View Full Version : what in the world?! help!

01-27-2007, 04:14 PM
well this morning i was jacking around in the tank moving plants around and doing some trimming when i noticed about 1" of my anacharis hovering above the rest. upon further investigation i noticed what appeared to be a web stuck to it. now being a newbie to this i was sure it wasn't a spider but when i looked at the stalk of the plant i saw a G.D. caterpillar munching is little @$$ off. after searching a little harder i found a couple of more. i was like WTF, an aquatic caterpillar web and all. i never read anything about this. how i get rid of them?????? i did however cut the infected plant areas off and got them out of the tank but i'm sure there are more lurking around in there. my camera batteries are dead as a door knob or i would definitely post some pix of this cat. need help please, thanks.

Lady Hobbs
01-27-2007, 04:37 PM
It probably come in on the plant. could have just been a few eggs attached and they hatched. I think you need to do a very good gravel cleaning to get them out of there. They may also be tank worms and not caterpillows. I would also add some salt and turn the heat up to kill them off.

OOPS. Now I see you have a Betta in the tank? Salt is no good then, I don't think, but possibly a parasite killer will be needed. Someone else can help you more here, I hope.

01-27-2007, 04:41 PM
wow, that's crazy. I've never heard of caterpillars in a tank before. Do you think they could have come in on a new plant? Do you wash your plants before introducing them?

If caterpillars are supposed to turn into butterflies, I'd hate to think what this kind could turn into.

I did some research to see what I could find, and it seems that some larvae do exist under water. Here's some info I found, but it's pretty general. If you could describe what it looks like better, that would help.

Lepidoptera (aquatic caterpillars)

The larvae are very similar to terrestrial caterpillars with distinct heads, short thoracic legs and ventral prolegs on some abdominal segments. Some species have long paired gills down the length of the abdomen. Wing pads are not present. Aquatic caterpillars are similar to some beetle larva but beetle larvae lack abdominal prolegs. Aquatic fly larvae may also be confused with caterpillars but lack the three pairs of thoracic legs.

This is from someone on another forum with the same question and here was the answer:

Sounds like you have some caddis fly larvae in your tank. My guess is
they got in there in the form of eggs from pond grown plants. These larvae
are the ones that "hatch" into caddis flies, duplicated in their many
variations by fly fishermen with feathers, fur etc.

The larvae make a silk tube which they cover with small bits of sand,
gravel, bits of vegetation or small twigs, even snail shells. Most species
are filter feeders, though some are predacious on small forms of aquatic

I'm not sure of the easiest way to rid your tank of them, but my guess
is if you kept trout, they'd be gone in short time <g>.

Hope this is, if not helpful, at least interesting....

and here's a picture of the caddisfly larvae:


Does that look like your caterpillar? If you try googling "aquatic caterpillars" you also get a few results.

01-27-2007, 04:41 PM
Well i cant really help you, but i hope you get rid of them!

01-27-2007, 04:59 PM
i forgot that i have a web cam (never gets used) that can take still pix. let's see if i can upload the pix. this is about as good as i can get. damn glasstapper i think you hit it right on the head.

01-27-2007, 05:02 PM
hobbs, tha bettas are not in the tank. it's still cycling. 0 ammonia, 2 nitrite, 10 nitrate. it's almost done, the nitrites are down from 5. how much salt and how high of temp?

01-27-2007, 09:12 PM
WTF??? ive never had those. It'll be a bitc% to get em out.

01-27-2007, 09:20 PM
You can send the larve to me! They make damn good trout bait!

01-27-2007, 10:41 PM
You can send the larve to me! They make damn good trout bait!i just may do that! if i start seeing them again (which i probably will) i'll just cut off the piece where they are and send them to you.:ezpi_wink1:

01-27-2007, 10:42 PM
WTF??? ive never had those. It'll be a bitc% to get em out.my thoughts exactly!