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Old 07-30-18, 11:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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My Bioactive enclosure has some sort of mites (Please help!)

I got my ball python, Pi, late May I believe. I have a vivarium that is the equivalent of a 40 gallon breeder tank in floor space, and it is naturalistic/bioactive, but I don't know how well that is going.

I have this dish of clean water in there for her, dechlorinated and everything obviously, but recently I've been seeing these white bugs in the water. I thought they were springtails, but they seem to have drowned and died in the water, and they look fuzzy, almost like flakes of dry skin.

I just cleaned out the water last night and put a rock in the dish so that if they were springtails, they could get to the rock and jump out. This morning I looked in the cage, but they weren't jumping out. They seem to have stuck to the rock and died.

This puzzled me and so I looked closer, and realized the plants in the surrounding area also had these white little bugs on them, except some (very few of the white/grey ones) were alive. I took a leaf off one plant and turned it over, and there are reddish brown bugs along with some white bugs and also brownish black specks, which I assume are eggs. I can try my best to get a picture if it would help. Also, one somehow got onto my laptop, and it was green. Not sure if that helps at all.

I initially thought these could be spider mites, but I'm not sure. I'm not getting any helpful results on Google. I don't think they are necessarily snake mites because they aren't those black round things and I haven't seen anything on Pi, but I will check her again.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Pi is my first snake and she is my baby and I'm absolutely heartbroken that something could happen to this enclosure that I worked on for months to be perfect for her.
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Old 07-31-18, 07:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: My Bioactive enclosure has some sort of mites (Please help!)

The white ones may be grain mites. They're harmless but annoying. Letting the enclosure dry out a lot will probably kill most of them. You also mentioned brown ones and a green one. Who knows? The whole point of a bioactive enclosure is to encourage microfauna. You can't come into it with the same mindset as you would with a sterile environment. Try to identify what you have, and go from there.
...the old ones ... knew in their bones... that death exists, that all life kills to eat, that all lives end, that energy goes on. They knew that humans are participants, not spectators. -- Stephen Bodio, On the Edge of the Wild
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Old 08-03-18, 09:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: My Bioactive enclosure has some sort of mites (Please help!)

These sound like the things I used to find on my orchids. A bioactive viv will have some bugs, which is ok! Mites that feed on your snake are bad, but veggie eating bugs are just part of the viv. Unless they are eating your plants and killing them and making a nuisance of themselves, I wouldn't worry too much.
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Old 08-11-18, 02:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: My Bioactive enclosure has some sort of mites (Please help!)

It happens if you don't have a good enough cleanup crew established. Various small mites will take advantage of the opening in food source and habitat left by not enough springtails or isopods. Once the cleanup crew multiplies or you add more they should disappear. Avoid providing concentrated foods to your cuc at least until then. Leaves, damp wood, and other rough plant matter will feed springtails and isopods between snake droppings without feeding mites as well.

If you absolutely cannot get them under control you can dose the tank with predatory mites but they will kill all springtails. You have to wait until the predatory mites run out of food and then you can reseed with a new springtail culture. The things also sometimes manage to spread to every enclosure in the house. My yard naturally has a population of predatory mites and if I bring in any materials from outdoors they wipe out every mite, springtail, fungus gnat, fruit fly.... across the entire 3 story house before they die out again. Sometimes useful but I have to use a wide range of isopod species and sizes because I can't keep a steady supply of springtails safe.
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