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CO2 use in Aquariums and Bed Bugs

Usually we just post an excerpt from our main blog: aquagillie.blogspot.com because this blog gets much more traffic than our main Google/Blogspot based blog.  Yeah, we do not get it either.

Anyway, because an infestation of bed bugs is a pretty serious deal in terms of expense to get rid of them, preparation to have them exterminated and potential health problems including serious allergic reaction to the bites; we reprinted the whole blog post.

We consider this our public service announcement to those who are considering or are already using CO2 to enhance plant growth.

We promised We would document our tank experiences honestly; the good, the bad and now the very ugly.

Standard disclaimer:  we are not scientists, we do not pretend to be.  We are keen observers of cause and effect, enabling us to draw conclusions.  Our conclusions herewith were confirmed by the professional bug-guys.

By now most everyone who listens to a radio or watches TV is aware that there is a rise in bed bug infestations in the States.  Hotels in New York city were the first to be reported upon a few years ago and now apartment buildings and single family homes in both urban and suburban areas have been infested.  The major reason cited for the rise in bed bug infestations is the discontinuation of the use of DDT, for sound reasons.  However, bed bug infestations are one of the unplanned for consequences.

So, you might be wondering what that has to do with the aquarium hobby.
Plenty if you are injecting CO2; both the DIY and the cylinder versions.

We had found a long-lasting combination recipe using a two 2L bottle rig.  We had found a way to eliminate leaks in the form of our brine-shrimp hatchery caps.  We were getting great CO2 distribution for a solid three weeks before having to replace a  bottle solution.  Life was good, plants were pearling even under reduced lighting, fish were not distressed.  The couch was moved right next to the fish-rack to allow an up close and personal view of all the hard work, weeks of research and buckets of ducats spent.

Then the bite marks started showing up.

It seems our apartment building has had an infestation for some while.  Somehow our apartment was never an attractive place for the voracious little beasties to investigate, until we began juicing our aquariums with DIY CO2.

The first thing the bug-guys said was; “Move the couch away from your tanks.”  The second thing they could have said, was not necessary.  Now we go completely low-tech.
All broad-leaf and moderate to low light plants.
NO CO2 of any kind.

Next we get to have a clear-out in preparation for the bug-guys.
Every exposed shelving unit must be cleared, except for the one where the tanks actually sit.  The closet shelf must be cleared, the clothes must be washed in 180F water and sealed in plastic bins.  All the furniture must be moved away from the walls.  Everything that can be put in storage, must be put in storage, sealed.  You can be sure I will be throwing a lot of stuff out just to avoid having to deal with it.  All the fabric I have collected for rag rugs will go, the yarn is in plastic bags.  It will be sealed in more bins with diatomaceous earth on the bottom of the bins.  All the bedding has already been thrown out and the bed removed despite the fact that neither showed any signs of being infested.  Sleeping on the couch is a habit that I am glad I did not break.  I have super easy to clean modular furniture which sits 18″ off the floor and has no skirting for the beasties to climb up.

The bug-guys have to come out and treat the apartment three times before it will be reasonable to presume the beasties are d.e.a.d.  So pretty much the whole summer the apartment will be empty, my loom will not be warped for use and I will be living in my work out clothes, sleeping with my pants tucked into socks and hands wrapped to prevent them from getting to my arms.  I am taking antihistamines one to three times per day to keep the itching tolerable enough not to scratch and cause secondary bacterial infection.  And yes, they itch like crazy.

Bed bug infestation is not due to poor housekeeping.
It is due to one thing; bed bugs are attracted to CO2 – carbon dioxide, and they eat one thing – blood.
They hide in the walls, carpets, cloth furniture, wall sockets, heating and cooling duct work, cracks, crevices and crannies.  You almost never see them because they are nocturnal.

Some people have used diatomaceous earth as a dusting everywhere on the floors to kill the bugs; however inhaling diatomaceous earth is as bad for your lungs as it is for the bugs.  So you have been warned.

Reference Links:
BrickUnderground.com NYC Landlords may have to disclose bed bug infestations to potential renters going back five years.

Harvard School of Public Health “Repeated exposures to bed bug bites during a period of several weeks or more causes people to become sensitized to the saliva of these bugs; additional bites may then result in mild to intense allergic responses.”  However, bed bugs are not known to carry any diseases like mosquitoes do.

Treating the bites: http://www.bedbugsguide.com/bed-bug-bites.htm

And yes, there are forums and message boards:



Please consider the expense of new mattresses, bedding, bed-bug proof mattress bags, exterminators, clothing, shoes, antihistamines . . .

and sanity.  Proceed with caution.

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