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Let's Talk About ~Pests~

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NaH2O

Well-known member
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Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
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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Witfull

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
647
Location
New Jersey
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....:D
 

Katchupoy

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Jul 9, 2003
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Location
Kent 98031
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...)

 

Maxx

Staff Housemonkey
Joined
Jul 31, 2003
Messages
2,935
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
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
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.
 

Elmo18

Clownfish
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
2,662
Location
Seattle
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
 

Elmo18

Clownfish
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
2,662
Location
Seattle
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
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
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
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
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Nov 20, 2003
Messages
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Location
St. Louis, MO
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.
 

Elmo18

Clownfish
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
2,662
Location
Seattle
Curtswearing said:

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
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
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Nov 20, 2003
Messages
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Location
St. Louis, MO
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).
 

jlehigh

Hermit D Crab
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
1,208
Location
Kirkland/Juanita
Well thanks to this thread I now have flatworms :p Well okay I always had them but didn't know what they were..

Keep it going! I am all eyes!
 

Maxx

Staff Housemonkey
Joined
Jul 31, 2003
Messages
2,935
Hopefully Maxx will chime in here as he dips all new corals in Flatworm Exit before it enters his tank.
Yup.....
I had picked up some red planaria awhile back after I added some macros to my sump /refugium to get it jump started. Once I figured out what they were I did some research on Flatworm Exit.
This was about the same time that Travis, (Administrator on RS) was dealing w/ flatworms. He was using FE and detailed his experiences w/ it, so I gave it a try. Worked like a charm.
Travis reccomended, (and I followed his advice) to at least double if not triple the dose the directions called for, wait the required 30 minutes, do a 20% water change and run activated carbon. The flatworms died in droves, my snails and bristle worms acted like they were heavily drugged/drunk, and nothing else in the tank missed a beat. The snails and worms recovered w/ in 24 hours of carbon use, w/ no ill effects.
I've since decided that any new rock or coral going into my tank gets slowly acclimated w/ a heavy dose of FE in the water. I'm not taking any chances.
Nick
 

Katchupoy

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Joined
Jul 9, 2003
Messages
2,188
Location
Kent 98031
What about those little white starfishes... Before, I only have few, now they I noticed that they are growing in numbers...

I'll post some pics later...
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
GARF claims that Asterina Starfish will eat coral polyps. I have never once seen an asterina on a coral. In my tank, they prefer the glass and rock so I cannot dispute them with my experience. However I'm not convinced the info they are giving out is accurate.
 
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