Another Creepy Critter In The Water...

Cold&warm
  • #1
HI everyone!

Yesterday evening I spotted a silvery tiny critter which I at first thought to be fry. But... no eyes, no gills or anything a fish would have and the strange wriggling movements told otherwise.

My only left Dwarf Red Blue Gularis - the fish in the avatar - made a bite of it.
This evening there were two. The cardinals ate them.

I'd like to know what they are.
They measure about 0.16 in and if not clinging to the glass float at the surface of the water:

IMG_4351 Bak7 di29mei18 sq.JPG
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As to the quality of the s, this is the best I could do before the cardinals saw them.


Thanks in advance for any answer!
 
75g Discus Tank
  • #2
I’d guess some sort of insect larva.

What insects are commonly found in your area?
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Now that the warm season is underway: ants, all kinds of mosquitoes and their kin, drone flies (I know of their existence thanks to Keystone who yesterday identified larvae I found in a basin), wasps, bees, dragon flies (not around yet). There are a few more species of winged insects, but I do not know their names.

I am a bit puzzled, though, as to how the larvae got into the aquarium. Although I lately keep the window next to my tanks open for quite some time each day and parent insects do not ask my permission to fly in, I am constantly around my tanks and have never seen adult insects in or around them.
I have several live cultures going on: vinegar eels, white worms, grindals - the latter partly in soil substrates, but again, no adult insects in their plastic boxes.

I hope that the cardinals will continue to eat the larvae, their number seems to be growing.
With their tendency to stay afloat they would be ideal prey for hatchet fish, but our water has a pH of around 8.5 and I have been advised not to buy them.
 
Keystone
  • #4
Not the best pics - I feel confident saying they are insect larvae, but I wouldn't go any further than that without better pics
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I turned the 3 corner filters off to make these pics which are less blurred:

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When there is no water movement, someone creeps out of the water:

IMG_4369  outside the water.JPG
In the meantime I spoon them out and give them to my Blue Gularis, who devours anything small that moves .
 

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Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
This one here is about to meet the hungry killifish:

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midna
  • #7
maybe some kind of aquatic caterpillar from a tiny moth?
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Interesting suggestion! Thank you.

Following an exceptionally cold winter - by local standards - yesterday temperatures for the first time reached some 85F.
The warm weather comes of course with all kinds of flying and creeping little things.

More than a year ago I saw this pretty very tiny water plant in a bucket outside and added it to the aquarium I started with. It housed a couple of Everglades pygmy sunfish and their fry.
The next day there was a kind of miniaturized Chinese new year celebration dragon on the bottom of my tank.
The technical advisor of the online aquarium store suggested it was a dragonfly larva, a killing machine when it comes to fish.

That's why I wanted to identify these.
So far they seem to be harmless.
I do hope they are.
 
midna
  • #9
what!!! how do you get fish in a bucket?! where did they come from???? edit: okay, never mind, I totally read that wrong, lol. I thought the fish came from the plant in the bucket.... whoops

no, i'm pretty sure this is just a caterpillar or some type of insect larvae. nothing predatory.

I didn't know dragonfly nymphs hunted fish! i've heard of them in tanks before. we used to get them on our pool cover when the rainwater built up on it. freaked me out the first time I saw their final molts clinging to the side of the pool.
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Hahaha! The weather must be pretty hot in Texas, too, if you think that fish grow from plants here. I'm still laughing..

At first I misread your post and thought you were saying that the fish turned up in the bucket out of the blue - it's catching ...
Speaking of "out of the blue", some time ago on YouTube there was a video on a small shark that literally had fallen from the sky. It was somewhere in the US. The computer-generated voice alleged that a bird had dropped it. Quite some birds you people have got there....

From a less humoristic and more scientific angle, I honestly think I have read somewhere that birds are accountable for transporting fish occasionally, simply loosing part of their catch. Sounds very likely to me when I think where my little Elassoma evergladeI originally came from. (I wanted to go there, till I read about the crocodiles/alligators.)

Meanwhile I am giving my 20 gal a 100% water change. I wiped the glass with paper soaked in vinegar. For the time being no more larvae. But I keep the window open. Anyway, I do think you are right and that they will not harm my little fishies.

As for the dragonfly nymphs, I have read that they have the creepy habit of opening the bellies of all Gambusias they encounter, even without eating them. In the city of Modena or another city in Emilia-Romagna, not far from where Lamborghini, FerrarI and PaganI (dream cars) are built, the city authorities had Gambusias introduced in ponds and other water bodies to fight mosquitos. I happened to read it while googling some two years ago.
But hopefully dragonfly offspring display more civilized behavior on your side of the Atlantic .. .
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I found a picture of the little plant - it is the long white root ending in two small leaflets:

IMG_0297.JPG
The water in the bucket was simple rain water. The picture was taken on December 1st, 2016. That day I had found the tiny plant in the bucket under my window. Next morning in the dark I saw the "monster".

In the picture you can also see the Everglades pygmy sunfish female. She was exactly one inch small and had a lot of personality.
Possibly due to the long trip they had made (all the way from the German-Polish border, no Everglades pygmy sunfish were to be found in Italy nor in several other Western European countries), the Elassoma evergladeI started breeding off-season (they are supposed to do so in March). The fry were hiding very cleverly in the 8 gal unheated tank, but would come out at night when their parents were sleeping. I would surprise them with my flashlight for fish watching. That's how I spotted the dragonfly nymph.

Their parents spawned several times. One of the surviving fry was therefore bigger than the others - I called him Big Sibling. He (or she) was special. I am still convinced that at night he would teach his smaller brothers and sisters the skills necessary to be Everglades pygmy sunfish fry. This is him (as already pointed out above, I am a poor photographer):

IMG_0035.JPG
 
Seasoldier
  • #12
I'd like to know what they are.
Free fish food is what they are , some sort of local insect larvae.
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
By now I think so, too.
 
Seasoldier
  • #14
I didn't know dragonfly nymphs hunted fish! i've heard of them in tanks before.
Dragonfly larvae are highly predatory & will take tadpoles & small fish / fry, if you get the chance look at the jaws on one of them, I'm glad they don't grow very big .
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
What about their forebears in prehistoric times? (Not joking.)
 
midna
  • #16
it is really hot, but I think I was just really tired lol. and that makes sense about birds dropping fish in odd locations, i'd never thought of that before. that bird would have had to have had pretty good aI'm to land a fish in a bucket though. a shark! well, this is america.

wow, that's intense. maybe our nymphs were of the smaller variety, but they still got up to maybe an inch long. I think the ones in our pool just hunted the water bugs that would be in there, too. we had our own little ecosystem going on. the honeybees would gather and drink the water all day long. my dad just took down the pool this year so no more critter-watching for me.
 
Dch48
  • #17
They look like either mosquito or midge larvae to me. Like was said, free fish food.

Dragonflies are the most successful and relentless predators in the world. It only makes sense that their nymphs would be the same.
 
midna
  • #18
they do look a bit like midge fly larvae. not the typical bloodworm look, but the kind that look more like a caterpillar than a worm. if that's the case, it's probably good you cleaned out the tank, because I think they can bite.
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
... that bird would have had to have had pretty good aI'm to land a fish in a bucket though. a shark! well, this is america.

If I remember correctly the shark landed on a playground between buildings, in any case not in a bucket. Although not 100% sure, I guess even a baby shark of the smallest species would find it difficult to fit into an average bucket. No doubt whatsoever about US birds' marksmanship, though..
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
They look like either mosquito or midge larvae to me. Like was said, free fish food.

Dragonflies are the most successful and relentless predators in the world. It only makes sense that their nymphs would be the same.

Two days ago, tiger mosquitoes made it clear they would be around also this year ... They deal a nasty sting, and from childhood I have had some kind of allergy to any type of mosquito poison/irritant, even before tiger mosquitoes migrated this way from Southeast Asia. Their larvae are not entirely free of charge ...
Anyway, I am sure it is not mosquitoes. I catch their larvae - red, white, black and small (tiger mosquitoes) on a regular basis. All my fish, even the sluggiest ones, go bananas over them.

I fully agree with what you write about dragonflies; it occured to me while reading midna's last posts.
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Dch48 and midna, I fear you are right about them being midge larvae. As a matter of fact, yesterday I spotted an adult midge on the plexiglass cover of the 20 gal where they appeared. Exceptionally, I managed to change the course of his life for good with the help of a plastic spoon ...

Would you have a suggestion about how to get rid of them? (Apart from eliminating the larvae.)
The adults sting nasty throughout the whole warm season.
Once they are airborne, they are difficult to catch.
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
And contrarily to mosquito larvae, my fish do not pay too much attention to them. Unfortunately they breed mostly outside my tank.
 
midna
  • #23
I have no idea :/ i've never had a problem with them. i'm not sure if i've ever even seen them before. you get a lot of nasty critters over there!!! do you have open windows or anything where bugs can get in?
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
I have no idea :/ i've never had a problem with them. i'm not sure if i've ever even seen them before. you get a lot of nasty critters over there!!! do you have open windows or anything where bugs can get in?
Yeah, and their number seems to increase! I remember the years when there were neither midges nor tiger mosquitoes. And now creepy larvae appear in my tank uninvited.

At present temperatures I still open the window for oxygen. Soon it will be too hot for that. I have a problem with climatization (much less used here than in the US), so indoor temps reach almost 85F. Long before that I use ice-filled mineral water bottles for fish that need it cool:

IMG_2569 Ice-crystal-show with inquisitive E.e..JPG


IMG_2594 July-August 2017 was HOT.JPG
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
The whole problem would not exist if the original inhabitants of the tank were still in the 20 gal: 4 Blue Gularisses - I got them by mistake, I had ordered other fish.
I did not send them back, for it was suddenly getting too cold last October - we have no spring nor autumn any more; just cold and hot season. They would have died.
Fundulopanchax sjoestedtI devour anything, even fish one thinks couldn't possibly fit into their mouths ... I might not even have noticed the larvae.
Now I only have the male in the avatar left, and he is in another tank. The other three recently jumped out of the tank when I had taken the cover off. It was only a matter of minutes.

Do I understand correctly from your Forum member profile that you have a betta only? If so, I am expecting 3 relatives of his: sparkling gouramis, Trichopsis pumila. Fortunately I discovered in time that these fish jump, too: .
Perhaps you'd keep an eye on your betta. I saw a YouTube vid where a male jumped into the tiny tank of his neighbor to start a fight.


IMG_4391.JPG
This is how the 20 gal looks now. I hope the sparkling gouramis will eat any larvae. I have another relative of your Betta : a paradise fish. He, too, eats any living critter which enters his tank. It is a pity that paradise fish and Blue Gularisses are so difficult to keep with other fish, even with their own kind.
 
Dch48
  • #26
The whole problem would not exist if the original inhabitants of the tank were still in the 20 gal: 4 Blue Gularisses - I got them by mistake, I had ordered other fish.
I did not send them back, for it was suddenly getting too cold last October - we have no spring nor autumn any more; just cold and hot season. They would have died.
Fundulopanchax sjoestedtI devour anything, even fish one thinks couldn't possibly fit into their mouths ... I might not even have noticed the larvae.
Now I only have the male in the avatar left, and he is in another tank. The other three recently jumped out of the tank when I had taken the cover off. It was only a matter of minutes.

Do I understand correctly from your Forum member profile that you have a betta only? If so, I am expecting 3 relatives of his: sparkling gouramis, Trichopsis pumila. Fortunately I discovered in time that these fish jump, too: .
Perhaps you'd keep an eye on your betta. I saw a YouTube vid where a male jumped into the tiny tank of his neighbor to start a fight.

View attachment 443560
This is how the 20 gal looks now. I hope the sparkling gouramis will eat any larvae. I have another relative of your Betta : a paradise fish. He, too, eats any living critter which enters his tank. It is a pity that paradise fish and Blue Gularisses are so difficult to keep with other fish, even with their own kind.
Yeah, it seems like a lot of the best looking freshwater fish are the worst thugs. I always wanted an Auratas Cichlid or 2 but I read that they are one of the worst.
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Yeah, it seems like a lot of the best looking freshwater fish are the worst thugs. I always wanted an Auratas Cichlid or 2 but I read that they are one of the worst.
If I am not mistaken, of the three great African Lakes, the fish that like your Auratas Cichlid (I had to look him up) come from Lake MalawI are the most aggressive ones. They also need large tanks.. I do not know if your Forum member profile is updated (mine is not) but where would you put even one single Auratas: ?

The least aggressive ones - but still displaying typical African Cichlid behavior, so best kept in a species tank - according to my information are to be found in Lake Tanganyika. The above-mentioned shipment which I hope to receive next week will also contain 3 "multies", 1 male ad 2 females, they are polygamous: , possibly the world's smallest cichlids.
Tap water here has a pH of 8.5. While too high for many fish it is ideal for African cichlids from the 3 great lakes.
Multies live and spawn in empty shells - escargots are recommended by those who have these fish - and form colonies. Older fish, even older fry take care of the young ones. I have a tank with 10 gallons of water volume, fine white sand and more escargots than they'll need waiting for them.

Oh yes, I was told not to take mouth breeders, considering the little space I have. Even the small species need more room: the males are very aggressive towards the females.
 
Dch48
  • #28
Obviously, I would have to get a bigger tank for Cichlids. That however doesn't seem to be an option. I've just always liked them and wished I could have one. They are beautiful. I actually like the female coloration better. It's kinda like wishing you could have a pet tiger but knowing you can't.

I do like those shell dwellers though. Especially the Similis variety
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
I am sorry that your favorite cichlids are out of reach .. .
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
If I remember correctly the shark landed on a playground between buildings, in any case not in a bucket. Although not 100% sure, I guess even a baby shark of the smallest species would find it difficult to fit into an average bucket. No doubt whatsoever about US birds' marksmanship, though..
UPDATE: there are very small sharks, whose offspring would fit into bucket. Look here:
https://www.sharksider.com/10-smallest-species-sharks/
 
Dch48
  • #31
UPDATE: there are very small sharks, whose offspring would fit into bucket. Look here:
https://www.sharksider.com/10-smallest-species-sharks/
Those are all deepwater fish though so unlikely that a bird would catch one. A more likely candidate would be the Shovelhead shark or Bonnethead. I have seen small ones in the shallow waters of beaches in Florida many times and they are very prolific. A cousin of the Hammerhead but they don't get nearly as large with the max being about 5 feet. My brother and I saw a Hammerhead that was at least 20 feet long. We were fishing off a bridge when the shark came in from the Gulf of Mexico and swam right under the bridge and back into the pass behind some islands. The biggest thing I've ever seen in the wild and I didn't go in the water for at least 6 months after that.
 
Cold&warm
  • Thread Starter
  • #32
My brother and I saw a Hammerhead that was at least 20 feet long. We were fishing off a bridge when the shark came in from the Gulf of Mexico and swam right under the bridge and back into the pass behind some islands. The biggest thing I've ever seen in the wild and I didn't go in the water for at least 6 months after that.
I am surprised you went in the water at all, eheheh...
 

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