Monday, July 2, 2018

The Dreaded "Red Bugs"

Outside of sharing photos of the tank, they provide a close up view to inspect the overall health of the corals in my tank. Recently I saw something strange on my Fire Acro as there appeared to be small black/red dots jumping around like fleas all over. After more careful inspection I have concluded they are in fact red bugs.

If you take the time to research the eradication of this pest, almost any forum or website will direct you towards the use of a cat/dog medication called Interceptor. Proven through massive use in the hobby, this medication can be used to kill off red bugs in your reef tank without killing corals or fish. Any other crustacean (shrimp, crab, pods etc.) may not be as safe.

The impact of Red Bugs on corals is different for each aquarist. At worst they disturb their host Acropora to the point the polyps never expand for feeding, and ultimately the coral may die. In some cases the corals appear to tolerate the bugs and only loses some color with somewhat stunted growth. They also only appear to be drawn towards smooth skinned Acropora versus the more bushy species such as Millepora, Stylophora, and Pocillopora.

I haven't seen this strategy posted anywhere, but with the risk of killing any crustaceans I am unable to catch from the tank along with the pods that my Leopard Wrasses live off of, I have elected to try something new. Since the 'bugs' die off within days of not finding a new host, I plan to manually blast them from the surface of my smooth Acropora each day and hope they are unable to find the way back. Or maybe they will become so stressed from being tossed off into the water column, that they will still be unable to feed and eventually die. Either way, if successful the coral should have period between cleanings to resume normal behaviors and gain some strength back.

Photo 1 - Red Bugs circled
Photo 2 - 4 week growth progression
Photo 3 - Photo after blasting off bugs (under morning blues)
Photo 4 - Bug blasting tool (Rio 800)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

SPS Growth Update

 November 2017
March 2018

Sunday, January 21, 2018

ULNS Amino Acid Trial: Week 1 Dose 1 - 01/21/18

ULNS Problem Solving: Amino Acids

Finding myself in a position I have not been in with my reef aquariums in the past, near zero nutrients. Nitrate and phosphate levels are almost zero (.8, .01), and the corals are basically starving. Normally I would simply increase feedings and allow the fish to poop all over the corals to feed them, but the tank is very lightly stocked currently. My research says the best option aside from polluting the tank even further on purpose is to dose amino acids. I have used Two Little Fishes "AcroPower" sparingly in the past but have decided to dose it to the full recommendation. I will also be experimenting with some other products that appear to have proven results from other aquarists.

- Korallen-Zucht Amino Acids
- Sicce HyperKoral
- BRS Reef Chili Food

I will take some baseline photos for comparison today and compare week to week of the next couple of months. I will also continue to send out my monthly water samples for review to determine the effects on water quality. The most recent water test was the beginning of January, and I have not made any water changes in nearly 8 weeks.