Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Marine Mites, including "Red et al. Bugs"

Related FAQs: Crustacean Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Disease 1, Parasitic Disease 2, Parasitic Disease 3, Parasitic Disease 4, Parasitic Disease 5, Parasitic Disease 6, Parasitic Disease 7, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpCrustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Related Articles: Isopod Crustaceans, Crustacean Parasitic Disease, Shrimp

Who you callin' a bug?

What could this be?    8/4/16
Hi I found a few of these critters crawling on some Zoanthid frags. You can not see these with the naked eye. I found them with a jewelers loupe and then took these photos with my iPhone under a microscope. Hoping they are a detritivore but I am fearing the worst. Thanks in advance.
<Appear to be Mites/Acarinans... I wouldn't panic. Bob Fenner>


Re: What could this be?     8/5/16
Thanks for the quick reply.
In most non-aquarium related cases 'mites' aren't really a good thing! What is the purpose of these guys in a reef tank? What do they feed on?
<Purpose...? Feeding... could be on a few sources here... My overall direction I've noted: These Acarinans are likely of no or little concern in a healthy system. Some get "picked off" by predators...>
I have seen them crawling on all types of coral but I think its because it's much easier to spot it moving on coral as opposed to rock or frag plugs.
<Mmm; read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/swmitefaqs.htm
Thanks again,
<W. BobF>

RE: Worm ID? (And now for something completely different.)   3/3/14
Well, while I was looking for another example of that worm, I came across something else.
I've seen this critter in my USB cams a couple times- at first, I thought it was just another Ostracod, but it doesn't move like a typical Ostracod.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CcYyxtfwcg  (view full screen, look in the upper left, you'll see it motoring around a grain of sand.)
<Have seen this, there...>
This time, I saw one while trolling through a sample of sand and was able to separate the grain of sand it was on. Then I got it onto a regular slide with a cover slip.
I think I broke off one of his 8 legs. Poor guy. (Or gal.)
http://srv.rowelab.com/fish/microscopy_3_2_14/mite1.jpg  -- overhead view 
in the dissection scope at its limit, ~75x. Sorry for the blurry focus, I added a drop of carbonated soda to slow this guy down, but it took a long time to take effect.
Better view under a compound scope, at 100x magnification
As my photo names indicate, I'm guessing some kind of marine mite?
<Likely so>
I love finding new things!!
Fort Worth, TX
<Me too; Bob Fenner>

Bug problem... lack of desc., reading   9/16/07 Hey! I read your site all the time but cant seem to find anything that talks about weird little bugs that seem to be damaging my polyps and yellow gorgonian. The gorg is definitely getting eaten and there are tiny little white bugs all over it. <A photo? Description? Reading on WWM?> The polyps are just folding down like an umbrella and I can see some spider looking <Pycnogonids?> bugs bugging them when the light are out. I will shine a flashlight at them and they scat real fast... The back of my tank has alot <No such word> of bugs on it too.. ALL my fish are in a QT due to an Ick outbreak about 5 weeks ago. I did not notice these bugs then... <Could be the fishes were keeping their numbers in check> Could majority of these be copepods? <Possibly, yes> I have always wanted a Mandarinfish! LOL. I just really don't want to see my corals being damaged. Any help would be nice! Thank you Jason <Reading Jason... and some well-resolved pix close-ups... Bob Fenner>

Wrasse compatibility <Actually sel. to eat/control>, red bugs, <and comp. w/> Anthias    9/11/07  Hi Crew, Would you be able to help with the best choice for a small wrasse that likes to eat Acropora red bugs? <Um, this is not how one deals with red bugs.> From reading the FAQs it looks like the Six Line is an option, but I've seen them be aggressive and I have a trio of Bartlett's Anthias that I wouldn't want to be harassed. The tank is a 135G reef with 100+ lbs of live rock. Can you think of a small, red bug eating wrasse (or other fish/invert) that would tend to be less territorial than a Six Line? And do you think I would need more than one bug-eater in this size tank? <If you have a red bug infestation, you need to treat it with Interceptor. There's no aquarium fish (known to aquarists) that will solve this problem. See here: http://www.ericborneman.com/Tegastes-content/Dorton%20treatment.htm And maybe here too: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acrodisfaqs.htm> Thanks, Tom <De nada, Sara M.>

Follow up on Interceptor use for Tegastes red bugs -11/19/07 Sara, The Interceptor medication seems to have worked very well for the red bug infestation, as no bugs were visible on the Acros at the end of the treatment period. I followed the instructions at http://www.ericborneman.com/Tegastes-content/Dorton%20treatment.htm except that I treated the tank only once, not the three times as recommended. It's been about 5 weeks since the treatment and still no red bugs visible. <Excellent! Well done.> There seems to have been no ill effects on the fish, corals, or bio filtration, and the pod population in the Fuge is alive and well. I didn't have any shrimp or hermits in the system, so that wasn't a concern. <Good to hear.> One tablet can treat 380 gallons, so I used about 1/3 of a tablet since I estimated 125 gallons actual water capacity in my tank/sump system. I didn't have access to a scale to weigh the medication, so I simply crushed and chopped one tablet into powder and visibly split it into thirds using a razor blade and a mirror (good thing no one saw me doing that, they may have gotten the wrong idea). <lol> I then mixed the powder with 2-3 cups of tank water in a plastic jar before pouring it into the sump. Thanks again for that tip. At least two of the Acro colonies that were affected have now developed several new growth buds, and the polyps in all the Acros are more active. <fabulous> If only there were such effective and targeted treatments available for some of the other problems that reef keepers need to deal with now and then. <Hopefully in time there will be. Thank you so much for the update/testimony.> Tom <Best, Sara M.

Re: Wrasse compatibility, red bugs, Anthias   9/12/07 Hi Sara, Thank you, I do like getting more than one opinion because I did see suggestions in the WWM FAQs to "consider stocking some small wrasses", or to try a "Red Sea Pseudochromid, small wrasse" when I searched WWM for info on red bugs. <Yes, one of the cool things about WWM is that it stores queries spanning several years (and from many different people). The use of Interceptor for red bugs is still a very new idea. Dorton developed his protocol in 2004 (just 3 years ago). You must have read some of the responses of Eric R. who is not so warm to the idea of using of Interceptor or any such deadly (and largely under-studied) medication on whole systems. See here for his take on it: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/swmitefaqs.htm. Generally, I certainly agree with him. I do think aquarists often jump to extreme treatments too quickly. I even did it myself in my first response to your query. I jumped to the conclusion that you must have a pervasive and devastating infestation of the dreaded Tegastes acroporanus. But I did you a disservice in not explaining the very real possibility that these bugs you have might not be T. acroporanus. Regarding fish, many of them eat little bugs. And some fish are not so picky and could eat red bugs along with everything else they might be hunting. And so in that way, they might serve as a bit of a preventive measure. However, anyone who's ever had a really bad red bug infestation will tell you that the fish just don't eat them fast enough even when they do eat them.> Also saw replies that made me think these critters may not be that much of a problem, potentially being more commensal than parasitic. <Please accept my apologies for not thinking to mention this myself. It is a possibility. However, finding them on dying corals does make them a bit more suspect. Still, they could just be scavengers.> What has your experience been with red bugs...big problem, or not so big? <I've personally never had Tegastes acroporanus. However, I have been scared by many different hardly visible "bugs" I've seen crawling on my coral. I once had some that looked just like red bugs except that they were black. There are just soooo many different types of "bugs" that can get into our aquariums. See here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-10/rs/index.php Certainly there are people who can tell you all about how red bugs destroyed whole colonies of their corals. Others may tell you that they've seen them in their tank and they never became a problem. Personally, I wonder if the people who claim to have them but that the bugs never became a problem truly had red bugs (i.e. Tegastes acroporanus) and not some other kind of less aggressive copepod (like maybe my "black bugs" which disappeared as mysteriously and they came).> The red bug infestation in my tank seems to be limited to a few of the weaker-looking Acro frags/small colonies, at least so far. I'm not sure if the red bugs are causing these Acros to be slower growing and have poor polyp extension, or if it's the other way around. <very astute and good question to be thinking about> I do pay close attention to the water conditions and husbandry, and have several other Acros and other SPS (Stylophora, Montipora, Seriatopora) that show good color, polyps, and growth. I've just figured that some specimens don't do as well in aquariums as others do, or at least in mine. <This is possible. Or, you could have the dreaded red bugs. Hmm, this is where a picture could help.> Also, thank you for the Borneman link. If I do go with the Interceptor treatment, could you help clarify a couple of things for me? Since several of these Acros are growing on very large pieces of live rock that are integral to the support structure, removing them for treatment would be difficult...would you consider treating your whole tank if you were in my situation? <Actually, the protocol described on that site (developed by Dustin Dorton) calls for both quarantining of the corals AND treatment of the whole tank. However, as mentioned, the use of Interceptor is still a new idea. If you can confirm that you actually do have the predatory red bugs (and not just some kind of scavenging copepod), you could experiment with just treating the whole tank with a low dose (without removing the corals). However, you should definitely try to make sure you actually do have Tegastes acroporanus before trying this.> I don't keep any crabs or shrimp. I know the pods would suffer, but those could be re-seeded. Also, is Interceptor considered safe for Crocea clams? From what I've read, it appears to be safe but would like to get your view. <I don't see any reason to expect Interceptor to hurt clams. Clams are quite dissimilar from crustaceans biologically. But again [the disclaimer] we just don't know a lot about this medication when using it on an entire 'ecosystem.' > Thanks, Tom <Thank you for the thought provoking query, Sara M.> <<Well done Sara. RMF>>
Re: Wrasse compatibility, red bugs, Anthias
Sara, thank you very much for your time and advice. I'll see if I can get my hands on a better camera, but here's the best picture I could get with the camera I have. The color of this 1.5" Acro frag is normally more yellow, but is lately a lighter shade. You can see what looks like small reddish "bugs" on it. <Ugh, yeah, it does look like these could be the bad guys. Have you tried to blow them off with a powerhead? ...because the bad ones tend to cling on hard to the coral and are difficult to remove. If the damage seems slow and confined to a few corals, you can still wait and see what happens with them. But if they start jumping to other Acropora colonies, I'd seriously start thinking about the Interceptor. You could always start off with a very low dose...> Tom <Best, Sara M.>

Blue Zoa BUGS!!!  8/20/07 Hey crew, Thanks in advance for all the info already given and provided to us all. Your site/info has been a great resource for me and am sure for others. I am wondering if you could ID these bugs I recently found on my blue Zoas. These bugs seem to make the polyps close randomly in groups. Getting a great picture if these bugs has been tough without sucking or attempting to suck them out with a baster. Less than a millimeter in length, clear, has 2 antennae coming from its head, has multiple legs cant tell home many because its so small. The Zoas and the rock are teaming with these bugs. I have attached a picture to help, don't know how much help it might be. I can always suck one out with a baster in order to get a better picture if needed. Thanks for all the help for giving me a good understanding of what is needed in order to take care of and maintain a marine Aquarium. <Mmm... well... there are a few approaches to control here... with the usual "range of desirability"... biological, physical, chemical last... You can/could interpolate these by a cursory read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/swmitefaqs.htm Do you have another "isolation" tank that you might use to eradicate the bulk of these pests? Bob Fenner.

Re: Blue Zoa BUGS!!!  8/20/07 After reading am not to concerned about these bugs just the number of them and the Zoas not opening or only opening for a shirt time. Well, I have am still working on the tanks filters, its an all glass not drilled tank and invested in an overflow with Aqualifter pump, I had plans to have a isolation tank plumbed inline back to sump for an isolation tank. At the moment it is not set up. I do have a 10gal tank sitting around. Thank you. <I do think you're wise to ignore these for now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue Zoa BUGS!!!  8/23/07
Thanks for the quick reply once again. Figured you were tired of hearing from me, the unwise. Well I see eight legs very hard to determine but definitely looks like there are 8 legs. I noticed when I first put the Zoas in my main tank my Pseudochromis fridmani (spelling?) was picking at the rock, not to sure it was eating anything or not. If I were to get a 6line or a line wrasse I'll run into compatibility issues correct? <Mmm... in a tank this size, I give you good odds of not having real trouble here> 75gal 110lbs live rock. I fear with me having the Pseudochromis fridmani (was my first fish), already has his territory staked out pretty much all the rock on the bottom half) that he will go after a lined wrasse if introduced into my system. I notice with some research to use caution when putting these 2 species together, as long as they don't resemble each other, or need to be introduced at the same time? <The Lined Wrasses are pretty sharp, and fast!> Combination of both? Or just plain luck or am just stupid for even trying to put these species together in the same tank. I would just as easily return the Pseudochromis fridmani (AND THE TWO 3 STRIPED DAMSELS!!!!) but I can not. Girlfriend picked them out for our first fish so kinda stuck with them till he dies (hmm.... gives me an idea, j/k). Thank you Bob you have been of great help. -Jay <Welcome Jay. BobF>

Re: Blue Zoa BUGS!!!   8/24/07 Thank you for all the help you have been, I think for now I will tolerate the spiders, but if continues to be a "major" problem which already seems to have lessoned I will be adding a wrasse. Thanks again Bob for all the help. -Jay
<Welcome my friend. BobF>

Interceptor Treatment For Red Bugs - 11/13/06 I've searched the Internet and see that people recommend a 25% water change and carbon treatment after 6 hours of treatment with Interceptor. <<Personally, I would never have used this product or anything similar in my system>> Other than the effects on crustaceans (hermits, pods, etc.), I don't see a reason to do anything so soon after treatment.  Why not change the water and add carbon after 12 or 24 hours to ensure maximum effectiveness, particularly since many people report RB recurrence after single treatments? <<Why indeed...you have already damaged your system at this point>> I can't even find anecdotal evidence that supports the assertion that short treatments are the way to go. <<I'm convinced that indiscriminate chemical biocides are "not" the way to go.  Regards, EricR>>
Re: Interceptor Treatment For Red Bugs - 11/14/06
Thanks for the quick reply. <<Quite welcome>> I totally agree with your sentiment regarding indiscriminate treatments, but having found no other high-probability control methods for red bug, I'm not sure there's an alternative. <<Hmm, in my mind, the alternative is to not use the treatment.  I'll admit my stand is "not popular" and that many, many hobbyists have used the Interceptor product...but to what detriment (long or short term) to their systems.  Just because they don't see anything immediately wrong doesn't mean they haven't disturbed the "balance">> They've definitely affected polyp extension on several of my Acros, and no sane person will trade frags with me as long as I have them. <<To be honest, I think red bugs (like flatworms) are an overrated pest.  Unfortunately you are experiencing the shortsightedness of most hobbyists re these critters.  Any feared infestation could be avoided by QT/treatment of the individual frags before introduction to the display system...and any hobbyists not doing this as a matter of routine is only fooling themselves anyway if they think they will never have "problems" at some point just because they think they are dealing with "clean" systems>> Many of the Interceptor-alternative recommendations I've found are unsupported by proof (e.g., Why don't you try pipefish, six-line wrasses, Lugol's, voodoo?"). <<Indeed...biological predators for "any" issue (Aiptasia, flatworms, etc.) are at best hit-and-miss>> Removing affected colonies doesn't remove all of the RB from the tank. <<Agreed>> What would you recommend as a control method? <<Mmm...patience, optimum water quality, adequate feeding, vitamin supplements...you'll likely find the "problem" will turn out to be "not so much" of a problem...though you'll still have trouble trading with your short-sighted hobby friends.   I'll be honest with you, I have red bugs in my system and I don't give them a second thought.  I think many times we as aquarist try to find something on which to blame our own shortcomings (e.g. - water quality/maintenance/husbandry/species incompatibility).  I'm not saying this is the case with you, but those that see my tank (unless they know already) would never suspect I have red bugs.  But like you, most will not trade with me once they are told...so be it <grin>.  Regards, Eric Russell>>

Acro Red Bugs  7/23/06 Hi there!!!  I just purchased some sps frags. <Hopefully they are in quarantine...> I did some research about sps pests and came upon Acro red bugs.  When I went to look at the sps frags, a couple of the frags had these tiny bugs on them.  There seem to be very little of these bugs on the sps.  I've spotted like only 3-5 running around the sps.  The frags seem to be doing fine with normal polyp extension.  My question is, how dangerous are these bugs to the sps? <Mmm, generally "not very"> Do these bugs multiply as time goes on?   <Can> Should I be worry? <Will worrying change the future?> As of right now, the sps seems fine so am not concerned about it.  But the thought of these bugs being there stays in my head and worries from time to time. <Please take a read here: http://www.google.com/custom?domains=www.WetWebMedia.com&q=Acro+Red+Bugs&sa=Search&sitesearch=www.WetWebMedia.com&client=pub-4522959445250520&forid=1&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859-1&cof=GALT%3A%23008000%3BGL%3A1%3BDIV%3A%23336699%3BVLC%3A663399%3BAH%3Acenter%3BBGC%3A99C9FF%3BLBGC%3A336699%3BALC%3A0000FF%3BLC%3A0000FF%3BT%3A000000%3BGFNT%3A0000FF%3BGIMP%3A0000FF%3BFORID%3A1%3B&hl=en  The cached views. Bob Fenner>

Red Acro Mites   2/10/06 Hey Crew, 2 of my Acros have tiny red bugs on them.  the polyps on the coral are in because they are probably stressed out.  I have a fridmani,   but he isn't interested.  he prefers spaghetti and meatballs!! I am concerned.  I did a Google on wet web media and didn't find any   real solutions.  please advise... best regards, Jenna <Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acrodisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner
Red Acro Mites II - 02/11/06
Hey Bob, thanks for your help...... <<EricR here this morning...>> Well, I looked through the link you sent, and found that Interceptor will kill bugs, but all my crabs as well!! <<Indeed, as well as other beneficial life! (amphipods, Mysids, etc....maybe even beneficial protozoa...)>> No good right? <<Not in my opinion, no.>> I love my critters... <<And your tank loves them too.>> I also did a Google search, but no info really. <<Agreed>> I assume it is not really known what to do right? <<As I am aware, there aren't any "scientific" studies on these critters and their impact in aquariums/captive systems.>> All my Acros are infected now, and they are stressed out.  Color is fading, and polyps are closed.  They will probably die, if I don't fix this... <<Jenna...I have red bugs (Tegastes) in my reef tank for more than a year now, more likely more than two.  I have not lost any corals due to them, and color/growth/vigor has not been affected by them...in my opinion.  I have not and will not "nuke" my tank to get rid of them and quite honestly, don't give them a second thought (an attitude that admittedly, has drawn scorn and caused me to be shunned by the "fraggers" in my local reef club...but I digress...).  My point is; and I'm not saying this is the case in your situation, I think many aquarists are quick to blame their own mistakes in choosing proper tank-mates or inadequacies in water quality/lighting/flow/feeding on the Tegastes.  Just my humble opinion...no "proof" either way at the moment.  But for your own peace of mind, if the corals in question can be removed from the display tank you do have a couple options you can try.  You could place the affected corals in a bucket of tank water with a powerhead and heater and treat per instructions with the Interceptor...or...you could simply give the corals a 15 second bath in temperature and pH adjusted RO water...though the second option is harder on the coral.  And do be aware, neither of these options guarantees the corals won't become "reinfected" once reintroduced to the display.  I don't know that all this helps you much but as you've discovered for yourself, aside from anecdotal evidence or knee-jerk reaction, there's not much to go with.  Regards, EricR>>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: