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Help! What kind of bugs are these and how do I get rid of them?

Hi, everyone,


We have had fun with our AquaBundance system for a year now.  However, we just noticed some really, really tiny bugs that are in our hydroton.  They concentrate in areas that have a little bit more water and algae.


We are not sure what they are but would appreciate any help to identify them along with help on how to eliminate them (without hurting the fish or plants).


We posted two videos on YouTube.  They are really hard to see and I had to put a macro lens on the camera to even get close.


Anyways, please take a look and let us know your thoughts...thanks!


Rich and Lena

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do they seem to be hurting anything?

They don't seem to be hurting anything.  They aren't on my plants as far as I can tell.  The fish seem fine.  Haven't seen any of my red wrigglers that are in the hydroton but I may have not dug deep enough.

if you can add a bit more hydroton so the surface stays dryer and you don't get as much algae near the surface you may not notice the bugs so much.

I can't tell what they are from the videos.  I know my outdoor beds get lots of pill bugs and millipedes and other detritus eating bugs and snails.  I don't mind them outdoors but with an indoor system I don't know how you feel about it.

Thanks for your input TCLynx.  I would probably not mind them if my system was outdoors.  However, since it is indoors, I am trying to stay as pest free as possible.  I'm not sure these are pests but I have noticed that it seems more difficult for the fruiting plants to bear vs. the leafy plants since I first noticed these little guys.  I'm checking other things that may contribute to that issue but would like to eliminate all possible causes...esp. one where I can see hundreds of them!

Does anyone else have any ideas what they might be?  I've tried to compare images to aphids, spider mites, scales, whiteflies, etc. but haven't really found anything that resembles the shape of these bugs...

Down in the media, the more common bugs are likely to be fungus gnats and their larva or pill bugs which are actually crustations and not actually insects.

Things that can affect fruiting are often more connected to nutrient levels and pH.  Sometimes being short of potassium or having too much calcium can restrict fruiting some and temperatures and light levels will affect fruiting (some plants like cool nights and warm days to fruit better like tomatoes).

Thanks for the input, everyone! 


I will try looking at the nutrient levels in the water.  pH, NH3, NO2, NO3 are all OK so it may be something else like potassium or the calcium that you mention.  Because my system is indoors (which is HUGELY convenient) the air temperature stays the same all the time.  Are there other plants besides tomatoes that require cool nights and warm days.  I'll need to rethink how I plant.


I'll try to retake a video from a tripod and with better lighting per your suggestion.  Will post it this weekend if I can.

If they are pill bugs do you have any ideas on how to get rid of them? 

I never expected crustaceans in an aquaponics system!  If only they were shrimp or lobster =)

Well if you have lighting on a timer, it will probably give you a bit of a variation in temperature for your plants between light and dark.

When your pH drops next time perhaps try potassium bicarbonate to bring it up instead of a calcium buffer.  Or perhaps just a cap full of maxicrop or other seaweed extract might help.

Perhaps the fish would enjoy eating the crusaceans

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