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Thread: My plan to combat flat worm infestation

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    My plan to combat flat worm infestation

    It's gotten real bad! Initially I thought the rock is turning brown-red from algae - it actually looked cool until I realized it wasn't algae. Now they're everywhere, I suspect they contributed to the death of my Sandsifting star. This is a 90gal with 30 gal sump and the infestation is also in the sump as well. Cleaning the sump is easy although the plumbing be a another matter. The occupants include 3 Chromis, two Clowns, a Yellow and Blue Tang, and a PJ Cardinal. Other invertebrates include 2 Bristle stars, an Urchin, 3 shrimp, 2 feather dusters, and hermit crabs and snails. I also have nice colony of soft polyps which I suspect how the worms got in.

    The idea was to use a combination of Flatworm Exit, physical removal and Six-line Wrasse. But I'm worried that infestation is to huge that it may harm the stock, so I thought I'd transfer the live to a 40g breader I have, and use the FW Exit. This has a challenge how to move and treat the rock that has the polyps? I also have rock in which one of the Bristle stars live.

    I can also transfer the fish and invertebrates to a couple of smaller tanks (20g and 10g) temporarily while I treat the main thank but I know how long should the treatment take, plus the stress of moving the live stock.

    Alternatively, I can swap the process and keep the fish in the 40g so as to reduce the stress somewhat and use the 20g for live rock treatment.

    But there are more questions than answers. For instance, do I keep some of the old water? Am I risking transferring flat worms as well? How do i remove the dead flat worms from the main tank, as they're in the sand?

    Anyway, what do you guys think?

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    Registered User Sputnik's Avatar

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    Do you have a pic of the worms?
    "Fine beer may be judged by only one sip, but its better to be thoroughly sure"

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    Manual removal of as many as you can is the best start. There will be toxins when they die off, so the less the better.

    I wouldn’t worry about keeping any of the water. The bacteria you need is on the sand and rocks.

    If you can take a few rocks out at a time, you could dip them and then rinse them really well and put them back in, and do that until you get all the rocks clean and the majority of the worms out and then dose the tank with FW exit to get the rest. That way the majority of die off would be happening in your container you dip them in and not your tank.


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    Senior Member FireDawg56's Avatar

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    Don't forget it is not a one time effort, I never found info on the gestation time on their eggs but you will have to re-dose to prevent infestation.

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    Senior Member Kirblit's Avatar

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    I agree, get as many out as possible before dosing the tank. A good way to do this is using 1/4" airline tubing and a filter sock. Spend some time sucking all of the you can find off the rocks and into a filter sock in your sump. This way you don't have to do a water change because you aren't taking water out of your tank. After sucking as many out as possible you can treat the display. It's important to suck out dead and dying ones from your display as well when treating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    Do you have a pic of the worms?
    It's not letting me upload for some reason, but they're planaria as id-ed by fellow reefer.

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    Thanks for all you suggestions and comments! This is definitely be a "project" and I now realize this not a one time deal. I've purchased a Six-line Wrasse a couple of days ago so I'm hoping she'll keep them in check.

    How do I prevent future contamination? There are two instances where I suspect I got these, either with small frag of polyps or a handful of keto algae for the sump.

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