Fish tank can be a very interesting addition to your home but they can be the ideal habitat for mosquitoes to to lay eggs. So, a big question from our commonly asked is how do you get rid of mosquito larvae in fish tank?
Fortunately, there are several easy ways to get rid of mosquito larvae naturally. Before we dive into how to get rid of mosquito larvae in fish tank, lets know what they are.
What are mosquito larvae?
When mosquito eggs breed and hatch they become larvae. The larvae live in water for about 4–14 days, depending on the water temperature.
Mosquito larvae require a large amount of food and energy to mature. They feed on algae, fungi, plankton and any small thing that comes towards their mouth to develop all the energy they need. Other mosquitoes such as Toxorhynchites are by far the largest mosquitoes and share their habitat with the larvae of other mosquitoes. Furthermore, they shed their skin several times until it becomes a pupa which develops into a flying mosquito in 2-3 days.
What do mosquito larvae eat?
Once mosquito eggs turn into larvae, they have tubular bodies. Mosquito larvae thrive on bacteria that grow in stagnant water. They also feed on fungi and algae that grow in lakes and ponds without aeration.
Males typically live about ten days, and females can live up to 56 days. The first three life stages of a mosquito are in water, until the final, adult stage, when mosquitoes can fly. There are four mosquito life stages:
- Egg hatches when immersed in water
- Larvae live in water, molt several times, and breathe air
- The pupa or tumbler is the non-feeding stage just before the mosquito becomes an adult.
- The adult emerges from the water and flies away as soon as its body parts harden.
Do fish eat mosquito larvae?
There are certain types of fish that feed on mosquito larvae. It helps in controlling mosquito larvae to fully develop into an adult mosquito. Fish such as mosquito fish, guppies, tilapia, minnow, goldfish and koi carp with also many others are known for their larval feeding abilities.
It also depends on how big your fish tank is and also the temperature. Some fish like koi carp may not eat many larvae, so researching and mixing it with other fish can help you avoid larvae in the fish tank.
Are mosquito larvae dangerous?
It is natural that mosquitoes come to lay eggs, especially in aquariums with stagnant water. Most of the fish that we keep in fish tanks feed on larvae that prevent them from developing into their final form.
Therefore, there is nothing to worry about when mosquitoes come and lay eggs in your aquarium. It is also a great source of live food for fish and is completely safe as long as they keep eating the larvae.
How long do mosquito larvae live in fish tank
From the day the female mosquito arrives in the fish tank to lay eggs, the process is gradual as it first seeks stable if not freshwater. Most eggs hatch within 48 hours, which later develop into mosquito larvae.
The larvae then stay in the water and often come to the surface to take oxygen and develop into pupae in about 5 days. When they develop into pupa, it only takes a few more days for them to become a full-fledged mosquito. Therefore, for about a week in total, they then seek water in search of food until they are sufficiently mature.
Prevention of mosquito larvae in fish tank
- Putting stop to them should be the first step than killing them.
- Second, prevention methods are better for you and the environment. Here are some effective prevention methods.
How to Control Mosquito Larvae in fish tank?
As much as they do not cause any major trouble to fish and aquariums, some people are concerned about the damage it may do to the fish. Since not all fish eat the larvae, some people want to get rid of them or keep them under control. To avoid turning them into a mosquito that is willing to suck your blood, following these steps may be considered.
1. Changing the water
Changing the water frequently is the solution to every problem and this one is no exception. Changing the water frequently can reduce surface movement and help maintain the freshness of the water. This will help prevent the water from stagnation and reduce the chances of mosquitoes coming in and laying eggs.
2. Get fish that will eat them
The natural way to get rid of mosquito larvae in fish tank is to have some fish that eat them. Fish like mosquito fish, goldfish, guppies are known to eat the larvae. So, as long as you keep them in the tank, they will work for you. This is one of the best ways to control mosquito larvae in fish tank. But be sure to check the water temperature before adding fish as not every fish can adapt to the same temperature.
Note: If you intend to keep only guppies to eat the larvae, I suggest taking just one to avoid any conflicts. Also take male guppies so that you don’t have to deal with pregnancy issues. Female guppies carry a lot of eggs!
Species of fish that eat mosquito larvae
- Mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis)
With a name like mosquito fish, you know it tops the list of mosquito larval predators. As the name suggests, mosquito fish are excellent at eating mosquito larvae. They don’t take up a lot of space, either, as they max 2″ – great for almost any water body. Since they are so small, it’s important to make sure they have plenty of space to hide from natural predators.
- Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)
Guppies are related to mosquito fish, and share their appetite for mosquito larvae. They come in colors that are more exciting than mosquito fish, so if you want a fish that is more ornamental in a small pond, these are your best bet. They do not exceed 2 inches long and are fast swimmers, which makes them a prime predator for mosquito larvae.
However, they are tropical fish, and do not do well in environments where temperatures drop below 54 degrees. In fact, they are one of the most widely distributed tropical fish in the world and are also known as rainbow fish or million fish.
3. Net your tank top
You can also prevent mosquitoes from entering the aquarium by simply adding a tank top net. If you do this they may not reach the surface of the water to lay eggs, preventing larvae from hatching.
4. Net them out
If you see that the larvae look more like tadpoles, they are already at maturity stage. I would suggest just taking them out with a trap and flushing them down the toilet at this point.
5. Water movement
Another way to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your tank is to have a strong current on the surface of the water. The movement of water plays a very important role in ensuring that mosquitoes do not lay eggs. The larvae cannot survive in moving water so you must maintain the movement of the water. Because mosquitoes keep looking for stagnant water to lay eggs.
Filters and pumps in a fish tank can help with water aeration and movement of water to prevent the stagnant water as well as well as still water.
6. Reduce vegetation
To prevent them from growing into an adult mosquito we can reduce the vegetation which are the plants that we keep in our fish tanks.
By doing this the larvae cannot eat any food and will eventually die. By cleaning up algae and food supplies that feed you larvae, you can prevent them as well as keep your fish tank aesthetically pleasing.
7. Chemical larvicides
If there is an uncontrolled number of larvae that requires large action, chemicals may be used to prevent them from growing in numbers. Pyriproxyfen and methoprene are chemicals that can be used to inhibit insect growth hormone.
In addition, these chemicals prevent mosquito larvae from developing into adults. These chemicals definitely disturb the aqua ecosystem so make sure to take necessary steps while following this process.
8. Deal with the mosquito population around your property
Your pond may be a major breeding ground for mosquitoes, but chances are they have found homes in other areas around your property as well. Eliminate standing water when possible.
9. Curb algae
When mosquito larvae hatch, they need a food source to fuel their growth. Try using a pond algaecide to get rid of organic matter.
10. Install a screen top
Most fish tank owners prefer their tanks to be topless. Easy to maintain but it invites mosquitoes. The best solution is to install a screen top that covers the top of your fish tank. Finding a right dimension will be the challenge. You can try the local reptile pet store or try to DIY. The screen top can be made of netting material so it is quite easy to find.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will baking soda kill mosquito larvae in fish tank?
The use of baking soda for larvae is not an effective method. It can only be used to disinfect fish tanks and may not solve the problem completely.
Can you see mosquito eggs in water?
Mosquitoes are also so small then imagine how small their eggs can be. So except you get a magnifying glass you cant actually see them.
How can you prevent mosquitoes from breeding?
You can prevent this from happening by not allowing any stagnant water, or by using a net over the fish tank.
We hope you have enjoyed our guide on how to get rid of mosquito larvae in fish tank. Mosquito larvae in fish tank can be a problem for some but most of these can be easily resolved with a few simple steps above.
Let us know what you think! don’t hesitate to let us know if there are any mosquito repellants that we forgot to mention.