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FAQs about Flatworm Chemical Control

Related Articles: Pest Flatworm Control by Anthony Calfo, Flatworms (incl. Planaria), Worms, Featherduster Worms

Related FAQs:  Flatworm Control, Predator Control, Chemical Control, Flatworms/Planaria 1, Flatworms 2, Flatworms 3, & FAQs on: Flatworm Identification, Flatworm Behavior, Flatworm Compatibility, Flatworm Selection, Flatworm Systems, Flatworm Feeding, Flatworm Disease, Flatworm Reproduction, & Fish Worms DiseasesWorm Identification, Worms, Fire/Bristleworms

"There are a number of chemical controls for these pests, but the "cures" do carry some risk of collateral damage. I'd check on the many hobbyist message boards to hear what other hobbyists are using."... Make arrangements, contingencies... should troubles arise. RMF

Polyclads... Maybe Pseudoceros pardalis Leopard Flatworm.         5/17/16
Hi Bob,
<The Mighty Quinn!>
I got your email address from a friend of mine and I’ve seen your sage advice online a couple times; so I thought I’d bounce a problem I’ve been having off of you.
I’ll try to keep this as succinct as possible, but I’ve been fighting Polyclads for over 2 years. Can’t seem to catch every last one of them in my 500 gallon reef.
Here’s a thread I started a while back http://reef2reef.com/threads/polyclad-worms.227148/.
Most people seem to catch a couple of them and then done with it, but for me they seem to keep coming back. Do you have any advice on getting rid of poly clad worms for good? Maybe a better trap design? Is there a reef safe medication that can knock them out for good?
<No reef safe item.... killing off a bunch of "worms" indiscriminately in an established system is bad karma, and often bad news for all the other life>
I’d appreciate any advice you can give to me. I’ve kept 4 clams in a separate quarantine tank for over 4 months and they’re growing fine.
<Good news>
Any clam added to the display meets its demise within a month or two.
<Oh, not so good news>
Display has been clam free for over 4 months, but I’ve witness the Polyclads subsisting on Stomatella snails.
Temp: 77-78
Ph. 8.1 – 8.3
Salinity: 35ppt
Nitrate: 5-10ppm
Phosphate: Undetectable
Calcium: 450
Alk: 8.5
Clams were in at least 300-400 PAR.
Thanks for your help.
<Let's have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fltwmcont.htm
and the Related FAQs files linked in the tray above. Please do write back w/ your observations. Bob Fenner>

Re: Polyclads; control      5/20/16
Thanks for the reply. I've read over your FAQ and the thread attached and haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. Here's what I gathered.
1) There's no failsafe in tank treatment for Polyclads.
<Correct... some baiting, trapping is about the best approach (other than outright exclusion)>
2) Traps or active hunting is the only way to somewhat purge a system of Polyclads.
<Oh! Yes>
3) Polyclads are on many clams that come from the wild and don't seem to become an issue until they're in a closed aquarium
4) Once you have them breeding in your system it's pretty much impossible to get them all out.
<Thank you for this synopsis>
Is there a medication or dip that could be used as a bath before putting in quarantine to assure no pests are being introduced?
<Mmm; no... not w/o killing off all life practically... I am a big fan of isolating/curing added LR (and not adding LS per se) to established systems... about a month for observation is about right before introduction into your main/display>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

AEFW... chem., bio. controls    1/22/14
What's the best course for action for eradicating AEFW?
<Mmm, there are a few approaches... mostly 'cides; chemical controls>

I've searched the site and come up with the below as possible in tank treatments:
1) Levamisole dosed at 28g per gallon, repeated each week for 4-5 weeks along with a 50% water change.
2) Salifert FW Exit dosed at 4 drops per gallon, repeated each week for 4-5 weeks along with a 50% water change.
Are there other more effective in tank treatments or dips?
<Not IME; I'd go w/ #2>
Thanks for your time.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: AEFW   1/22/14

What's your opinion of fluke tabs @ 1 tab per gallon?
<Mmm; can work. Again, if poisoning the system, I'd go w/ Salifert... Have you tried, considered bio-controls?>
Are any dips effective specifically: CoralRx, Revive, Iodine, RPS All Out, or Bayer?
<Have no direct, first-hand experience w/ any of these... Anecdotal accounts are mixed for all. BobF>
Re: AEFW   1/22/14

I have two Halichoeres Wrasses (Yellow Coris and Christmas), are there other bio-controls I could try?
<Mmm, genus Halichoeres wrasses don't do much for AEFW... generally will only eat if blasted off and they're hungry. My fave hands-down choices are members of the genus Pseudocheilinus; mystery, six-line... B>
Re: AEFW   1/23/14

A side note, I'm cycling/upgrading a new tank so I'm prepared to move all unaffected livestock to the new tank, turn the current tank into a QT and do whatever is necessary to remove these pests before relocating the corals to the new tank (if possible).
<Best to treat all; the system... B>

Potential Coral Medication... for most every-anything     1/27/12
I am a fish biologist that has been working on the development of a new fish medication for about 7 years now.  The product is called MinnFiinn and is available for Koi and goldfish at retail shops and has been doing very well.  It is also being used on many tropical fish farms with great success and has been improving fish health.  With this we are close to having a retail product ready.  It has also recently been tested in coral and was very effective at eliminating flatworms.  I have included the account below.
Per our conversation the other day,  I used MinnFiinn to attack Acropora eating flat worms on 2 of the corals in my personal saltwater aquarium. 
The 2 corals were a tri-colored valida and a Tenus.  Both of the corals were exhibiting bite marks and degradating color of the flesh on the coral.
 I also noted egg strings at the base of the coral,  these signs are classic cases for Acro eating flatworms.
I removed the corals one at a time from the display tank and placed them in a small 2 gallon aquarium.  The Tenus was dipped in Revive first for 15 min to try to get rid of the flatworms.  I did not see any of the flatworms let go of the coral with this dip.  I then placed the coral in the same 2 gallon tank and started with a 1/4 dose of MinnFiinn for the tank.  I started the 1 hour cycle and observed the coral,  I also had a hermit crab and a couple of snails in the tank to see what happened to them.  After about 30 min I was not seeing any signs of the flatworms or anything else letting go.  I upped the dose to 1/2 for the next 30 min.  I started to see some pests like red bugs start to leave the coral.  I also saw the egg clusters look like they were letting go.  I did not see any flatworms on this coral but I also did  the other dip with Revive prior to this dip.  I used a turkey baster and blasted the coral and a lot of the eggs and some flatworms came out.  I kept the coral in the dip for 1 hour then neutralized.  I put the coral back in my tank and since the color has come back in the coral and I do not see any signs of the flatworms.
The second coral was a lot more dramatic,  this coral is a tri-colored valida,  this coral was exhibiting half of the colony with color loss and bit marks from the flatworms.  I removed this coral from the tank and put it in the 2 gallon QT tank.  I dosed the tank with 2 Ml of MinnFiinn.  I told you on the phone that it was 2 Ml per gallon but I was using 2 gallons of saltwater.  The dose is 1 Ml per gallon.  After about 10 min.  I noticed the whole coral was alive with flatworms and they were running for cover. 
After about 30 min the flatworms were folding up like leaves on a tree and falling off of the coral.  I used the turkey baster and blew the coral and flatworms were coming out all over the place.  I neutralized the tank at 1 hour and then placed the coral back in the show tank.  It has been 5 days and the corals color is coming back and the polyps are coming back out.
I am very excited about this because to date no one has come up with a treatment that will kill these pests and not damage the coral.  I will keep you posted on any other developments that happen.
I have a former Saddleback college student recommend I contact you to look into ways of getting more testing done.  From what i understand there a few treatments for corals and a product able to do what it did for Casey is in dire need.
<Only a few commercial ones of value>
Your name is very familiar.  I have spoken for the SDTFS a couple of times.
 We may have met at one of these meetings.
<Mmm, quite likely. I too live in San Diego>
I would really appreciate your feedback and would be happy to speak with you if you would rather than email.  Please see my contact info below.
<Mmm, about the best (fastest, most cost effective) means I can think of would be to contact/attend some of the local marine/reef clubs, offer samples; ask folks to send in, accrue testimonials. Do you have packaging?
Any sort of legal paperwork, MSDS et al. done? Have looked over your sites... Do you know of folks in the fisheries path. field? I'd contact them for input as well. Bob Fenner>
Paul A. Curtis
AquaSolver LLC/AquaFinn LLC

Stylochus matatasi Flatworm... Clam et al. eater  11/16/11
Hello WWM,
By perusing your site, I have determined that we had & may still have one or more of the Tridacna-eating flatworms in our tank.
<No fun>
I lost 2 clams in July, but also many snails. Then in August, I caught a HUGE flatworm. Grey-Brown, mottled. I figured it ate the snails but did not ID the thing at the time or else I would have realized it ate the clams too. We caught this thing and took it out but it broke into pieces. I tried to pick up all the pieces (at night, in my pajamas, holding a flashlight) but one may have escaped.
<Best to siphon out>
Forward to October. I still have 3 clams left. Start seeing dead snails again. Then another clam dies. Two weeks later, another clam, and two weeks after that, my last clam (this past weekend). All 5 clam deaths in hindsight match exactly the MO of what happened to other people's clams known to be eaten by a flatworm (by my research).
<Did you treat this system w/ an Anthelminthic... an anti-worm agent to rid it of this Polyclad?>
Took the last clam out and guess what crawled from his shell? A flatworm. This time I ID'd it, it is the clam eater.
I used flatworm medicine and did WC...but I think the medicine is really for planarians.
<Should work on/for all Platyhelminths...>
Will it kill the worm(s) I have?
<What is the active ingredient? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fltwmchemcont.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmidcuref.htm>
And how many do you think I could possibly have? Will I ever be able to keep clams again?
<Should be>
Thank you in advance for your response!
<And you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stylochus matatasi Flatworm 11/16/11

Thank you Bob! You really set my mind at ease. I did use an appropriate anti-worm agent. And tank seems otherwise fine. And this was, if anything, a good learning experience. I am sure I will keep clams again.
<I do hope so as well. Cheers, BobF>

Coral/flatworm Toxin Dangers to Humans?   2/15/11
Hello there!
<Hi Ashley>
I'm hoping that you can help me with a mystery. I have a 58 gallon tank, plus sump that I bought several weeks ago "established" with beautiful Tampa Bay Saltwater premium live rock teeming with hitchhikers. There are also a couple of urchins, pulsating xenia, a small green leather (looks like green Sinularia?), green star polyps, a tiny tube coral, lots of snails, brittles, worms, clams, orange frilly limpet, and many other little anemones and critters. I know that I only saw a snapshot of what is really lurking in there. I had already captured a large speckled Polyclad flatworm (like the top image on your page *FAQs about Giant Clam Disease, Pests & Predators**1)
*during setup and there were a couple of other small types of flatworms, but the population wasn't huge. I opted to treat with Flatworm Exit before adding fish, just to reduce any risks. I used a "normal" dose.
I put my hands in the tank to begin to siphon out some of the dying floating worms - only to abandon the idea because there wasn't much to siphon.
Unfortunately, I instantly began to feel a funny feeling on my hands where they were in the tank, and began to feel my heart rate increase at such a rapid rate that I was on the phone with 911 in less than a minute. My blood pressure had also increased significantly. Fortunately little intervention was required and I was sent home later that afternoon with an achy chest and nausea. I've since had some lingering effects requiring more care, but am working through those. No, no gloves were used unfortunately.
I do understand that it would be nearly impossible to figure out what it was that affected me so, but is it feasible that a toxin released after a dewormer treatment could affect an individual so severely?
<Affirmative. Please put the string: flatworm human toxicity in your search tool/s>
Is it that I'm incredibly sensitive?
<Likely there is a range>
By the way, everything else survived fine (even a few flatworms). The green finger leather looking coral was very slumped, but recovered great.
Unfortunately I've decided to sell this tank, but will replace it with a fresh new Nano tank where I can choose EVERYTHING that goes in rather than chancing it with very healthy live rock!
Thanks for your help!
<Welcome, and thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Flatworm eXit, 6/7/10
Dear Crew,
1st timer here, thank you for your superb site much knowledge gained.
My tank is 32" x 18" x 18" has a 14k metal halide light with a marine blue T5 24W and marine white T5 24W lights (separate timers), 2 x Hydor Koralia powerheads (1 + 2) for circulation with an external filter.
A third of the tank is furnished live rock with soft corals attached.
Pair of Orange skunks (egg laying)
Yellow tang
<Needs a larger tank.>
Yellow goby
6 line (pyjama) Wrasse
Algae Blenny
I have had no problems with my tank (up and running with this set up for 2 years) until recently I noticed red things crawling over my "Mouse Ear" coral, with further inspection I saw them everywhere gravel, rocks even on a snail.
In the last 3 weeks I have syphoned hundreds of these little blighters out of my tank and completed 4 x 10% total water changes in that time also.
I do 10% water changes every two weeks.
Having read many internet threads re: Red planarians and the use of Salifert flatworm eXit liquid.
Q; As I do not want to add eXit directly into my tank would you recommend taking the live rock out of the tank and treat them in separate tanks, If so have you any idea how it would affect my soft corals?
<I would not use this product at all, unnecessary in my opinion. Red Planarians generally are not a long term problem, their numbers waning with time.>
To ask LFS to look after my livestock and totally strip my tank down and start afresh including new filter media would this solve the problem.
<Seems extreme to me.>
All advice would be greatly appreciated.
Brian Kavanagh
<I would just continue with the manual removal, perhaps step up your water changes to weekly. In the past I have used a turkey baster to blow them off the rocks, which seems to help some. Increasing total water turnover also may help as these flatworms prefer low flow areas. I suspect with a little time you will find that their numbers crash drastically.>

Re: Flatworm eXit, 6/7/10
Dear Chris,
Thank you for your prompt reply,
I will increase my water changes to weekly and change the water direction of my powerheads also purchase a new (more vigorous water flow) powerhead, and look at re-homing my yellow tang.
<Sounds good.>
Please use my email and your advice for other's who may also be affected.
<Will do.>
Again thank you for time.
Brian Kavanagh

Parasite control in a commercial fish holding system.   5/4/10
I'm having a heck of a time with a clearish/white parasitic flatworm in our 3000 gallon fish holding system here at our retail store. This worm falls off with freshwater dips but we can't seem to fully eradicate it from our system. The flat worm is about 2-3mm across and visible with the naked eye.
<Mmm, okay>
It seems to reproduce rapidly where a fish can be almost entirely covered within 2-3 days after the dip. Specific gravity is kept at 1.019-1.020.
Temperature is 77-78 degrees. They are resistant or immune to Prazi-pro and copper.
As a last resort, we recently nuked the system with chlorine bleach (no fish in system of course). But somehow they are back! I'm pulling my hair out. I'm hoping someone there with experience with this particular pest can offer some insight.
<In a word: Levamisole... See WWM, the Net et al. re. Bob Fenner>

Re: Re: Re: re: AEFW Problem Acropora Eating Flatworm control, chem.    1/3/10
Hi Bob,
I've been doing a little bit of reading on the web in regards to treating your entire reef tank for AEFW using Levamisole. There seems to be a little bit of inconsistency in terms of the amount to dose your tank and how to carry out the procedure with minimal loss and hardship on the tank. Would you be able to provide me a procedure on using this product properly?
<Mmm, yes... I can/will paraphrase what is stated/furthered by Ed Noga (Fish Disease, Diagnosis & Treatment)... for Prolonged immersion, 10 mg of Levamisole HCl/l (28 mg per gallon) per Butcher 1993>
, I in no way would hold you responsible if anything bad happened... I must treat the tank though before populations begin to grow larger. I noticed a few bitmarks underneath a coral which had been losing purple coloration on the tips...I now know why...seeing little brown egg sacks in a couple places surrounding the base of the coral and white bite marks further up the main branches, but not too many of them. I am planning a 3-4 week treatment using Levamisole, what's your recommended dosage/gallon? And how much exposure do I give the tank with Levamisole before executing a big water change/carbon...
<A week if no otherwise adverse signs>
I have noticed a few other Acropora losing color here and there, I'm confident that once these worms are free and clear, I should begin to see a good amount of coloration start to return. This is my second year keeping and sps tank, first year I had a run in with red bugs which was easily treated in a 3 week period using interceptor, now I'm experiencing AEFW but without a solid method of elimination.
I sincerely appreciate your time and help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: AEFW Problem
Ok, I'm going to order that book as this is the second time I've heard of that author.
<Is expensive, but well worth it>
So let me state this clearly what I plan to do:
Add 4592 milligrams Levamisole to 164 gallons (reef system volume). Add directly to tank? or dilute and add slowly?
<Dilute and add slowly>
And don't change any water in the tank for a week unless noticing adverse affects earlier?
Does this sound right?
<Correct. B>
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: AEFW Problem, Levamisole use f's    1/4/10

Got it,
At end of first week of tank being dosed, I will perform 50% water change. Mandatory GAC? or no.
<Not mandatory>
How much time after w/c do I wait before adding next dose of ~4.5 gram Levamisole?
<Mmm, weekly>
I have eggs so I will be dealing with AEFW entire life cycle which = 4 consecutive weekly treatment correct? or 5? In nutshell, 50% w/c followed by new dose every Saturday for a month?
<Sounds good>
Does the skimmer take out the Levamisole?
<Don't know>
Would it be better to leave the skimmer running all week without the collection cup?
<I would leave going. BobF>
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: AEFW Problem  1/4/10
And because this is a prolonged immersion treatment, I noticed the dose is significantly less than what a dip would be comprised of.
Does this mean the flatworms will be slowly dying out in my tank from lower concentration. Can you give me a little info on what to expect after first dose, do they fall off within a day? 2 days?..3?
<Only experience can/will tell. Is variable>
Being that they are nearly invisible, should I be looking for healing bite marks?
<Likely so>
Again, much appreciated.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: AEFW Problem. Levamisole, bad reaction series  1/26/10

Hey there Bob,
Received 20 grams of Levamisole Hydrochloride 99% strength. (For AEFW)
1) Weighed out 4.6 grams on scale for 1st dose for 164 gallons system volume for my sps reef.
2) Mixed the dosage into 5 gallons of tank water in a bucket and added slowly to system.
Observations from 1 1/2hr exposure:
3) SPS coral polyps started to close up tightly almost immediately after adding treatment, 20 or so minutes later..copepods were whirling around the tank dying out
4) Small bristleworms started to appear dead at about the same time
<To be expected>
5) Tenennti tang's color was dark and eye's appeared to be under stress
6) Rest of the fish usually are out and about for 5pm feeding time, all were in hiding except the true Perculas.
7) Took a nap for an hr
8) came back and polyps were still closed, noticed more copepods dead, more bristle worms too, couldn't tell if AEFW's were dead too but I'd imagine must have taken some if not all out, except any eggs of course
9) Got nervous about leaving the tank with full treatment overnight, so did a 75-80% water change on the tank after power heading off all corals and live rock for detritus/and possibly stubborn AEFW on colonies.
10) Tank therefore only was exposed to the 28mg/gallon (Noga's prolonged recommendation) for 1:30hrs.
I don't think there would be any success if we went a whole week as previously discussed or even overnight at that dosage. Guessing there would have been some fish loss the next day for sure.
From what I can see, the drug is very very powerful, much much more so than interceptor. I would change the prolonged tank treatment dosage to even half or 1/4 of the 28mg/gal. maybe something along the lines of 7 or 14mg/gal. wouldn't that slowly kill them over a week's time with less stress to the tank's inhabitants?
My hope is that we can find a treatment procedure that isn't too harsh on the tank yet wipes these guys out. What do you think my next step should be in this process? another treatment next week?, perhaps a different dosage and/or exposure time?
<I would wait... see what happens... I suspect all vermiform life is dead/killed>
Appreciate your thoughts on this.
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: AEFW Problem, Levamisole rxn. series  -- 1/27/10

Fish are still a bit shy this morning. Found a big dead Bristleworm laying on top the sand. I placed two sacs of carbon in the sump and cleaned the skimmer...the Levamisole itself is pretty harsh, but assuming it killed off flatworms, they release pretty harmful toxins themselves when they die, so thought this would be a good idea to absorb any shenanigans circulating in the tank.
<Yes... a good point for sure>
It's going to be very tough to tell when there are no flatworms in the tank, maybe take a couple months to really determine that based on coral health and no more evidence of bites... Will partially bleached coral bases grow
back or not so much?
<Will grow back given time, good care, propitious circumstances. BobF>Re: re: Fwd: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: AEFW Problem 2/1/2010
Alright, so here's an update. After the 1.5 hr treatment @ 4.6 grams/160 gallon system last Thursday. It appeared to have wiped out many bristleworms, pods, and hopefully the aefws. However not the case after a little powerheading on the corals today (Sunday evening) discovered a few mongrel size aefw flew off, not too many, but the point being that the treatment wasn't long enough to take a toll on them. This treatment would have killed the fish any longer than what they were exposed to. So now I'm shaking my head...saying now what....
<Indeed... maybe removing the desired livestock for one last treatment>
I managed to capture a worm and experiment Salifert Exit on him. So far doesn't respond at all to recommended dosage. Tried 4 drops per gallon which is way above dosage by 4x the amount, worm kind of lifts his head up at times but resumes function. In any case, so far at this dosage that doesn't even work, I would have to buy 10 bottles of flatworm exit just to treat the tank 3 weeks in a row. So this method doesn't seem too promising...
Looking for other options though..
<Other Anthelminthics. You know where to search. BobF>
Re: re: Fwd: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: AEFW Problem 2/1/2010
Most recent update...on AEFW that is....
At 4 drops per gallon with Salifert Flatworm Exit, flatworm was dead at 8:30 when I came home from dinner, started with only 2 drops at 5pm, then added 2 more for 4 drops total at 6pm. Didn't die after 1 hr.... looks like
after 2 1/2 hrs it killed him off. So according to the recommended dosage of 4 drops per 5 gallons (per Salifert instructions), you would need to increase dosage to 4 DROPS PER GALLON to rid AEFW, and add this much for 3 - 4 consecutive weeks to kill entire AEFW lifecycle/eggs....etc....
So, I may just end up getting lots of Salifert flatworm exit and using that since it is not as harmful to the fish/reef system as Levamisole hydrochloride....
This method seems to be a successful in tank treatment for AEFW :)
<... okay!>
Now let's just tell Salifert to up the bottle size of EXit and we're all good :)
<You might want to try your own serial dilution of Praziquantel... BobF>

Flatworm Treatment,   3/8/09 Hello Crew, <Hi> I would like to know what is the active ingredient in Salifert's Flatworm exit. <Don't know, and as far as I am aware Salifert's does not publish this information.> I have a few flatworms in my tank though I'm not to concerned about it because I have dealt with this problem before in my previous tank and had success getting rid of them with out having to treat with chemicals. <Good> I am just curious to know what is in this product. If I ever choose to use it I would like to know what is going in my tank rather than just putting a product in because someone recommended it. <If the bottle does not list what is in it, don't add it to your tank, best advice I can offer here.> Thank you kindly Pat <Welcome> <Chris>

Re: pests/ Bob's email address, pest flatworm control    7/20/07 Hey Bob, hope all is well in Cali. I sure do miss the beach. You're so lucky to live there!! <Sara M. here now. I hope I can help...> I keep trying to get my hubby to get a superintendent job at a golf course by the beach, but no luck so far!! I have a technical question for you. Every month we meet here in Phoenix and swap frags. This last frag meet, we had a few tanks with red bugs, Monti Nudis and now Acro eating flat worms. Do you know of any treatments for the flat worms that will not kill the Acroporid? <There's what seems to work for at least some people: 1) Remove all the Acropora colonies and put them in quarantine (even the ones that don't yet appear to be affected. The reason you have to remove ALL the Acropora colonies is because you'll want to starve to death any AEF that might remain (or hatch) in the tank after you remove the Acroporas (this usually takes at least five days). After all, there's little point to treating an affected coral only to return it to an infected tank. 2) In a second quarantine tank, medicate the corals with Levamisole (available from a local vet or possibly a livestock and feed supply store) for about 6 hours or so. 3) Use a smaller MaxiJet (or other small powerhead) to blow the worms off the coral. 4) After you've blasted off all the adults, look very carefully for any eggs. If you find any, scrape them off with one of those plaque scrapers you can buy at a drug store for your teeth. 5) After all this is done, return the corals to the first quarantine tank. 6) Repeat steps 2 through 5 until you stop seeing any worms or eggs. Of course, this is going to stress out your corals to no end. But there really isn't any other way. You might lose some of the colonies to stress. But you're likely to lose them to AEF if you don't do anything.> There is a fellow reefer in town that has these and has Acro colonies that he is thinking about throwing away because he hasn't found a treatment yet. <Please tell him not to throw them away just yet. Do try the above. I know it's worked for some people and it's worth a shot.> I figured I would ask the expert!! Any help you can give our group would be helpful. <You might also want to try and contact Marc Leverson. I know he's been successful fighting AEF in his own tank using the method above. Also, some people claim to have some success with heavy dosing of Flatworm Exit (in quarantine) in addition to or instead of the Levamisole. If someone is thinking of throwing out infected corals, you might as well do some experimenting to see if something works before tossing them. Good luck! And do let us know how things work out. :-) Best, Sara M.>

Acoel flatworms - so-called "Planaria" 2/24/04 I attached a picture of my Umbrella Leather. I think the red/rust spot on it are flatworm (Planaria)! What do you think about it? <you are correct... Acoel flatworms> If it's Planaria, do you recommend the Flatworm Exit product from Salifert? <I would never recommend it or anything like it. No such product has been demonstrated to my satisfaction to kill one nuisance invertebrate while not harming some others of like kind but desirable.> I read a lot of thread on RC and almost people didn't have any problem with this product. <does the product list its ingredients? If not, I'm not inclined to use or recommend any products if unknown composition on the live creatures in my care> Thank you very much. And thank you for your website, it's very useful. <do address the real problem (rather than treating the symptom) here my friend... inadequate water flow most likely. Seek 10-20x minimum and avoid laminar flow from powerheads (make them converge to produce random turbulent at least). We have a lot of info on Acoel flatworms in the archives and FAQS here at wetwebmedia.com. And no worries... without treatment, these flatworms are still harmless and naturally wax and wane. Anthony>

Ridding Acoel flatworms 4/8/04 I was wondering if you might be able to help me rid of my on going flatworm problem; I've noticed Acoel flatworms in my tank for over 3 months now, and well they're becoming more of a problem. <no worries... they wax and wane (in great numbers albeit at times) on their own naturally. Still... improved water flow and more aggressive skimming help this along. Their control is documented in our archives if you care to browse/read more> I believe they are laying eggs of some sort in mass numbers all over my glass, and I'm ready to take action against these annoying creatures. <no egg laying by Acoels my friend... simple fission> I'm sending along a picture of what the eggs look like that I drew on MS paint, hopefully you'll get the point.. lol. <excellent drawing... and the eggs sound like clearly something else... perhaps Cnidarian larvae of some kind. Do you also have an Aiptasia anemone bloom in the tank? That would explain the buds/"eggs" on the glass and be consistent with a suspected nutrient or water flow problem in the tank that has allowed/supported the flatworms> I plan on using Salifert Flatworm Exit soon. <yikes! Please do resist using any such chemical in the reef aquarium. You must know that such products are not discriminating between desirable and undesirable micro-organisms. And beyond perhaps crippling your bio-diversity, you are in fact treating a symptom and not the problem: not enough or not the right kind of water flow... 20X turnover would be nice> For a little description of the egg; They have a bunch of little arms that move with the water kind of like an anemone. <may well be... kind regards, Anthony>

Flatworm solution I was interested to see if you or any of your readers have used a  new product for flatworms called PraziPro.  It is distributed by  Hikari.  I have not applied it yet, as I would like to hear from anyone  that may have used it in a reef system. << I have not used it, but I'm not a fan of medications anyway. >> I have a 180 gal. reef with soft  corals, leathers, etc. that I have had for a while (2 yrs.) and would hate to  see any harm done to them. << If you have a flatworm problem, I would suggest other remedies such as wrasse and water motion.  I wouldn't chance any product that is aimed to kill flatworms. >> Thank you, <<  Adam B.  >>
Re: Flatworm solution
Adam, Thank you for your quick reply.  I will try the wrasse first, I too am  not a fan of putting chemicals in the tank.  Mother nature just doesn't  seem to appreciate them, there always seems to be a reaction somewhere in the  tank that isn't a positive one. << Well said, good luck. >> Regards, Brob <<  Adam B.  >>

Flatworms Exit stage left Hi all!     Just finished a round with flatworms and Exit which seemed to work pretty good.  My tank was severely infested with them, to the point that the sand on the bottom was turning red ( had the red flatworms, worst of all).  I tried everything else but wasn't making a dent in the population so I had to go the chemical route.  Just have a couple questions.         I followed the directions on the exit to a T.  I even purchased a Marineland Magnum 350 and used it as a vacuum to clean the critters out after they started dying and did a 25% water change.  All reef inhabitants seem to be doing fine except the anemone (seems hung over).  I still see some worms crawling around so I was wondering if I should do a second treatment before the live ones start reproducing again? << This is iffy, and I would say don't treat the tank until you have reason to.  So, I say wait. >> And, if I do, how long should I wait before doing another treatment?     Second, I noticed another critter crawling on the glass during the first treatment.  The best I can describe it is that it was white/clear, about the same length as the flatworms and had many feet and antennae on both ends, almost resembling a centipede.  Is this some sort of plankton?  I couldn't readily find anything in the forums. << Hard to say, but I'll bet it is beneficial. >>     Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks. James <<  Blundell  >>

- Dealing with Flatworms - I have an aquarium store in Arizona. I specialize mainly in reef aquariums. I have a 300 gallon coral display tank with many LPS and softy corals for sale. I also have a 110 gallon clam display aquarium. I am noticing everyday more and more nuisance flatworm. I heard that Melafix will get rid of them, is this true.  <I've never heard of this and would suggest, that if you're considering a chemical solution, to pursue the Salifert Flatworm Exit product. Have had many folks say this product does work very well and causes no problems for reef inhabitants. Make sure your skimmer is clean an you have a water change ready to go... when the flatworms exit, they really exit.>  I want to get rid of them before they multiply to much and cover and kill my corals. Please respond back as soon as you can, Thank You, Matt All Aquatics allaquatics.net <Cheers, J -- >

Flat worm eradication - 4/9/03 Thank you very much for the quick response. <Thank you> I have had a look at the links in your note, great information though it does seem to be a little contradictory at times. <likely to cover all aspects> One question, I posted the same plea for help at reefs.org and received a response from Delbeek indicating that as a last resort I might try a drug called Levamisole. Have you ever heard of anyone using this drug successfully? <I personally have never heard of this drug. I want to make a statement right here and now, that I do not believe that these animals are at all harmful. Overall, I too, have gone through various incursions of these little worms. I still have a few here and there, but for the most part, there are very few. I used no drugs and did nothing but what I am expected to do as a Conscientious Marine Aquarist. I did water changes, had proper circulation, (based on what is located on this site) and blew them off and siphoned them up. Over time they minimized with no impact to any of my animals (corals et al) Again, I have seen little evidence of these animals decimating tanks and killing off inhabitants. I believe there is no need to panic. No need for medication, no need to add a new animals that may or may not eat them only to suffer other issues in the tank, just give it time with proper water chemistry and I think you will be happy with the results.> At this point I am going to siphon off as many as I can, do more frequent water changes (weekly 10 to 15%) and see what happens over the next couple of months ...... and keep my fingers crossed. <Beautiful solution and cheers to you for having this attitude. So many people affect their tank adversely by adding chemicals or other animals to their tank that could be potentially more trouble than the Planaria. The old adage the "cure is deadlier than the disease" comes to mind. I like your solution. Good on ya'. Paulo> Cheers Ken

Levamisole for Acoel flatworms I recently found an article on the web, that Levamisole will help eliminate Acoel flatworms. The article actually used the name Concurat L.  Do you know of anyone that has used Levamisole to eradicate these pests?   Thanks, Eric <I do not recall anyone specifically... but it is not too surprising. Levamisole is a popular de-worming remedy for animals at large. Use only with caution... test on specimens in a bare QT first. Anthony>

- Malachite Green for Flatworms - What is the correct way to prepare Malachite Green powder for dosing into a reef system to eliminate flatworms? <Zero, nada, nothing... I would not recommend this treatment AT ALL! Malachite green will kill the invertebrate life and miscellaneous fauna in your reef tank even at low doses, and certainly at a dose high enough to kill a flatworm. The proscribed path of action would require the removal of the inverts, live rock, etc and so you would also remove the flatworms and get them back again as soon as you put this stuff back in the main display.> What concentration should be used, how often, etc. <Again... don't do it, you will regret it. Please spend some time reading though this FAQ, it will provide some background: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pestflatwrmanthony.htm Cheers, J -- >

Help with Acro Eating Flatworms   8/19/06 I just discovered the eggs and subsequently the actual flatworms on what we call here a New England Aquarium Acro (It's very similar to the famous purple tip Larry Jackson coral that many know about, yet with thinner and more numerous branches).   I decided to check the coral because it was bleaching near the base and had fairly poor and splotchy coloration in general. My question is: How do I treat these buggers and has anyone found a way to kill the eggs?   <What little I know re is summarized, posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pestflatwrmanthony.htm and the linked files above> I have heard that the Levamisole treatment that is being used usually kills the coral before breaking the AEFW life cycle.   I have also heard on RC that Betadine dosed into a dip treatment tank at 3ml/liter of SW is having success in Europe. <I have heard this as well>   I can afford to replace these colonies, but there is a desire to preserve the life I have nurtured all this time and to learn as much as possible so that I can share this info with others.  I currently plan to remove all Acro colonies to a QT tank and attempt the Betadine dip weekly until I do not see any worms on corals or eggs on their bases. I am hoping that one of you may have had experience with these and may be able to help me find a safe and effective QT and treatment method to prevent the reinfestation of my tanks. Thank in advance, Mauro DiBenedetto <Do please follow up with your observations. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help with Acro Eating Flatworms   8/20/06
>  I have heard that the Levamisole treatment that is > being used usually kills the coral before breaking the AEFW life cycle.   > I have also heard on RC that Betadine dosed into a dip treatment tank at 3ml/liter of SW is having success in Europe. > <I have heard this as well> >   I can afford to replace these colonies, but there is a desire to preserve the life I have nurtured all this time and to learn as much as possible so that I can > share this info with others.  I currently plan to remove all Acro colonies to a QT tank and attempt the Betadine dip weekly until I do not > see any worms on corals or eggs on their bases. I am hoping that one of you may have had experience with these and may be able to help me find a safe and effective QT and treatment method to prevent the reinfestation of my tanks. > Thank in advance, > Mauro DiBenedetto > <Do please follow up with your observations. Bob Fenner> Bob, Minor update:  I tried the Betadine dip at 3ml/Liter on that NE Aq Acro.  Almost immediately the worms dropped off the coral.  At 23 minutes they appeared very dead. At 25, a puff of a turkey baster rendered the worms into fleshy dust. <Good... time to move them...> The game plan is to pull all Acros and put them in a 20long with a bare bottom and no rock. <Ahh, very good> I plan to dip all of these corals in the Betadine solution and quarantine them for the next month, treating them weekly to make sure I get all of these worms.   I plan to empty the 20long and clean it thoroughly before reintroducing the treated corals.  If I see any worms during treatment, the protocol will be extended by another month. In the interim the 180 display, which thankfully has not had any Acros encrust within it will lay fallow of Acros for the next 45-60 days to ensure any worms I introduced will be dead.  (I can be sure there are no hidden Acros because I just set up this tank and had only moved over a 2 Acroporids before finding the flatworms in my tank. <I see> All my best and do drop a line to the Boston Reefers if you are ever in town. M. <Thank you for this follow-up, detailing your intended plan. Bob Fenner> Re: Help with Acro Eating Flatworms.   11/5/06 Bob, Here is an update on my Betadine treatment http://www.bostonreefers.org/forums/showthread.php?t=33256 Here is the RC thread on the topic: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=899108&goto=newpost Feel free to copy the text of my post to WWM. <Will do. Thank you Mauro. Bob Fenner>

Flatworm busters... I thought you might get a kick out of this. A recommendation to use Dylox to kill flatworms. I am sure that it will kill flatworms and just about everything else in the tank. Thank You, Steven Pro <Yes... I have an old pond article posted on WWM re (mis-spelled here): DTHP, Dylox, Dipterex, Neguvon, Trichlorofon... and other names... an economic poison of organo-phosphate composition... useful for killing arthropods (insect pests, crustaceans like Argulus, Lernaea on pond fishes...) Do agree with your assessment here. Bob Fenner, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pndparasitcont.htm > AMDA Members, Marc Weiss and I have a common friend who is director of a zoological institute near Cape Town, South Africa named Alan Jardine. Alan is an accomplished fish breeder and a marine hobbyist for over 28-years. Alan has agreed to join in the search for a control of the pesky flatworm problem. Hopefully Matt and company already have it under control, but just in case they don't, I will continue to try to get people involved in finding a solution. I believe we will find the answer and the hobby will be better off as a result. Please read Alan's letter. Mitch Gibbs Hi Mitch Dr Schleyer has checked around and apparently a product called Trichlorofon which goes under the trade name Dylox and which was manufactured by Argent (?) is effective against flatworms at a dose of .25mg / litre. His concern is that this product may affect the zooxanthellae in the coral, as they have never tried it on these invertebrates. Possibly one could run a few tests with sacrificial pieces of coral and see if they begin to bleach. His team is also not sure how Trichlorofon will affect bacteria in the substrate. Once again, a proprietary bacteria culture could kick start the system. Although he can't come up with actual species, he suggests that juvenile butterfly fish may predate on the flatworms and if young enough, will not bother the corals. I'll keep checking around. Best wishes, Alan

Little Flatworms- Big Headaches! Hi Guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight> I've had those pesky red flatworms in my reef tank for about a year now. I've tried to leave them alone and hope they crash.  I've tried to siphon them out daily.  I even took my whole tank apart and rinsed everything thoroughly in a very low salinity dip. They still came back. <These are tenacious, annoying little guys, I sympathize!> I've been reading about the Flatworm Exit product by Salifert on Reefcentral's website. The forums suggest the product itself is safe for fish and corals but the toxin from the dead flatworms is definitely a concern. <I am not familiar with this product...I usually am skeptical about chemical formulations that are supposed to be effective against one creature, but harmless to other reef animals...I like Salifert products, but I don't know about this one...> I was thinking that if I siphoned everyone I could see for a week or longer, the population might be low enough to use safely use this product. <Or to safely use some natural control, like a predatory wrasse, etc> I would also use Poly Filter and carbon to remove the toxins. <Well, if you're going to use a chemical, I agree that PolyFilter is good to use to remove excess concentrations of the product> While I have never been one to reach for a chemical like this to solve a problem, I feel it may be my only options to finally rid my tank of these resilient creatures.  Any thoughts on the product or procedure? <I understand and appreciate your concerns. It's a really tough call. Do you know what the active ingredient(s) in this stuff are? Perhaps, knowing what you're going to potentially dump into your tank can help you decide if it's worth the possible complications...maybe worth an email to the folks at Salifert?> This problem seems to be affecting SO many people.  Has this problem become more severe the last few years or is it just that communication is so much better? <Probably a little of each...And do take heart- there is some promising research going on regarding flatworm control using simple, truly "reef safe" ingredients...maybe it will pay off down the line...stay tuned.> Many thanks for years of help, Craig <Hang in there, Craig...chat with some fellow hobbyists who have used this stuff, exhaust all other methods before you use it, then proceed with caution. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Melting Xeniids & Flatworms Galore Hi there WWM Crew. <Hey, Mike G with you tonight> Have been enjoying your site and links but have run into a couple of problems. To begin, let me give you the stats on the tank: <I personally thank you for giving me the stats on your tank. Out of many, many emails I have answered today, you are the first to provide such information. :-) > SG 1.025 <Fine> pH 8.0 in the morning (before lights come on) and 8.2 5 hours after lights on.. <You might want to find a way to remedy this. That is a large pH swing, and would cause undue stress to your pets.> NO2 (0) <Perfect> NO3 (20)  <Okay, but it could be a bit lower> NH3 (0)  <Perfect> Tank is set up with l MH l4000K and 2 65W 03 actinic along with a Bak Pak 2R protein skimmer that's skimming l/2 C of green stuff a day. Tank temp. fluctuates between 77.5 to 80F degrees lately. Water change weekly 15 gals. Sometimes time doesn't permit, and water gets changed every 2 weeks. <Sounds fine. I am left wondering how large your tank is, though.> Problem l: For some reason, my pulsing xenias are dying (melting) and I can't figure out why. Have had these Xenias now for almost 2 years pulsing and dividing away and now...  What's going on here? <This is a common problem with Xeniid corals, they seem to "melt" when in unfavorable conditions or after drastic changes in water parameters. Take a gander at the following link, namely the topic "Xenia Health" about 3/4 down the page. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidfaqs3.htm  > Problem 2: My frog spawn frag (originally only 2 heads - now 6 heads) has been invaded with oval shaped pumpkin colored flatworms - have no idea where they came from as I do quarantine any and all going into the main tank. I've read that they come and go But, now they've migrated to my pagoda coral and I really don't want it to take over the whole tank (60 gal)!  <Ah, there we go, 60 gallons. Flatworms have a habit of overrunning marine aquaria.> On my next water change or sooner, can I do a fresh water dip or Lugol's iodine dip on these two corals without harming them and hopefully getting rid of the flatworms?  <That is exactly what I would have recommended you do.> Thank you for your help/advice. <Best of luck, Mike G>

Downsizing  9/21/05 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I first want to thank you for the information you put out in publication and on the web.  So many people love to get into the hobby, but they don't do their home work and end up with more issues than they could ever have dreamed of. <Amen!> Many of us are conscientious, because of the fact that we bought the tanks, fish, coral, etc. and now are trying to be responsible people and provide a healthy environment, but many stores don't have educated people to guide  us. <Glad to hear of your philosophy! However, many fish stores do have dedicated personnel who are knowledgeable and compassionate about the animals that they sell'> Now to my issue.  I have had larger salt water tanks for about 5 years  now. I have a 180 gal now that, unfortunately I have introduced flat worms  and Aiptasia.  I have tried Berghia which had no effect at all and  Peppermint Shrimp that seem to be making a dent, not completely sure yet. I have just decided to downsize (too much to take care of right now) to a 75  gal.  I have decided to put in new sand and rock (running a Berlin  system). I was wondering if 1) I should transfer any of the water from the old tank <Well, it would be nice, but with the flatworm issue, it would be too easy to accidentally siphon some in with the water and start the problem anew in the 75. I'd make new water, myself.> 2) What is the best way (if there is any) to eliminate the flat worms from  hairy anemones, button anemones and star polyps as I would like to keep them. <There are a number of chemical controls for these pests, but the "cures" do carry some risk of collateral damage. I'd check on the many hobbyist message boards to hear what other hobbyists are using.> Also, is there a quick way to get the anemones to release from the  old rock?   <Unfortunately, there is no easy reliable way to get these animals off without injuring them. Best to chip away bits of rock around them and to glue the small rock onto larger rock in the new system.> Any guidance would be appreciated. Best regards, Melanie Roberts Castle Rock, Colorado <Hope this helps! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>  

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