Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Questions about pests that invade tanks.
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freetoki
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Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Post by freetoki »

I noticed groups of parasites in my hermies fresh water bowl. There are a lot of them, and they wriggle around on the surface. They are extremely tiny and white in color. I am desperately searching the net to find out what the heck they are and if they are harmful to me or the crabs. It's grossing me out. I can tell the have little legs and round bodies. They are only found in the water.

Any idea what they are and how I can get rid of them?

EDIT: Nevermind, they are not only in the water. They are in the bedding too, everywhere. I am guessing then that they are mites. But I'd still really like to know how to rid of them, whether they are benificial or not.
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Re: Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Post by Wai »

Are any of your hermit crabs buried?
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ladybug15057
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Re: Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Post by ladybug15057 »

To take a guess we would need to see a picture and sometimes due to how small they are this is impossible to do. Perhaps would they happen to look like any of these?

http://crabstreetjournal.com/xoops/modu ... storyid=12
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Re: Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Post by CrabbyJo »

Freetoki,
Do what you can to find out exactly what they are. In the meantime, if none of your crabs are buried, do a deep clean. Bathe your crabs in tepid (not room temp, that's too cool) ocean salt water before placing them back into the cleaned habitat.

Until you can do the deep clean, you can put a thick vaseline line around the top of the inside of the tank, to help keep any of the pests from escaping into your home.

It is best to try to discover just where the pests may have come from as well, to prevent reinfection once they are gone.

The only way to really get rid of pests in the crabitat is to replace the substrate (or sterilize it if it is sand, by washing and baking), boil all the toys and dishes that go in the crabitat, including wood items (or toss those) and bathe the crabs in the ocean salt water. You may have to do this more than once. Another way to get rid of some pests that is sometimes preferable over the deep clean (although a deep clean should still at least come later) is to purchase predator mites, called Hypoaspis Miles. They can be purchased online at Evergreen Growers (you can google it). They are very reasonable and helpful.
I've had to do this a couple of times as I couldn't get to a deep clean in a timely manner after discovering my mites, and I also had molters both times.

I never had mites in the water dish though, so can't say that what you have is mites, or that they aren't. Of course there are different kinds of mites, so some may end up in the water while others will avoid it.

Let us know how it progresses!
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Re: Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Post by freetoki »

Thank you CrabbyJo! Sorry for the lateness of this reply. I still have the mites, but they don't look like any in that previous link. They are tiny round and white, but aside from being quite abundant, they seem harmless. I never find any on my crabs, and my crabs are regularly active and burrow occasionally, but come out when they want, too. I will have to replace the substrate I believe, as it is soil. Thank you for the cleaning procedure and the tip about keeping the pests from escaping.
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Re: Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Post by CrabbyJo »

What kind of soil are you using for substrate?
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Re: Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Post by freetoki »

I don't know the brand name, but it is the kind that is dry and compacted when you buy it, and you add water to it to expand it. It holds in the moisture and humidity really well. But I didn't get the mites until after a while of having the substrate. I'm guessing I need to replace it more often. Is there a better soil to get if that's the problem?
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Re: Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Post by CrabbyJo »

Well, I wouldnt' call it soil, as that is really not what it is, and it gets experienced crabbers to perk up their ears in alarm lol.
it sounds like you have coconut fiber, which is compressed into a brick. If you expand it with ocean salt water, it is much less likely to get pests and mold as well. Don't count on it to completely prevent it though, if you get food in it the food can mold and then the mold will still spread through the substrate, but much more slowly than if you expand it with fresh water.

Eco Earth (EE, coconut fiber) is an excellent substrate and often easier to use and more affordable than aragonite sand (Carib Sea is the only brand I've found), which is the only other substrate I recommend. Some will use playsand, but playsand can be iffy, and you never know if you've gotten some that has something in it that can kill your crabs or make them sick.

How often do you change it? It might be a good idea to change it every time you are sure all your crabs are up (no molters), at least every 6 months, probably more often.
I don't use EE as a substrate for long periods, so am not sure how often you really should be changing it. I would think maybe every 3 months or so?
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Re: Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Post by ladybug15057 »

To go along with CrabbyJo's great advice, there are a few different substrates that are sold in a compressed form and need to be expanded and all are not 100% cocofiber. If you do not have any hermies burrowed now, it might not be a bad time to empty the tank and make sure the substrate is 100% cocofiber. (or use the sand CJ mentioned that can be washed, baked, reused for a few years.)
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Re: Tiny water parasites, cannot identify

Post by CrabbyJo »

Shoot Marie I didn't realize there were other compressed substrates that aren't cocofiber. See I still have lots to learn! Thank you for adding that in, and I did hope you would fill in holes if I forgot something >.<

I have been using my carib sea sand for two years. A great investment.
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