killing springtails - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation killing springtails

Hey guys I finally ID some tiny black bugs around the edge of my quarantine tank as springtails. Is there any way to exterminate them aside from manually squishing? I know they are good but I don't want a bug infestation in my room.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 06:02 AM
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Feed them to your fish?

Otherwise maybe some Neem Oil or Potassium Salt insectisides will work. These are sold at most hardware stores and garden stores. I saw some at Home Depot. I use Neem Oil to kill Aphids on my pepper plants that I grow indoors. These are supposed to be safe to use indoors on houseplants, so I assume it will be fine in your case. You might want to check the Potassium Salt insectisides. Neem oil kind of smells and I would be apprehensive using it around aquariums.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 08:13 AM
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Oh also, since it's on the edge of the aquarium I would just try to rub in the neem oil/potassium salt/ whatever you might use on the infested spots with a towel or your fingers. This is just to try to keep it out of the water as much as you can.
Also, I use neem oil to control aphids. Neem oil only seems to work with aphids if you keep reapplying it every day or every 2 days. It apparently doesn't outright kill them but stops them from maturing to adults or the eggs hatching or something like that, this is why you have to keep applying it...you have to wait until all the adults die out.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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They aren't exactly at the edge of the tank, more like around the edge of the water. Since it's my quarantine tank I only have plants in there. Do I need to worry about the neem oil/ potassium salt making the tank toxic for any future fish I might toss in? I was hoping to just spray the edges and maybe the top of the water since those buggers float and are pretty fast.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 09:20 PM
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Hey Mr. Panda. It was about time I learned if these chemicals were actually toxic. I did a couple google searches under 'neem oil toxicity fish' and 'potassium salts of fatty acids toxicity fish'
Sorry I'm too lazy to find these links again and post them, but they were under the first 3 google search results.
Here are the general answers I found:
NEEM OIL - This has been used in aquaponics for a while, but is not used anymore because it has been shown to be moderately toxic to fish. It probably wont kill them outright but it hurts their gills, delays development, overall not good. However, Neem oil is supposed to break down quickly, also it might work on your quarantine tank. If I used Neem oil in your case I would say be careful to 1) Do a large water change, or 2 large water changes before you add fish/invertebrates. 2) Take care of your equipment if you use any nets or anything in the quarantine tank be sure to clean them (probably with soap) before you use it in the main tank. 3) activated carbon might help remove it from the water.
I use neem oil to kill aphids on my pepper plants. These are right next to my 29 gal aquarium. I have shrimp, snails, cory fry, and other fish in there. I haven't had any problems whatsoever since using it, however I am careful not to get any in the tank.

POTASSIUM SALTS OF FATTY ACIDS - This is very promising too. It seems to be not very toxic to fish and apparently degrades very quickly. This is said to be very toxic to aquatic invertebrates though. This might be a good option to use. Again, use the same precautions as the neem oil.

These insecticides are generally safe for plants, humans, and pets and are advertised as a safe indoor pest killer. However...they are toxic to aquatic invertebrates. Be careful with shrimp/snails/crayfish.
Pyrethrins are supposed to kill Springtails, however be careful. Pyrethrin is generally a safe insecticide which is derived from Chrysanthemum plants. However, overusing pyrethrins can aggravate humans and are dangerous to cats. Also pyrethrin compounds are dangerous to all aquatic life in small amounts. I would advise against this.

Generally, in my quick search, I would advise that you try to smush the infestation with your fingers if it is small enough. If it is too big you can try wiping it down with Vinegar for a while, apply this every day. This is a method that I read to kill springtails and it will not hurt anything in your tanks. Too much Vinegar will lower your pH, but you would need a lot, and this generally isn't even a problem, especially with plants.
If none of these work then I would look into Neem oil or Potassium Salts of Fatty acids. I'm not even sure if these will kill springtails, but they are working for me to kill aphids indoors. If you follow safe procedures and keep as little of it out of your main tank, then it should be fine. A few large water changes should remove any insecticides from your quarantine tank. Also, these compounds should degrade on their own naturally as well. Carbon can also help remove it from the water.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2014, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Squrl888 I followed your advice and went with the potassium salts. I got some of the Natria Insecticidal Soap spray from Home Depot since it uses potassium salts. It worked better than expected. It killed those buggers almost immediately during the first spraying. Even after a major water change, whatever was left continued killing any new springtails that hatched. My tank is now bug free
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2014, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Panda View Post
Hey Squrl888 I followed your advice and went with the potassium salts. I got some of the Natria Insecticidal Soap spray from Home Depot since it uses potassium salts. It worked better than expected. It killed those buggers almost immediately during the first spraying. Even after a major water change, whatever was left continued killing any new springtails that hatched. My tank is now bug free
Hey, that's awesome Mr. Panda! I'm glad that worked for you! I hope you don't get any into your main tank by accident, but the potassium salts should degrade pretty quickly I read. And your major water change should do the trick too.
Cheers!
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