Bugs in my tank. Micro Photography identification
By: Bigwave


This is a compilation of a recent thread on the sites Message board. It was started by Bigwave and he took it a step further.

When I did a water change about 3 months ago, I noticed little black spots appearing and disappearing all over the surface of the water. Looking closely I realized they were bugs, and were also crawling around on the glass, and on my breeder net a little too. It was suggested they could be daphnia, and I figured this was probably right, but I thought mine were crawling, and I never saw them swim, which I presumed daphnia would. To cut to the end of the story, I got a little portable microscope, and found these little guys all over in the tank. They stay at about the water line, crawling around looking for things to eat(?).


research from the board identified them as Springtails from the family Sminthuridae. They are often semi-aquatic and like to skate around on the surface film. Surface-oriented fish will love to gobble them up.

My dad gave me a very cool little gadget last month. It is a 60-100x illuminated microscope from RadioShack. I used it to ID some springtails in my fish tank. At the time I just drew what I saw, and Cindy identified them from that sketch. Today I used my camera and microscope and got some pictures to share with you all!

Some 6000 species of springtail are known worldwide. I think mine are Globular or “Sminthuridae” (could be wrong here, but probably not, thanks Matt) They eat fungi and molds, as well as decaying plant matter.

The whitish springtails I think are Sminthurides. The black ones I think are Bourletiella. Do the whitish ones look kind of pink/tan and the black ones look like dark grape purple? Those were my best guesses for my thesis work, I couldn’t get an actual Collembola expert to verify my IDs.

Other micro photos of some common pest

Baby Snail

Baby Snail

Planaria I think

Planaria I think


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