URGENT? White dots in aquarium

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Jan 22, 2023
This morning I woke up and theres white dots in my aquarium?

Floating all around were some really small, white dots, it sort of looked like they were following the current of the water but it also looked like they kind of moved in random directions?

Here are the three most recent changes to my aquarium:
1. Started adding aquarium co-op easy iron last week
2. Added an aquarium co-op root tab last night
3. Transplanted a tiger lotus bulb from one tank to this one last night. Gave it a thorough rinsing and it has been in my other tank for at least 2 years.

I'm guessing these dots could come from either change 1 or 3 but you never know. Last water change was a week and a half ago. 10gal low tech tank. NO FISH. Only plants in tank. Are these debris or microorganisms?

Physical Characteristics:
- White, round, very, very small
- Moves around fast for their size, but not sporadic
- I thought I saw one white worm thing, but I lost it, it doesn't look like the small dots.

Are these something to worry about? They were not only floating around but it seemed like they would attach to the walls for a minute or so, climb a bit, then detach and float around.

I did some research but nothing I could find.

They were really miniscule, looked lifelike if I stared at them for a bit but a camera is in no way detailed enough to catch that.

If these do not bother plants or fish then I'm ok with their presence, but I just want to know what they are.

Thank you for any help.


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Did the lotus bulb come with soil & a pot? Terrestrial plants often have beads of fertilizer in the soil. I’d remove a few, place in shallow conditioned water & observe.
Ostracods seem a ton bigger than what I have, but I wont yet rule them out.
Copepods look more like what I have, but they still seem more lifelike than what I have.
Ill check again tonight, however. Thank you!
Can you remove some from the tank & photograph?
Those can be Planaria. When you look at the pics of them online they are flatworms on the glass. But I have had them, tiny little things flying around in the tank / like swimming, must be babies or something. Start watching for them to be stuck on the glass. They look like thin worms, a little like strings, whitish.

If you find out it is what they are (maybe it is not), some info:


Hello all,
Thank you all for your help and suggestions, it has aided me very very much in understanding what these are.

My absolute best guess about these white dots is that they are copepods.
I have also found detritus worms I believe.

As for what I'm seeing based on research mine are quite small and there are very few of them. I have also noticed that they are actually in another tank of mine as well. Seeing as they are beneficial, I am fine with their presence, but I still don't know if I should be ecstatic about them being out of the gravel. I will be performing a water change tonight.

My best guess for their presence now is a previous nutrient imbalance.
I think my tank was lacking in Iron and now I've been adding Iron so maybe the previous conditions meant they couldn't live in my tank?
No idea.

Let me know if there are any possible reasons why these have just now appeared in my waters as I am quite curious.

As for them being planaria that scares me quite a bit, but the two or three "worm" things I've seen are much too thin and long to be planaria from what you've shown me. I'll keep you posted however as mine are not as long as the detritus worms I've seen in pictures.

Is there something wrong with my water parameters for them to be out of the substrate? Are there any fixes to this?

Thanks again and I'll let you all know what happens after my water change :)
Maybe vacuum the substrate and watch about not over feeding. Feeding a little bit a couple times a day is better than all at once. And also you can skip a day once in awhile. The worms are usually most present when over feeding. Good luck to you on getting isn't worked out. It's an eco system too.
What's odd is that I don't have fish nor do I feed the tank.

I only use fertilizer/root tabs.

Is that the potential cause?

Are they good for my tank? I did a water change and they just came back. As long as they don't hurt any future fish or eat my plants I'm fine with their presence. I've seen a few articles saying they're beneficial as long as there aren't too many of them. Is that true? I don't think I have that many personally.
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