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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:00 pm 
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I have 55 gl African Chiclid tank that's been wonderful to me for the past 4 years. I recently discovered some kind of infestaion of gnats or fruitflies gathering around the light inside the tank.

Apon closer insepction I noticed these tiny little clear worms/larva with black heads near the surface of the water. I'm sure these "flying" insects are coming from those, but I can't seem to get rid of this problem.

I've tried fluke control, and parasite remover but they keep coming back! Even did a 95% water change and lost a fish because of stress in the process! I'm out of options and I still don't even know what I'm battling.

TIA


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:54 pm 
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Location: Natick
I have also noticed an amount of aphids? on all my tanks. Very strange. They have been there for years and more so on the tanks with plants that reach the surface. But also on the tanks with nothing on the surface but water..

i have had no luck getting rid of them.

Someone once suggested shutting off the air and filter for a short time and covering the top of the tanks with paper towels to try and drown them. I have no idea how long that would take or if it would even work. And how long can you do this for seeing as your shutting the tank down with no water movement and no air pump. an hour or so?

Soooo is it worth trying? Like I said, I haven't tried it yet.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:53 am 
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Location: Upton, MA
The flying insects could either be Fungus Gnats, or the mature males of the Aphids mentioned.

Fungus Gnats have the silvery little larvae, so its most likely these. They are a bit smaller than fruit flies, with a slimmer, black body, and a hovering flight pattern. They cannot survive in water though, and one of the techniques to flush them out of terrestrial plants is to submerge the whole thing. They are drawn to CO2, so my guess is that they are multiplying elsewhere (like in a houseplant you have) and then coming over to your tank. A few misguided ones may lay larvae in some floating plants, but the larvae need air.

Fungus Gnats feed on.... fungus. They do not harm living plant tissue (much like some aquarium snails) but they lay their eggs in soil, and their larvae eat fungus, which is a symptom of dead plant matter. The larvae climb to the surface to pupate into the flying adults. The most common thing with houseplants is that you'll see a rise in population of Fungus Gnats when the plants have had some dieoff of root matter. So, this is often seen as a "symptom" of poor plant root health, such as from OVERWATERING. Overwatering is the number one problem with houseplants. It effectively drowns their roots, which then release a bunch of nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil, promoting fungus (and releasing CO2). Because the adult insects are drawn to CO2 and humidity, they also have an annoying habit of hovering near a person's nostrils.

Plant folks often put a half-inch layer of SHARP sand on the top of their houseplants, which cuts and kills the larvae as they try to come up to pupate. The more lasting solution is to water your houseplants only when they need it, or, if the rootball is in bad shape, repot.

Its odd that you're seeing larvae in the aquarium. Perhaps remove all of your floating plants, remove any decaying matter with a sharp scissor, and return only healty pieces to the tank.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About the Aphids - UGH! I've never had these until a few months ago, when they came in on some plants I'd ordered. I cannot get rid of these things, and they drive me nuts! Aphids suck the juices out of healthy plant tissue, so these are much more of a threat than the Fungus Gnats, in that these will cause damage to otherwise healty plants. Plus, I have a lot of floating plants, so these things are really detrimental.

Aphids will reproduce parthogenically (female copies of the mother) but when really happy, they also reproduce sexually. The males have wings, and fly to the females, to mix up the genetic pool a bit. They're shaped like a sesame seed on its edge, with clear wings.

I run "El Natural" tanks, and I have freshwater shrimp in most of them, so I'm really reluctant to use any chemical combatant on these things. I've removed ALL the floating plants from a tank, and dunked them in warm water with liquid dishsoap in it - dishsoap is a surfactant, and will "drown" the aphids. After cleaning up the floating plants (Frogbit, Salvinia and a red floater P. fluitans) and dunking them in the soap bath for a half hour, I've rinsed the heck out of them and put them through an Anti-Chlorine treated bath, and then put back in the tank. The aphids calm down for awhile, but within 2-3 weeks, they are back in full force.

I'm getting really frustrated with these aphids! For the moment, they seem to be confined to only 3 of 6 tanks, but I'm really worried about them spreading to the others now.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks,
Jane


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 8:48 am 
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I've heard that a potassium permanganate bath can clean nasties from plants. I haven't heard it in connection with aphids, but it probably wouldn't hurt.

-- Dave

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:11 pm 
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Location: Medford, MA
I've had aphid problems occasionally in my tank. They mainly hang out on val and lilies floating at the surface, avoiding water sprite, duckweed, etc. They only reached high pops in my one tank with an internal filter, rather than the others with HOBs. I would recommend:
1) remove/clip as much floating leaves as you can, particularly from rooted plants
2) increase surface agitation - a HOB or 2 with its outflow right at the water surface get the surface plants moving around quickly and drown the aphids.

Ryan


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:41 am 
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Sorry to have kind of hijacked your post, harbor, but please let us know which insect YOU're dealing with.

Anyhow, back to the aphids - one problem is that I have FLOATING plants, and they're an integral part of my little ecosystem. These *%$#@!!! aphids just LOVE the Amazon Frogbit, which is one of my favorites, too. *frown*.

After 3 rounds of trying to eradicate them, I'm thinking of removing ALL floating plants from all the tanks, keeping them going in a quarantine treated with insect-unfriendly conditions.

Ugh.

Could I keep the frogbit submerged (like with a piece of eggcrate?) until the aphids clear up?

Would the "floaters" survive being submerged?
-Jane


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:41 pm 
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I do not know if they will survive being submerged - I would expect so, at least for a while, but depends on the species - the really spongy kinds might not like it.

I would first try increasing the surface turbulence if at all possible. You could low the water level and get some good splashing from a HOB or cannister outflow at the top of the tank. That should reduce the aphid pop.

Ryan


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:26 am 
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Oh, that's a great suggestion!

Turbulance it is!

I'd been hoping that my loaches would snack on them, seeing as they often grub around the surface looking for snacks. I turned a few frogbit leaves over, hoping the loaches would find the aphids, get the idea and eradicate them for me, but no such luck.

I think I'll put an extra HOB filter on the side, even w/o media, just to stir things up.

Thanks for the idea!
-Jane


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:44 am 
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Yeah, my clown loaches weren't interested in the aphids and seem to have lost their taste for snails :(. I would think fish that are known for craving fruit flies (bettas, some killis like Epiplatys) might do a good job on the aphids.

Ryan


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 Post subject: Aphids?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 6:23 am
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Location: Chelsea,Ma
I just found what I think are aphids in a planted tank.like Jane it had
a covering of frogbit that I noticed had been reduced to about
20%.At the top of the water their are these tiny little bugs that kind of
just float and occasionaly jump.Are these aphids?
They are driving me nuts.I'm sure they killed the frogbit.
I am going to try removing all the plants,a teaspoon of salt per gallon,
whack it with Formalin(or copper)and put in a powerhead.I will try and seal the top
of the tank up good.
I'm just afraid they are going to get into other tanks.
Let you know if this works.
BTW The only other plants are java fern and anubias.I will just put
them in plastic bags and they will be fine for a long time.hopefuly the
lack of O2 will kill the bugs.

Tom


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:16 am 
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Fishkeeper

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 5:16 pm
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Be careful with surface turbulence. Too much turbulence will drive off any CO2 you're using for your plants (although I think at the last meeting you mentioned you're not doing CO2). In addition, a lot of surface plants don't like too much turbulence - it's a good way to control duckweed. Frogbit doesn't do well in one of my tanks that has a lowered water lever (jumping killies) and HOB filter.

BTW - what's the difference between regular sand and the "sharp sand" (besides being sharp :) - different composition?) you mentioned in your post? Where do you get it?


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