Are these acro eating black bugs?

jayjerk

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2014
Messages
139
Reaction score
3
Location
chicago il
Its red bugs that generally take down SPS although black bugs in numbers can be as bad.
Dipping has little to no effect on these guys and Interceptor pill from a veterinarian is about the only thing that will truly wipe them out
All may across esp smooth skins that were killed only produced black bugs no reds at all.
 
Budmans

vetteguy53081

Well known Member and monster tank lover
View Badges
Joined
Aug 11, 2013
Messages
40,587
Reaction score
94,027
Location
Wisconsin-Florida in a year
does dr G non effect this black buggers? under my reading it uses the same stuff
If you can find it (ebay), I heard it works on black bugs
 
OP
CoralDanimal

CoralDanimal

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
233
Reaction score
204
Location
Bay Area
Veta won't playbill for just the coral. Big going in for check up in few weeks might try again then
If no

T he might not be getting last 3 months of his normal treatment...the bugs have smoked all of smooth skins except 1 thus far and a few across have been beat to death by them. They seems to have specific taste at first but I would imagine when true hunger kicks it rest of collection will be next.
All may across esp smooth skins that were killed only produced black bugs no reds at all.
I've had the same experience as JayJerk that they target smooth skin acros first. They destroyed my ORA hawkins echnita first and went after my red dragon second. Interestingly the next coral they went after was my ORA red planet acro.

does dr G non effect this black buggers? under my reading it uses the same stuff
It should effect them since it's the same chemical, but the question is all about what dosage. I've read just about everything there is to read about black bugs on R2R and while the experience varies, from my reading the best way to kill them is 4X the standard red bug dosage with interceptor. For red bugs, 1 large interceptor tablet (23mg) treats 400 gallons for red bugs so this would translate to 1 large interceptor tablet for 100 gallons.

Dr g worked for me i. A 1ml/gal ratio when left in 12 hrs. I just wish not to conduct business with them
I unfortunately didn't have success at this ratio. I set up a 10gallon tank and put a rock I knew had black bugs in it to test the dosage. I dosed 10ml and they didn't die. I dosed 10ml again the next day and they didn't die, but from my reading the half life is less than 24 hours for this medication so that's not the equivalent of a 20ml dose.

If you can find it (ebay), I heard it works on black bugs
I will find out! I dosed my tank last night.

Ok for the sake of making my experience as transparent as possible and in the quest to help answer questions in the hobby, I'd like to document the plunge I took last night.

From what I've read, most people who eradicate black bugs (the ones I ID'd in my first post) do so with 3 4X dosage interceptor treatments spaced a week apart. As everyone knows, interceptor is very hard to get a hold of since it requires a vet prescription and whether your local vet will prescribe it seems to be hit or miss.

The closest available solution is Dr. G's Coral Dip since it has the same active ingredient (Milbemcyn oxime). Some have had success with a ratio of 1ml of Dr. G's per 1 gallon of water, but for me that was not effective.

Last night I did a double dosage - 200ml of Dr G's dosed directly into my 100 gallon system. Technically it's a 112 gallon tank (Red Sea Reefer 425), but factoring in rock & sand I figure it's closer to 100 gallons.

I'll admit it's a bit terrifying to dose 200ml of anything into my tank. Before the dose, I took out carbon, removed as much of the clean up crew as I could access, and then took the collection cup off my skimmer (aeration still going to keep oxygen & pH up).

I dosed at 8pm thinking I wanted to hit the tank when they're most active (at night). I woke up at 2am to observe the tank (after a short prayer that the tank wasn't going to be milky white with death). My observations:
- The first thing I saw was a big bristle worm floating around my display. I took that as both a great sign and horrifying sign. Great because it took down something that big, terrifying because what else could it take down if it took that huge sucker down.
- One part of the clean-up crew I couldn't get out without tearing apart my tank were my cleaner shrimp. I had 4, but now I have 1 :( I knew this was a risk going in. FWIW it took out the 3 small cleaner shrimp I had, but the large adult cleaner shrimp survived this dosage.
- There were some snails I couldn't remove or didn't find. They appear to be fine, but I'll report back after more time.
- Most importantly black bugs - they're still there. I found less of them then I normally do when scouring my rock work at night, but I still found a couple moving around. I'm not surprised - I've heard these suckers are resilient and indeed they are.

My infestation isn't terrible, but I'm trying to get ahead of it. When I dip a coral I know has some black bugs on it, I typically find 3-4 that fall off. To give a sense of the population, when I scour my tank with a flashlight at night, I can typically spot 10-15 on the rock work and far fewer on my corals. After the treatment, I spotted 2 so fingers crossed we're making progress.

Next steps:
- I turkey basted all of my rocks just now. If the bugs are stunned, I want them suspended in the water column so they can go down my overflow and get collected by my clarisea.
- Next Saturday I'm hitting them again. If I have interceptor by then, I'm doing a 4x dosage. If I don't, I'm hitting them with Dr. G's again at the same concentration.
- This morning I'm going to do a 15% water change. Since I probably nuked my copepod population, I'm going to take the opportunity to siphon the sandbed as I don't have to worry about siphoning out micro fauna.
- I do have a mandarin and hopefully I'm able to get him out to put him into my temporary CUC tank to give him direct feedings. I have 4 large copepod cultures going right now such that at the end of the 3 week treatment I can jump start the copepod population.
 
Last edited:

BranchingHammer

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
978
Reaction score
2,736
Location
PA
I have ostracods in my tank that look almost identical to yours. They come out at night and I see them scooting around. I have many acro frags in the tank and they haven't bothered any of them. Do you see them on their tissue/on their dead skeletons? If not, they probably aren’t doing much. They also

might just be cleaning up the dead tissue if its another issue. They might be different species, I don't really know...

96B508C9-07C8-4C62-932B-4BCE0CCE4BF1.jpeg

FCDD9533-DF86-4871-AB2D-F764EEE06842.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • FullSizeRender.mov
    55.5 MB · Views: 0
OP
CoralDanimal

CoralDanimal

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
233
Reaction score
204
Location
Bay Area
I have ostracods in my tank that look almost identical to yours. They come out at night and I see them scooting around. I have many acro frags in the tank and they haven't bothered any of them. Do you see them on their tissue/on their dead skeletons? If not, they probably aren’t doing much. They also

might just be cleaning up the dead tissue if its another issue. They might be different species, I don't really know...
@BranchingHammer Wow those close-ups do look almost identical to mine. Do you happen to have a more zoomed out picture? I'm curious if they also look speckled white/gray/black.

Do you see them on their tissue/on their dead skeletons? If not, they probably aren’t doing much. might just be cleaning up the dead tissue if its another issue.
I do see them on the area of the tissue that STN'd. What originally made me confident I had black bugs was this post: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/black-bugs-an-acro-keepers-worst-nightmare.493329/ This video in particular.

Zoomed out they look identical, but in his photos/videos the black bugs go all over the coral and in my observations I only see them at the base where there was receding tissue.

Reasons why I think they're black bugs:
1. They're the only thing I've found at the scene of the crime (where the STN is).
2. Other reports of black bugs say they start from the base of the coral, which is what I've experienced.
3. They're very resistant to dips & now Dr. G's, which is inline with others' experience of black bugs.

Reasons why they could be ostracods:
1. They look identical to your ostracod close-up. They also look similar to this which is a zoomed in pic of an ostracod.
2. I've only seen them on the base of the coral where as others show black bugs all over the coral.
3. People have said black bugs quickly take over the tank, but my population has stayed relatively low since I first spotted them.

I don't think we're the only ones who struggle to ID these. This thread is all over the place for an extremely similar looking critter: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/help-id.756629/

Some think it's ostracods and then others think it's black bugs. Ugh - it'd be so great to just know with confidence, but I'm going to move forward with interceptor because a ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and I've already done the leg work of removing the CUC.
 

BranchingHammer

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
978
Reaction score
2,736
Location
PA
If you see positive results with the interceptor where the stn stops, then they are probably black bugs. I’ll snap a pic later today of what they look like from farther away to help you get an idea of what these guys are. I would say if things start to look bad with interceptor, back off and then reevalute. Following along to see how this goes...
 
OP
CoralDanimal

CoralDanimal

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
233
Reaction score
204
Location
Bay Area
Update #2. Last night I dosed a large chew tablet of Inceptor Spectrum that someone from R2R was nice enough to ship from the UK. Large tablets have 23mg of
milbemycin oxime which should treat 400 gallons for red bugs or for my 100 gallon tank, it's a 4x dose. I put it in a bullet blender in boiling hot RODI to make sure it dissolved thoroughly.

Unfortunately 9 hours later I still see them. I'll check again tomorrow night, but I imagine I need to do a bigger dose. I'm afraid I need to go much bigger potentially to 8x dosage because I might be making them more resilient with the 2x and now 4x dose.

I'm conflicted because my tank is thriving and I'm getting the best coloration / growth I've had in my SPS in probably 2 years. It's scary to dump in this brown colored concoction that turns your tank cloudy for hours and you hope (which it hasn't yet) it doesn't negatively impact your corals/fish. On the one hand, if I ever want to sell some of my acros, I can't do it if I know I have this pest. On the other hand, I'm not 100% sure they're black bugs as they could be ostracods and they haven't been bothering my corals for a while now.
 

BranchingHammer

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
978
Reaction score
2,736
Location
PA
If you haven’t seen them on the corals, that is a good sign that they are ostracods. I wasn’t able to get a pic of mine but they look identical to yours (beige/black pattern) and they don’t hurt anything. Has the STN stopped? If so I would probably stop the interceptor treatments, and if it gets worse, you could always restart them again. Any experienced reefers want to chime in for a second opinion?
 
OP
CoralDanimal

CoralDanimal

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
233
Reaction score
204
Location
Bay Area
If you haven’t seen them on the corals, that is a good sign that they are ostracods. I wasn’t able to get a pic of mine but they look identical to yours (beige/black pattern) and they don’t hurt anything. Has the STN stopped? If so I would probably stop the interceptor treatments, and if it gets worse, you could always restart them again. Any experienced reefers want to chime in for a second opinion?
Thank you @BranchingHammer! I'd definitely appreciate a second opinion from anyone who has experienced black bugs before (or really knows a lot about ostracods). Part of me is curious whether living through the inceptor treatment gives us a clue about whether they're ostracods or not.

Here's a different zoomed out pic if it's helpful:
1610322886852.png



They're either a.) eating montipora or b.) eating the leftovers once the montipora eating nudibranches have already created the STN. I've subsequently treated the nudibranches in case anyone is curious.
 
Avast

BranchingHammer

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
978
Reaction score
2,736
Location
PA
That photo also looks identical to the ostracods in my tank. That part of the montipora (either eaten by nudibranchs or shaded out) looks pretty dead/skeleton like, so they are probably just congregating there and eating any detritus. Just curious, did you take this photo during the day? My ostracods hide in the shadows and under rocks etc. during the day. Then they come out at night to eat algae/detritus. If the photo was taken during the day, these ostracods may just be hiding underneath the skeleton, and not necessarily even eating anything in particular. That would explain why they are so bunched together. Something to think about...
 
OP
CoralDanimal

CoralDanimal

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
233
Reaction score
204
Location
Bay Area
so they are probably just congregating there and eating any detritus. Just curious, did you take this photo during the day?
No it was taken very early in the morning (4am) long before the lights turn on. My black bugs / ostracods also hide in the shadows / under rocks during the day and come out at night. I really hope they're ostracods, but I'm probably going to go ahead with more treatments to err on the safe side. I wish we had an ostracod expert in the R2R community that could help us out!
 

Jrainey312

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 20, 2017
Messages
110
Reaction score
36
Location
New Jersey
Are these similar to what you guys are talking about. I just saw them two nights ago and cant seem to figure out what they are.
 

Attachments

  • 20210121_052946.jpg
    20210121_052946.jpg
    93 KB · Views: 17
  • 20210120_171706.jpg
    20210120_171706.jpg
    56.3 KB · Views: 15
  • 20210120_170834.jpg
    20210120_170834.jpg
    71.4 KB · Views: 15
OP
CoralDanimal

CoralDanimal

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
233
Reaction score
204
Location
Bay Area
Are these similar to what you guys are talking about. I just saw them two nights ago and cant seem to figure out what they are.
Yes these look like the same thing I have. Do you believe they're causing the tissue necrosis at the base of the SPS or was there another possible stressor in the tank that caused STN & these guys are simply eating the leftover dead tissue?
 
Avast

Jrainey312

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 20, 2017
Messages
110
Reaction score
36
Location
New Jersey
Yes these look like the same thing I have. Do you believe they're causing the tissue necrosis at the base of the SPS or was there another possible stressor in the tank that caused STN & these guys are simply eating the leftover dead tissue?
I have had beed battling dinos for a while and theyre finally on the way out. So my parameters may have been moving more then they should have. I want to think theyre just eating the stuff thats already dead but i cant find any info on what they are. They only seem to be on the skeleton parts of the coral not on healthy flesh. Just wish i knew if they were the problem or not
 

BranchingHammer

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2018
Messages
978
Reaction score
2,736
Location
PA
If you don't see them on the actual tissue of the acro, I would probably blame the parameter swings for the tissue loss. That is exactly what my ostracods in my tank look like. Once the parameters get in check, let us know after a bit to see if they are actually eating the acros. I think we all want to know what's up with these little bugs.
 
OP
CoralDanimal

CoralDanimal

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
233
Reaction score
204
Location
Bay Area
I have had beed battling dinos for a while and theyre finally on the way out. So my parameters may have been moving more then they should have. I want to think theyre just eating the stuff thats already dead but i cant find any info on what they are. They only seem to be on the skeleton parts of the coral not on healthy flesh. Just wish i knew if they were the problem or not
Similar to you I’ve never observed these critters on healthy tissue. When I’ve read about others’ experience with ‘black bugs’ or ‘white bugs’, they devour SPS and can be found all over the tissue so I’m inclined to agree with BranchingHammer that these are probably ostracods simply cleaning up.

Please keep us updated on your experience with them. I think the three of us are all in the same boat with the same critter trying to gain confidence in whether we should be concerned or not.
 

What types of R2R interview articles are you most excited about?

  • Specific reef topics! (List the ones you'd like to see us cover in the thread.)

    Votes: 66 38.6%
  • Specific reef personalities! (List the people you'd like us to interview in the thread.)

    Votes: 10 5.8%
  • Not that concerned about the topics...I just wanna see the awesome PICTURES!

    Votes: 33 19.3%
  • All of the above!! ...and yes, I'll list some in the thread. :-)

    Votes: 62 36.3%

Online statistics

Members online
2,511
Guests online
7,237
Total visitors
9,748
AF
Top