A water sample was submitted to the VDL due to concern that the water was a red color. The NDSU-VDL found these little guys, Daphnia (water fleas) which appeared to be eating red algal debris and releasing the red colored compounds, turning the water red.
Daphnia are harmless, typically found in freshwater and are an indicator of good water quality. They eat debris present in water and are a food source for fish, insects, and amphibians.
Daphnia images courtesy of Brett Webb, DVM, PhD, DACVP