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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm wondering how many people here have ever actually taken a very good close look at the surface of your water in your aquariums? I ask this because of something I've been aware of for years in my tanks, but see very little info on...

I first noticed probably 5 years ago, that if I take a very careful look at the water surface in my tanks, there's life there. This life appears to be very tiny mites hopping along the surface and resting on any debris that might be floating. They are the size of a pin-head and light in colour and hop up to 2-3" quickly. I have found limited information about these over the years, other than the fact that they're harmless and apparently hatchet fish snack on them.

From what I've seen, they'll feed and live off of any decaying matter (plants, food, etc...) available at the surface or on the edges of your aquarium. I suspect they may also feed off any 'oils' you may see floating on the surface from some foods. If they don't feed off the oils, they at least rest on them same as they would a floating leaf. Surface agitation supposedly makes life very difficult for them, but I think it just gets them in better cardio shape as they jump more ;). A brine-shrimp net would be tedious as these things are so small and quick it would only serve as a method of controlling the population to net them as you'd never net them all. I may try a surface skimmer in one of my tanks with a canister filter next.

I've witnessed these little hoppers on the surface of the water in all my tanks, as well as friends tanks when I've looked very carefully. It may mean focusing your eyes at one particular spot on the surface and then watching for movement around that spot in your peripheral vision, but I'd guess many of us have these but they go unnoticed because of their tiny size. I'll try to get some macro shots with my good camera. So, do you have free-loading guests in your tank?
 

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i noticed during a water change the other day, at the bottom of the empty bucket were a bunch of baby pond snails, some opaque microscopic organisms, and these fast little black spots things, smaller than a pinhead. Had to really look to notice them. Fishfood? :)
 

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i have seen them in my tanks from time to time also...
 

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Lol, I'm not the only one... I've noticed mine a few years back and I just figured that I had pretty good "lake like" water....:rolleyes: I'm pretty sure they are a microscopic bug that you'd find in a lake, which would mean you've allowed the processed tap water to age.... like a fine wine....:p But then again this is only my theory and I could be totally wrong....:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'd guess that the majority of us either have these in/on our tanks or have had them, but they've gone completely unnoticed due to their very tiny size...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I managed to get a few macro pictures of these mites. For each one I'll post the photo as the naked eye would see it followed by a zoom-in shot of the mites...











 

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i think they are fleas. ive seen them in our 120 . Colin do you have other pets besides fish. I swear they are fleas.
 

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i think they are fleas. ive seen them in our 120 . Colin do you have other pets besides fish. I swear they are fleas.
not fleas ben, definitely mites, my 120 is swarming with them aswell. i don't find them in my community tank(too many small fish to eat them) or in my 90gal cause there is too much surface agitation but they seem to be in all my tanks with floating plant or with little to no surface movement
 

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wHoah! that it definitely wierd!
I dun think i've ever seen ANYTHING at all like that in my tank! Maybe too many fish?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
wHoah! that it definitely wierd!
I dun think i've ever seen ANYTHING at all like that in my tank! Maybe too many fish?
Lol... That's from my 29G which has 1x upside down catfish, an unidentified catfish about the size of a loach, a cherry barb, and two very young bristlenose pleco's that I just got. The canister filter is a Fluval 404. These mites have been around for years and never posed any problem. I'm going to try a surface skimmer added onto my filter soon. Considering the size of these, you have to look VERY carefully to spot them....
 

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o_O i dun think they would even survive on the surface of the tank... I'm more than certain on that LOL~ toooooo many fish~
 

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I had hundreds of water fleas in my shrimp tank of about the same size. I bought a couple of guppies and the fleas were gone in a few days.
I bet guppies or similar fish would clear them out quick.
 

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they're called springtails, live in/on soil, decaying plant mater, and water surfaces. people keep them in terrariums to eat molds and fungus. actually a good thing to have, and good fish food. they don't like surface agitation too much.

great pix, by the way. that's a much clearer view than I typically have of them:)
 

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I thought I had major out break on my tanks surface, had a mini panic attack....then dave told me everyone with plants has them
 

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Discussion Starter #19
they're called springtails, live in/on soil, decaying plant mater, and water surfaces. people keep them in terrariums to eat molds and fungus. actually a good thing to have, and good fish food. they don't like surface agitation too much.

great pix, by the way. that's a much clearer view than I typically have of them:)
Thanks! I knew I had read a common name for them in my searches. Springtails is the one...
 
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