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Discussion Starter #1
I just did a little experiment with some ostracods that were proliferating in a tiny container of Monosolenium tenerum I was keeping aside. I removed all of the wort, and I sprinkled some alum right into the water. There were also little snails in there, which died within a minute of my adding the alum. However, it's been a good 20 minutes and the ostracods were hardly even stunned. They're still cruising about absolutely unphased! I added more, and they're still unaffected. What the heck will kill these annoying little buggers?

I've started treating my plants with relatively dilute alum solution before adding them to my newly-set-up tank with the hopes of avoiding the introduction of planaria and ostracods and whatever other creepy junk is living in my other tanks. However, seeing as how the ostracods are not affected in the least, I'm not sure what to do, and I'm not even sure if I've managed to remove all of them from my plants before adding them to my new set-up. When I soaked my dwarf lobelias, the itty-bitty limpets dropped off as soon as the plants hit the solution, so it's working to some degree... I also soaked my driftwood with some petit anubias attached, and a few baby ramshorns that I didn't see immediately fell off and died.

Anyway, *short of* bleach-treating my plants, is there anything that can zap the ostracods? I really hate them and nothing will eat them, either. Will permanganate solution do the trick? I know peroxide will, but I'm afraid this may harm my plants, too.

Thanks.

-Naomi
 

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Potassium permanganate.

One of the best ways to kill these little bugger, algae, bacteria, snails and other buggers is using a dilute solution of potassium permanganate. It will basically sterilize your plants prior to addition into a tank, but is pretty harmless to plants unlike bleach which can really blast a plant. I use a quarter teaspoon to a gallon of water, mix well (be careful you don't get this on the counter - it stains everything purple), and soak for 30 minutes. Should be enough to kill everything off.

Bailin Shaw
 

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Texex94 said:
One of the best ways to kill these little bugger, algae, bacteria, snails and other buggers is using a dilute solution of potassium permanganate. It will basically sterilize your plants prior to addition into a tank, but is pretty harmless to plants unlike bleach which can really blast a plant. I use a quarter teaspoon to a gallon of water, mix well (be careful you don't get this on the counter - it stains everything purple), and soak for 30 minutes. Should be enough to kill everything off.

Bailin Shaw
Can that mixture be used in a tank, or just the plants by themselves before you put them in?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey, Bailin!

Good to see you here. Your name is familiar from the APD, but I haven't really participated there in a while. It's fun to have people from there joining this forum! Anyway, thank you for the tip! However, I wonder where I can find it, and would it be in crystal form or a concentrated solution? And how long should I soak the plants before I can be sure that the ostracods are fully wacked?

ALSO... (boy, I'm full of questions) if I were to soak my driftwood in permanganate solution (since my anubias are already stuck to it), will it turn the wood purple, and is there any danger of it leaching out any of the permanganate that it's absorbed into the tank if I don't rinse well enough after treatment?

FINALLY, :biggrin: is it safe to simply pour down the drain or does it require any special disposal method?

Thanks. I don't like the idea of using bleach partly because of the lingering chlorine smell, and the fact that it seems a bit overkill. I'm not looking to completely sterilize the plant. I don't mind snails and stuff, but I do want to get rid of the macro-organisms that give me the heevie-jeevies (like the ostracods, hydra, planaria, etc.). The risk of stains doesn't bother me so much as the chlorine smell of bleach.

-Naomi
 

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dwhite645 said:
Can that mixture be used in a tank, or just the plants by themselves before you put them in?
You would definitely want to treat the plants outside the tank with the potassium permanaganate, as it's some powerful stuff.
 

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Naomi,

Ostracods are tougher than about anything. You can kill the adults, but it is about impossible, short of nuclear explosions, to kill the eggs. I have a little round-bodied species that I tolerate, because they usually don't do harm, but I also acquired on some plants a larger oval-bodied species that actively ate plants when they got numerous. I battled for years to get rid of this species, and have only a few plants in jars on the windowsill that are still infected with it. Their eggs are stuffed in cracks and they are resistant to just about any chemical, including full strength liquid bleach, concentrated hydrochloric acid, and borax laundry soap. Also, the eggs have staggered hatching times, some of them not hatching for over 6 months. That means that you can't float a plant in its own jar and change the water every week and get rid of all the ostracods before they they grow up and lay their own eggs. If all their eggs hatched soon, you could get rid of them. But the plants keep shedding baby ostracods after 6 months of water changes!. The only way I have gotten rid of the bigger ostracods is to keep the plants with guppies for a couple of years. Stem plants are easy---just pick the new growth in a guppy tank after a few months where you have not seen any adult ostracods. Stem plants can be freed also by growing them emersed, if, of course, they are cpapble of growing emersed. Crown plants are a lot harder. I have to keep them in the guppy tank for years before I can consider them free of ostracod eggs. If they send out runners, it can go a lot quicker. The new plants can be considered free.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Good grief!!! That's not good... I posted about this over on the APD a few years back, and somebody mentioned a product called "Dimlin" which is used to eradicate fleas. It works by inhibiting the formation of the carapace, so it doesn't actually take effect until the pest attempts to molt. Of course this would also affect shrimp and anything else with a chitin exoskeleton.

I guess if I see the ostracods pop up a few months from now, I'll look into my options. For now, I'll just have to "wait and see" and take the best precautions I can. Thanks, Paul. Glad you were able to get the bad ones out of your planted tanks. I'm not sure which ones I have, but I just hate them. It's like having flies in the house :mad: .

-Naomi
 

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Hey Naomi!

I guess fish don't eat these things? I've never seen one myself-- Can you posts a pic?

Are these the little things that look like a piece of gravel that run around the perimeter of the tank at light speed? Just curious as to what could be so annoying and I've never encountered it... :|
 

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Fish do eat them but not with any gusto. Often they take them in and spit them back out. I only keep guppies, and the guppies don't do much to the big ones, but after a month or so, most of the big ones seem to be gone. Guppies mostly take their toll on the population by eating the babies.

They are round or oval. They are crustaceans and have a bivalve type of shell like a clam. They can pull their legs into the shell or crawl around. They swim with their antennae. Females store the sperm from the male in a little pocket that has no connection with the female reproductive system. The sperm actually has to swim out of the pocket and into the water and then into the reproductive tract opening to fertilize the egg. (This came from Dr. Tatiana' Sex Advice to All Creation, by Olivia Judson, a fascinating book, full of evolutionary biology and weird sex)

The little round ones are ubiquitous. They don't seem to eat plant leaves, but they do chew the root hairs off of water sprite and Java fern roots, making it harder for these plants to get their nutrients. The bigger oval ones actively chew on the edges of plant leaves. They can eat crypt leaves right down to the midrib when they are numerous. Guppies never quite get rid of all the little ones, but, fortunately, they have gotten rid of all the big ones for me on several occasions, although it did take about two years before I could feel sure that crown plants were free of eggs. Guppies keep the population of little ones at low levels---too low to eat root hairs on plants with roots in the water.

I found out about the resistance of the eggs when I had an aquarium where the big plant-eating ones had stuffed a lot of eggs between the silicone and the glass all along the edges of silicone that held the sides, bottom and ends together. I had drained the tank and let it dry for several weeks. then I put on rubber gloves and scrubbed it with (1) Concentrated HCl---18 molar, right from the bottle. (2) full strength Liquid bleach after a rinse, of course. You don't want to mix acid and bleach. The acid drives off chlorine gas, enough of which can kill you. (3) 20 mule team Borax, I scrubbed the tank with just a bit of water and a lot of the borax and let it dry for a few days. Then I rinsed thoroughly and filled with water, and in a week or two the ostracods were baaaack! Persistent little buggers, indeed!!
source of picture: www.ecoangle.org.uk/ ecoanglers/pond%20survey.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Paul,

You're crushing every little iota of hope that I'll ever be free of these irritating things :LOL: . Well, we'll see... So far, I don't see anything in my 2.5-gallon tank, but it's been less than 2 weeks. Time will tell...

Hey John! I think those things that "move at lightning speed" are something else. Ostracods "cruise" in a very smooth manner. They're not so fast that you can't suck them up with a turkey baster mid-cruising. I know what you're talking about, though. They're black, almost look like they have little "wings" and they really are lightning-fast - like flies. Thank goodness I haven't had any of those in a while...

Crazy the creepy critters that invade your tanks, sometimes, huh? Hydra, ostracods, planaria, various nymphs, leeches... Gives me the creeps just thinking about them. ;)

-Naomi
 

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I have two tiny types of critters in two of my tanks. In the 40 there are some black specks that I see cruising around the bottom of the bucket when I'm cleaning trimmings or washing filter parts. In my 125 I have what look like white specks that flit around on the water surface.

Both of these things are no bigger than a dot "."

Any idea what they are?

/threadjack
 

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Discussion Starter #13
bharada said:
I have two tiny types of critters in two of my tanks. In the 40 there are some black specks that I see cruising around the bottom of the bucket when I'm cleaning trimmings or washing filter parts. In my 125 I have what look like white specks that flit around on the water surface.

Both of these things are no bigger than a dot "."

Any idea what they are?

/threadjack
The "cruisers" on the bottom of the bucket are probably ostracods. The white flitters might be springtails. Are they *on* the water and able to jump like 50 times their body length? Those are springtails. I managed to skim them off and I haven't seen them in a long time. The younger ostracods will appear more white. The bigger ones almost look like they have stripes on their backs.

I think the springtails look like jumping dandruff.

-Naomi
 

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gnome said:
The "cruisers" on the bottom of the bucket are probably ostracods. The white flitters might be springtails. Are they *on* the water and able to jump like 50 times their body length? Those are springtails. I managed to skim them off and I haven't seen them in a long time. The younger ostracods will appear more white. The bigger ones almost look like they have stripes on their backs.

I think the springtails look like jumping dandruff.

-Naomi
I only see the black ones because I'm on the lookout for baby shrimp as I'm cleaning. I haven't seen anything in the tank that bigger than these specks.

As for the springtails, I should probably get a big brine shrimp net and try to skim them off.

Thanks, Naomi.
 

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bharada said:
I only see the black ones because I'm on the lookout for baby shrimp as I'm cleaning. I haven't seen anything in the tank that bigger than these specks.

As for the springtails, I should probably get a big brine shrimp net and try to skim them off.

Thanks, Naomi.
I have springtails, they don't seem to do much damage, and my killies have a fun time catching them. They're fairly ubiquitous anyway, trying to get rid of them is almost impossible.

I've had aphids in the past that destroyed my water lettuce, now THOSE are a P.I.T.A.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Gomer said:
Naiomi,

Not sure if you want to control them by adding any fish, but you might want to consider introducing a fish species that usually only eats live food and ignores flake. ..perhaps something like scarlet badises?
I used to keep guppies in my ostracod-infested tank, and I'd often see them munch an ostracod, only to spit it out unscathed. They supposedly have REALLY tough shells that very few fish will ultimately find them appetizing. Any fish that *can* break through are probably too big to even notice something so tiny. Somebody suggested something from that family of fish that has the grinding teeth in the back of the throat. I'm not sure what fish this would include...

Today I moved some guppies back into the heavily-infested tank in the hopes that they will do something with the copepods (I think those REALLY teeny things with the pointy tails that hop along the glass walls and are really quick). Maybe they'll eat some of the baby ostracods, too.

I'd HATE to look at a sample of tank water under a microscope - I'd probably NEVER stick my hand in any of my tanks ever again!

-Naomi
 

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gnome said:
I'd HATE to look at a sample of tank water under a microscope - I'd probably NEVER stick my hand in any of my tanks ever again!

-Naomi
Hehe. You're right about that. Lots of little buggers swimming around.

Anyways, sorry to get back to this so late in the game. I don't know if KMNO4 will kill those guys or not, but it sure does a number of other things like leeches, snails, etc. I treat my plants because of pond snails and I can see the snails "bleed out". This stuff is a very strong oxidizer - think along the lines of concentrated hydrogen peroxide.

To answer some of your other questions, KMNO4 can be purchased from Sears in the water softener section. At least, that's where I purchased it a while back. It comes as a dark black/purple crystal. Like I mentioned, be careful with this stuff. It stains EVERYTHING. (My wife still won't let me live down the big purple stain on the beige countertop of the kitchen. :)) I still think a 30 minute soak is adequate. This stuff works fast - it kills snails, planaria, and leeches instantly.

As for the driftwood, I wouldn't go that route. It will soak into the wood and will leach into the tank over time. At really low concentrations, it can actually be okay for the fish. This stuff used to be used as a method to sterilze wounds on fish and treat various diseases such as gill flukes, infected wounds, etc. The fish would be dipped and then returned to the tank after a very short time. I've done this a couple of time, but only with limited success. You can get rid of this stuff down the drain if you have city sewage, but if you have a septic, this is a definite no-no. You'll wipe out the beneficial bacteria in the septic.

Hope this helps some. Even with what Paul has mentioned, you ought to give it a try. I don't know if this will work on the little pests or not, but you'll never know unless you try.

Good luck!
Bailin
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Grrrr.... &%$#*@!!!!

One month... One LOUSY STINKIN' month of thinking that my little tank was bugger-free, and I just saw one! Chikushiyo!!! Chikushiyo!!! CHIKUSHIYO!!!!! (I hope there are no Japanese speakers, here :shock: ). I'd like to siphon out that disgusting little kuso, make it suffer (I won't expose you to my sick & twisted mind) and ... then...!!!!!!

I guess I wouldn't make a very good Hindu.

Oh well... On the bright side, I guess it's pointless to pre-treat my plants before putting them in this tank. One fewer step.

-a very p-oed Naomi
 

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If it is the little round ostracods that made the reappearance, I wouldn't get too upset. They do no harm that I can tell unless they become really numerous, and with fish, then never get more numerous than an occasional one that you can find if you are looking for them.

We would like to be gods to our tanks and have absolute say over who can live there, but, reality and life always bring us down a notch. That is why it is always interesting to be a biologist. We have bacteria living in our cells, and, if we were able to get rid of them, we would die in a minute. We call them mitochondria, and they do cellular respiration for us. Most of us have mites living at the bases of our eyelashes, and they have no effect at all, as far as anyone can tell. We have bacteria in our intestines that make several vitamins we need. We are all one big happy family, although I really would like to get rid of the leeches I have in one tank. I do want to draw the line at leeches! Yuck!

I once had a student who, after having had a month or two of biology about cellular respiration, diffusion, osmosis, etc., burst out one day and said, "All this stuff may be going on in algae and muck and stuff, but it's not going on in me!" So sorry! Yes, it is.

I once tried a Siamese fighting fish to get rid of ostracods, and while it was not able to get rid of them completely, it did keep them at low levels. It would suck them in, and then I could see its whole head moving up and down as it munched them. Sometimes I could hear faint cracking noises. That must mean it has pharyngeal teeth.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
LOL - I could totally relate to that student :biggrin: . Who'd believe that the same E. coli that makes us deathly sick when we eat tainted and undercooked meats exists naturally in our intestines (different strain, of course)...? And when I see those magnified photos or footage of the bacteria in our mouths, makes the idea of kissing really gross. Most of us are alive thanks to those vigilant little white blood cells and the miracle of phagocytosis.

I know... All of these little creepy things have their place in the world - the one we live in, as well (unfortunately) as the ones we create in glass/acrylic containers. I wish I could put up a teeny little sign that says "ostracods, hydra, nymphs and wormy things NOT welcome" and have it honored.

Anyway, I sucked up the one I saw yesterday with a turkey baster, put it in a cup and sprinkled some SeaChem Acid Buffer in it. The ostracod just stopped in its tracks and sank to the bottom of the cup. I felt a teeny-tiny sense of revenge, but I'm sure plenty more will appear in time.

-Naomi
 
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