“My friend’s hot tub hasn’t been cleaned since May”, writes this reader about the gray organism pictured below. “Was looking at it today and there are thousands of these clear, tadpole-like creatures swimming around. I’ll attach a video and picture. I’m from Fife, Scotland.” To start with, we have to point out how blurry this photo is. Because of this, we will not be able to give a confident identification of this creature. We are only guessing that the gray object in the photo is the tadpole-like organism our reader is referring to.
We suppose it is possible that this is a tadpole, though it could likewise be any number of things. Lots of organisms are attracted to stagnant bodies of water, so this was inevitable. Algae, mold, and fungi will start to grow, which attracts all sorts of creatures who feed on these growths, such as drain fly larvae and multiple species of bloodworms.
What we recommend doing is emptying the hot tub after every summer, and cleaning it to avoid this. Likewise, when it is in use during the summer, make sure that the water is kept clean, using all the appropriate chemicals to keep the ‘chemical balances’ in the water, well, balanced. Our reader will have to forgive our elementary descriptions. We are not experts on hot tubs after all!
Likewise, we recommend that our reader’s friend fish out any of the organisms and move them elsewhere, but that she do so with no physical contact. Since we don’t know what these organisms are, we cannot guarantee that they are not harmful. And even if they are not directly harmful, one can still experience allergic reactions when touching unknown organisms. If our reader still ends up finding more of these critters, and wants to know exactly what they are, then we recommend scooping some of the creatures into a container with airholes (and some water, seeing as they seem to be aquatic), and taking them to the the nearest university’s entomology department. There someone might be able to physically examine the organisms and might have a better chance at providing a certain identification.
To conclude, we are not sure what it is our reader found in her friend’s hot tub, because the photo is too blurry. They could be tadpoles, or they could be something else. In any case, we suggest cleaning out the tub and avoiding physical contact with the creatures. We hope this helps, and we wish our reader and her friend the very best!
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