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 my battle with flatworms

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shutterfish

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PostSubject: my battle with flatworms   Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:33 pm

sigh... I dont even know how to write this post... where to begin, how to keep it under 100 pages and all the things I have learned about the importance of a really good quarrantine setup to prevent massive issues like this.

I got the flatworms about 8 months ago from a LFS, and though that makes me pretty angry (especially considering I have ended up getting NUMEROUS nasty pests from them), I now know I should have had a QT setup that proactively prevents this kind of problem. Just saying...

SO... I have this tank full of flatworms that I have already used flatworm killer on and it didnt kill them... even at nearly 5X the recommended dose. I have been siphoning the worms out for months thinking I could just maintain the tank and accept their presence... but they are just effing disgusting and grow to plague proportions in a week's time. Plus I dont want to spread them to any of my other tanks. So I am now trying to get rid of them... in a very long and painful process... though, i do love this hobby, so evn this pain in the ass expensive process is still king of interesting.

My method here so far has been to remove all the coral from the tank that isnt attached to rocks. I dipped them in melafix, moved them to a 10G QT tank, dipped again in melafix then bombed with 10X the recommended dose of flatworm killer, then moved that coral to a 7G QT tank for observation. Amazingly so far the coral have responded beautifully and look amazing, happy, plump. Crazy. I have supplemented the water with calcium, magnesium, strontium and iodine in very small doses and have also been feeding the coral as their polyps are out a lot.

I am moving the coral i have duplicates and triplicates of into my 20 gallon mandarin tank... which is a temporary tank but really well established water and rock. My favorite coral of all are still in the 7G and I am not sure what to do with them because I just cant risk putting them into another one of my tanks. There is a chance one stinkin' flatworm will survive the process and elude my keen eye and begin a new population of super strain heman flatworms.

case in point. Yesterday I did my first trial run of dipping a porous rock. It had some coral on it (monticaps and ricordea) but I did a huge 15 minute dip/wash/plunge/rinse in melafix which is a flatworm destroyer. I put the rock into a 40G breeder tank which is going to serve as my QT tank for all rock with coral and will also temporarily house all the fish from my tank. Today I turkey basted the rock to try and force out any possible flatworms (which I did in the melafix too)... and to my nonsurprise, a few live flatworms had been forcefully ejected from the rock and into the water column. Damnitall... How do you kill 100% of these little bastards when rocks have so many tiny places a flatworm could somehow elude its imminent death in? I have knocked back the population in that rock to tiny amounts but those are the strongest of the population and I must kill them before they breed into even stronger flatworms (i am not kidding here... this strain is insane).

So where do I go from here... first, i'm surprised you are still reading, but hopefully if this ever happens to you you'll know what you have to do. Well at least what my experience is.

My Solution. I am going to rinse all non-coral covered rock and store in the shed for a few months. There is no use treating more than I need to. The few big rocks with big coral will be heavily heavily dosed with melafix and i will just hope to god my coral dont die in the process. I will rinse and dunk the hell out of those rocks and hope I can get to every last one of those flatworms. Then I'll rinse those rocks in fresh saltwater before placing into the 40G breeder. I'll put the fish into the breeder as well. Then I'll remove all the water and sand (and every last freakin' flatworm) from the tank and hose it down and let dry out completely.

When I set it up again it is all fresh RODI water, some clean base rock, some new live rock, let the tank cycle and then the fish can go back in. I'll put a couple of pieces of SPS back into the tank but that's because they dont have places to hide flatworms... and I'll dip them on their way in too. And I'll start again with the tnk and that mandarin tank will have a lot of my favorite coral in it... which inevitably means I am going to set up a nicer and bigger tank there for the mandarin and all my favorite coral. See how much this is going to cost me? Wink
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badxgillen

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PostSubject: Re: my battle with flatworms   Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:56 am

i dont think there is any better way asides from starting from scratch with all your rock and just keep the coral.a long and tedious process is what it sounds like.i have yet to confront mine.i suppose i did put in a wrasse and things are pretty good but i know they are still there.
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burningbaal



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PostSubject: Re: my battle with flatworms   Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:39 pm

pretty rough stuff. I started to get a few flatworms in my 55 about 7-8 months ago, bought a six-line wrasse to work on 'em and man did it work!

in my case, I didn't have a horrid infestation, but the wrasse cleaned them all up in only a couple weeks (didn't see any). I've now been wrasse-less (it was a jerk and I brought it back to Garret's for store credit) for a month or two and have not seen another worm. I think it actually worked...wild.

best of luck man, that's pretty tough stuff for sure. I've lost two tangs in QT, so I think I'm done with QT for fish, but I sure do dip frags...
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shutterfish

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PostSubject: Re: my battle with flatworms   Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:45 pm

my sixline has been in there the whole time and he doesn't appear to be a flatworm eater.

I have wondered about my tang getting moved to QT. I am trying to set up a comfortable place for it. The 40G breeder should be roomy and the temp should be steady. There will be some rock in there (the rock with coral that I dip). Any tips on how to keep it well and ich-free?
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burningbaal



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PostSubject: Re: my battle with flatworms   Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:52 pm

I think my problem with tangs was that I couldn't keep the water cycled. try as I might, I always ended up getting an ammonia spike. In both cases, I checked 24 hours prior and all levels were fine, but the fish was super stressed so I tested again and it was high...
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badxgillen

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PostSubject: Re: my battle with flatworms   Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:59 pm

a friend and i were taling about the ammonia spike the other day and ceramic biomedia or bio balls that are established in a system with a bioload prior to putting the media into the QT will greatly increase the ammonia conversion.especialy if you already have the media treated in the appropriate medication as to not have bacterial die off in the QT from medictaion shock.live rock will work too just alittle spendy.
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PostSubject: Re: my battle with flatworms   Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:19 pm

let me know if you think what I have done so far is sufficient or on the wrong track. You bioball idea is something I sort of thought of but instead of bio balls I pulled the marineland HOB filter off my 75G tank and put it on the 40G breeder. I initially made 100% fresh salt water in the tank a week ago but have been pulling water out of that that for water changes on my other tanks and have been replcing the 40G tank with established tank water. And just now I did a 5 gallon water change on my 75 and actually sucked all the crap out of the sand so I just put 5 gallons of dirty water into the 40G tank.

My thought process is that the filter pads in the HOB filter are fairly dirty and I was hoping that might start a mini cycle. I have a 5 pound live rock in there as of 2 days ago... and now I have this dirty water I added. I will be pulling about 20 pounds of rock out of the 46G tank and dip in melafix and rinse- there will be some dieoff there as well. But I will put those rocks in the tank today I think.

I'll do some water tests and see where my levels are tomorrow.

From that point, as long as I keep the temp steady and do water changes on the 40G tank frequently (daily is fine by me since thats all I have been doing in this tedious process) then I think I should be all set. ???
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PostSubject: Re: my battle with flatworms   Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:22 pm

yeah...you should...dont forget to have a big bottle of PRIME on hand just incase you have some drastic swings and your RO water isnt ready yet..
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PostSubject: Wrasses   Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:37 pm

As far as wrasses go they all seem to not have a %100 garauntee but i would like to say i have seen some six lines,melanarus,coris,and a leopard wrasse eat these little worms if that helps anyone in the future.It almost seems that people with some of these warses are immune to the infestation as well. I remeber a while ago when some buddies and i got some frags from a place, wich i will not name, and they all had flat worms. Of course at that point in time nobody dipped thier corals if they thought they came from a reputable source wich left a couple of us with some nasty critters in the tank.two of us had wrasses in our tanks and they never got the infestation so i suppose it was a preventative rather than a remedy. I have also seen many people put these wrasses in their frag tanks as a means to keep things in check.
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burningbaal



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PostSubject: Re: my battle with flatworms   Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:04 am

ditto on the wrasses...at least the six line. I got one cause I was getting some planaria, though my six line was a super-jerk, he might have held his own against a lionfish (ok, not quite).

anyways, he was harrassing my goby so much he barely left the hole, worked my true perc over so hard the poor boy barely left the surface of the tank. also noticed a huge chunk of my hermits seemed to disappear when the wrasse was there

wish I'd gone with a yellow corris instead of the six line. of course the flasher and fairy wrasses are just plain eye candy
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shutterfish

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PostSubject: Re: my battle with flatworms   Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:28 pm

next time i might go for fish or just take my precious coral out and nuke the hell out of the tank. I dunno... flatworms have definitely been my biggest problem to date and I am happy to say that after dismantling the whole tank and super nuking the rock AND coral with a mix of melafix dips, rest, then flatworm killer, that did the trick. It was just extremely laborious and expensive (with water changes, QT, medications, etc). BUT, i needed to kill them because i have so many other tanks I didnt want to do something stupid one day and spread them.

Main lesson is to dip and QT EVERYTHING you get. Right now I dip new coral and put them into a tank that is kind of my 'extra' stuff so it is nice and established. New fish and coral go in there and i can enjoy them in there while they pass the evil hitchhiker test... though nothing is ever 100% safe. That's the nature of the hobby.

Oh, I did have a six line in there and that didnt do a thing. Bert's leopard wrasse did the trick in his though
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