Re: Aphids (fwd)

Forwarded email.

Shaji Bhaskar, Durham, North Carolina                   shaji at nando_net

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 10:46:24 -0500
From: Charley Bay <charleyb at hpgrla_gr.hp.com>
Message-Id: <9601171544.AA04206@hume.gr.hp.com>
Subject: Re: Aphids
To: Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 96 8:44:53 MST

I'll sneak this last post in before Shaji cuts me off.  :-)
With a little good fortune, I will be able to re-subscribe
(from a new address) the week of the 29th.

> Charley, tell me about your apids.  [snip]
> How do you keep the aphids from getting out, or do they ever try?

I was going to say "It's the darndest thing, but they don't try!",
but comming in this morning, I guess I can't say that. 

I have a very strong colony on some of the floating plants,
and I'll pour water over them or wipe them off the plants to
let them float around the top of the tank for fish to get
them.  In the tank that has no fish, I just let them go: I
don't think they really try to get out until their colonies
are so strong that aphids have to use rafts of aphids to
float on (due to high population densities).

I've had aphids in some of my big tanks at home for a while, and
I've never noticed any of them getting out.  I thought at first
they could not scale the sides of the tank, but now I think
they can (glass).  They just don't if the population has enough
floating plants to float on or suck sap from.

When my populations get too high in my big tanks, I invert a
colinder in the tank and put all my floating plants in it.
Since the colinder and the plants float, I have a cup hold the
colinder well under the water so the plants are 6-8" under the
surface.  Then, it's amazing:  slow-release aphid food for
hours.  I'll leave them in the colinder for maybe a day (I
don't think it would hurt the plants--even salvinia--to leave
it there for a couple days), and the aphids will either drown
or be eaten.  (Barbs like them, but neons are real wimps: I 
think the aphid casings must be unpalatable or too tough.)
If I want to establish a new colony or am lazy, there will be
some floating plants in the tank for some to safely climb
up on.  I have a school of hatchet fish and a school of
pencil fish (surface feeders), but they don't seem to try
to get aphids off floating vegetation.  Thus, I must manually
dunk them.

BTW, some of the larger aphids will even sink when I dunk them.
It's so weird seeing aphids walking along the bottom of the
tank for hours until they drown or get eaten.  That doesn't
make me a bad person, does it?  :-)

--charley, on sabatical