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Old 03-08-2019, 12:44 AM
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Default Parasitic Tegastidae copepods "Black Bugs"

I just want to let everyone know that there is a Tegastidae copepod that seems to be common on acropora frags that are coming out of the Vancouver area. I have found it on the last few acropora frags I have purchased from different reefers.

This guy is not the red bug that we have all heard about. It is different. It appears to be smaller it is black with a red spot. Some call them Black bugs but there is conflicting information on exactly what black bug is.

This guy is not visible with the naked eye. With a hand lens it is still a tiny speck and really not visible. The red spot is not visible with a hand lens. In order to see it I had to pull out the dissecting scope and look at the coral frags under high power. I do not know if it is isolated to Acropora as I have not checked my other corals as it requires me to remove the coral from the tank and inspect it under a microscope.

These guys laugh at Coral RX. The only thing I have found that is effective is a Bayer dip. I am not sure about Revive or other home made remedies.

I have have had it in my display tank for quite some time. I thought my Melanarus wrasse would keep the numbers under check. I am not sure how much damage these guys cause. They seem to aggravate the corals and I have seen some decline generally starting from the bottom up and some lack of polyp extension on the corals that are most heavily affected. There appears to be about 20 of them per inch of coral when the coral is heavily affected.

I am currently treating my tank with Interceptor flavor tabs (Milbemycin Oxime). I got the prescription from my cat vet after I took in copies of several papers including Dana Riddle's article in Advanced Aquarist. I had pictures of my tank and knew what I was talking about when I explained to him what I needed. This stuff is expensive. If you can't get some from your vet you can also use the product Dr G'c Coral Dip Solution as it is Milbemycin Oxime and RO water. I just don't know the product concentration.

I have treated 2 times at the recommended dose. After the first treatment the number of black bugs was reduced substantially, after the second dose only saw a couple and they were not moving. These guys generally are very active. Will be doing third and final dose this weekend.

I have noticed a large reduction of pod population, the Interceptor does not appear to have affected any thing else, corals, fish, snails urchin. I do not have any shrimp or crabs in this tank.

I will be treating all new arrivals with bayer.

Last edited by Frogger; 03-08-2019 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:11 PM
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Wow thatís crappy. Those black bugs are tough MFs. Iíve dealt with the bigger ones that like monties and acros they are about twice the size of red bugs as well as ones I call clear bugs wich are smaller than red bugs . I used interceptor as well first time used regular dose . Killed all red bugs never to see again but the black and clear came back after about half a year . Then I did a second dose of interceptor but very strong for the size of my tank for 3 weeks . Itís strange because inseptor is for worms and crustations. But doesnít seem to kill all of them, certain ones are tough. I still have feather dusters ,tube worms, bristle worms , and all kinds of pods ,but it did kill all red bugs and shrimp pods . Something else I found is they like certain corals and will not infest another right beside it . So if you can remove and dip weekly the little MF WILL DIE! Dipping the coral weekly and using a turkey baster and blasting them off works the best for me . When dipping I only use minimal time just enough to knock them off then use a magnifying glass with a light to look and scrape any eggs off .
Thanks again for the heads up we need look very close at our wet pets for pests and quarantine .
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:12 PM
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Interceptor treatments have only reduced the numbers but have not eliminated them. I increased the dosage to double yesterday and they are still active today. Will likely triple dosage next week if no improvement. Sometimes it takes a while for the interceptor to kill them. I will leave it in the water column for a couple days before turning on skimmer and adding activated carbon.

Apparently you can go up to quadruple dosage and not adversely affect the corals and fish.

Will keep you posted. I will try to get a picture.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:09 PM
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black bugs 3 by Glenn Murray

Two of the bugs on acro circled. Taken with macro Olympus T5 zoomed in all the way cropped and enlarged. These guys are small

Will get better picture when I get my microscope out.
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Old 03-16-2019, 11:52 PM
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copepod 1 by Glenn Murray,

This is a side view at 800 times magnification. The front end is the wider section at the bottom. For scale I believe the round ball like structures at the top are zooxanthellae cells.

Last edited by Frogger; 03-16-2019 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 03-16-2019, 11:55 PM
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copepod3 by Glenn Murray

This is a view of 4 of them seen at 60 time magnification on the dissecting scope. They seem to hang out on the polyps and inside the corallites. There is hundreds of these guys on a small 2" frag.
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Old 03-16-2019, 11:59 PM
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copepod 2 by Glenn Murray

The red dot is the front of this guy. This is a top down view at 800 times magnification.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:08 AM
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To date I have used 2 treatments of interceptor at 100%. I did the 3rd treatment at 160%. I just treated today, 4th treatment at 240% of the recommended dosage. From what I can see I can go up to 400%.

So far the treatments only seemed to reduce the population of these copepods. It has slightly affected the amphipod population and does not appear to have had a major impact on my snails. Fish and corals show no sign of stress.

Will keep you posted. Like I said before I have received acro cuttings from many different reefers locally. I noticed it on the last couple of frags I bought which have been treated with bayer and are in the frag tank. Those frags have not set foot in my display tank.

The little buggers that I have in the display tank I must have gotten earlier. Every cutting I have has been dipped in Coral RX. Coral RX does not in phase these guys. They are just a tiny little dot with a hand lens and are really not visible. I did not start finding these guys until I was looking at them under the microscope.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:31 AM
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Ugh ... thanks for all the information on this. It’s crazy how many things attach to corals which are hard to see with the naked eye. I am fascinated with the under microscope photos of these little pests. Have you figured out if they are eating the acros skin? Or just irrating the polyps? Also you may have answered earlier, but are they taking to any other corals or just acros?
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKoKoMan View Post
Ugh ... thanks for all the information on this. It’s crazy how many things attach to corals which are hard to see with the naked eye. I am fascinated with the under microscope photos of these little pests. Have you figured out if they are eating the acros skin? Or just irrating the polyps? Also you may have answered earlier, but are they taking to any other corals or just acros?
Because they are almost impossible to see I cannot be sure. Before I started treating I could see them on most of the acropora that are close to the front glass. Since I have been treating I can only see them on my colony of Shades of fall and my orange passion frag. The orange passion frag has them the worst. This is the one I am able to take out of the tank to look at under the microscope. With my optivisor on and a bright light at night I can just make out the little spots moving around on the orange passion. I don't want to treat the orange passion with bayer because if I do then I will not be able to monitor how effective the control is.

I have no idea what they are doing but they are definitely aggravating the corals and the polyps are not fully extending. In each of the corallites there are several of these guys

Last edited by Frogger; 03-17-2019 at 01:44 AM.
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