Submitted by jean-paul on Fri, 01/18/2013 - 01:14

I was topping up the water and lowering the pH this evening, and I took my usual look inside the reservoir with a flashlight. At first it looked like there was a bit of detritus floating on the top of the water. I don't think that's abnormal, considering that there is constant movement in the water due to the air stones at the bottom of the tank. Well tonight, I noticed a bit of movement, and took a look with a brighter light.

I have pests!

I don't know for sure, but I think they might be springtails. Some sources say they will damage your roots, some say that they only eat detritus and other bits of bio-fluff. I don't want them, so I decided to put some soap in the reservoir. That would lower the surface tension of the water so that they can't skim, and create bubbles, which would suffocate the ones above the water line. I let it run until the foam had filled all of the available air space and surrounded the net pots. I don't know if I left it long enough (about an hour) to kill them all. I drained all of the water, and refilled the reservoir with pH'd water. I drained that and refilled with new batch of nutrients and additives.

Update: Whatever the pests were, they came back slowly after the soaping. The plants didn't seem affected, and the roots look healthy, as you can see in my post about the harvest. I cleaned the reservoir out with diluted bleach before starting the next cycle, and the bugs haven't come back.