The Benefits Of Scuds In Your Aquarium

Last Updated on 2023-08-08

If you’re wondering what the shrimp-looking things are in the substrates of your tank, they are probably scuds. These little stowaways on your new aquatic plants might be good live food for your fish, but if you don’t pay close attention to them, they can cause problems in your aquarium. With the proper knowledge, scud infestation in your aquarium can be a simple problem. Read on to learn more about scuds and which fish can deal with them well. Or if you want to get rid of scuds on your own.

What Are Scuds in Fish Tank?

Scuds are popular as bottom-dwellers and side-swimmers because they eat food at the bottom of the fish tank. These aquarium bugs live in streams, rivers, lakes, swamps, and ponds with fresh water. They are so common in nature that you can find them in almost every body of freshwater. The scientific name for these animals is “Amphipoda,” but most people call them “scuds.” 

They can live in many different kinds of environments, which helps them have a lot of babies. Because of this, they can multiply quickly in the tank and be hard to get rid of. Scuds are aggressive eaters that mostly eat algae, but they can also eat shrimp larvae, shells, and other things, which can be a problem when shrimp are molting.

Scuds are part of the most prominent animal family we know of so far. At least 10,000 kinds of scud exist, and that number keeps growing. About 2000 of these species live in bodies of freshwater. So, it’s hard to know what kind of scud might be in your tank.

How Do Scuds Get In Your Aquarium?

It’s easy to bring scuds into your tank by accident. Scuds are usually found in freshwater aquariums and are typically added when you add new plants. They are even found to come from new substrates or newly introduced fish. Baby scuds can hide pretty well in plants, especially moss, and they often ride along on the underside of the leaves of most water plants. 

Scuds are typically too small to see, but they begin to take over the tank after a few weeks. They will start to reproduce once you put them in your aquarium. Scuds usually hide in the gravel at the bottom of your aquarium, where other fish can’t see them. When their numbers grow, which usually happens quickly, you’ll start to see them.

As with many other scavengers, you will see a lot of scuds crowding around food. They usually prefer to eat tender parts of aquatic plants. When there isn’t much moss left in your tank, you will frequently find them in more significant numbers.

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How To Get Rid Of Scuds In Aquariums

If you’ve put some beautiful new aquatic plants in your tank, you may have noticed that strange little white creatures are moving around on the substrate a few weeks later. Maybe they are scuds, which became a popular topic in the aquarium world long ago. Having them around can pose a risk for your fish and your aquariums, and getting rid of them is a good idea. Here are some ways of getting rid of scuds in aquariums.

1. Use Planaria Traps

Planaria traps can also be used to get rid of scuds, which may take a long time. This stuff works well if there are few scud colonies yet. Just add a tiny bit of shrimp or fish food to the bulb end of the vial, plant it onto the substrate in your aquarium or lie it down on its side.

2. Carbon Dioxide Nuke

Plenty of aquarium water should be drained before treating the remaining water with seltzer water, sparkling mineral water, or soda water to eliminate scuds. This could raise the PH level and kill the scuds without hurting the plants. But before you do this, ensure your pets are in their tanks.

3. Copper Treatment

Salt will only be enough if you have a severe scud infestation in your freshwater aquarium. You’ll have to use a copper-based treatment to get rid of scuds for good. You can buy copper sulfate at your local fish store or online. Make sure to carefully follow the instructions on the package.

4. Freezing the Aquarium

Scuds don’t do well in the cold, so we could get rid of scuds by freezing them. Take out everything alive from your aquarium and ensure they don’t take unwanted scuds with them. Drain as much as possible, then put the tank in a freezer, or put it out if it’s cold outside. 

5. Clean the Aquarium with Hydrogen Peroxide

Move all the plants, fish, shrimp, and snails in the tank to a quarantine aquarium but check carefully to get rid of scuds before putting them in a quarantine aquarium. Then use hydrogen peroxide to clean, scrub, and treat your aquarium, equipment, driftwood, stone, and other decorations. Lay everything out in the sun for a few days to dry. Make sure to change the filter media or sponge.

6. Buy Fish That Eats Scud

You can introduce a new fish to your aquarium tank. Many tropical and loach-type fish eat most Gammarus families as one of their primary food sources in the wild. One thing to keep in mind is that your fish may need some time to clear out the scuds in your tank.

What Fish Eat Scuds?

One of the worst things about scuds is how quickly they can make more of themselves. Getting rid of them can be very difficult once they are in your tank. Fish can help reduce the number of scuds, but they can’t completely eradicate them. The fish that consume scuds are listed below.

1. Loaches

The majority of loach fish species live happily on the bottom, making them excellent scud eaters. Typically, species such as zebra botia, clown loach, and macracantha botia are recommended.

2. Cichlids 

The cichlid family is known for having many colorful, pretty fish that eat scuds. However, it is also known for being hostile and fighting among itself and other fish species, so carefully choose its tankmates.

3. Pygmy Sunfish

Pygmy sunfishes are small freshwater fish with iridescent colors and fascinating mating rituals that make them popular aquarium fish. It is well-known that these fish prefer scuds, smaller live worms, insects, or crustaceans to commercially prepared fish food.

4. Betta

Bettas have always been a favorite among fish keepers and aquarium lovers. They have stunningly attractive fins and a reputation for aggression. Bettas are commonly kept as pets, and they eat scuds as a staple in their diet due to their popularity as live food.

5. Molly

Molly fish from freshwater has been a favorite among fishkeepers for a long time. These fish come in a wide variety and require little maintenance. Make sure your tank has no hiding places, so your mollies can find the scuds and eat them.

Do Guppies Eat Scuds?

Freshwater fish called guppies are very well-liked by aquarium hobbyists. They are known for their brightly colored bodies and their friendly demeanor. Guppies are an excellent choice for novice fishkeepers because they are also known for being relatively simple to care for. One question that sometimes comes up about guppies is whether or not they eat scuds. 

Scuds are a type of small crustacean that sometimes hitch a ride in aquariums on live plants. While guppies are not known to be particularly interested in scuds, they will occasionally nibble on them if they are hungry enough. However, guppies are mostly herbivorous fish, so they should be fed a diet rich in plant matter. As a result, even though guppies occasionally eat scuds, they shouldn’t be relied upon as a food source.

Will Bettas Eat Scuds?

One of the worst things about scuds is how quickly they can make more of themselves. Once they are in your tank, it can be difficult to get rid of them. Fish can help reduce the number of scuds, but they can’t completely eradicate them.

Everyone knows that Betta fish are aggressive hunters, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they’re very good at getting rid of scuds. However, they can only be in a tank with a few other fish. So it’s better to keep enough aquatic pets in your aquarium if you have them. 

To take care of your Betta fish, remember that they live in warm places. They need water that is between 75 and 80 degrees and is found in tropical areas. The pH of the water should be about 7, and it should have as little ammonia and nitrate as possible (ideally zero).

Will Neon Tetras Eat Scuds?

Popular freshwater aquarium fish known for their vivid colors and calm personalities are neon tetras. They typically get along well with other fish and are frequently kept in communal tanks. However, Neon tetras are omnivores, consuming just about anything that fits into their mouths. 

This includes small invertebrates like scuds. While scuds are not particularly harmful to Neon tetras, they can compete with the fish for food. In addition, scuds may carry diseases or parasites that could infect the fish. For these reasons, keeping Neon tetras and scuds together in the same tank is generally not recommended.

Do Gouramis Eat Scuds?

Since gouramis are omnivores, they will consume almost anything. Their diet consists of tiny insects, crustaceans, and other microscopic organisms in the wild. Additionally, they will occasionally eat plants. Gouramis can be fed various foods while they are kept in captivity, including pellets, flakes, live food, and frozen food. Live foods like brine shrimp or daphnia are popular for aquarists to feed their gouramis.

This is because live food contains more nutrients than processed food. It is also thought to be more natural and, therefore, more satisfying for the fish. While Gouramis will eat just about anything, they prefer meaty foods. This means that scuds are likely to be on their menu. So if you’ve got a community tank with Gouramis and scuds, you probably don’t have to worry about overfeeding your fish!

What Do Scuds Eat?

Scuds are experts at finding food from whatever is around them. They are skilled generalists who can break down a wide range of organic materials. Here are seven things scud in the aquarium.

1. Algae

Scuds are known to be voracious algae eaters. They will quickly clean up an aquarium if algae are abundant. They are especially fond of diatoms and green algae.

2. Bacteria

Scuds also consume large quantities of bacteria, which helps to keep the aquarium clean and free of disease. They eat both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.

3. Detritus

Detritus is a fancy word for fish waste, uneaten food, dead plants, and other decaying organic matter. Scuds help to clean up this waste and keep the aquarium tidy.

4. Plant Matter

Scuds are not fussy eaters and consume most plant matter, including live plants. If you have a scud infestation, you may see your plants getting eaten.

5. Small Invertebrates

Scuds will also predate on small invertebrates, such as baby snails, shrimp, and worms. If you want to keep a population of these animals in your aquarium, this could be a problem.

6. Food Scraps

Scuds are not above scavenging for food scraps and will often be seen rummaging through the gravel for something to eat.

7. Anything Else!

Scuds are truly remarkable creatures and eat anything they can find. If there is food available, they will eat it. This makes them both a boon and a bane to the aquarium keeper!

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How To Deal With Scuds In A Planted Tank

Scuds can be both a blessing and a curse in the aquarium. By eating algae and debris, they contribute to keeping the tank clean. They can also decimate a population of small invertebrates. If you have scuds in your aquarium, here are seven ways you can deal with them.

1. Manual Removal

The easiest way to deal with scuds is to remove them from the tank manually. This can be done with a net or by hand. Just be careful not to damage your plants in the process.

2. Physical Barriers

Scuds can be prevented from getting to your plants by creating physical barriers. This can be done with mesh or netting placed over the top of the tank.

3. Chemical Barriers

Scuds can also be deterred by chemicals. Copper is known to be effective at keeping scuds away. A CopperSafe product can be used to add copper to the tank.

4. Biological Controls

If you have fish in your aquarium, they may help to control the scud population. Some fish, such as loaches and certain catfish, are known to eat scuds.

5. Predators

There are also a number of invertebrate predators that will eat scuds. These include certain types of shrimp, crabs, and snails.

6. Fungicides

If the scuds are causing problems by eating your plants, you can use a fungicide to kill them. This should be used as a last resort, as it can also kill beneficial bacteria.

7. Scud Traps

You can also make your own scud traps by baiting them with algae or detritus. The scuds will be attracted to the bait and then get trapped when they try to eat it.


Are Scuds Good Or Bad For Aquariums

In the aquarium, scuds are beneficial to fish because they are considered a nutritious food source. It also contributes to the tank’s ecosystem, which helps the fish feel more attuned to their natural environment.

Scuds Vs. Daphnia

Daphnias are more tolerant of low water quality, cleaners than scuds, and a great food source for the aquarium’s smaller fish. The fact that daphnias are sometimes unsightly is the only real difficulty most people have with them. They also frequently improve the spawning activity and bright colors of fish.

How Fast Do Scuds Reproduce

A female scud ovulates an average of 22 eggs every 11 days and might give birth to 24,221 eggs in a year. Scuds develop rapidly, molting up to nine times in a lifetime (every 3-40 days), which contributes to their high reproductive rate. They can start mating after only a month under optimal conditions, according to UWM Edu.

Do Scuds Eat Algae

Scuds are omnivores that will eat just about everything, though they do have a preference for living organisms like algae, fungi, and bacteria. They prey on any fresh dead plants and animals they can find, and they occasionally even assault tiny living organisms, says the Maine Department of Environmental Protection

Can Scuds Live With Fish

The rapid reproduction of scuds makes them an ideal food source for micro predators, allowing them to cohabit with fish. Your fish will have access to a seemingly endless supply of fresh food this way. They are not picky about their environment because they can survive in a variety of conditions and have a high capacity for adaptation.

Will Scuds Eat Fish Eggs

Scuds will l consume fish eggs due to their voracious appetite. Scuds won’t eat grown fish, though.

Do Scuds Eat Live Plants

When scuds that feed on algae get really hungry, they’ll eat other plants. If you have plants but no algae, providing the scuds with anything that has algae can prevent them from eating your plants.

Do Scuds Eat Hornwort

Hornworts are a favorite food of the scuds. In most cases, they won’t bother with the more challenging parts of a leaf and will instead eat only the tender pieces. Specifically, they like to feast on delicate plant parts.

How Big Do Scuds Get

It was mentioned by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection that scuds might range in size from 5 to 20 mm. They are easily identifiable due to their comma-shaped bodies, which are considerably flattened from side to side. In addition to its two sets of antennae, scuds also have seven sets of legs.

Do Scuds Need Light

Scuds can function in the dark. It will help improve water quality and give your scuds a food source by increasing algae growth. Incorporating it has this benefit.

Will Scuds Eat Daphnia

Daphnia are safe from scuds, yet they will still compete for food with these crustaceans. In the broader environment, scuds may become violent and predatory, eating all of the daphnia because they eat everything soft.

Can You Use Chemicals To Remove Scuds From Fish Tank?

Carbonated water, among other things, can be used to eliminate scuds from a fish tank. In a short amount of time, the CO2 levels in the tank will rise to dangerously high levels, eliminating any chance of dissolved oxygen survival. Because the chemicals used to remove the scuds are equally harmful to your fish, you must first separate the fish before you can eradicate them.

Are Scuds Harmful to Plants?

Scuds are beneficial to fish tanks because they consume recently dead plants, but they are also harmful because they feed on live plants that are overly delicate, a condition that scuds are primarily drawn to.

Are Scuds Harmful to Snails?

Most freshwater snails get their nutrition from algae, decomposing plant matter, dead fish, and uneaten fish food snails need calcium for healthy development and a sturdy shell. Due to the increased competition for food, scuds are hazardous to snails.

Are Scuds Harmful to Shrimp?

Shrimps should not be kept with scuds if the goal is to breed them. Due to the aggressiveness of scuds to food, since scuds eat decaying matter inside the fish tank, shrimps would have to compete with them, throwing the ecosystem out of balance.


Scuds are small, shrimp-like creatures that can be both a blessing and a curse in the aquarium. They are voracious eaters and will consume algae, bacteria, detritus, plant matter, and small invertebrates. If you have scuds in your aquarium, you can deal with them by manually removing them, creating physical or chemical barriers, using biological controls, or making scud traps. Hope that this article was helpful in educating you on how to handle scuds in your aquarium.

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