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What is this creature??

3046 Views 22 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  zeek
Today when I was pulling some algae out of a deep dark recess this "thing" came out and almost ran up my arm..... :shock:
It looks like a big white spider, but it has a head almost as big as it's body, and bigger eyes.
I took a couple of poor photos to see if anyone has any idea of what it might be. I had glare on the glass and some algae, but maybe you can get some sort of idea from them.
It doesn't seem to be bothering anything in the tank - I even have tiny baby shrimp and they seem to be okay.

Thanks for any insight.
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it looks almost like a young dragonfly nymph or some other aqutic invertebrate nymph, but it is hard to tell what it is because the picture is kind of blurry

did you recently acquire new plants from out of state?
I wish I could have gotten a better photo, but it was limited before it went back down to it's hiding spot.

Yes, I got a surprise plant package (which I'm not real fond of - I like to know what I'm getting) from someone on Aquabid, along with some Zebra Oto's about 3 or 4 weeks ago, and that's the only place I can figure it came from. I rinsed the plants, but that was it.
The thing is about twice the size of adult Amano's and I think it has 4 legs.
I'll have to look up some photos of dragonfly larva and see if they're similar.
That thing must be pretty big, if it is a dragonfly larvae it will be able to kill a good sized fish.
Whatever it is, I'm going to have nightmares now.
It's a dragonfly nymph, no doubt about it. I'd get it out of the tank before it does any damage to your fish population.
Hm, looks better than the big ol' cockroach that decided to die in my discus tank few months ago. They call them "water bugs" here in TX...

FIY discus don't seem to eat roaches so that possibly cheap fish food is out of the question for good.


Thanks for the help. It seems to be unanymous that it's probably dragon fly larva. Ack, lets hope it's not a cockroach...
I guess I'll get it out of there ASAP since I only have little fish and shrimp in that tank. Oh goody, now I get to stick my arm back in the deep thickets to try to rouse it out again... :shock:
I have a running tank that's empty, so I think I'm going to stick it in there to see what it turns in to.

BTW, is this a common thing to hitchhike in aquarium plants? It's a first for me, anyway....
I've actually been reading threads like this all over the fish forums I frequent...kinda worrying me. I wonder why the sudden increase in Dragon fly nymphs? I wonder if they are from one source or several?
Most definitely a dragonfly nymph, and it can catch and eat a fish or shrimp almost as big as itself.
Why would you want to grow it out into an adult?! This hitchhiker probably came on some plants, do you "sanitize" your plants before planting them in the aquarium?

Does anyone know if Lime It is a good product? And does anything eat this thing(an Oscar?)?
I just thought I'd see what it's growth rate, and habits are since I have the empty tank (if I could find it again...).

I used to santize all of my plants, then I kept hearing it isn't necessary so I just started rinsing them off. I'm going to start sanitizing again now, especially if PG says others have been getting them as hitchhikers.
I do/did/ use Lime-it and it seemed to do the trick. It just takes a ton of rinsing to get the white spots off.

I'm almost 99% sure I know where this hitchhiker came from, so luckily I only put those plants in this one tank.
Hi JanS,

This critter is a DragonFly for sure, it is scariest bug that I've ever seen.

Look these links :

yours look like the first draw. And also look very similar to this one:

I don't think keep this guy is a good idea, because they can spend years as a nymph before they became to a beautiful Dragon Fly. Also they are predators so you have to feed them live food :shock: .

It is some information that I found on Internet :

" Usually Aeschnids. Fascinating to watch, these predatory insects grab prey, which includes other insects, and small fish, with their extandable mouthparts. They also feature rectal gills for survival in water and move by expelling water through their anus. The specimens may spend several years as nymphs before maturing into dragonflies. Will eat other small aquarium inhabitants."

They are very interesting things :).

Also I found a place in Internet which sell this things ! If some one is interested I can post the link :wink:
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Yup, dragonfly nymph. I pull them out of the pond quite regularly.he one shown is probably a skimmer dragonfly nymph. Check out the dental equipment!-the section pulled out is commonly referred to as a mask and shoots out to grab whatever item was unfortuanate enough to pass by.

the larvae upsidedown. you can see the "mask" folded neatly under the head

now pulled forward

And now back to neutral....
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holy cow thats some mask!
Oh wow, great pics! Eeew though..... I'm not squeamish about stuff like that (well snakes are my only phobia), but it kind of gives me the willies to have something like that in the tank.
I might wind up tearing the tank down to find it too since I've been trying every day since posting this and can't find it.... Sob.....
I should have grabbed it that day instead of taking pics. :( :oops:

Update: I was down there poking around with my long handled trimming scissors and found it - please let this be the only one..... :shock:

Anyway I took a couple of pics just to confirm that it is actually a Dragonfly larva (sure looks like it to me though)....

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No dragonfly nymph !!! It is an Alien larvae !, now I know where all those alien creatures on the movies come from. :shock:

Glad to hear you finally found it !!!
Dunno how funny I will sound saying that that one is quite nice looking compared to mine...LOL

If you have any big fish around these are great food!
Would Mbuna's tear it apart? I would enjoy seeing something this ugly get killed.
Pretty sure they would. I know large killies like Fp. sjoestedti or Aplocheilus lineatus will simply grab the small ones whole.
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