Quantcast

Red bug affects on Acroporas

Help Support Reef Frontiers:

reedman

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
3,255
Location
Mukilteo, WA
Anthony,

I was hoping you could share your observations as to how these "red bugs" affect our acropora species. There has been a lot of talk from various aquarists ranging from "they caused my corals to bleach" to "yeah, they are there, but they don't seem to affect the coral at all". It would be nice to have a more scientific definition of what the bugs affects on acropora are.

Also, is there anything more known now about how they are kept in check in nature? Natural predators?

Thanks,
-Reed
 

Anthony Calfo

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
1,183
Location
Pennsylvania
cheers, Reed :)

good question my friend. The answer is not very "cut and dry", but the solution is: quarantine. Ever since I was a child aquarist breeding fishes, it was impressed upon me the need for quarantine as a critical aspect of animal husbandry.

I have always quarantined... and those aquarists and (all) aquatic scientists that do too do not suffer from such plague organisms.

I frankly have little sympathy for folks that have been made aware of the need for quarantine and then choose to ignore it. Its a blatant disregard for life when taking living animals into ones charge. Anything wet (plants, algae, fishes, corals,LR, LS, etc) can commute a parasite, pest or predator into the aquarium... and everything new/wet must be quarantined for 4 weeks minimum... 8 weeks better still. For this bit of patience, you get an insurance policy against your (display/systems) considerable investment of time, money and creatures lives (most importantly).

I have never had red bugs. So my experience is limited in speaking to it.

There are more than a few species that garner the name "red bugs"

Most seem to be quite harmless to me. And in cases when they are thought to be harming coral, I think they are more likely a symptom of the real problem (stress, water quality, allelopathy, etc) that is weakening the coral and not the problem itself.

... much like acoel flatworms in tanks with inadequate water flow/higher nutrients.

And like Aiptasia, "Anemonia", Myrionema (hydroids) etc, they are not rampant in the wild but rather exploit conditions in captivity that favor them (just like nuisance algae).

Nobody "gets infected" by someone elses coral, too... we "infect" our own systems by poor or absent QT procedure.

I chuckle every time someone complains "X LFS" or "X aquarist" "gave me" "X predator or nuisance organism"

At some point we have to take responsibility as conscientious human beings.

I do not fault new aquarists that have not heard of QT before at all.

I do(!) however fault seasoned aquarists that read hobby literature at length (message boards, mags, books, hobby clubs) yet still buy creatures they do not know if they can keep (big Naso tangs, azooxanthellate corals, etc) or do not QT out of sheer laziness.

It just boggle my mind that anyone would set up a tank worth thousands of dollars and risk the lives of countless creatures and the success of their tank all for not wanting to spend $50 on a QT tank and have 4 weeks of patience.

getting back to your questions, in summary:

- there are at least several species of "red bug" currently observed in the hobby trade. Some are surely harmless and some are likely harmful
- red bugs are not rampant in healthy ecosystems (wild or aquaria)
- coral suffering/losses are more likely due to a principal stress/problem in the system that also causes the red bugs to flourish... the red bugs themselves are merely a response IMO
-any/all such creatures can easily be seen and screened in Quarantine to prevent them from ever entering the main system or display.

I hope this helps mate :)

The need for QT and address of nuisance organisms really is a big issue and easily handled preventatively.

kindly,

Anthony
 

reedman

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
3,255
Location
Mukilteo, WA
Thanks Anthony.

I completely agree with the QT philosophy (even though I don't have a QT tank yet ;)). So do you believe that a healthy home aquarium will manage the populations of these various "bugs" on it's own through its owners good husbandry?

I'm looking at this from the "oh crap I have bugs" stand point. For someone who looks in their tank and sees these things and doesn't want to kill all of their crustaceon population with a drug intended for dogs, do they have a hope of "healing" the tank through good husbandry, or do they have to tear the tank apart to quarentine the corals for treatment? I don't know if you can/want to answer this since you have QT everything and do not have the little beasties.

Thanks again,
-Reed
 

Anthony Calfo

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
1,183
Location
Pennsylvania
I do feel that once infected they can easily be reduced and managed.

I use the term "infected" loosely too as most of our aquariums have a long list of nasties that are unseen or not dominant that could boom in population if/when conditions are right.

With good aquarium husbandry though... aiptasia simply do not flourish, nuisance algae lingers indefinitely in small patches, etc. Some aquarists understand and appreciate this without getting worries/upset when they see it. Truly so, it all can be controlled easily.

Indeed, I would not use dog tick insecticides in tank full of (desirable) arthropods no more than I'd use an anti-biotic (definition: "against-life") to "cure" cyanobacteria. You will(!) kill far more good things than bad. Its treating the symptom and not the problem too, after all.

I'd recommend increased water flow, aggressive skimming (you can literally skim things as large as acoel flatworms out of the system if they are blasted/kept in suspension long enough... just look at the rust-brown color of your skimmate in infected tanks).

And I would gently manually siphon them off with a concerted, temporary increase in water changes. Say... weekly 25% or greater for a month.

Definitely no need to tear a tank down for any such pest! no worries.

FWIW :)
 

Mike HArrington

Who Me?
Joined
Sep 3, 2004
Messages
136
Location
Michigan
It is eye opening when you see the little red bugs in your tank and think "man I shoud have".... I removed two acro pora frags that were in my tank (a new set uP) because I saw them cramling on them. I admit I panicked a bit and acted first and thought later!

The good news is I am setting up a QT now and will be following the QT regimen from now on. I guess sometimes it takes a little knock in the tail to realize that it is not a bad thing to take that extra step and QT.
 

Anthony Calfo

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
1,183
Location
Pennsylvania
good top hear of the realization, Mike :) You will be a far happier and more successful aquarist for it and likely preach reminders of the need and benefits of QT to others in time :D

Most of us unfortunately learn of the need for QT the hard way.
 

Mike HArrington

Who Me?
Joined
Sep 3, 2004
Messages
136
Location
Michigan
Yes,

Some lessons only experience (albeit a bad one) can really teach. A 10 gallon tank is far cheaper than a total tank wipe out in the long run and less traumatic than watching you corals and fish die
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

Latest posts

Top