Small red worms in the garden pond - what to do?
Small red worms that live in the garden pond are no cause for panic. But it is right to take care of the bottom of the pond.
Small Red Worms - Useful & Harmless
Owners of a garden pond often think that there are only animals in the pond when they use them. This idea is wrong, because nature quickly populates water itself. Tadpoles come into the pond via frogs and newts. Even fish and snails, which do not move over land, pass through birds or mammals into the water of small garden ponds.
In this way, even small red worms find their way into waters. They are useful because they live off plant waste and perform the same function as earthworms in the garden soil.
The worms, available as Tubifex in the aquarium trade, are nutritious fish food. They dig in the mud on water bottoms vertically and build on it small vertical tubes. They eat leftovers of fish food and dead plant parts.
The worms are not responsible for bath dermatitis, an itchy rash. These trigger the larvae (cercariae) of worms (trematodes). A confusion with Tubifex is excluded. The colorless cercaria are reminiscent of red worms at no stage of development. In addition, there is no association between the occurrence of the small red worms and the sucking worms.
Measures against garden worms
Although the worms do no harm to other pond dwellers or humans, owners of garden ponds should not ignore them. A sudden appearance in masses is a sign that the pond is organically polluted.
The small red worms are hybrids, ie females and males at the same time, but can not fertilize themselves. They multiply explosively when there is enough food in the garden pond. They often emerge simultaneously with algae, which also show an oversupply of nutrients. Anyone who ignores this multiplication risks flooding the pond water.
The best measure is to remove as much sludge from the bottom of the pond as possible with a vacuum cleaner. A partial water change brings little; the worms indicate that the nutrients are in the mud.
It is also useful to remove dead plants and feed less. In this way, new sludge can be prevented from forming rapidly.
A few red worms, which reach the surface when cleaning the soil, are no problem. If they appear outside of the mud or sit in large lumps in the mud, immediate action is recommended.