The Reef aquariums have seen an exponential increase in farmable corals in recent years. It is difficult to imagine a reef without them, and it is right to beware of possible unwanted guests. Planarias, nubibranchs, flatworms and so on and so forth (attention, not all species of those just mentioned are harmful). The problem then increases when corals arrive from private individuals, where pest control is often not optimal.
I'll tell you what happened to me. I recently bought a beautiful Euphyllia glabrescens rasta. In the aquarium I have several Euphyllies, all in great shape, but this one struggled to grow. I got suspicious and delved into it. The discovery was not the most pleasant: flatworms!
Flatworms are not all the same, but some can kill entire colonies of Euphyllie, tridacna, trachyphyllia etc. Furthermore, they are absolutely not easy to remove, if cut in fact they divide in two and continue to live, doubling the problem. So what should you do? We assume that the most important thing would be to prevent the problem, but often it is also possible to cure, let's see together how.
The solution that I have chosen is the classic Dip (in particular the AF Protect Dip). This product, which I recommend to use when inserting any new coral (attention: I would avoid using it with filter feeding animals and / or corals not in shape as it is still a very strong product), thoroughly cleans the surface, helps to remove parasites and to reduce the risk of developing various diseases, including, tissue necrosis, coral bleaching, mycosis, AEFW, brown jelly (BJS).
This product is highly corrosive and I recommend a careful reading of the package leaflet before attempting to use it. A correct dosage and a precise contact time are very important to avoid damage to the coral and above all to ensure high efficacy.
Below is a short demonstration video.
The recommended doses are about 0.5 ml of AF protect Dip in each liter of salt water (whether aquarium or new). The contact time is 5 minutes, more than that you could cause serious damage to the coral. Subsequently immerse the coral in the prepared solution and gently clean its surface by rinsing it with water, or using a brush.
After 5 minutes, place the cleaned coral back in the aquarium. I prefer to immerse it in a separate container for a few minutes to remove as much residue of the product as possible from the animal.
The solution used is not reusable. Do not pour the solution into the aquarium. The preparation must not be used in the presence of fish, snails, shells, crabs, shrimps.
The video I have just shown you reports the situation once the 5 minutes of treatment have elapsed. Despite careful observation I had missed a flatworm, luckily for me the product worked great and I was able to remove them all.
Flatworms move very quickly, so I'm going to bathe all the Euphyllies in the Dip. In the case of planarians and nubibranchs, the work would be much more complex and tiring, which is why a preventive bath will help you to greatly reduce parasite problems.
Written and edited by: Marco Capalbo