RE: Microscopic Algae eaters

From: drosera drosera (
Date: Wed Jun 30 1999 - 17:07:33 PDT

Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 17:07:33 PDT
From: drosera drosera <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg2406$foo@default>
Subject: RE: Microscopic Algae eaters

Chris Wrote:
>I noticed years ago already that when I put a
>jar of water by the window, it does not develop algae if the osteocods are
>present. Searching on the web, I found out >that they are detritus eaters.
> Are they algae eat ers too? They >never seem to hurt my plants
>themselves. Would using them seem like >a good method to grow my aquatic
>utrics. and alds.? All I really >found on the net was their diet and
>distribution ranges. Any >opinions or facts would be welcome.


Some background on ostracods:
Ostrocods (or sometimes ostracodes in some non-UK countries) are small
bivalved crustaceans. If you can imagine a shrimp or prawn welded to the
inside of a small clam (with the hinge at the top)... then thats your
critter. They have a long fossil history with tens of thousands of fossil
species having been described. Of the 3000-5000 living species approx 1000
are found in freshwater. As a group they eat most things, algae, detritus,
other dead ostracods etc. Most stay close to the bottom although some
species are better swimmers than others. They can be seen swimming or
climbing up the submerged plants and I have watched them apparently grazing
on algae growing on leaves.

They tend to prefer higher pH levels presumably because it is easier to
maintain a calcareous shell if acid water is avoided... although Mother
Nature being her normal self has provided at least one species that has been
recorded from a pH4.6 peat bog.

My advice... I like seeing the ostracods in my trays when they do sometimes
turn up. At the very least the small, juvenile instars should provide food
for utrics and Aldrovandra should be able to swallow an adult. I think that
they will probably be beneficial in the fight against algae.

If you would like to identify your bugs then Freshwater Ostracods by P. A.
Henderson covers the British fauna pretty thoroughly but its not easy.

Best Wishes to All,


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