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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11434
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I have what appears to be larvae, about 1/4 inch long and dark,

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I have what appears to be larvae, about 1/4 inch long and dark, maybe black, in my turtle tank. I also have these little white moth looking bugs flying all over the inside of the tank and my house! My turtle is young, about 4 inches across and he's a red eared slider my daughter calls Dinozo. These bugs don't seem to be hurting him but they are driving me insane. I have a tricked out tank, a good filter, proper lighting and the heater I was told was best. How do I get rid of these bugs? Cleaning the tank has not worked so far!
Hello and welcome. Thank you for requesting me. It's common to find little worm-like creatures in turtle and fish tanks. They are not internal parasites from your turtle. Such parasites are gray or white. Black worms are most often insect larva. They turn into small flies when they reach their next life stage. These little worms won't harm your turtle, but you certainly don't want them in your house. You'll probably need to do a more thorough tank cleaning. You'll need to put Dinozo someplace safe. Then drain the tank and remove everything. You can use aquarium salt (sold in pet stores) to scrub the tank. Be sure to get the corners as the worms can hide there. Take part your filter and clean all the parts with salt and water. When you're finished, rinse the tank, and reassemble everything. Use de-chlorinated water to refill it.

The worms can be the result of an adult insect laying eggs in your tank or they can be transported in on live foods or plants. If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope you'll quickly be able to get rid of the little pests.


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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It took three days to kill and clean everything completely and I had a small fish tank I planned to use for feeder fish, now his feeding tank, and he is still mad at me, but it's done. He doesn't like going to the small tank for meals but he'll adjust eventually and I made the adjustments to his diet as well. His new digs are awesome and he loves that. I took the opportunity to "remodel" while it was completely taken apart and he has a much more natural terrain and a choice of basking locations. So far no sign of bugs. I have a screen top on the tank and temporarily am using some bamboo place mats I happened to have laying around over the screen. It holes in the heat, keeps out the bugs and looks rather nice! The heat from the lamps is keeping the "open" areas cleared. Thank you so much for your help. My health says I can't go through that again!

I'm happy to hear you got everything under control. It was a lot of work for you. I hope that's the end of the problem.

Thank you for the update.