How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Anna Your Own Question
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11544
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
Type Your Reptile Question Here...
Anna is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I found tiny black worms on my filter cartridge in my turtle

Customer Question

I found tiny black worms on my filter cartridge in my turtle tank.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. There are all sorts of infestations your turtle can pick up. I'll have you talk to the Veterinarian who'll sort out what is wrong and help you decide what to do about it. What is the turtle's name and age?
Customer: His name is***** just got him a couple of months ago as a hatchling. I'm not sure his exact age. He is a pink bellied sideneck turtle. I want to make sure the worms are not harmful to him until I can get rid of them completely
JA: How old is Kirby?
Customer: I'm not sure. He is very small. About the size of a 50 cent piece.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Kirby?
Customer: I added a couple of feeder fish about a week ago from the pet store to see if he would chase them or eat them. He hasn't yet, I never had worms before them tho
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I just want to let you know that I am working on your answer, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up.If you are asked to rate my service, please don't do that just yet since we are just beginning. Thank you.
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for waiting.

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 may turn into small flies when they reach their next life stage. These little worms won't harm your turtle, but you probably don't want them in your house. The best solution is a thorough tank cleaning. You'll need to put Kirby 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 apart your filter and clean all the parts. 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.The fish could be responsible. I would take them out anyway. Feeder goldfish are not suitable food for turtles. They can carry bacteria that don't affect them, but can make a turtle sick. They also produce a lot of waste which makes it harder to keep your water quality good.

If you have more questions, let me know. I hope you'll quickly be able to get rid of the little pests.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service after you have all the information you need. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. Thank you!