Pests

Montipora-eating Nudibranchs

Back in 2005, I received a bucket full of Montipora coral, but soon after adding all of those to a temporary frag tank, I discovered the coral infested with tiny pests. I decided I needed to try to pluck off a few and quickly realized how hard they were to remove with forceps. Maybe some very sharp tweezers would do the trick. I saw eggs too. UGH!

Anyway, you know I love to take a picture of this stuff, so here are 17 images for your edification. The nudibranchs were put into a tiny sampler jelly jar, which was then placed on top of a regular jelly jar (Bon Maman is the brand if that helps give you a sense of scale) and put one of the 5100K refugium bulbs next to the jars for some lighting. Now that you see the size of the 'studio', I do hope this helps you realize how small these are.

Quarantine & Dips

You just got that new {insert item here}, is it safe to put it in your tank?

The short answer is no. No matter what new thing you purchase, it may have something on or in it that could become a real problem in your reef. Whenever you acquire a new coral, fish, or invertebrate, the most wise move you can make is to NOT put it in your reef. For someone new to the hobby, this seems like a huge hassle, but to any one of us that have been in the hobby for a while, we know that the risk is simply too great. Why does the seasoned reef keeper know this? Ha! Because we've learned the hard way that anything impulsive usually is folly, and results in hours, weeks, or months of heartache.

Red Bugs - No More!

Red bugs (Tegastes acroporanus) are small flea-like beasts that can infest smooth-skinned acropora sp.   Some reefers have gone out of their way to eliminate them from their reef tank, but that is not the purpose of this article. I've seen them in my tank on occasion, but never worried much about them. Maybe if they did more damage, I'd be more concerned. Still, whatever coral I saw them on, the coral wasn't as happy as it could be, because these guys are like little blood-suckers. You can find video of their voracious nature on Eric Borneman's site.

How to eliminate Flatworms (Red Planaria)

A small representation of Red Planaria before they were erradicated

Small reddish-rust colored creatures may already be in your tank. Or you may buy a coral and they'll appear as hitchhikers later. They may appear on the glass/acrylic, on the substrate, or on live rock. Due to their extremely thin bodies, they are called flatworms correctly. They appear almost two-dimensional, barely a flap of skin. They can move through the tank, elongating the front part of their body like a sail filling with wind, latch on to the nearby surface and pull the rest of its body forward.

Acropora Eating Flat Worms (AEFW)

"Uh-oh, I think I might have AEFW..."  I saw this statement several years ago. I wasn't too concerned, and thought it wasn't a big deal. Later, I discovered my favorite SPS coral was fading fast, the color literally leaving the coral more and more daily. Staring at the coral, nothing looked wrong with it other than it being faded. It was polyped out, and seemed to grow at the regular pace. Still, I was concerned.

Looking online for help, I found a simple test: Take the coral, place it in a white bowl and fill it up with water from your reef. Add a few drops of Lugol's Solution, stir and wait about a minute. Next, use a turkey baster to blast the coral with a few jets of water, and see what blows off or out of the coral. If you see flat oval disks coming out of the coral, it is most likely infested with Acropora-eating flatworms (AEFW for short). Their latin name is Amakusaplana acroporae.

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