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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
as some of you know i have been battling/learning an acropora pod problem. i am one that does not like to add anything to the tank unless it is alive and will eat something, i do not like chemical cures. anywho, these little red copepods can "annoy" certain acropora species. for some the jury is still out on whether they are good ,bad or indiffernet. i think i have to agree with the indifferent side. they usually seem to affect tricolours and blue coloured acro's. mine happen to affect a yellow-green acro, so it is concievalbe that it is a different species, but irrelevent. these little buggers came in on a shipment of frags i bought.

up until the shipment the frag was growing great. it had encrusted onto the LR a good inch in all directions. it had creat colour and all the polyps would come out at night.:D about a week after i added the new frags i noticed bleaching on the Y-G acro. after closer examination is saw the "dreeded" red bugs. i have alread heard of these guys, so i knew there was info out there.

most people try and kill them using iodine dips or FW dips. i can tell you FW dips work, but it really PO the acro, so that was out of the question (no doubt, huh). an interesting point that would come up from some people with this problem, who actually were open minded about these critters and were not interested in complete annialation(sp?), was that the lighting could be involved.

i moved the Y-G acro under an outcroping and the frag is doing much better. before the move there could have been a hundred red bugs on a 2 inch frag!:( where they were most concentrated had the greatest bleaching. :eek: well after a couple of weeks almost all of the bugs are gone and the bleached areas are colouring back up again.:dance:

somehow the light is involved. i think the bugs are only there because the acro was stressed and they were opportunistic. now comes the kicker. this could go against everything i have learned about acros (which granted is not that much), that the more light the better! i had the Y-G acro under 400w iwasaki's. they have been under these lamps for 3 months before the bugs showed. so apparantly the can handle the light, but they do not like it, i would have not known this if it was not for the bugs. it is a possibility that other acro owners who do not have the bugs could actually be stressing their acros and not even know it. which begs a question: what constitutes a happy acro? i would not say growth and colour alone though. there is apparantly something else, that i have not read about in my research so far in acro's.

the other acros in the tank are doing great, with little if any bugs on them. i do see an occasional one on a frag but never enough to cause bleaching. these seem to just be out exploring and not liking what they find and move. i feel that getting rid of these in a running reef tank would be next to impossible.

i do have a blue acro, these are one of the acros notorious for getting these bugs. when i got the frag it was brown. over the past month it is beginning to colour up. i am keeping a very close eye on this one. for some reason i have a feeling when it does colour up completely to blue the bugs will jump on it. i have not idea why i think this, but i just do. i even have several yellow tricolours that are doing great.

sorry for the long post, but i hope that this will help somebody out. please, if somebody thinks that i am way wrong, i want to discuss this. finding unbiased info on these guys is tough at best.

G~
 

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HUMM makes sense Geoff they could be attracted to the symbiotic
algae growing in the acros and only like the taste of the blue etc etc.:idea:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
that is kinda the reason i am worried about the blue acro. i am still wondering why the yellow-green one has been so heavily hit.

the Y-G is now turning a darker colour since it is kinda in the shade. its polyps are looking great again! i am curious to see what colour it changes to, i am betting brown.:D

G~
 

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I would guess that if they are "attacking"pecific coralcolors then it is probably a response to the color of the light being reflected off of the coral. The same way butterflies and such use the light color reflected off of flowers to determine which ones they will go after.

Also isn't green a color combination of blue and yellow?
 

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Geoff, I have been battling the bugs for a couple of years now. Regardless what others say I KNOW the bugs I have are deterimental to both coloration and growth.

While there could be some connection with your obsevation, I can honestly say that it is not an absolute. I have plenty of examples where light does not have the same effect as you post.

For me, I have come to the conclusion that I will never be able to totally erradicate them from my tank. When I see a coral starting to decline I inspect for red bugs and if possitive I dip. It gives it temporary relief and will show an improvement in coloration. Anywhere between 2-6 months though they are usually back again.

I have tried to inspect all my corals and dip them all at once. Closely inspecting the corals for up to 6 weeks later I didn't see any bugs and thought had it licked but slowly came back to save populations as before. This is why I now just treat on a case by case basis....

For all my acroporas, I mount them on fairly large rocks that are removeable so that I can dip them. I do not let them attach to the main rock structure.

I notice a definately connection with acropora color types particularly brown with purple tips, purple, and blue corals. Again not always abosulate. The only thing thus far they I can say with a great bit of confidence it that I have never seen on LPS, softies, milepora or montipora. I can't say with confidence that they can't carry it to other tanks though. I have also seen them spread to other supplemental tanks as long as share plumbing so I know they are mobile and can spread through the water column. There also seems to be connection with the type of coralites and polyps. The ones where polyps are spread apart more seem to get the redbugs much more than ones with polyps close together.

While both lighting and water current may provide relief with some specific corals it is not effective for all.....

I also don't believe the speculation some have that they only attack weak or stress corals. If you have any corals with the bugs in your tank, your other corals that are suceptable to the bugs will also get them in time.....
 

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One more point, For every 1 of us that know what to look for and acknowledge they have the bugs, there are probably 10 more people that have them, don't know what to look for and have no clue they have them. Becuase of this, IMO anyone who purchases/trades frags will eventually get them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
David Grigor said:
One more point, For every 1 of us that know what to look for and acknowledge they have the bugs, there are probably 10 more people that have them, don't know what to look for and have no clue they have them. Becuase of this, IMO anyone who purchases/trades frags will eventually get them.
i totally agree with you on this point. i feel a lot more people have them than know it.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
cyberchef said:
Also isn't green a color combination of blue and yellow?
i was wondering this also. is the colour we see just different combinations of different zooxanthella algaes.

if this is the case then it could make sense that the bugs would like the blue flavored ones instead of the yellow flavored ones. mmmmm blueberry.:D

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
David Grigor said:
Regardless what others say I KNOW the bugs I have are deterimental to both coloration and growth.
i think they are deterimental to the coral when the coral is stressed. i am thinking that there may be something that we are not looking for that could be stressing the acros. could it be to much UV? i have heard some people have had the bugs go away when moved under VHO lights. could the MH be producing a part of the spectrum that the acros do not truely like?

David Grigor said:

While there could be some connection with your obsevation, I can honestly say that it is not an absolute. I have plenty of examples where light does not have the same effect as you post.
with which have you tried this with and they did not work? i am trying to see if there is a broader colour pattern forming.

David Grigor said:


I also don't believe the speculation some have that they only attack weak or stress corals. If you have any corals with the bugs in your tank, your other corals that are suceptable to the bugs will also get them in time.....
i still have them on the Y-G acro. they number in the 10's now. they are still there. the coral itself now is completely covered in colour again. there is not any bleaching anymore. for this particular acro i have removed the stress that was allowing the bugs to attack it. i do have the bugs on all of the other acros in the tank. like you said the bugs to travel around the water column. so maybe they do not like these other ones. this is why i am watching the blue one very carefully. each day it colours of more and more. it keeps turning a brighter blue. maybe without the brown zooxan. algae it will become susceptable to the bugs. maybe the brown zooxan. algae is actually needed to some extend in the acro's theselves or they become stressed. becoming susceptible to the bugs.

G~
 

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Geoff said:
i think they are deterimental to the coral when the coral is stressed. i am thinking that there may be something that we are not looking for that could be stressing the acros. could it be to much UV? i have heard some people have had the bugs go away when moved under VHO lights. could the MH be producing a part of the spectrum that the acros do not truely like?
While there could be a connection to light, I don't see eye to eye with you on the conclusion. By placing under VHO or lower in the tank, IMO: it is making that coral less desireable for bugs to thrive and not as much as the light itself being stress and the bug preying on the stress. Again I say this because a number of corals I had for years before the bugs were introduced and believe the bugs are causing the stress an not the other way around. If it was the light then they would have look this bad from day one. Which I know not to be the case because they looked good for years prior.

with which have you tried this with and they did not work? i am trying to see if there is a broader colour pattern forming.

Basically all. Rarely by moving the colony itself but through fragmentation and placing coral in different areas of the tank. Never had the bugs "just go away" simply from placement. Only from manual intervention. IE: manually picking them off with a tooth pick or dipping. If there was a stress other than the bugs then why does it seem to "perk up" ? It seems if the lighting or some other water parameter etc. that removing the bugs would not help.....

My experience as to why some corals can live with them better then others has to do with defense mechansism or lack thereof for the corals or possibly the coral can gets a higher % of energy from light source the fact that they make the polyps retract don't have a detremental of an effect. An example of defense mechanisms: I have a large table top that from all accounts should be covered. It has a mild infestation, but never gets full blown. My belief seems to have an ability more than the others of via sliming/sheding or becuase size or closeness of the polyps together is not desireable by the bugs.

I don't see how you can determine that you have removed the stress. How in the world can you quantify a claim ? What is an indicator of stress ? How can you possibly know what stress actually is to a coral that otherwised looked healthy prior to the infestation.

My logic is that if looked good years before the bugs, now has the bugs then it must be the bugs......I am able to make a direct correlation between bugs and how the coral reacts without the bugs. Can even be dramatic within a week of bug removal. As the bugs re-infest I can see the effects on the coral.......By reducing the light your just making it less desirable for the bugs to thrive.

If there wasn't this direct correlation then I might say your onto something.....
 

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Here's my observations FWIW. I think they do get on darker acros but that they just don't show up. I have noticed a few on other corals at times but they didn't cause any adverse reaction. I haven't seen any on my milleporas. I have only observed them on lighter colored acros such as blue, light green.

I was closely inspecting all corals for them when I got them. They are much smaller than I expected. I've only lost one acro in the last 18 months and it was the one that the bugs came in on so I'm in the camp that believes that they don't cause any/much harm.
 

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Rick O said:
...I've only lost one acro in the last 18 months and it was the one that the bugs came in on so I'm in the camp that believes that they don't cause any/much harm.
I agree with Rick on this one, but I am still dipping corals and isolating them prior to introduction into the tank. I have observed them in other folks Acro's before, and I don't have them, but by the same token, I don't want them in the systems, so I take precautions to keep them out.
 

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Rick and Tdwyat,

Must have different bug than I have then. We are having a club meeting sometime this summer at one of the local colleges that has high powered microscopes with camera attachments and hopefully will get a good pic of the bug in my tank to compare to Dr. Ron's pic.

I have at least 60 out of 100+ SPS that are infected in my tank. While I agree some corals do appear to be okay with the bugs there are as many if not more that are effected.

If the coral came in with the bugs then I guess you really don't know what the potential of the coral is/was. Having a number of corals that I had before contamination I know what the potential is and a number of them are far from what they once were.

When you say harm, it depends on your definition. Harm as in death, I agree that usually does not cause death. If definition of harm is loss of color or turn pale, polyps now longer extend day or night, and stop growing then I say they do cause harm.

Perfect example with a common coral most of use have is a "Tricolor". Purple tips, green polyps, brown with slight green sheen flesh. With visable bugs moving around on coral, it looses purple tips, the green polyps that use to extend during the day retract. I can see a high population of bugs on the flesh part but also can see the bugs going in and out of the polyps holes. I can treat the coral either with a high concentration of Seachem Coral Dip or by manually removing the visable bugs using a wooden toothpick ( painful process ). With 1-2 weeks as long as I closely inspect for bugs ( by removing coral from the tank and inspecting ) and removing any visable bugs, placing the coral right back in the same location in the tank the purple tips will start to come back, polyps will extend more and the flesh part will start to darken up ( from the pale color ). If I stop this procedure and start seeing bugs moving around again, then coral looses is purple tips and the flesh turns paler color. This is just one of many examples where I see a direct correlation with bug removal ( using dip or manually removing ) and how the coral reacts.
 

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David Grigor said:
...This is just one of many examples where I see a direct correlation with bug removal ( using dip or manually removing ) and how the coral reacts.
Actually, I agree with this POV, as I have seen systems with infestation where this is the general rule. I am sure there are more than one spp. of whatever these mites are. In previous discussions with Eric Borneman and Jonathan Lowery, there seems to be conditions that these mites proliferate under more readily than others (think lagoonal for the not soo good for our coral in terms of mites) which would concur with the observations reported above.

I would be interested in seeing a photomicrograph of your specific mites, David, which I will forward to a few folks if it is ok with you. If you can get one of the hobby scopes with the electronic camera already included, the pic will be adequate for ID purposes.

There must be either ideal conditions that these bugs can impact corals more significantly than others or some natural predator of the bugs in their reef setting, as if this were not the case, these bugs would certainly be devestaing reefs in and of themselves in the wild.
 
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