Planarian Flatworm pests

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Salt Creep, 16 Feb 2015.

  1. Salt Creep

    Salt Creep

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    Hi All.

    I have a serious problem at hand with Planarian flatworms. Please could anyone guide me on what to do next. I have spent the last week and a half reading up on the net about flatworm exit and flatworm control as well as other methods of trying to rid my rocks of these irritating creatures but I do not know if I want to go the chemical route as some people say it clears them for good first time and some people say it doesn't.
    I want to share some scenario's which i have been running through my head.

    1. I was going to siphon as many out of my display and then treat my display with flatworm control at the recommended dosage (cant get flatworm exit here from what i gather - maybe I'm wrong??) but I am worried there might be tons of them hiding in my rock work which will cause chaos.
    2. I was going to do an initial water change where i siphon out as many as I can from the display then use the old water in a bucket with flatworm control at triple the dosage to kill off all the flatworms in the rocks that have no corals on them. Then treat the rocks with corals one by one to try rid them like that. I will have another bucket with fresh salt water to rinse the rocks off before returning them to the display.
    3. Close my tank down for now and dry my rock out to kill all the flatworms. I understand this will cause problems with regards to die off on my live rock but the cost and risk involved with chemicals could cause dead to my fish which I would rather sell off and start over.

    Please could someone help me as I'm getting frustrated seeing this mat of red all over my sand and on my corals.
     
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  3. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    If you can take out all the rocks, why not use a normal dip iodine or coral RX or something.
     
  4. Salt Creep

    Salt Creep Thread Starter

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    Would using an iodine dip be more successful at killing the flatworms or is it the same thing as something like flatworm exit? Are there different dimes you have to dip the corals for? Thanks for the suggestion. I never really considered just going straight for a dip which actually makes a lot more sense.
     
  5. 4age

    4age

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    please be careful when dosing a tank..know of a few guys having tank wipe outs when all the flat worms (unknown to the owner they had a HUGE amount in tank) died and messed up the water.

    Personally use natural predators..banana wrasse, dusky wrasse or melanarus wrasse usually decimate these guys
     
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  6. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    I used to dip the few corals i could take out and syphon out as many as i could. Eventually the worms disappeared.
    Flatworm exit is a medicine you dose to your whole tank. Iodine/CoralRX/etc gets mixed in a container and the corals are dipped in that. I prefer the dipping cause you wont have all those dead flatworms in your tank.

    Personally i wouldnt go flatworm exit route, but then many member have had excellent results with it.
     
  7. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    How bad is your infestation, do you have a pic?
     
  8. Salt Creep

    Salt Creep Thread Starter

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    I have uploaded some photos. Hope these help. The infestation is bad. I understand I could cause a tank wipe out and that is exactly what I am trying to avoid by asking these kinds of questions before I just go and throw any sort of chemical in. I have thought of natural means with wrasses and so on but once again if its a hit and miss. I have shrimp in my tank and my last wrasse gobbled my peppermint shrimp so i had to get him another home.

    DSC_0531.jpg

    DSC_0532.jpg

    DSC_0533.jpg
     
  9. Salt Creep

    Salt Creep Thread Starter

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    The pictures i uploaded are only a small portion of my tank. Halfway through my daily light cycle they are almost completely out and they are everywhere all over my corals and rocks as well as my sand bed in, obviously, my low flow areas. I think to start off I'm going to need to re-arrange my rock work and try to get the best possible flow I can but my gsp doesn't like a hectic flow over it and the problem is they are almost completely smothering my gsp.
     
  10. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    That is really bad! I dont think using flatworm exit on such high numbers is a good idea, when flatworms die they release toxins and at such high levels youll prob kill everything in your tank.

    Start syphoning. Have the syphon tube run into a filter sock into your sump, that way you can syphon all you like without needing to top up.
     
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  11. Salt Creep

    Salt Creep Thread Starter

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    Thanks @459b. Do you think that drying my rocks would be a better option and starting again later in the year? Im just worried that this infestation might be too large to come out of?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  12. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Probably a bit extreme to dry out the rocks. Check water parameters, those worms must be living off something. Will diligent syphoning, dipping corals and making sure parameters are good...i dont see why the infestation cant be eradicated.
     
  13. Salt Creep

    Salt Creep Thread Starter

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    Basically it all comes down to me doing some good husbandry on the tank. Thanks again and Ill start this sat to hopefully rid my tank of a load of them.
     
  14. Toolboysa

    Toolboysa Moderator

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    Can you remove your livestock from the tank into a quarantine tank? Thinking maybe take everything out, but when doing corals have a bucket with flatworm exit in it. Then after the dip into another bucket with new water to rinse and then to quarantine. Then flatworm exit your tank. Then syphon as much out as you can and try get as much water out. Refill tank and run LOTS and LOTS of carbon

    Think you might need to do regular flamworm exit treatments after you put everything back, just to get the ones you missed
     
  15. Salt Creep

    Salt Creep Thread Starter

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    Thanks Toolboysa. I understand exactly what you mean. That is exactly what I was actually thinking of doing. Flatworm exit i will have to get from ebay or somewhere overseas and the quarantine tank I'm already looking at. I know I should have a quarantine tank but my flat is so small I have almost no space for even a 2 foot tank.
     
  16. Toolboysa

    Toolboysa Moderator

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    Flatworm exit is a salifert product any lfs that deals with Aquarium Depot can get it for you. You can use those black tubs the sell at makro or plastic shops to keep them in temporarily. Doesn't need to be a glass aquarium
     
  17. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Not sure if all flatworms are bad. Unless you do find them eating your corals. They can be moving over the corals, so check corals for damage rather.

    Looking at a nano tank, that has a heavy infestation like yours. And now 2 months later with no intervention, the flatworm colony numbers are vastly reduced. Plus the cyano is gone. Most of the flatworms lately are on the tank glass, eating away at the growth on the glass. And they are also the small little red ones as in your pictures.

    And as she says, they were on her zoa colonies, but found no damage. Some were at times retracted, but only if there was a lot of flatworms on them. Others with a few on them stayed fully opened. Most of the flatworms were either on the rocks, sand or glass.

    Check what they are doing and where most of them are in your tank.
     
  18. Salt Creep

    Salt Creep Thread Starter

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    The flatworms in my tank are on the sand bed, the rocks and on most of the corals. I did a little experiment last night and moved my wavemaker to face my rocks and within about an hour and a half a load of them had moved. Flow is a big part but i think i am going to do the flatworm exit with the 2 buckets and then smash the DT with flatworm exit. I might sell off some of my livestock and keep 2 in a quarantine tank for the time being. Thanks a mill for all the input. @RiaanP @Toolboysa & @459b . I refuse to let this small problem mess up my experience with the marine industry!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  19. Salt Creep

    Salt Creep Thread Starter

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    Oh and the flatworms are not damaging my corals but rather smothering them especially my gsp. The rest sit at the base of my corals with low flow around them. They are just an eye sore to look at because the red takes the eyes off the rest of the corals and also they are getting out of hand.
     
  20. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    What is the size of your tank?
    Did you look into the options of a 6-line wrasse or banana wrasse. Or the white-bellied wrasse.

    White belly and banana wrasse looks the same, except the white belly got a white belly... duh
     
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