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Mites

Myrio

New Member
Joined
16 Jan 2016
Messages
20
Location
Milan
Well, I managed to avoid an infestation of aphids by removing the Miryophyllum and treating it in a bowl with soapy water. But one of my ripariums is almost full of spider mites. They are destroying mainly Hygrophila polysperma and Hyptis laciniata: their leaves have white spots covered with tiny black dots, then they start to curl from the tip. They are spreading everywhere, I can see the "big ones" walking on the Limnobium carpet. It seems they have covered the stems (not the leaves) of Proserpinaca palustris. And I think they are going to every plants and maybe to the other tanks too since they are all in a row.
What do you suggested? I was thinking to spray soapy water in the evening after the photoperiod, if yes with which soap should I prepare the mix? Marseille? Dish soap? Maybe soap + neem oil or only the neem?
I think I should do a water change after the treatment and repeat it in a week.

I have also looked for predators, but for Phytoseiulus persimilis I would have to wait 10 days or so
 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
8,314
Location
Netherlands
The spider mite is a pretty touch critter to terminate, it's most likely the bean dry spider mite, that's the most common sp. the farmers also try to fight and have developed a sort of immunity for most mild insecticides in the trade that is not too poisonous to us and the rest. The stuff really effective is banned in most European countries. If they are feeling happy and are booming you can expect to be in the few 100ds on 1 plant covering it with a web overnight. This web and the plant damage caused by the mites can cause mould on the plants again.

Like all insects etc. it has a waxy exoskeleton sensitive to spirits-based and petrol-based products. It weakens the skeleton so it is easier for poisons to penetrate. But in a vivarium with livestock etc., it's tough to get rid of them without using insecticides that also kill the rest.

A rather safe and home-use recipe is Denaturized alcohol mixed with soft soap, I'm not sure if it is good for use with livestock and when it falls in the water. Since denaturized alcohol has poisonous additives. I've used it in the past on house and garden plants but 9 out of 10 times it's too late and only semi-effective. It's a numbers game once mite is obviously visible they are already booming. You could try alcohol only because this evaporates rather quickly and will have the least impact on the water. It might be you need to be on top of it a few times a day for a period. This is because you might kill some adults but eggs will keep hatching again.

Even tho the damage on the leaf shows on top, all mites live and breed on the underside of the leaf. So spraying on top won't do that much. And it's a pain in the neck to spray each leaf separate from the underside. That's also the reason why they are hard to spot, once you see them and their webbing on the leaf top side and or stems and see leaf damage then you are very late at the party.

Not even sure if a natural predator is up to the numbers by then.
 

Myrio

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
16 Jan 2016
Messages
20
Location
Milan
Hi, the ripariums have no fishes, since the water column is 3-4 cm high from the substrate. But there are snails and other inverts that I don't want to kill because they are doing a great job.
The pesticides I have found say to be toxic for aquatic organisms with long term effects. I don't even know if they could be a problem for the plants too.
I know I should spray everywhere, it isn't a problem because there aren't so many stem plants for now, but if they are under the leaves of floating plants too, well...
Here's some pics, just to be sure
IMG_20220806_111643.jpg IMG_20220806_111720.jpg IMG_20220806_111756.jpg IMG_20220806_111807.jpg
Rotala indica from the tank next to it, I have thought they were mites, but there are no black dots and you can see two "larvae", I don't know what they could bee
IMG_20220806_113215.jpg IMG_20220806_113231.jpg
Well, honestly I feel a bit dejected. I have come back in the hobby and decided to start with emersed culture because it's way simpler except for the parasites: I am getting all of them.
 

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dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,980
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Hi, the ripariums have no fishes, since the water column is 3-4 cm high from the substrate. But there are snails and other inverts that I don't want to kill because they are doing a great job.
The pesticides I have found say to be toxic for aquatic organisms with long term effects.
The easy answer is just to flood it, a few days should be enough to kill them. As Marcel (@zozo ) says they are resistant to most pesticides, and I really wouldn't recommend pesticides.

Cheers Darrel
 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
8,314
Location
Netherlands
The easy answer is just to flood it, a few days should be enough to kill them.
Indeed haven't thought of that one... :) Because I have plants growing out of and or hanging over... Actually, the only indoor plant that once in a while has mites on it is the Nymphaea. Obviously not much to flood there also...
IMG_20220807_125912540[1].jpg

It only grows floaters during the summer that dies off in the fall and reverts back to submerged growth only in the winter. It doesn't have mites each year again, it's still clean not yet seen any mites this summer. All other plants I grow indoors never have mites. So obviously they must come from outdoors in and find the plant... It's said that mites do overwinter in warm nooks and crannies from (green)houses and other frost-free places etc. So even with flooding, some might escape and survive and will hide somewhere in the house and come back and start over. Flood regularly if you can a few times per year would be best practice to prevent future outbreaks.
 
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