Quantcast

flatworm treatment?

Help Support Reef Frontiers:

deadrose

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2003
Messages
96
Location
Vashon
My little 25g is getting a fair infestation of red flatworms going. I've picked up some flatworm exit and read the directions. Here's my idea. Within the next week or two I'm going to be moving everything into a 55 gallon tank, which is cycling with sand and baserock as I type.

So, I was thinking... what if I made up a bucket or tub of saltwater with flatworm exit in it, and simply gave everything a few minute dip and vigorous swish in there? It seems as if I'd get a lot more flatworms rinsed out that way as compared to trying to siphon them from a small and crowded tank, and I'd leave them behind in the container.

Does that sound like a workable idea, assuming that I still run precautions on the new tank? (lots of carbon and so on)

Also the smaller tank has about a 2" sandbed. Are there likely to be flatworms below the surface? Since it's fairly shallow, can i transport the entire sandbed over? If so, should I do it like a double-dug bed? (take off the top layer, set aside in bucket, take out lower layer and spread it into new tank, spread top layer over bottom layer)

I'm just full of questions today :-D

Heidi
 

big t

tankless
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
1,914
Location
Denver
I don't know about your sand bed.

What I am going to do about flatworms is when I upgrade from my 55 to the 90, I am going to dip everything in a container of saltwater treated w/ fw exit. Then the pieces will go into the 90 which will also have fw exit in it. Aparently the fw exit is not toxic to corals and fish, but all the dying fw's are. So I figure that what few fw's are left will not toxify the new tank nearly as much as if I just treated the water. Then after I get everything moved over I am going to run carbon to take out any more toxins.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Flatworms can quickly grow to large porportions in some tanks, and prove difficult to remove completely. For some, dosing flatworm exit at double and triple the dose has proved effective, but the toxins released from the flatworms could be detrimental. Here are a few links:

Red Planaria

I found some interesting information by Anthony Calfo HERE
 

Ed Hahn

Life is A Highway...
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
3,955
Location
Kennewick, Wa
I have heard of mandarin gobies, types of wrasse, and the velvet slugs that eat flat worms. Has anyone else heard the same? I was wondering if there was another method of elimating flatworms besides Flat Worm Exit?
 

Alice

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2003
Messages
1,108
I had a 6 line wrasse that wiped out flatworms in a small tank but usually, there are too many FWorms for one fish to really make a dent in anything over a 20-30 gallon tank. In a large, fully infested tank your looking at FWorms in the 1,000's. It's also hit and miss with the fish; the next 6 line might not touch them.

Read as much as you can before you decide to use Flat Worm Exit.

Heidi, if it were me, I'd not use any of the sand from the infested tank. I'd also quarantine the corals just to make sure. Why go through all the mess and take a chance that you'd have to do it all over again?

Alice
 

deadrose

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2003
Messages
96
Location
Vashon
The problems with that solution are that I'm a low-budget kinda girl. I have a wonderful amount of fauna in the sand of the small tank, none in the larger one. I don't yet have a quarantine tank. The small tank was going to become one once it's empty.

So it's pretty important to me to reuse my sand. The original plan was just to get the bigger tank ready and match water parameters, then move everything over in 1 or 2 stages. Now I need to treat for flatworms, and doing it as I move seemed like the safest way to minimize the toxins.

I hope I'm making sense, I'm not fully caffeinated yet.

Heidi
 

piercho

Mackerel
Joined
Jul 1, 2003
Messages
80
Location
Bremerton WA
Hi Heidi,

My refugia has a large population of red planaria. They appeared after I introduced 20 or 30 pounds of rock to the refugia from another reefers tank after the last frag swap. I believe that this reefer had previously had a problem with red planaria, and had treated his system with flatworm exit on one or more occasions. There were no visible red planaria on the rock when I recieved it or after a 1-week quaranteen. There were no visible red planaria in the refugia until a few weeks after the introduction of the rock.

I've waited for these little bastards to get in the main tank, and so far, they haven't. On one occassion while examining the top of the sandbed through the glass with a 20X eye-loop, I saw one. This was a couple of months ago and I haven't seen any more in the tank.

The potential predators in the tank are a single spotted mandarin and a shoal of green chromis. Both make short work of teeny non-pest worms, so its concievable that one or both is willing to eat an occassional red planaria. I haven't introduced either fish to the refugia to see if they will control the red planaria. I vacuum the refugia every other week and filter the water through a 100 micron sock, then return the water to the tank. This has been an effective method - so far - to keep the planaria from reaching "crash" population densities.

The conditions in the main tank are different with respect to flow - as in there is a lot of it in the main tank, and much less in the refugia. It seems unlikely to me that this would keep a significant population of red planaria from showing up in the main tank.

My personal preference is never to use antibiotics, chemical treatments, hyposaline/hyersaline treatments, etc, in my system. I don't care if fish and coral survive them. I value 99% of the things living in my system, and I'm not willing to lower the diversity of the tank to get at that 1% of the things I'd rather have gone. So I have no experience with flatworm exit that I can share, except that I THINK that this rock had been treated with it, and it - apparently - didn't work in this case. If one survives the treatment, and your tank is a good habitat for them, you will have thousands again in short order, I think.

What I can tell you is that they nuke on contact with fresh water. I suppose that they have no regulation for this and the skin on the things just ruptures on contact. You can take that bit of info and do what you want with it.

If they were in my main tank, I probably couldn't live with them either. I'm sorry that you have them and hope that you didn't catch them from me. At the time of the last frag swap, they had never been seen in my sytem.

Good luck.
 

deadrose

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2003
Messages
96
Location
Vashon
Piercho, I don't think they came in on the frags you gave me.

I *have* heard that mandarins will sometimes eat them, but I'd dearly hate to get a mandarin and discover it wasn't one that would. I have lots of 'pods, but I doubt it's enough to support a mandarin yet if it didn't eat planaria too.

They wouldn't even bother me if they stayed in balance, but they seem to be multiplying to the point of ugliness, and I'm sure, upsetting the balance for some other creature.

I *like* all my 'pods and snails and tiny brittle stars and odd little worms and stuff. That's why I don't want to lose my sand or otherwise nuke the tank. Flatworm Exit supposedly kills just the planaria, it's just the toxins they give off in death that are a worry, which is why I'd hoped to do it in transfer to the other tank, to minimize that.

Of course if anyone has a mandarin (or other creature) that they *know* eats the blasted things, and wants to sell it.... *coff*

Now if I could just turn my freshwater tanks into these wonderful biological paradises... gads, what I'd do for a freshwater protein skimmer.

Heidi
 

wanareef

reefer addict
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Messages
250
Location
Portland, OR
I have use FWE and have not lost anything in the sand bed. No bristle worms or pods. I'm not sure where you are getting this information.
When the FW's do die- that is where the toxins come from. For your size you will just need part of that little bottle and can save the rest for dipping in the future and frags or rocks that you get.
I would suggest that you treat your tank, now before you move it to the new tank. IMO you will be just be taking one problem and starting another.

good luck
 

Ed Hahn

Life is A Highway...
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
3,955
Location
Kennewick, Wa
Toxins? When a something releases a toxin when stressed I thought it was organic and could be removed by skimming? Can someone help me out?
 

esmith

AQUAMANIAC
Joined
Oct 9, 2003
Messages
451
Location
Shoreline, WA
From what I have read on the removal of FWs (I recently thought I had them), skimming alone will not remove the toxins emitted from the dieing FWs fast enough to not have them contaminate you water. You need to run carbon, preferable using a canister filter that way the water gets full contact time with the carbon, and you can remove it after a few hours and throw it away.

If you need more info try searching on RC, I found many articles about this which were most helpful.

HTH,

Eliyah
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
A skimmer does a great job at removing DOCs (dissolved organic compounds), but you soley can't rely on this. To reduce the concentration of toxins - water changes and carbon - are your friends.
 

Maxx

Staff Housemonkey
Joined
Jul 31, 2003
Messages
2,935
Heidi,
I have dealt w/ flatworms in the past. I used Flatworm exit to do so. A couple of observations:
1....dosing according to instructions was NOT enough. I had to triple the dose to kill the flatworms. I had heard this before from others, so I knew it might be a possiblility. It is paramount that you kill ALL of the flatworms, otherwise, the survuvors will adapt to FE and become resistant to it....all of their offspring will likewise be resistant to it as well.
2....I noticed my snails and bristleworms were affected by FE. They werent killed, but were definately unhappy and behaved as if they were "drunk"....fell off rocks, remained where they landed, and sorta flopped around in the sand going no where. Worms were tying themselves in knots. Everything recovered, and I didnt notice a single fatality amongst the snails...don't think I lost any bristleworms either, but any that died could have honestly been devoured by those that survived.
I was running a skimmer and carbon simultaneously after treating the tank, (as per instructions...waited 30 mins etc) and didnt notice anything else affected by FE...Corals acted as if nothing was going on, anemone was fine as was the clam....I have not had a problem w/ flatworms since.
Since then, EVERY new addition to my tank that is not a fish or moble invertebrate, (shrimp, crab etc) has had flatworm exit added to the container that I acclimate them in. I havent noticed any new flatworms while using this method.
I think it works, and works well. But I think its important to have safeguards in place any time you attempt to do something like this....Have extra water pre made and on hand to be able to do an emergency water change should that be necessary, (most likely not, but better safe than sorry IMO), have your cannister/HOB filter primed and loaded w/ carbon and able to be up and running immediately.
If you plan ahead, and think of worst case scenario while planning ahead, I've found that I can anticipate and usually avoid problems, or handle them before they become a problem.
I hope this helps, and more importantly makes sense.
If you have any more questions, or maybe I didnt explain things clearly, don't hesitate to ask.
Nick
 

Playapixie

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Messages
86
Location
Seattle
I have dealt with flatworms several times. In my main tank, one treatment with flatworm exit completely did the trick after the second dose. The other tank is another story. That one I inherited from a friend with flatworms over everything. I treated it with flatworm exit on 4 different occasions, the last time with triple the normal dose, and they still persist in that tank (though only a fraction of the original population.) I will say that even at 3X dose and a massive infestation in a small non-skimmed tank with an unimpressive filter (Fluval Edge 12 gallon), nothing in that tank seemed to have suffered. Even the tiny feather duster worms recovered. I did run carbon and was ready with mixed water on hand for water changes.

The six line wrasse I bought to take them on doesn't seem to eat them. Go figure.
 

mrturritos

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Messages
134
Location
MLT/Lynnwood
If you have a slightly larger tank a melanurus wrasse will wipe them out. It helps they are pretty awesome fish! Six lines seem to be hit or miss on the worm control, every melanurus I'v heard about destroys large populations of planaria and flat worms.

It should also be noted that the little planaria and flat worms on your corals are two very different things. One is pretty harmless and the other affects corals.
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

Latest posts

Top