Sunday, May 17, 2009

waging war with soil lice

My cultivation tanks were recently infested by these tiny crawling creatures which I believed are soil lice. These creatures would come out to party every night after lights off, scurrying around in the pots of substrates and along the tank's walls.

I tried to be at peace with seeing them but soon lost my cool when they seemed to be multiplying. It is possible that they preferred the lower pH tank which had more peat used therein as the quantity of lice in that tank is more than the rest.
I decided not to use any pesticide to minimise the risk of losing any of these cryptocorynes as some of the species were quite difficult to collect (i.e. we had to spend quite some $$$ and time to travel long distance to their natural habitat). Instead, I decided to adopt the following more natural strategy:

1) Remove the pots of cryptocorynes one by one, loosen the substrates by squeezing the plastic pots. This should agitate some of the lice to start to emerge from the stronghold.

2) Place each pot in a small container and fill the container up with water until the pot is fully submersed. As the water fill up, you would see some of these lice being displaced by the water and start to float around on the water surface. Shake and bang the outer container violently for a few times to ensure that any air as well as lice hiding in the substrates and under the leaves would be displaced.

3) The larger lice would be able to jump from the water surface to the sides of the container in attempt to escape. Kill them by simply using your fingers to press them against the container.

4) Repeat step 2 and 3 again for a few times until you are satisfied that most of the lice have been displaced.
5) Place the treated pots of cryptocorynes in a separate holding tank filled with water to drown (hopefully) any lice which escaped your earlier scrutiny.

6) Engage a Rambo (I used a wild caught punchax) to patrol the flooded tank to search and kill any remnant enemies.
7) When all the pots are removed from the invested tank, clean the invested tank thoroughly and then dry it.
8) After submerging all the treated pots of cryptocorynes for 12 hours (not too long so as to minimise the chance of weak species melting due to drastic changes in environment), transfer them into a temporary holding container for quarantine and close monitoring.

I will transfer these treated pots back into their original tank only after 1 week, provided I don't find anymore soil lice in the temporary holding container. Else, my next action plan would be to flood the container on alternate days with the punchax introduced until I can eliminate the problem totally, hopefully...

No comments: