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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Unhappy Flatworm Warning

    Well, For the first time since running a reef a flatworm has appeared in my tank. As a matter of fact I have never seen them until TANG MAN and TOUTOUCHE pointed them out to me at MS.There were thousands!!! guess what, I bought a frag there[a frag!] and low and behold now I have a flatworm.
    actually I caught him[they move fast!] and I hope there is no more. I really hope MARINE SCAPE gets ahold of there flatworm troubles as I'd hate to see all those corals infested.I wanted to buy a show piece coral for my tank but I think I'll wait.Anyone live with just a few flatworms and/or should I be worried? IJO, keep an eye out for worms in your shipments as it seems there is an epidemic from what i've read.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Zookeeper's Avatar
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    Johnny:

    All else being equal, flatworms aren't that bad. The yellowish ones with the red spot (planarians) basically feed on detritus (as far as I've been able to research). Having a few isn't really that bad, but unfortunately, these guys can reproduce fast, and quickly become an epidemic and actually completely cover corals, block them from the light and kill them. If you have anything in your tank that naturally eats them, like a Mandarine, or some wrasses, most likely you will never see more than a few, and never have an outbreak. However, if you have nothing to keep them under control they can get bad. If you see lots of them, they are quite easy to siphon out, and if you are concerned about introducing them to your tank at all, I would suggest you dip everything new you add to the tank, in Flatworm Exit.

    I pretty much think the reality is that just about every dealer is going to get exposed eventually (if they haven't already), and unless you dip everything, you will get them too sooner or later.

  3. #3
    Senior Member tang_man_montreal's Avatar
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    Having lived with flatworms before the crash, I know that they can be bad.

    They are as bad as they say! However that goes only for the red planarian. The other yellow / clear ones aren't that bad. In fact, the clear ones have been noted to eat the smaller red ones.

    All that said, I now inspect every piece of coral, and most notably the tank itself whenever possible for flatworms.
    I personally, will not touch a coral from Marinescape until they get a handle on their massive flatworm infestation that I saw when there in August.

    One LFS in Montreal had to tear down their coral display tank due to all the complaints and threats that customers would no longer purchase things there.

    John, inspect your tank VERY closely over the next couple of days. Cause that ONE flatworm can turn into 10 the next day. These guys multiply by fission. Meaning they double in quantity VERY fast. At the sign of any other flatworm, I would go and get flatworm Exit, and dose it ASAP.

    Flatworm Exit is completely safe to the tank provided that there aren't many flatworms in the tank. This is why it suggests siphoning as many as possible prior to treating the tank with it, as the flatworms release toxin when they die. A massive flatworm die-off will eradicate a tank.

    Another thing you could do John, is get a Yellow Canary Wrasse (Halichoerus Chrysus). This fish is a voracious flatworm eater. I could literally see it suck up the flatties when I had 'em.

    Luckily, since the crash, I have been flatworm free.
    I am Homer of BORG... Prepare to be..OOOO!! DONUT!!!!!!

  4. #4
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    Bristleworm,
    I'm going to disagree outright with what you said about them being bad. THEY ARE THE PLAGUE... THE AIDS of a reeftank. I'm speaking about the red type though and once you have even only one, your tank will become infested. Even if you have something that eats them, chances are it won't get every single one. It will only help slow down the spread. John,
    I wish you much luck and order yourself that bottle of Flatworm exit ASAP!!!!!!! Dob't wait for it to get to a big amount. If there is one thing to be PROACTIVE with..., it's the RED flatworms!! The clearish white ones are a completely different story. They will not multiply fast and seem to go through cycles where you'll often never see even one, then you'll see a few for a little while. They also eat the red ones.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mouse6196's Avatar
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    I just treated my tank today for them using Salifert Flatworm exit. It's the ONLY way to do it. I have tried six line wrasses, leopard wrasses, mandarin gobbies...all ate them but not enough to cure the problem. Salifert Flatworm exit works within 30 seconds of putting it in the tank. 1 drop per gallon and the buggers are gone. Here's the actual process to do it safely....

    Keep in mind that the toxins from a flatworm are deadly to livestock so precautions have to be taken to reduce the amount of toxins in the reef when the buggers die,,,,and they will all die fast...within a minute.

    1. Siphon out as many as you can before treating the tank. Siphon from the substrate and from the live rock. A pain but very necessary.

    2. Have about 2 pounds of quality carbon ready and try to use forced water through it by way of a canister filter or similar.

    3. Have about a third of your reef capacity in fresh salt water ready because you will be doing water changes.

    Now here's how I did it...

    Siphon out as many as possible. Add SALIFERT FLATWORM EXIT as per directions...1 drop per gallon. Keep in mind the volume lost to LR etc. Watch the flatworms closely. This stuff will work within 30 seconds of adding it. The worms will start to race around like crazy...then they will start to die. You'll notice it. The instant they start to die (about a minute or two) get the carbon running. Let the carbon run for a day or two at least....after starting the carbon, siphon as many dead worms out as possible and take out about 20 gallons of water. (on a 90 gallon reef). Place fresh water back in the system and let it run for about 15 minutes....now take out another 10-20 gallons again, and replace with fresh salt water. You're now done. Keep the carbon running for a couple days. They will stink but that is normal. It's the toxins. The tank will be stressed but it should all spring back. All My fish, inverts, and corals (soft and SPS) all survived fine and I've had to do this twice now in the past 2 years.

    I have also done the same method with Green-X but it will stain any clear silicone green. Worth every penny to buy the Salifert Flatworm exit.

    I hope this helps anyone who has this dreaded probelm.
    :beer: :heavymeta
    The only thing two reef keepers will agree on, is what the third reef keeper is doing wrong!

  6. #6
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    Unhappy thanks

    thanks for the help guys. I see a few more today but only on my hammer coral. Maybe I've always had a few but because of my move I've stirred up lots of gunk and upset the balance. I'm paranoid to try any chemical but I better get a grip on this now.I cannot add anymore fish to my system as I'm maxed out. wish me luck.:guns:

  7. #7
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    John,
    Don't worry about the using of chemicals. I too have always been very leary of adding anything like such, but after I had my heatwave problem this past spring, I used the Ultralife Red Slime Remover and it worked like a charm, not one thing was affected by it. I will highly recommend thid product for battling cyano anyday. Of course, you have to also FIX the problem that is causing the cyano, but in my case I knew what the problem was.
    Same goes for the flatworm exit..., it's been tried by MANY people now and numbers speak the truth. Everyone recommends it.
    For what it's worth< I strongly advise that you do it now because their numbers are not big yet, and you won't have as much of a problem with the toxin they release if you nuke them now. If you let their numbers soar, then you might have side effects from the sheer amount of toxin they will release as they all yell AAIIIIYEEEEE!!!!!! HELP ME!!!! Then breathe their last breath of life!!:evillaugh :evillaugh
    Do.., does this mean you moved already??? If so, then the new BIGGER tank should be delivered in abooouutt...., 2 weeks???!!!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member fishprick's Avatar
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    The Flatworms are no trouble...they just a little unappealing...I know highly experienced reefers with them in their system for over a year and they are of no threat to the corals at all.

    I have had them in my ecosystem refugium for the past 6 months and now they have worked their way into my main system...they do not touch the corals....not a single coral has a flatworm...they tend to the snadbed and to any plant life in the tank.

    I have to admit they are on the ugly side.....but from all info ever posted they will eventually wipe themselves out......

    I feel the use of any chemical can be costly in ones reef tank.

    Word of advice ....do some research before coming to conclusions.....especially when you start blaming the local LFS (MS or Aquaria)..

    Anyways don't stress out about them.....if anything it shows that you have a stable system capabale of supporting a wide range of organisms.

  9. #9
    Senior Member tang_man_montreal's Avatar
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    There is no finger pointing going on here.

    The point of the matter remains the same. MS is infested with flatworms. All you have to do is look, and know what you see.

    Flatworms start off by being unsightly when you have a couple... over the course of several weeks, they multiply to thousands. These things come out to "basK" in the sun, and in the process create a matte over anything they are basking on. They're not only ugly anymore, they are not letting coral get their needed photosynthesis. So in a way, yes, they do and can kill coral.

    The best thing is to get rid of them at first sign. As for research, look up all the threads everywhere regarding the PROPER use of Flatworm Exit. (This includes siphoning as many as possible, and actively running carbon afterwards). All you'll see are good and happy results. In fact, people have dosed 5x even 10x the dosages without any bad results to any of their inhabitants except for the flatworms.
    I am Homer of BORG... Prepare to be..OOOO!! DONUT!!!!!!

  10. #10
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    Fishprick,
    If you think they're not a problem, then I'll tell you what.... How about we use your tank as a test? Let them multiply, let them be and don't do anything to get rid of them. We'll see how long it takes before you lose the stuff in your tank. Believe me..., it WILL happen if you let them multiply. It might take awhile, but it will happen. Out of curiosity, why do you think there is sooo much talk about them, and so much interest in ridding th tank of them. Because they son't go with the rest of the "decor" in your tank?!! Trust me, that's not it!!
    As Vince said, there's no finger pointing going on, but believe me, even if you gave me $100 dollars to TAKE a coral for free from Marinescape at the moment, I'll decline. Have you gone and taken a look in the past 3 or 4 weeks? I was there with Vince and they were absolutely everywhere. I've actually seen a tank go downhill from them and believe me it doesn't feel good when you see what's happening.

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