a few millimeters in length. A close look at each one of them reveals a sticky foot located on one side of their body. Also, you will see several tentacles on the parallel part of their body. These two physical attributes make Hydra a very dangerous pest while in the aquarium.
The Hydra’s tentacles are equipped with stinging cells that serve the purpose of attacking and eventually immobilizing the prey. In addition, the tentacles release a poisonous substance that renders their victims powerless and immobilized.
Hydra find their way into the fish tank in many different ways. This happens accidentally and you may not even notice them even if they are already there in the aquarium. This is because some of them look brown while others appear green or off-white color. But you may use a magnifying glass to see and differentiate them based on their respective colors.
When in the aquarium, Hydra can be both destructive and extremely dangerous. In fact, they are capable of destroying or feeding on your shrimp or any other small fish that comes their way.
These tiny vertebrae tend to regenerate so fast that if left unchecked, they can easily colonize your aquarium. In other words, Hydra behave more or less the same as fungi. This is because they can regenerate and grow anywhere within the tank environment as long as the conditions are right for them.
Due to the nature of their reproduction, Hydra can prey and feed on fish and shrimp regardless of their sizes. That is the main reason these pests should stay away from your aquarium. In the event that they are present in your aquarium, the only way of keeping your fish safe is by getting rid of them as quickly as you possibly can.
Best Way to Identify Hydra
How will you know that what you are seeing in your aquarium is Hydra? Well, it’s simple; all you have to do is to touch them and see their reaction. When touched, Hydra respond promptly more than anything else. This kind of behavior will tell you that what you are touching is indeed Hydra.
At the slightest touch, these creatures will twist, wriggle and transform themselves into a ball. This is a sign that they are being faced with some kind of danger thus the need to employ their defensive mechanism. Generally, any form of touch will make them stimulate their response and behave more defensively than when they feel secure. Such behavior will help you confirm that what you are touching is actually Hydra.
These creatures are tiny and very difficult to see. But when you spot them, they will most likely appear dirty white or green-brown color. However, identifying them with your naked eyes is not as easy as you may think. If you are lucky to spot one, rest assured that there are more of them lurking somewhere within the tank. These polyps can regenerate faster and move around the tank if conditions favor them to do so.
How Do Hydra Get Access to Your Tank?
Hydra find their way into your tank via fresh plants that are added to the tank. They most probably cling to anything found in the freshwater tank and that’s how they get their way into your aquarium. Their ability to remain invisible makes it easy for them to access the tank unnoticed and eventually get established there.
Also, their appearance is somehow deceiving to the naked eye. These polyps look exactly like tiny pieces of sand especially when their tentacles are folded or curled up. This way, they can easily hang or cling on the tank or fish bag without your knowledge.
You can stop Hydra from reaching your tank by pre-treating the plants using a mild bleach solution or hydrogen peroxide. These solutions are effective when it comes to containing the infestation of Hydra in your tank. But don’t sit back and think that these precautionary methods are the ultimate solution to Hydra infestation. This is due to the fact that these tiny creatures are hardy and will most likely get their way into your aquarium. So, how do you get rid of them for once and for all?
How to Eliminate Hydra in Your Aquarium?
The moment you realize that your tank has been infested with Hydra, you should think of the next form of action. And your next form of action should be finding the best way to get rid of these polyps from your aquarium.
It may sound like a simple task to anyone who has never encountered Hydra in their tanks but rest assured that it’s challenging, to say the least. There are hurdles you will have to encounter while combating Hydra infestation of your tank. And the whole process is not impossible as such but what is required of you to do is to use the right methods of getting rid of them.
Before you get started with this process, the first thing is to assess the amount of infestation. If it’s minor then you will have to remove them manually. But if the infestation is widespread, then you may take other drastic measures like the use of chemicals or heat. Here are a few methods that you can apply to get rid of Hydra from your aquarium:
1. Get Rid of Hydra Manually
You can use the manual method to eliminate Hydra from your tank. This is possible if the infestation of Hydra in your tank is minor. You can achieve this goal by taking different approaches depending on where these pests are attached.
Given that Hydra tend to attach themselves on glass surfaces inside the tank, you can use a piece of soft cloth to wipe them off. During this process, you may need to practice a lot of care not to leave behind any puds. If left behind, these puds can quickly regenerate and take over your tank afterward.
Also, you can remove the artificial tank plants, rocks or even driftwood from the tank, clean them well and air dry to eliminate Hydra completely. Check carefully to ensure that there are no remnants in the tank before calling it a day.
2. Use Chemical to Get Rid of Hydra
Use of chemicals to eliminate Hydra is the most preferred method because it is quick and effective. Additionally, the chemicals used can eliminate other pests (such as scutariella and planaria) found in your aquarium alongside Hydra.
The chemicals used contain natural extracts that target Hydra without causing any harm to the fish or live plants in the tank. When applied as directed by the manufacturers, these chemicals yield positive results in a matter of days after the first treatment. You will notice all pests in the tank withering and dying in large numbers a few days after applying chemicals.
A lot of care is needed when using chemical elimination method. This is because most of the chemicals are not as safe as you may assume. Some of them can be dangerous to both live plants and other beneficial living things like snails, fish, and shrimp living in the aquarium. In addition, these chemicals can be lethal to beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria that reside in the tank.
This means that this method of using chemicals to eliminate Hydra should be adopted as the final resort. Or it can apply when the Hydra infestation spread beyond control.
Examples of the commonly used chemicals to eliminate Hydra include Copper Sulfate and Potassium Permanganate. These chemicals can be obtained from any local fish store within your area.
3. Use Fish to Eliminate Hydra
The method involves the addition of hungry fish to your aquarium. In fact, this is the friendliest technique that you can apply to eliminate Hydra without causing harm to other fish. In this case, the predator fish will feed on Hydra and enjoy its meal but at the same time help get rid of these little freshwater creatures, leaving the rest of other tank animals safe.
A perfect example of fish that you can use to control Hydra includes Paradise fish and Blue Gourami. Apart from that, you may introduce mollies species to your tank to help you get rid of Hydra.
If using the predator doesn’t work well for you, you may consider turning to pond snails for the same purpose. Pond snails are capable of destroying Hydra or other deadly pests, leaving your tank environment safe for your fish.
4. Use Heat to Eliminate Hydra
Hydra thrive in water temperature between 70-75 °F (21-24 °C). Using heat to control Hydra is yet another friendly, cheap and effective method of removing Hydra from your fish tank. Before you get started with this technique, you must ensure that your fish, shrimp and snails are relocated to another tank. Otherwise, they will get cooked up due to intensive heat applied to kill all Hydra.
If you have live plants in your aquariums, you should not use these technique, because some plants might suffer during the heat treatment.
The ideal water temperature that you can use to eliminate these pests is around 100 °F (37 °C). Heat up the aquarium water and let the tank stay like that for at least 2 hours to ensure that all the pests are eliminated. Due to high temperature and lack of oxygen in the water, hydra will die off and will fall to the substrate.
After 2 hours of heat treatment, you can reduce the heat and do some vacuuming of the gravel before changing half the amount of water in the tank. Make sure that the water temperatures in the tank get back to normal before adding back your fish to the same tank.
Which are the Best Ways of Preventing Hydra in Your Tank?
The most effective way of parenting Hydra from taking over your aquarium is by not allowing them access to your aquarium. That is the reason experts say that prevention is better than cure. Hydra can get into your aquarium via live plants or already infested freshwater. If left unchecked, Hydra can regenerate and multiply within a short time. This can only happen if the conditions in your aquarium allow them to thrive. However, you may apply the following preventive measures to keep Hydra way from your fish tank:
- Keep your tank clean all the time
- The source of your live tank plants should be a reputed one
- Do a thorough inspection of tank plants before submerging them into the tank
- Soak each live plant in quart water containing alum and then rinse it thoroughly before introducing it into your tank. Do the same for the rocks before arranging them in the aquarium.
- Don’t overfeed your fish because it will increase waste in the tank. This can give Hydra a better platform to multiply and infest your aquarium.
- Wipe off every element of leftover food from the tank.
The presence of Hydra in the tank means that your fish, snails or shrimp are subjected to dangerous pests. Therefore, there is a need to eliminate these pests by all means. You may use manual Hydra elimination methods, turn to chemicals or introduce a predator to the tank to target these pests.
But it is wise to use all necessary preventive measures to keep Hydra way from the tank. Preventive measures in the first place will give you peace of mind, knowing that your tank is free of Hydra or other harmful pests.