Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Red Bugs

I've had Red Bugs in my system for at least a year. Although I've had Interceptor sitting on my bookcase for almost the same period of time I was reluctant to use it. Shrimp and crabs could be killed during treatment I was afraid that I would kill my Fire Shrimp. I was also afraid that dosing the Interceptor would kill my pods and I would end up starving my Mandarin.

I finally dosed on Saturday and am happy to report that my fire shrimp survived. He didn't even look stunned by the treatment and was very active during feeding time. I have a couple of hitchhiker crabs in my system. I'm not sure if they survived and am less concerned about their survival. One lives in my fuge and flooded my floor twice...will post on this later. One, big black, harry and ugly lives in my DT. I've never seen him do more than scrape algae off rocks until the other day when I saw it eating a snail.

One 23 mg tablet of Interceptor treats about 400 gallons. I have a 72 gal tank with probably about 15 gallons in the sump, fuge, skimmer and plumbing. Lots of water is displaced by my rock - I have no idea how much. I dosed about 1/5th of a pill which should be good for about 80 gallons. The pills cut really easily with a steak knife so breaking a pill into the correct dosage isn't a problem. I used the back of a spoon to pulverize it and mixed it with water and stirred until it looked dissolved.

Befor adding I moved my collection cup on my skimmer as high as it could go. My AquaC Remora doesn't have an air intake so I couldn't disable the skimmer. It is important to let water flow through the skimmer to kill any that may be hiding in there. I normally don't run carbon but if you do it must be removed prior to starting treatment.

I added it to the tank and the fish start eating the powder but they're fine. Within an hour most of the red bugs had stopped moving. Within 6 hours most had fallen off the corals. Some were hanging from threads from the corals are moving around attached by one leg. After 9 hours I couldn't see any red bugs left on any corals. After 9 hours I dropped the skimmer cup down and added carbon to start removing the Interceptor. The following day I did a normal 15% water change.

The stuff works amazingly well and is reef safe. While I was reading about red bugs during the treatment I learned that a lot of people have reported outbreaks of Acropora Eating Flatworms (AEFW). It has been suggested that the red bugs keep the flatworms in check and once they're gone the AEFWs emerge in force and start munching on the corals. Although there is an easy treatment for the red bugs there is none for the AEFWs.