When you have a fish tank, there is little that is more important than keeping the water clean and uncontaminated so that your fish stay healthy. In many cases, water mites in your fish tank are nothing that you need to be seriously concerned about, but they should still be dealt with promptly to ensure they don’t harm the fish, and the water quality is kept high. Water mites can refer to a variety of different minute creatures that may inhabit the tank, and although most are harmless, you should still deal with them promptly to avoid a mass infestation.
Water mites could be copepods, ostracods, daphnia, or amphipods, and they may damage the plants in the tank, or in some cases and in large numbers, they could be harmful to your fish. You rarely need to actually identify the mites to deal with them; just being aware that they are there and the tank needs cleaning is enough. It is perfectly normal for tanks to end up with a variety of little critters living in them, and most are beneficial to a balanced ecosystem.
Regularly cleaning your tank is important for maintaining fish health, and it’s a good idea to remove invaders if you don’t know what they are and you can’t identify them as harmless. However, if they are not actively attacking your fish, try not to panic, because it’s pretty common to get mites in the tank from time to time.
How Do Aquarium Mites Get Into Your Fish Tank?
Aquarium mites will almost always be introduced to a tank at the same time as something else you have added to the tank, such as new plants, toys, or possibly even fish or other invertebrates. If you have recently added anything to your tank, this will usually explain the sudden presence of mites, although it will often take time for them to reach noticeable numbers, especially if they are tiny. If your aquarium suits their needs, they may multiply within just a few days, but generally it will take a week or two for them to really populate the tank.
If you don’t want to introduce aquarium mites, it’s a good idea to quarantine plants that have been in another aquarium before adding them to yours. You can do this by simply putting them in a tank with no fish or other plants and waiting to see what happens, but it’s a good idea to sterilize them with diluted bleach first, and then to keep them separate for up to a month. Any decorations should be allowed to fully dry out before being added to your aquarium, and you may want to clean them with bleach too.
This should help to reduce the risk of accidentally introducing anything to your tank, although it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t. If you have bought new fish or critters for your tank, you should similarly quarantine them for a month before adding them.
Is It Common To Have Aquarium Mites In Your Fish Tank?
It is quite common to have aquarium mites in your fish tank, yes, especially if you have recently added anything, whether that’s occupants, plants, or decorations. Most water will have tiny bugs living in it, and in general, you don’t need to be too concerned about this, although it can be problematic if they multiply quickly and take over the tank. Unfortunately, because they are so tiny, it’s very easy for them to get spread from one tank to another without being detected.
Just like on-land mites, aquarium mites can be tricky to deal with, because they are so small and easy to miss. You will probably not know that you have them until the infestation is large; it will be difficult to spot them until there are a lot. Fortunately, they aren’t usually a big issue.
Most people who keep fish will deal with aquarium mites at some time or another, and any addition to your tank risks introducing them. Good quarantine procedures and healthy fish should ensure that they don’t cause a problem, but there may be instances in which you need to try and deal with them – which we will talk about next.
How To Deal With Water Mites In A Fish Tank!
There are several things that you can do to reduce the presence of water mites in your tank, and depending on the species, some methods will probably prove more effective than others. Often, water mites will be thriving because you are overfeeding your fish; they need dead or decaying matter to eat, and if you aren’t providing this, their population will drop off. Leftover food particles in the water will quickly rot and serve as food for the water mites, so make sure your fish are eating everything you give them.
Keeping the tank clean is also an important element of dealing with water mites, as this will disrupt them and will reduce their sources of food. You should be changing the water frequently, and you should also scrub the walls of the tank to remove any mites that are clinging there. Adding a HOB filter may also help because it will suck up some of the mites.
You might want to introduce predators to the tank, and you can buy “pod” eaters that specifically feed on “pods” and will hunt out the water mites, decimating their population. This is a good way to keep on top of water mites, but you will then need to feed these pod eaters or remove them from the tank later.
Getting water mites in your fish tank is a standard part of owning fish and keeping an aquarium, especially if you make frequent additions. These mites will only appear if they are introduced with something else, as they can’t spawn from nothing in a closed-tank system, but it is very easy to accidentally add them. Make sure you quarantine plants, critters, and decorations before putting them in your aquarium, and you will reduce the risk of mites appearing.