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Acro Bugs


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Hey all,

This is simply for everyone's information, this IS NOT a post to insult or accuse ANYONE.

I recently came back from two trips to Greenmako's house with quite a few really nice frags of SPS (Thanks a ton Brian!), and I needed to post this for everyone who bought SPS from him. After 24 hr acclimation I was just now inspecting the frags very carefully and noticed that they have quite a few acro bugs on them. I know these guys are a pest and are extremely easy to miss (especially in larger setups) so I just wanted to give everyone a warning who may not inspect their corals so closely.

I've attached a picture of what I have seen although the picture was taken from another website.

Anyone know of any good remedies for already introduced corals?


PS Again, this is simply for the benefit of other members, it is NOT intended to insult anyone's reefkeeping abilities. Please don't flame me for this post.


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From Wikipedia:

There are several possible signs of an infestation of red acro bugs:

reduced extension of polyps and/or the coral tissue

change in coloration, typically involving a loss of colored pigments from tips and branches, and a change to a more uniform brown color

reduced or stalled growth rates

loss of tissue pigmentation including the loss of zooxanthellae pigmentation resulting in a bleached appearance

local or colony-wide tissue loss, possibly as a result of colonization stress rather than from direct consumption of tissue by predation

death of the colony

The dragonface pipefish, Corythoichthys haematopterus, is a natural predator of the red acro bug[citation needed].

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The only way to get rid of Red Bugs is to treat with Intercepter. Inercepter is a prescription heartworm pill for dogs. If it is in your main tank, 3 treatments about 5 - 7 days apart will do the trick. The treatment kills the Red Bug but not the eggs. The goal is to break the lifecycle and this is why 3 treatments are recommended.

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We had some come in on frags we had ordered from an individual on a well known internet vendor.

during inspection - we noticed one of them pretty infested.

so here's what we did: (Warning: this *might* kill your infested frags too)..it didn't ours.

Lugols *will* kill them..but not at normal prescribed concentrations...(they are after all, exoskeletal crustaceans, and enough raw iodine will

strip them of their protective exoskeleton). But I have to warn you - the acros do *not* like this treatment at all. - You may lose them too.

So here goes:

ONE "very hot" treatment of Lugols dip (5 times the normal concentration)(200 drops/gal instead of 40) for twice as long as the normal time period (30 minutes instead of 15)

in a white 5- gallon bucket. - Just before removal, we "blew" the stunned creatures off with a turkey baster.

(they were at least debilitated by the high iodine concentration, so they fell off with very little effort from the baster.)

I am convinced this killed most all of them immediately.

We then put the frags back into isolation. - watched them for a week. (Corals took 4 times as long to recover from this, but they eventually did

(four days before polyps would peek out again).

I figured better to kill the patient, than allow *any* of these things in to my tank.

I followed up with at least one "normal" concentration dip as soon as the polyps started to come out (indicating recovery) - which of course

if there were any left finished off the rest (if there were any - by this time I couldn't see any more - this final treatment was more out of paranoia than anything).

After this second treatment,and close inspection with good magnifiers.- they went straight into the main reef.

Today, they have tripled in size.

(This was about 6 months ago)

Another thing: I wouldn't do *any* treatment in your main tank. - You will kill all sorts of similar life forms - not just the redbugs.

Whether you use interceptor, or some other method - do it in isolation. -Steal some of your tank water to do it with, just do it in a separate tank.

(Bucket, whatever).

The Hot mix of iodine is fast. - but risky too.

Depends on how hardy the corals are .. this is like "chemotherapy" for corals. (Method of last resort).

But: anything's better than redbugs in your acro tank - they *will* wipe it completely out.

And whatever you do - do NOT blow water on these guys while the frag is in the main tank - they *will* ride the current right over to your other acropora.

Good Luck.


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Do these guys only infest/damage acros?

According to what Ric posted previously and what I have read.......they more of a nuisance (pests) but eventually affects the health of the SPS.

Health of the SPS will gradually go down hill....death.

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