red bugs

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Aug 5, 2003
Heres some information I wrote up today on red mites...
RED MITES Dreaded Acro Parasites?
I would like everyones input so I can put as much info as possible on my website about these pests.
If you want to share info or pictures please send me an email at redbugs(at)


Reef Keeper
Jul 5, 2003
Excellent write up Dave, great pics. I think this one is going to be a tough one for anyone to make a call on as its the kinda thing that need to have a study done on. But again a great write up, congrates. I am going to put it in our library as an informational link.




Well-known member
Jun 27, 2003
Mukilteo, WA
I have heard a lot about the red mites ... I have yet to see any in my tank yet (that I know of). I am willing to bet they are more prevelant than we all believe. The question is, are they truly the demise of our coral? That I don't know. There is definately anecdotal evidence from reefers, but like Mike said, no hard studies done on them. I have not heard of any sure fire way of erradicating them from a tank, just taking out a coral piece and dipping them won't do the trick as they are likely many places in your system.

Good topic though, that's for sure.


Jul 24, 2003
I've heard and read quite abit about them too, and it seems I also get to observe them first hand.

They have began to infest my tank slowly, now being spotted on every colored stag I have, totalling *5* in number (see below)... They have also been spotted on one of three "brown (under my lighting anyways)" w/ blue tip A. humilis, but have left the three gold/green A. humilis alone. My wild Acro sp. is left untouched, as is a fuzzy acro frag and another un-id'd acro frag.

These last 2 frags are the sus"pest"ed culprits for introduction into my tank. I acquired them from F-n-F (RC/RAG) at the last local frag swap, the second week of June. They were the only acros I brought home from the swap, and the only new Acros since Nov of last year. The 3rd week of June, my tank popped a seal and needed torn down and replaced. After setting the tank back up, the mites were noticed for the first time.

I'm not completely sure these mites are harmful directly, but indirectly I feel they can do some damage. Above, I mentioned having *5* stags infested. Well, one of those stags (blue-tip) slowly bleached over a weeks time and died. I cannot directly attribute this to the mites though, because I never witnessed them on this coral (hadn't spotted them until after it died), and the fact that the tank had been recently torn apart and replaced. Although tests showed everything in safe reasons, who's to say I didn't upset something you can't test for? So this one gets put in the "?" zone.

What I *HAVE* witnessed on the corals infested with the mites is that there seem to be no apparent harmful affects of having a few of these mites on any particular coral. However, once they begin to amass in a locale, I have noticed a slow bleaching over a few days time in that area. Is it maybe possible that the coral just isn't getting the amount of light it is used to? A swarm of these amphipods would go a long way in blocking out the path of light to the coral, IMO. However, it's also possible that a massive number of them are required to overtake a coral before it submisses finally.

I have been able to remove most of them with a turkey basting when the "problem" spots appear, where the bugs are amassing. A few of the bugs are still there hanging on tight after blowing them really well, but most of them disappear. Because my corals are cemented onto the rocks by now, I cannot attempt dips, and I'm not about to add an occulating slime remover agent to my tank. I value the biological cycle of my tank, thank you very much :) So for now, until I see that I'm losing this bug war, the bastings are as far as I go, and only to the extent of when they begin to amass in big numbers.

Sorry, I don't have a camera with a nice enough macro to even get a speck of color of these guys on the acros. However, I can see them with the naked eye as red specks. On my corals, they are rather easy to spot, although super hard to distinguish anything beyond a "speck". if watched for a few moments, they move quickly across the corals surface. There are many others who have had much better luck getting cloesup observations of these critters, so I'm going to leave the rest of ID'ing them to those folks.

I've only had a chance to observe them for a short time, but so far I have seen a definite bleaching coinciding to an amassment of mites on one rose tip stag, in an isolated circular pattern on it's base. Hopefully you can see it in the attached picture.

Like GH, I'm not currently trading any of my acro species (infested or not), although I'm not letting it stop me from getting more. I'm going to need a little more scientific proof that these pods are detrimental before I can make that leap of faith. So far, there just isn't enough evidence for me to base an opinion (in my own personal experience). Remember, bristleworms used to be the devil himself, right :oops: