Black Worms In Turtle Tank

Black Worms In Turtle Tank: What Are They? Removal Guideline

If you’ve just found black worms in your turtle tank and wondering what they’re and where they came from, you’ve come to the right place. So, what are these worms, and can they hurt your turtle?

The black worms in turtle could simply be some insect larvae and aren’t harmful to your turtle. However, they can mature into annoying small flies or pests when they reach the next stage of life.

We have researched the web and multiple turtle forums and found helpful info about black worms in turtle tanks that we have shared below.

What are the little black worms in my aquarium?


Those little black worms in your turtle tank are likely some fly or insect larvae. The wriggly worms may look nasty and make your aquarium look unsightly. But the good thing is that they are harmless to your pet turtles.

Besides your turtle tank, it is common to find these worms in public waters or any water body with favorable conditions.

The black worms could also be annelids, especially the detritus worms, which are also harmless to your turtles. Nonetheless, you don’t want them inside your turtle tank.

What are the little black worms in my aquarium

If the worms tend to wiggle and stay active, you most likely have detritus worms or planaria in your tank. They also tend to reside inside the filter media, and you’ll most likely notice them when you clean your filter.

It is also worth noting that these worms are common in turtle tanks, and almost every experienced turtle owner has encountered them at one point or several times.

The worms tend to be common in aquariums with river pebbles or gravel. This is because the space between the small rocks promotes the buildup of organic waste out of sight. And these worms thrive on this waste.

What are the black worms in my turtle tank filter?

You may also notice black worms in your turtle tank’s filter media. These are essentially the same type of worms in the tank, only that they’re hiding inside the filter.

They’re found inside the filter because it carries organic waste, which offers good breeding grounds for them.

What are the black worms in my turtle tank filter

You can eliminate the worms inside your filter by replacing the filter media more regularly. Investing in a larger, more efficient filter can also help.

(More details in our next section on dealing with black worms in the filter coming up later in this post).

Where do the black worms in my turtle tank come from?

One possible explanation for these worms is that the adult insect could have laid eggs in your turtle tank. Or the eggs could have been transported to your turret tank through food and plants.

See also  Why Is My Turtle Tank Cloudy And How To Clear It?

When you overfeed your turtles, you unintentionally supply these worms with the food they need to thrive inside your tank. The excess food and turtle waste stay in the tank and rot.

It will then produce bacteria that these black worms require to appear in your tank. As a result of these favorable conditions, they reproduce, and their numbers multiply inside the tank.

Where do the black worms in my turtle tank come from

TIP: We advise you to carefully check any new turtles, plants, or decorations before buying to ensure they carry no worms that might contaminate your tank. Avoid adding any unhealthy-looking plants or creatures to your aquarium.

Also read: Bubbles In Turtle Tank

How to get rid of black worms in turtle tank?

Practicing proper turtle tank hygiene is the best way to prevent these works from appearing in the tank.

How to get rid of black worms in turtle tank

Below are some key tips to help you achieve a worm-free turtle habitat:

Regular water changes can help

The first thing to do to keep your tank worm-free is to clean it regularly. Make sure you make partial water changes, up to 50%, every week to help keep things fresh and clean.

You can also count on a vacuum cleaner to help eliminate all the visible worms inside your tank.

Clean all the other tank accessories

Keeping your tank clean also involves cleaning the substrate, decoration, and any other item inside the turtle tank with the help of bleach.

Remove all these items from your tank and soak them in bleach solution for approx. 5 minutes to clean them.

Then, rinse them with tap water and put them back in after around 3-4 hours when they have completely dried.

Regularly replacing the filter media will also help in keeping your tank clean at all times.

Always remove any uneaten food from the tank

Any leftover food in your turtle tank is a food source for these worms and will only encourage them to multiply in numbers. Make sure you get rid of uneaten food after every feeding session.

Also, avoid overfeeding your turtle to reduce the presence of leftover foods in the tank. Lack of food means the worms will die and won’t reproduce.

WARNING: Some medicines are available at pet stores to kill black worms. However, they may contain harmful chemicals that are unsafe for your turtle and aquarium plants, so you may want to avoid them and stick to the natural methods we have discussed above.

See also  Why Is My Turtle Tank Cloudy And How To Clear It?

How to remove black worms from your turtle tank filter?

The filter is one of the places where you’ll find these worms. If your filter is already infested, you can remove these worms by cleaning the filter with hot water and soaking it for up to an hour.

How to remove black worms from your turtle tank filter

Follow the steps we’ve outlined below to remove the worms inside the filter:

Step 1. Remove your fitter setup from the tank completely

Step 2. Detach the internal filter and thoroughly clean it using hot tap water. Clean the remaining filter apertures under hot water as well.

Step 3. Pour some hot water into a bowl and then soak all your filter items inside for approx. one hour.

Step 4. Now wash your filter again using tap water.

Step 5. Finally, make a partial (up to 50%) water change in your turtle tank and install the filter back in place.


1. Are the back worms in my turtle tank dangerous to my turtles?

No, these black worms will not harm your turtles, and you don’t have to worry about anything bad happening to your pet. Unlike what most people tend to think, these worms are not internal turtle parasites. However, their prescience in your tank can make it look unsightly, so it’s important to get rid of them.

2. How do you detect black worms in your turtle tank?

The black worms are easily visible inside your turtle tank with your naked eyes. They feature a dark coloring that you can easily detect in an aquarium with clear water.

Related: Bugs In Turtle Tank

Final Word

Little black worms are a common occurrence in turtle tanks. These worms are usually insect larvae or detritus worms, which are harmless to your turtle.

Nonetheless, they’re unnecessary intruders in your aquarium, and we advise you to get rid of them as soon as they appear. A thorough tank cleanup is the best way to eliminate these worms from your tank.

The tips we’ve discussed above on how to clean up your tank will help you remove these undesired worms from your little friend’s habitat.

Black Worms In Turtle Tank

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