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Thread: Let's Talk About ~Pests~

  1. #1
    Great White Shark
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    Let's Talk About ~Pests~

    Hey everyone!! This topic we are going to discuss Reef Pests. Let's hear about your experiences - what have you tried that worked or didn't work. I think this will be a great collection for all of us to refer to if we happen to get a dreaded pest in our system.

    Let's start off discussing flatworms. There are so many varieties of flatworms, and they can camouflage themselves to look like their prey coral. Some are very parasitic, but others are not. I'd like to discuss more specifically, Convolutriloba retrogemma/red planaria/Acoel Flatworms. These guys are small, reddish brown, and have a 3 lobed tail region. They aren't considered "parasitic", however, by sheer number they can be detrimental. In systems with a lot of light, they can grow to large populations, utilizing their zooxanthellae (the same photosynthetic symbiotic algae that are present in corals). One issue of these flatworms growing to such a huge population is the "smothering" of inhabitants. If the flatworms cover photosynthetic corals or algae, they are depriving the corals and/or algae of its ability to feed and get rid of metabolites. Another issue surrounding flatworms is their potential toxicity from a large die-off event.

    What have your experiences been with flatworms......

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    Blenny
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    the worst pest i have encountered has been wificus nagalottica...usually appearing right after a trip to the LFS's. the best remedy i have found is stopping and getting many large jumbo shrimp and garlic.....this seems to put it into remission. it cannot be totally eradicated without great expense and a good lawyer....

  3. #3
    Brittle Starfish
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    what about this one... is this a pest... sorry no bigger pic... but its like a centipede or something...
    (at the center of the pic...)

    Cesar [PSAS since 2002]
    75G AGA glass, Barebottom, 36 x 3 watt LED lighting, Softies and LPS.
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    Great White Shark
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    Cesar, that is a bristleworm. Most hobbyists feel that they are scavengers and not a harm to inhabitants in the tank. There is one type that does grow to large length - Eunicid worm. Steve Weast had one grow to 6 feet in length.

    Polychaete Annelid Identification, or "You can always tell a bristleworm....."

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    Staff Housemonkey

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    Nikki,
    My tank had alot of beneficial flatworms in it. These are predatory flatworms and are shaped differently than the red planaria. They are gray and triangular in shape. I can find a pic unless you have one already?
    Nick
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    Mantisfreak
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    I recently had some red planaria flatworms. Every single LFS in St. Louis was inundated with them and I didn't buy a single coral for quite some time. Then when the numbers lessened at the LFS's, I would visually inspect (and dip in iodine) any LPS that I bought.

    Recently, I bought a frogspawn and I got busy and forgot about it while it was floating in the sump. When I found it the next morning, it had been in a bag for so long that I just dumped it into the tank. My frogspawn came with a bonus. You guessed it.....flatworms.

    Because they reproduce through fission, it doesn't take long for one or two to become hundreds of them. I was shocked at how their numbers grew so fast.

    I have heard of 6-line wrasses and some mandarins being useful in eradicating them.
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    Brittle Starfish
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    thanks nikki... im beginning to worry about it because i have lots of it... thanks for the info...
    Cesar [PSAS since 2002]
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  8. #8
    Amphipod

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    What About Red Mite Looking Things Appearing On My Acros?

    This Is Not Good

  9. #9
    Clownfish

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    Cesar those bristleworms are great for the tank. As Nikki said, there are only a couple that you want to get rid of, mainly the fireworms that grow really large.

    Red bugs (red mites) will live on only certain species of Acropora. Usually, they do not inhabit those colonies that are "bushy", i.e millepora, but usually more open colonies like A. nana, or those that do not have large polyps covering the skeleton. One method of prevention is to use a dip. The dip has been performed and refined by Dustin at ORA. It has been proven to work, but as always use at your own risk. Here is the treatment to CURE RED BUGS.

    RED BUGS (mites) TREATMENT

    These red bugs will irritate the acropora, causing polyps to not have full extension and eventually slowly killing the acropora (starving it).

    - Elmo

  10. #10
    Clownfish

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    One pest that I am dealing with right now is Red Planaria. I don't seem to have a lot but during lighting hours, i can see some basking on some live rock. I'm not up to using Flatworm Exit just yet, as I do not have a vast number of them.

    My only treatment as of now is that I am feeding my tank less. Once a day in the morning instead of twice a day (morning and evening). I am cutting back on my lighting by 1 hour, as I do not think this will hurt the corals at all. The last thing I am doing is, upon water change every week/two weeks, I siphon as many as I can.

    As Nikki has said, these guys will smother corals if their population is not controlled. However, I do not see any adverse effects on any coral so far, probably because they have not gone to epic numbers yet. The other scary thing is their toxins. When they die, they will basically melt and you'll have poisoned water Another good reason to have as few of them as possible.

    This is a really good thread.

    - Elmo

  11. #11
    Great White Shark
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    Nick - I'll see if I can find a pic of the flatworm you are talking about. They also appear in new tanks, too....then tend to die out if there isn't red planaria to feast upon.

    Matt - we can discuss the red acro bugs next. There has been a lot of discussion on these little guys lately.

    Anyone have good or bad experiences with Flatworm Exit? I've read that some people use a double or triple dose in order to eradicate them. Also, do you do any form of prevention when bringing in a new coral? - i.e. dip in flatworm exit
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    Curt,
    I highly recommend a spotted mandarin for Flat worms. Mine is and was awesome for removing my flat worms.
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  13. #13
    Mantisfreak
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    Thanks for the info Ed.

    My reef club actually considered doing a shared purchase of a flatworm-eating nudibranch. No one wanted to just buy one because once the flatworms were gone, the nudi's typically starve and die. Our thought was that it could go to someones tank until the flatworms were gone and then go to the next persons tank, and so on, and so on....

    Here's some info BTW if you were to go this route, it is important to remember that a lot of species of flatworms are nudibranch mimics and what you buy might not be a nudibranch at all but one of the mimics.

    When Flatworm Exit hit the scenes a lot of people tried that so we never ended up getting the nudi.
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  14. #14
    Clownfish

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    Originally posted by Curtswearing

    When Flatworm Exit hit the scenes a lot of people tried that so we never ended up getting the nudi.
    What were the results of those that used the Flatworm Exit?

    - Elmo

  15. #15
    Mantisfreak
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    I'm always the person who always says, "Never put chemicals in your tank". I don't know the long-term issues with Flatworm Exit but in the short term, it didn't seem to cause any problems for people like Greenex can.

    Hopefully Maxx will chime in here as he dips all new corals in Flatworm Exit before it enters his tank.

    In spite of my non-chemical stance, I decided to use a half-dose and was quite amazed at how quickly the flatworms reacted. None of my corals nor fish appeared stressed at all. However, I still prefer biological controls if possible. (Namely, limiting nutrients as much as possible so pests like these don't have food).
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