Gnats, Springtails, and Mites in my scorpion enclosure (Should i redo everything?)

Ginron

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Jun 30, 2016
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I just finished my Asian forest scorpion enclosure around a month ago, and now things seem to be heading south...

I first noticed something flying around the enclosure about a week ago and after doing some research they seem to be fungus gnats. I hear they don't do any damage to the plants or my scorpion, but i don't want the population to blow up to the point where they are flying around my room.

The second thing i noticed was what looked like small grains of rice all over the enclosure. I'm pretty sure they are springtails since they bounce all over and match some of the google images for them. Not too concerned with these since all they do is eat waste.

The final and most concerning thing that i discovered was some misshapen leaves on some of the plants in the enclosure. when i looked closer i noticed tiny nearly microscopic white insects that i am guessing are mites.

So what i'm wondering is if i can salvage the situation and how to do so, or if i need to take out everything and start fresh.

Also it would be good to know what kind of prevention methods there are for each so i don't introduce them again.

Thanks.
 

viper69

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I've never owned a scorp, but own tropical Ts.

IMO, you have too much going on, I'd re-do the entire setup, esp the sub. Those mites, if they are "grain mites" can EXPLODE overnight w/the right conditions. Don't know about scorps, but they do irritate Ts

For mites, they are attracted to moist environments and animal waste matter based on some observations (not scientific mind you). One needs to keep the container clean and dry with good ventilation to prevent them from setting up shop.

BTW, mites aren't insects. They are arachnids! :cool:
 

shining

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I agree with doing a substrate change and sterilizing the decor.

Are there mites on the scorpion?
 

jaredc

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I purposefully introduce springtails to compete mites. They're beneficial and eat waste.
 

Ginron

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I've never owned a scorp, but own tropical Ts.

IMO, you have too much going on, I'd re-do the entire setup, esp the sub. Those mites, if they are "grain mites" can EXPLODE overnight w/the right conditions. Don't know about scorps, but they do irritate Ts

For mites, they are attracted to moist environments and animal waste matter based on some observations (not scientific mind you). One needs to keep the container clean and dry with good ventilation to prevent them from setting up shop.

BTW, mites aren't insects. They are arachnids! :cool:
I have been spot cleaning everywhere but the hides since i have them buried (not sure if scorpions defecate in their burrows). i would keep the tank dry and increase ventilation, but this type of scorpion needs moist humid conditions so i guess the only real option is to scrap everything :(

Oh and i know mites are arachnids, i just thought it would be strange to call them as such since i was writing in the tense of not having identified them yet. :cool:
 

Ginron

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I agree with doing a substrate change and sterilizing the decor.

Are there mites on the scorpion?
Hey shining,

Thanks for the help on my last post, looks like i needed more lol.

The mites seem to only be on the plants, but my scorp hasn't come out for me to see her well in the past couple days.

Do you think i should even try to sterilize the live plants or just buy all new ones?
 

BobBarley

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I've found the biggest fix for fungus gnats (for me anyway) has been to set up a heat humidifier right next to the enclosure. The gnats are drawn to it like a moth to a flame, and they die because of the heat. I had my infestation under control in about a week. You can leave the springtails there, I purposefully get a colony established in every one of my moist enclosures. Maybe get predatory mites? They'd eat both the mites and the springtails. Mostly the mites though, because they are easier to catch. Once their food source is gone, the predatory mites will start dying and eating each other. What I would do is get the scorp out and check for mites all over its body, they could be anywhere. Try to get as many mites as you can off the scorp, if there are any. Good luck.
 
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Ginron

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I purposefully introduce springtails to compete mites. They're beneficial and eat waste.
Yeah i was actually a little happy to see the springtails since i know some people buy them for their tanks.

Do you know a good way to keep a culture of them for after i clean the enclosure without getting the gnats and mites?
 

Ginron

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I've found the biggest fix for fungus gnats (for me anyway) has been to set up a heat humidifier right next to the enclosure. The gnats are drawn to it like a moth to a flame, and they die because of the heat. I had my infestation under control in about a week. You can leave the springtails there, I purposefully get a colony established in every one of my moist enclosures. Maybe get predatory mites? They'd eat both the mites and the springtails. Mostly the mites though, because they are easier to catch. Once their food source is gone, the predatory mites will start dying and eating each other. What I would do is get the scorp out and check for mites all over its body, they could be anywhere. Try to get as many mites as you can oof the scorp, if there are any. Good luck.
Yeah i did see something about a heat humidifier on a previous fungus gnat thread, too bad i don't have one on hand.

I would like to keep the springtails but i'm not sure how to keep them without getting the gnats and mites back too.

Will the predatory mites eat the gnat eggs too? if so i might consider them as long as they don't do anything to the scorp.

I will be taking her out and looking for mites tomorrow but they are so small and white it might be impossible to see them on her white joints.
 

BobBarley

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Yeah i did see something about a heat humidifier on a previous fungus gnat thread, too bad i don't have one on hand.

I would like to keep the springtails but i'm not sure how to keep them without getting the gnats and mites back too.

Will the predatory mites eat the gnat eggs too? if so i might consider them as long as they don't do anything to the scorp.

I will be taking her out and looking for mites tomorrow but they are so small and white it might be impossible to see them on her white joints.
I'm not sure if the predatory mites will eat the gnat eggs, but they will eat the gnats once they hatch. They can't eradicate the mites completely, that's almost impossible. Mites are everywhere and are extremely hardy. They'll just keep the numbers down so you don't have to worry. To my understanding, they wouldn't hurt the scorps, though they may climb on it to get to any mites that are on the scorp.
 

Ginron

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I'm not sure if the predatory mites will eat the gnat eggs, but they will eat the gnats once they hatch. They can't eradicate the mites completely, that's almost impossible. Mites are everywhere and are extremely hardy. They'll just keep the numbers down so you don't have to worry. To my understanding, they wouldn't hurt the scorps, though they may climb on it to get to any mites that are on the scorp.
Okay, good to know.

If i find that there are mites on my scorp i will consider their predatory cousins.

Thanks.
 

shining

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Jul 15, 2011
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755
Hey shining,

Thanks for the help on my last post, looks like i needed more lol.

The mites seem to only be on the plants, but my scorp hasn't come out for me to see her well in the past couple days.

Do you think i should even try to sterilize the live plants or just buy all new ones?
No problem. It sounds like you are having issues with spider mites. Those are eating your plants and aren't interested in your scorpion, though a gardener's nightmare. Usually a happy and healthy plant will repel them. Considering that, you should ditch the live plants or just ditch the kind that are most effected which is probably the more demanding and sensitive type. I've not had a problem with spider mites using hardy plants like pothos.

If you want to try to salvage some springtails that you have attracted scoop some of the substrate with them in it and put them in a little Tupperware in a different room and observe. Make sure there is no spider mites or you'll just have to start from scratch as they'll make their way back if you are going to start with new plants because your new plants will be vulnerable after a bare rooting and repotting even if hardy ones are used.

My suggestion, start over. Get rid of all the old substrate and plants. Use straight coco fiber or peat and fake plants. Use a water/bleach solution to disinfect the tank itself, rocks, plastic decor and rinse it all out really well, paying attention to the cracks and crevices of the trim.

You can introduce live plants again later if you want to after the spider mite situation is handled. But when you do it next time around pot those plants in that organic soil and place them in there. That way if something comes up again it will be easier to remove the effected as soon as you see something without having to go through all of this again.

Live plants are beautiful but they come with a price we all have to pay eventually.
 

Ginron

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Messages
50
No problem. It sounds like you are having issues with spider mites. Those are eating your plants and aren't interested in your scorpion, though a gardener's nightmare. Usually a happy and healthy plant will repel them. Considering that, you should ditch the live plants or just ditch the kind that are most effected which is probably the more demanding and sensitive type. I've not had a problem with spider mites using hardy plants like pothos.

If you want to try to salvage some springtails that you have attracted scoop some of the substrate with them in it and put them in a little Tupperware in a different room and observe. Make sure there is no spider mites or you'll just have to start from scratch as they'll make their way back if you are going to start with new plants because your new plants will be vulnerable after a bare rooting and repotting even if hardy ones are used.

My suggestion, start over. Get rid of all the old substrate and plants. Use straight coco fiber or peat and fake plants. Use a water/bleach solution to disinfect the tank itself, rocks, plastic decor and rinse it all out really well, paying attention to the cracks and crevices of the trim.

You can introduce live plants again later if you want to after the spider mite situation is handled. But when you do it next time around pot those plants in that organic soil and place them in there. That way if something comes up again it will be easier to remove the effected as soon as you see something without having to go through all of this again.

Live plants are beautiful but they come with a price we all have to pay eventually.
Okay, i will be redoing the enclosure today without the live plants. I definitely intend to try live plants again after i'm sure the mites are gone.

Do you know any good hardy plants (besides pothos) that i should consider when i replant the enclosure? I'm very much a noob when it comes to tropical plants.
 

shining

Arachnodemon
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
755
Okay, i will be redoing the enclosure today without the live plants. I definitely intend to try live plants again after i'm sure the mites are gone.

Do you know any good hardy plants (besides pothos) that i should consider when i replant the enclosure? I'm very much a noob when it comes to tropical plants.
I'm also a plant noob but my s.o. is not, I have to consult her on that (or stumble on it during one of my dart frog forum plant/soil researches).

Here's a bit more on spider mites. It's really easy to get them. You can track a single one in on your clothes or your mammalian pets can too. A plant from the store may have a few on it in or around the soil that you may have missed during the purchase. There could've been one on the bag of soil you bought. Don't underestimate a single spider mite, when their numbers are low they will turn asexual and start an entire colony by itself. It is suggested you wait months before introducing live plants again because they may seem to be gone but that single one is lurking and making it's comeback. Scary stuff, right?
 

Ginron

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Joined
Jun 30, 2016
Messages
50
I'm also a plant noob but my s.o. is not, I have to consult her on that (or stumble on it during one of my dart frog forum plant/soil researches).

Here's a bit more on spider mites. It's really easy to get them. You can track a single one in on your clothes or your mammalian pets can too. A plant from the store may have a few on it in or around the soil that you may have missed during the purchase. There could've been one on the bag of soil you bought. Don't underestimate a single spider mite, when their numbers are low they will turn asexual and start an entire colony by itself. It is suggested you wait months before introducing live plants again because they may seem to be gone but that single one is lurking and making it's comeback. Scary stuff, right?
2spooky4me! how do people even have plants without them?

I still want my live plants, but i will wait a bit to put them in the enclosure.
 
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