Leech Differences: Buffalo Leeches & Medical Leeches and Aquarium Setup

Posted by Tsetsi Stoyanova on

Hey my lovely friends, thank you for visiting me in Sunny London! Today I have a special surprise for you: I'm going to show you my collection of buffalo leeches, which you have probably never seen in your life before.

At the same time as I'm showing you my Buffalo Leeches, I'm going to show you how to set up a Leech Aquarium in case you've never done it before, there are some different things you can do to make your leeches be in a more fun environment. So before we get started I want to show you the differences between the different species.

So to start I'm going to show you: these are the regular Hirudo medicinalis, which is your typical normal leech: so let me show you what they look like: they have the brown tummy and then they have the very colorful back.. the little dots on the back.... and this one is wanting to bite me. So this what Hirudo medicinalis look like. They are generally brown one more.. brown with the orange dots.

OK, now I'm going to show you a different species. I believe it is called in Latin Hirudo melanisis? [Hirudinaria maniliensis] If I'm not mistaken, and that is also known as the Buffalo Leech. Now I've got them set up here.. they are babies. They are quite homogenous in color... they are not very colorful like the other ones.. you see they've got the green tummy not the brown one.

Hopefully you can see, but they both want to bite me and I'm really scared of them, which is why I don't want to keep them on my palm for too long.

So I have already fed one of them... I fed him the other day on my neck...and you can see I am not sure where it is but I should have three bites. The bite on this side is the Buffalo Leech, the bites on this side ere the Hirudo medicinalis, OK?

So let me show you the one that bit me. He is a baby, so there's no danger of him biting me... I can safely handle him, so he is pretty much homogenous in color, sort of brownish with spots not colorful spots and has on the side sort of like piano keys in coloration.

Now let me explain to you about the Buffalo Leech. The Buffalo Leeches are very, very lazy creatures. They differ in behavior from Hirudo medicinalis quite a bit. They don't do anything except bury themselves in those rocks and only sit there.

This is the excrement right here.. it's greenish and they have quite a bit of excrement. So they like to stick in the rocks and never much come out. They never, ever come up to the surface of the aquarium and never want to run away. So that is the major behavior difference.

So you see these guys have, first of all, they'll be all over the place, they're all on the sides they always want to come out. You have to have a lid on or you will lose them they will be all over the place. You don't want he Hirudo medicinalis and the Buffalo Leeches in the same type of container and I'll show you what I mean by that. And I have put links below so you can buy all these things at the same place I bought them from.

So over here I have this empty aquarium.

I'm just going to attempt to make a nice bedding for my Buffalo Leeches, just a little prettier than what this is, and I also want to show you what the fed leeches look like.

Hirudo medicinalis leeches fed leeches so you see there is quite a difference between this guy and this guy: they are both fed, and they are both digesting food, and this one is colorful and this one is homogenous on the back and this one has been doing pretty well nothing else but sleeping, and the same thing with Hirudo medicinalis: they also sleep a lot after they've been fed.

They don't do anything else butt they're a bit more active as I said... sometimes they come up, and you can see the difference between the sizes.This is the fed, this is the hungry size, so you see... a huge difference. All right, so let's move on to the aquarium set-up.

I've managed to get my hands on these rocks, which again I'm linking below and where you can buy them. They are exactly tailored for the Buffalo Leech because they're non-toxic and they keep them at the same temperature: they don't modify the temperature

They seem to really enjoy the rocks so I'm just going to set up some rocks and just to make my aquarium prettier, because... who knows.. maybe I'll put my Hirudo medicinalis in the tank instead of the Buffalo Leeches. This going to make any aquarium colorful and this is non-toxic, colorful rocks. Isn’t that awesome?

So. I think that looks great, don't you? And then I also found this beautiful thing, which is called the Rainbow Aquarium Gravel. This is what it looks like and I'm going to open it for you. All right, so it's non-toxic, it is for aquariums specifically, and it should make your aquarium even more looking-looking, so I'm just taking a bit and sprinkling it... it's like those Rainbow Chocolate Sprinkles or something...

Then I'm going to put the rest of my rocks on top, and I'd say this id for my Buffalo Leeches, because they don't tend to come out, so if I was to put Hirudo medicinalis, or my leech pets, in there, they might come out... they might come out and I would have to secure the top of this.

So we're going to go through that with some of the things I've prepared ... rocks also... but I just wanted to show you here... I have some clear non-toxic rocks that I have put for my Hirudo medicinalis leeches.

I'm just going to grab some of these, all right, so I'm going to sprinkle those on top... it's so much fun to play with, isn't it? And so... now I'm ready to transfer my wonderful new friends called the Buffalo Leeches.. I'm ready to transfer them into their new home .

This one's quite a baby: by the way, this is probably looking to eat immediately ... he is so ready... he is immediately ready so I'm putting him in there. How beautiful this looks ... so pretty, it's the perfect pet to have at home...

Look at this... look at how strong the grip of this animal is it's not a lightweight rock, either...it's just a full-weigh6 white rock.... look, they're all like that...

The Buffalo Leech, by the way, becomes THIS BIG in size...it's absolutely huge. People who raise them and feed them on their arm.. the suction is about this large...I have a friend, who is nurturing them and waiting for them to become this big. I'm not sure how many of them I have... about nineteen or twenty of them... I have a link below where you can buy Buffalo Leeches as well.

So now they're in their new home, they are just going to chill out... they are not going to start swimming like these guys do... they are the dancers, they do the “Leech Dance”, especially when their water is new, and their environment is new.

These guys just chill out, they do nothing else than chill out... they don't come out through the sides... let me transfer one more since I'm at it...I'll transfer all of them.

Look at that.. amazing strength.. look at that... they're so much fun.

These guys also require warmer temperatures so if you're shipping them or nurturing them in the heat of summer, that's good: they're not going to die in the summer heat.They need at least 25 degrees.

So you see how colorful my aquarium became... See those white rocks with those beautiful leeches inside...I'm just so happy... I love this set-up.

And now to top it off, I've brought different kinds of coverings. So for example you could use this kind of covering and cover the top of the aquarium. I would fold it in four. I have some rubber bands here, just in case they do decide to come out, they’ll be safe inside. And so we have a perfectly suited leech aquarium for your pet Buffalo Leeches with a top, and some of the other tops I'm going to show you .

Now, if you're having these guys, the Hirudo medicinalis, you're definitely going to have to keep them closed ...

They will find the tiniest holes to come out of ... this will give them the opportunity to breathe as well as not come out. The holes are not big enough for them to go through: there are other coverings, with larger holes that would not be suited.

One more kind of covering to see what the difference is but this is my favorite so far...here I have some colorful coverings and you can cover it in pink... like that, or you can cover it in purple, like that... or in blue.. and we have already tried the green.