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FAQs about Flatworms, Including " Planaria" 3

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

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

Pseudoceros dimidiatus von Graff 1893, off of Kailua Kona, Hawai'i.

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>

Flat worms... not following file size req., not searching... go fish 12/23/11
Can you ID this flatworm ? do you know any fish or shrimp that eat them ?
and should I be worried ?
<... 4.5 megs... See WWM re. Your answers are already posted there. BobF>

Orig. and crop... Madness, madness, yes it is madness; oh and laziness.

What Are The Dark Things Coming Out Of My Orange Pink Ricordea? No One Seems To Know/Corallimorph Health/Systems 6/16/10
Dear Awesome Crew!
Your site is amazing and I've been reading for weeks and weeks (ok, months!!!). Just can't get enough info crammed into my little brain but I'm working on it LOL!
<A learning experience for sure.>
I'm hoping someone can identify this dark entity on my new, orange-pink Ricordea.
I've read copious publications, researched and asked everyone I can think of, including the shop I got the coral from, what this "thing" or "things" are; but, to no avail.
This is the second Ricordea I've bought from the same place. The first one developed filaments and stressed to death while expelling a few of these dark-oval or petal-shaped entities along stringy filaments. This poor creature dissolved in one day. I'm beginning to think they might be a parasite. Or do Ricordea poop like this??? I know that sounds silly, but; I truly don't know and can't find a photo showing anything like this. I do know it doesn't look like any scat, or poop, that I know of and I'm stumped.
For size reference sake, the photo below shows the Ricordea open diameter of barely half an inch. This little guy is now into his fourth day here and shriveled up to a quarter inch. I'm still happy to see it at all considering how fast the first one melted away.
This second one did not let go all kinds of filaments as the first one did.
Puhleeeez tell me it's not some kind of flatworm.
<Very unlikely. Ricordea have a tendency to extrude their mesenterial filaments when stressed chemically and/or mechanically, and I believe this is what you are seeing. Is quite possible that allelopathy could be responsible if aggressive corals are kept with them. Your Frogspawn (Euphyllia paradivisa) is on that list, and when kept together in miniature systems such as yours, you can expect allelopathy problems in keeping the two together. Lighting can also come into play here as Ricordea do not seem to do as well under direct intense light. Bob may have further input here.>
You have no idea how much I've learned from your wonderful site and all your efforts are appreciated far more than you will ever know!
<Is nice to hear this, thank you.>
Respectfully and gratefully,
Irina aka Cranky When Wet
<James (Salty Dog), happy when wet with beer.>
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Other photos of my hand drawings are below (camera not available when first Ricordea failed).
<I see, helpful.>
Please see end of email for these.... I express myself better with my drawings than my writing.
<You're writing is fine.>
TANK INFO: My tanks are tiny: a pico and a Nano.
Main or Nano display is an 8gal Oceanic Biocube
one-inch deep, live sand bed;
Coralia <Koralia> pump;
380gal/hr upgraded filtration pump;
<Waaaay too much, 80-90 would be much better.>
very aged purple Live Rock (stunning);
and the unit is approximately three month's young.
Two Turbo Snails
One lump of Zoanthids
One very large Hawaiian Feather Duster Worm
One Peppermint Shrimp that ate two Aiptasia that appeared on the worm, above.
Pico is diverse Biotope (six months old)
Polyp/Zoanthid corals, one Frog Spawn
<Ah, the likely culprit if the Ricordea is in with this Euphyllia.>
and a bit of Small Polyp Encrusting Coral
on a deep, 2.5", sand bed inside a 6gal Fluval Edge modified tank of 6 gallons.
Two Hermit crabs
(added two LED strips above this first tank and am using a daylight lamp in order to get higher 6400K white light and some Actinic as well... My lighting knowledge is poor though I believe I have a minimum five watts per gallon in that tank.
If prolific wildlife is a clue to success,
<Success in our hobby can be a wide gamut.>
I have what seems like a gazillion copepods; a few bristle worms; lots of wild dusters, sponges and associated bio-load I cannot recall the formal name of this second (tunicates sp?) LOL!
I feed Phytofeast algae mix and toss in the occasional intestinal tract of Maine lobster when the cat doesn't snag it first... otherwise, the whole thing seems to feed itself and is quite lush and fascinating. Oh yes, no protein skimmers here so I do weekly, diligent water changes.
Water condition:
sg = 1.025,
zero nitrite,
zero nitrates,
no ammonia
and pH is 8.2ish.
I don't have the top-of-the-line test kit but did get a portable refractometer to monitor salinity.
<Another plus, do check the calibration periodically with distilled water.>
I use a product called "Meersalt" for water
<Not familiar with that product.>
and do weekly water changes of approximately one quart of buffered-down distilled water (don't have RO system).
The volume/ratio of rock to water is almost 50/50.
I stuffed about fourteen pounds of live rock into this little tank.
The quarantine tank, is a Pico-style little thing with a simple filter pump inside it that also breaks water surface a bit. I run a daylight lamp over it, as well as an array of 30 LED bulbs of unknown strength (manufacturers don't seem to want to say what you're buying LOL!). This little unit is barely three gallons but again is loaded with wildlife like copepods, deep purple corals and a big, spinning Chaeto-algae ball all grown from same, original batch of well-cured live rock.
All tanks holding temperatures of 74 - 78 degrees Fahrenheit and I'm using mini heaters during colder seasons. I hope this is steady enough for reef systems.
<Be better to adjust the heater to maintain 78 rather than fluctuate between 74-78. Should be easily done with the summer temperatures in your area.>
So, if flying by the seat of my pants and a whole lot of intuition serves me, I think both my little tanks are doing rather well and are surprisingly stable... for now, hee hee!
<Sounds good with the exception.....>
I know I have a lot to learn and am loving every minute of the journey!
(I've years of fresh-water experience but little marine and doing my best).
<I've been into this for 30+ years and I'm still learning.>
This was the very first Ricordea I purchased. It expelled filaments and dark "things" within an hour (from top and side!) and finally dissolved leaving a sad little ring of tissue on the rock no more than 24 hours
later. I am wondering if those dark entities are some kind of parasite or disease???
It was a lovely purple with green.... what are those things???????? Sure hope you can help. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
<As above along with Bob's possible input.> <<I do concur James. B>>

Re What Are The Dark Things Coming Out Of My Orange Pink Ricordea? No One Seems To Know/Corallimorph Health/Systems 6/16/10
A gazillion thank you's Salty Dog!
<You're welcome.>
My brief replies in bold, teal-colored text below... and spelling correction: Meersaltz (link below)
<Oh no, please don't do/use that, just reply as you would in a normal email, the continuation of a thread. Our program does not display colored text.
Can you please re-send your reply/response as I suggested above. Makes it too difficult and time consuming to sort through this and correct. We are not nine to fivers here, are all volunteers donating one to two hours per day. James (Salty Dog)><<Well-stated James. B>>

Bionic flatworms? 12/12/07 Thanks for all the great info. It has been very helpful through the years. Now to the problem, I know what everyone says about elegance corals, but I have had one in my home tank now going on three years strong. It has almost tripled in size to about the size of a basketball. <Ah, good> I had a client come to view my tank and the first thing that he said was I want one of those. I explained to him that it is a very temperamental coral and that we should look to go a different direction. After about two weeks of going back and forth about this coral, we had decided that the best way to go was that he would get my healthy specimen and I would get a new one. <Generous of you> So I get the new elegance and put it into quarantine. It was doing very well for about two weeks and then one day I noticed what I thought were some type of flatworms in and around the mouths and tentacles. There is nothing noticeable on stony base of elegance or any other coral in quarantine. I have looked though the sections on your web site and the best answer that I could figure out was that I had some sort of flatworm infestation. I started a regimen of Salifert's Flatworm Exit in its own quarantine tank, but have not noticed any real improvement. They are about an eighth of an inch long, round, whitish in color and tend to form in small congregations like I said either by a mouth or in the tentacles. <Does read like flatworms...> I know the description is sort of vague but as I said the only thing that I could find a picture of would suggest some type of flatworm, the pics I tried to take didn't come out good enough to send. The elegance coral doesn't seem to be dying in any sort its exoskeleton is still very much intact, the body still expands during the day but the tentacles don't fill up and expand. I can still see these little critters almost like the Flatworm Exit isn't affecting them (up to 8x normal dosage). I did not know if there was a different direction that I should be going - maybe a different type of anti-parasitic, or maybe these aren't even flatworms. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance- Scott <Positions re these pests, their control is posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pestflatwrmanthony.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Flatworms in my reef 11/9/07 Hello crew, <Matt> Long time reader, first time posting. I have an invasion of the rust brown flatworms. Sadly as of today I cannot get a good pic of these guys. Now for a bit of a background story. My tank is 46gl bowfront mixed reef about 8 months in with these specs: 75lbs live rock Prizm skimmer (seems to be doing a fairly good job, hope to upgrade when I get a sump in.) <Good> Canister with carbon. (temp until I get my sump in) T5 lighting 2 O. clowns 1 watchman goby Various inverts & corals (soft, LPS & some minor SPS) <Mmm, species?> Hope this is enough info,.. my test info will be given in a min after I explain why it's not so good :). So anyways in the past few months I have let my tank go and haven't been paying much attention to it. Due to this I would assume I'm getting spanked. I stopped water changes and only did top offs. Well now I'm back in full swing but I seem to have pick up some problems. My Alk has dropped quite a bit,.. the first testing showed it at 5. I now am slowly moving it back up, and it is sitting at 7 as of two days ago. The other test results are as such: nitrate 0 (this could be so low due to the soft corals and some algae?) <Yes> phosphates 0 (this could be so low due to the soft corals and some algae?) <Ditto> ph steady 8.2 salinity 1.024 temp 80 calcium 330 <A bit low as well> Alk 7 So I have been battling these flatworms for a few weeks now, and I wonder if I'm fighting hard enough. All I'm doing at this point is stepping up my water changes and I have changed the flow a bit to cover a broader area. On the next water change (tomorrow) I'm planning on trying to suck up as many as I see. Is there anything else I should be doing? <Mmm, yes, possibly> As of right now I don't really have that great of a nutrient export system except maybe for my forest of Xenia, but I am planning a small refuge in the future. Thanks for any help! Thanks, Matthew <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pestflatwrmanthony.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Flatworm Question, reading on WWM 6/20/07 Hello WWM, <Halloooo!> I was wondering if you knew of any common saltwater fish that will actively eat flatworms off of soft corals, mushrooms, etc. Do the Halichoeres species accommodate that? <Some species, individuals do> Copperband b/fly?, peppermint shrimp? What is the best natural cure to rid a tank that has a minor and potentially overwhelming flatworm issue. Thanks for your response. Matt <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pestflatwrmanthony.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

What the H, E, Double Hockey Sticks is This? 1/8/07 Hi! I was wondering what this is. it is slightly green in color, very flat, no shell, <That you can make out> around 2 inches long and almost as wide. Movement is similar to a snail, almost looks like some sort of Nudibranch. Cannot see eyes, mouth, etc. It's kinda trippy, little freaky! I have been having problems with margarita and Astrea snails dying, don't know why. I found this creature simply draped over 2 margarita snails in the sand at night, trying to get at them. I think it was feeding on them but not sure. Do you guys know what it is? <Mmm, is it very flat, wavy at the edges? If so, might be a flatworm of some sort... If not, possibly a sea slug of many possibilities...> It is certainly out of my tank! It took some effort to capture, but I was successful. It is currently in a cup with pinhole size holes in it, in a net, in the sump! LOL! I had it in a sealed cup with bigger holes (approx.1/4 inch in diameter). Damn thing escaped within 3 minutes! captured it again. I am gonna bring it to my LFS for identification tomorrow, but not sure if they can help. Attached to this e-mail is the best photo of it. Thank you! <Oh! Does appear to be a Platyhelminth to me. Bob Fenner>

Dugesias tigrina question 4/29/06 Hi I had a lab experiment with Dugesias tigrina. I cut their heads off and two weeks later they regenerated. Now I brought them home and am not sure how I can take care of them. Should I feed them Chicken and egg yolks? How often should I change their water? <Mmm, this is the world's largest free-living flatworm... Please read here: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-43,GGLD:en&q=Dugesias+tigrina I am unfamiliar with the culture of this Platyhelminth. Bob Fenner>

Flatworm ID - 04/19/2006 Hello and greetings from sunny Woodland Hills CA, <Hello.> Please accept my apologies for not sending this directly through your website link - somehow I managed to type-in the outgoing server information wrong and now I can't seem to correct the format in my computer. <We've gotten it just fine.> I want to thank you for your website; it is an excellent resource for novices like myself trying to create the most natural environment possible for my marine pets. <Thank you, we're happy to help.> By way of background, I have been keeping a 40 gallon hex tank the "old school" way (undergravel filter and dead coral skeletons) for years with some success. I recently woke up to the new techniques available and upgraded my tank to live rock (plus protein skimming, vigorous water movement and addition of a 96 W power compact light and UV sterilizer). Unfortunately, I had some trouble along the way keeping water temperature stable and had to remove all my fish to quarantine for Ich treatment. <Ouch!> Right now, I am in week 4 of a (minimum 12 week) fallow period. The tank still contains a small Diadema urchin, two cleaner shrimp, one Peppermint shrimp and a small colony of Zoanthids (live rock stowaways) which are all doing very well. Ultimately, I would like to add back a few fish in this tank, plus a small green star polyp colony currently in quarantine (also a live rock stowaway) and maybe some mushroom polyps later. <Ok.> Due to the stress of having to remove everything to catch and quarantine my fish, the tank had to recycle through its algae cycle. It is through the diatom period and nearing the end of the Cyanobacteria phase. The tank now is going through a hair algae bloom, which is subsiding. Water chemistry is excellent. Now for my question - over the past week or so I have been noticing ever increasing levels of what appear to be small slugs or snails grazing on algae. They are about 5-10 mm long and a translucent white-blue color. They seem to be soft bodied with an internal "shell". Photos are attached. Would you kindly advise if you can help identify and provide any pertinent information. <This is a flatworm. Perhaps Amphiscolops sp.> If this is a reason for concern or fish food later? <Harmless. Here's some more info. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flatworms.htm > They are definitely multiplying pretty fast. <Can reproduce by splitting. They can't really exist in high flow areas though, are they growing quickly in dead flow areas? Likely won't last too long.> Thanks in advance for your reply. <Hope it helps some.> Scott (AKA SharkBait)

I Just Did Battle With A Giant Flatworm! Suspended spell and grammar checking fingers! 3/23/06 <Sounds like a great title for a campy sci-fi show!> Giant Flatworm~ Round One Carole~ Got A Good Chunk Of Him Ok so I do recall reading over the years, that these things grow as big as a dinner plate, and are bad bad news. <Mmm, mostly innocuous> I found one about the size of my palm over a year ago. I was just looking in the tank with a flashlight, doing my morning sneak peak at the tank. lights are out} and I see this thing partially sticking out from under a rock.. my heart starts racing. I start to think.. what is the best way to get this thing? <Siphon> This one is huge, thinner than a piece of paper, transparent.. but sort of a light greenish yellow. with specks all over it. So I go get a fine net and a steak knife and I stab this thing the best I can. <Where are the spaces between your sentences Carole? Argggghhhh> It started writhing and twisting. I only got about 3" of him.. the rest got away. <"What's worse than finding a palm-sized worm in your tank? Finding two half-palm sized pieces!"> So, then I am thinking. what makes them so bad? This thing has to have been in the tank for years. Hmmm. only real significant loss has been some snails and a few LPS. So I guess I need to start reading over what I can about them again, because I forget what the deal is. Do you know about them, or had experience with them? Thanks so much, Carole <Posted on WWM... and please fix your English before writing us. Bob Fenner>

Wanted: Flatworms! - 03/11/2006 Hello, I am an senior undergraduate at University of California Berkeley and I am looking to obtain tropical Platyhelminthes species to track the regenerative potential in relation to their phylogeny. I see that you reference a lot of different species on your "flatworms, "Planaria, and marine aquariums" and I wanted to know how I would go about obtaining some. It seems like these are pests to many people with tropical fish tanks and that they are simply throwing them away. Thanks, Jen <Mmm, send along contact info. you want posted and we'll see if folks will send them your way. Bob Fenner>
Re: Looking for Flatworms! - 03/11/2006
Hello, Below is a little description along with my contact info. Thank You, Jen Hello, I am an senior undergraduate at University of California Berkeley and I am looking to obtain tropical Platyhelminthes species to track the regenerative potential in relation to their phylogeny. If anyone has any of these in their tanks and want to get rid of them, I would be more then happy to pay for shipping and compensation. Please contact me at jlei@regensci.org Thank You, Jen <Will post. Good luck, life with your studies. Bob Fenner>

Acro Flatworms, the dilemma - 03/09/2006 Guys, <And some ladies...> Quick question, thinking of the best way to eradicate the dreaded scourge of sps (I know I should have QT'd), now I have these monsters, of course I am blowing the Acros and destroying eggs, but as far as fish go, I read Tamarin, yellow wrasses and possum wrasses work. <Sometimes> Im looking for the most aggressive fish I can get to kill these things, any chance triggers might work too? <... won't likely stop at the Platyhelminths...> Any other fish you might recommend? My tanks is sps only so these blasted things are having a field day! Thanks <See WWM re... your input is archived. Bob Fenner>

Worldfish content use - 01/23/2006 Dear Mr. Bob Fenner, <Christine> I would like to use the information about the flatworms found here in your website. I will use it to encode data about the group of species that I'm handling in the allfish project. I'm an encoder and would like to input the information you have to our database. Hoping for your response. Thank you. Christine Dar Research assistant (Jr. Encoder) <As you are a stated non-profit, I do grant you free use of my content. Thank you for your efforts. Bob Fenner>

Getting rid of Flatworms 9/5/05 Hi Bob and team.....one of my display tank systems ( 12 aquariums) got hit by flatworms a while ago....I increased the flow, and made sure the water quality was good...they abated a little, but still present. I have emptied out the system, and plan to redecorate soon....Question is....I have a few hundred kilos of good gravel, and I suspect they are still living in it...I want to reuse the gravel...would be shame to throw it away.....If I rinse the gravel well in freshwater....will it kill them??....or should I soak in water treated with a dose of Formalin, and then rinse really, really well before re-using?? regards JD. <Freshwater rinsing will likely "get rid of them", the formalin addition definitely will... Do use gloves, with good ventilation (outdoors is best) if you go the latter route. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Getting rid of Flatworms 9/5/05
Thanks Bob.....will do it outdoors tomorrow......By the way, I dip my corals when they arrive, and also when customers purchase them. I use Reef Dip, which is pretty much an Iodine solution.....this is designed to kill bacteria etc, will it do away with flatworms that may come with the shipment.?? <Probably not...> ....All my corals come from South Sulawesi, and I know that's where the flatworms originated, some of my exporter friends have had the same problems JD <Have seen enormous numbers of flatworms on the corals, related species and not there... (mainly Waiminoa sp.). Cyclical, seasonal... Bob Fenner>

Flatworms in Marine Aquaria 9/1/05 Hello, <Salutations> I wish to thank you for all the wonderful information you've provided me in the past, it's saved me, my pets, and my wallet many times over. <Ah, good. Welcome> I'm writing today because I recently made a new purchase, just this past Friday of a beautiful Zebrasoma desjardinii. He's around 3 inches nose to vent. I've learned, albeit the hard way, to quarantine all new arrivals so I pulled out and cleaned my old 30 gallon tank. I've lost fish in QT before, probably because of water quality issues, so I decide to just bite the bullet and bought 30 lbs of live rock for the qt, and 20lbs of live aragonite sand. I installed an old sea clone skimmer, heater and a Rio powerhead. The desjardinii will be the last vertebrate addition to my 180 gallon reef tank that's been running for about 9 months. Trying to get to the point, sorry, anyway, today I noticed flatworms on the back top of the glass, spreading rapidly. The desjardinii seems fine, eating and grazing along the rocks and feeding well- is he in any danger from this? <Not likely> Also, when I move this guy, is there the possibility of transferring them to my reef? <Not if you're careful, use an intermediate pH-adjusted freshwater dip/bath> The flow in the reef is pretty strong- 4x800 gph powerheads with swirls and a 1500 gph return pump that's tee'd off to two returns, an Aquacontroller controls the powerheads to randomize the flow a little. I've seen a couple free swimming flatworms in my refugium from time to time, but I keep a school of Pseudanthias dispar in the main tank that seem to chase and devour anything that is free swimming. I had planned on putting the 30 lbs of liverock from the QT into the sump of my main display, but only if the flatworms won't spread into the main display- you think they would? <Very likely so... with this move> Water quality is pretty high- ph 8.29 at the end of the photoperiod, 8.17 in the morning, sg is 1.025, calcium is 370, dKH 11.2 non ph adjusted ORP is 358, I don't use ozone. No ammonia, no nitrite, nitrate is probably present, but I can't detect it. I do 2x50 gallon water changes every month with a 6 stage RO/DI unit- is the flatworm infestation in the QT tank related to the newness of the tank? <Yes> Should I be concerned for the Zebrasoma? <Mmm, no... not much re these worms> Would leaving the QT fallow after the fish is put in the display, and not introducing food cause the flatworms' numbers to be reduced to an acceptable level? <Likely so... but to zero?> How long would something like that take? <Months> Should I not use the rock in the QT, it's the only possible source. It would be a shame, but I'd rather lose the rock than have an infestation in my display. Anyway, sorry, this got a lot longer than I anticipated, I'm sure you get my point. Any information you can provide is greatly appreciated. I do have a small strip light on the QT, it's maybe 18watt NO, and they are concentrated around the center of the strip in the back top of the tank. The flatworms seem to be of the species Convolutriloba retrogemma, at least they are most similar in appearance, it's very difficult to tell. Thanks, Aaron <Most such "flatworm" infestations are transitory, not real trouble... should just be ignored. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flatworms.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Hydroids to Flatworms Hi Guys, I have a cluster of little brown pom-pom like things in my reef. Using the Google search on your site, I found out that they are "a fairly common nuisance hydroid, Myrionema". My question was answered. <Good> While I was on the Hydrozoans FAQ page I noticed a posting titled "Stranded Hydroid! Yikes! 4/7/05". Your staff answered the question and identified the animal as a hydroid. I had similar things in my tank growing on a finger leather coral. It turned out to be some kind of flatworm. It had the same tentacles in the posted picture. The worm would release the tentacle into the current and pull it back repeatedly. <Strange, interesting... have not heard of, seen this offered re flatworm behavior ever> The worms are very clear, so they almost disappear when they are spread out over the surface of the coral which makes it seem that the tentacle is coming from the coral itself. <Good plan, eh?> I used Salifert Flatworm Exit in a bag of tank water and dipped the coral in it. After approximately 45 minutes the flatworm came off by creating a current in the bag with my finger. It was a clear, slightly cloudy flatworm. Even sitting on the bottom of the bag, it released the tentacle and pulled it back. The tentacle was a long single strand which had smaller lines coming off one side. I actually got a few of them using the dip. Each worm only had one strand - so if you see more than one - chances are that there are several worms. Great Site. <Thank you for this input. Will try to find the bit you reference and couple it with yours here> Dave

Hyposalinity and flatworms Hey guys, <Hi there> had a quick question. I have a few frag tanks that have flatworms, these tanks do not have substrate, I don't like the idea of using chemicals, the flatworms are in the grates I use to hold the frags as well (the tanks are pretty large). I was wondering if I could blow the frags off, remove them, drain the tank, and fill it with freshwater to kill these blasted things. After an hour, I would drain it, rinse it, and refill with system saltwater and put the frags back, problem solved. But, I have heard that beneficial bacteria build up on surfaces, these would also be subject to death by hyposalinity, would I be looking at a potential Cyano outbreak if I did this? <Worth trying... and possible algal/Cyano troubles... have you already experimented with fish/crustacean predators here? Bob Fenner> Thanks for everything you guys do

ID Flatworms 2/10/05 Thanks a lot for your time and for supplying an invaluable source for us reefers. <Always welcome> Now the groveling is out of the way I wonder if I could pick that wonderful marine brain of yours? My 50g reef has been set up 6wks and I have just started to add a few inverts, over the last week I have added 6 blue legged hermits, 1 red legged and 6 turbo snails, all seem very happy and active and are eating well, but as soon as I introduced the blues, while waiting for the first inhabitants of my reef to disperse. I noticed one of the blue legged isn't blue! <Arghhh... some rogue species do enter this way. Do be very careful> It is completely chalk white! After much searching over the net and through books- to no avail. <do look in Paul Humann's "Reef Creatures"> I came to the conclusion that this must be an albino! <Ahhh... well, hmmm. Just because you could not find a book that ID'ed the creature? Your pulling my leg, right? :)> But I have observed further and the white hermit has slightly different features, the right claw is about twice the size of the left one, and as the other crabs stroll around the white one sits in the sand with his shell buried at the front of the tank! he rarely walks far! he has shed once so I am assuming he is good and healthy- any ideas? <Many Diodenidae species> And is he reef safe? <Hard to say, but the large claw is a concern. Form Follows Function. That claw has a use/need> I do hope he will be ok, as I have gotten rather attached to the little guy! Also I have a few small, what appear to be sea slugs in the tank, they are about half the length of your little finger nail.. <Please do read, learn, and apply quarantine habits my friend. These risks and dangers will be eliminated> ...and just have that Nudibranch shape with the rounded head, and a kind of a lyre tail rear! <Chelidonura?> But after a bit of reading thought they might be flatworms! <Hmmm... similar general description, and preying on copepods if so, perhaps. A Small white variety that fits that descriptions is rather common in tanks> but cannot find reference to any flatworms (or anything similar) this colour- they are a kind of translucent white, sort of opaque- any ideas their? <Ah, yes... copepod eaters> And if they are a pest, any methods of removal or reef safe predators I can introduce? <They are harmless> Thanks a lot for your time, and the service you provide. Mark <Best of luck and life, Anthony>

Flatworm control 2/10/05 Thank you for your swift reply, but I would just like to know a little more about these 100% water changes. Do you do this all at once? <Yes> I'm sure it wouldn't be too stressful as long as temperature and salinity were kept very close... <Correct> ...but I never thought it was a good idea to do such a large change at once. <Hmmm... do consider how many of our inverts come from intertidal region which get exposed to baking sun, rain, etc for many hours> Do you do multiple changes over the course of the week? <Once weekly mate> I am very interested. I rely on the water changes to maintain simplicity in my nanos, as I feel the salt mix provides most of the necessary elements so long as I am diligent with my changes. <Very much agreed :)> I am quite intrigued. Please enlighten me. Thank you, Chris <Kindly, Anthony>

- 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 -- >

Acoel Flatworms 2/9/05 Sorry that I'm asking you about flatworms because I know the issue is covered well on your site. But, I think my case is kind of unique. I have a 12 gallon nano-cube which contains invertebrates but no fish and I do not plan on having fish. I recently finished cycling and have a couple of mushrooms, a small star polyp frag, and a couple others. I'm taking my time on this one. <Ah, good to hear> Sometime during the cycling however, I got a mega infestation of red brown flatworms and they're all over the glass, the rocks, etc. <Do try to prevent these from even entering the tank by strictly quarantining all new livestock in a bare-bottomed QT in advance> I understand they thrive in high nutrient levels (i.e. a cycling tank). My question is, since I can't add a mandarin or other fish which preys upon them, how should I rid myself of these buggers? <Strong water flow and large frequent water changes. I normally do weekly 100% water changes on my nano (have done so with small reefs for over ten years). Superb water quality, no supplements needed usually, fast coral growth, etc> I'm afraid to scrape the algae off my front glass because I don't want to kill any and pollute my water with their poisons. <Not that big of a deal. Use airline tubing for a slow siphon instead if you like> So basically I haven't been able to see my tank for a while, and I have no idea what to do with these things. I've been waiting patiently for them to naturally wane but it's not happening. Should I transfer the livestock to my other reef tank and then go through a week or so without lights to kill them? <It really is not likely to work> They have symbiotic algae do they not? Please help. Thank you SO much. Chris <No worries... one month of large weekly water changes while siphoning them out and strong water flow will do the trick. Anthony>

Starting aquarium for Nudibranchs or flatworms 9/24/04 I have a fish only tanks for a number of years. I am now interested in starting a species specific tank for Nudibranchs or flatworms. any web sites, books, articles, recommendations would be helpful. thanks mark <hmmm... both are rather challenging. The Opisthobranchs for their oft-obligate diet on inconvenient (to us) prey... and flatworms for much of the same (largely predatory too). There are some great Nudibranchs that can be cultured though... temperate and tropical... carnivorous and herbivorous. Check out some the fine ID books at Behrens seachallengers.com... and be sure to visit the seaslugforum.com on the Web. I have an article on culturing Berghia Nudibranchs in the January issue of reefkeeping.com if it interests you. Best regards, Anthony>

Copepod eating flatworms... harmless 8/28/04 Hi guys, Just a quick question. my tank has been set up for a little over a year now and has had its ups and downs. I was watching the tank when this odd creature passed my line of sight. I watched until it settled on a piece of LR and marked the spot with my flashlight. I got a syringe I use for testing the water and was able to suck it up. The pic attached here is of that syringe so you have a little bit of a size reference. I have no idea what this is or where I could start to look for information on it. Any help is greatly appreciated. Another size reference would be that it is about the size of a lower cased "I" at 10 font. Thanks again, Todd <this creature is a harmless copepod eating flatworm. They wax and wane as copepod populations do. Most every aquarium has these critters. No worries :) Anthony>

Acoel flatworms - red/rust-brown "Planaria" 8/26/04 Your Book of Coral Propagation states that these aren't predators, <well... they are not predators on corals> however, One of my fish has been digging into the sand in my tank and has uncovered something, which on the glass looks exactly to the tip like http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WormPIX/FlatwormPIX/flatworm_city_id.JPG . <hmmm... the Acoel flatworms of notoriety do not live in substrates but rather live on them> My problem isn't the terrible infestation of them but rather my corals. I have 3 Colt Corals which have fallen very very ill (Barely pink color now, formerly orangish, hanging over on their rocks, flat on the reef) I think it is the Planaria because the corals have spots at the base of them that resemble the Planaria on the front glass/sand floor. <the only way these flatworms can be of any harm is if they live in great numbers upon the coral and physically shade the coral from light. You likely need to look for another culprit here> My question is, is there any way at all to save my corals, I wish I had a picture to better describe my problem. <the issue is much bugger here, I suspect. And even if the worms were to blame... they could have been avoided with a proper quarantine of all new livestock. Please do read up and practice this for all new acquisitions> They only seem to be attacking the colt corals. Mushroom corals around them are thriving, as well as Hermit crabs, fish, snails, etc. Thanks in advance for any assistance. <do consider a series of large water changes in the meantime (25% or greater... 2-3 times in the next 2 weeks) to stimulate the coral and dilute possible water quality issues. Best of luck, Anthony>

Flatworm Treatment for a Refugium? Hi gang: << Hi there. >> In my fishless refugium, I'm currently marveling at the reproductive powers of the rust red planarian. I've read the usual suggestions about predators (mandarin gobies, dragon wrasses, leopard wrasses). And upping the flow isn't an option because I'd either chop the fauna to bits with a powerhead... or run the 'current' through the tank too quickly for the little critters to reproduce with a more powerful return pump. Ideally I'm hoping to find is something which would go for the planarians while being either uninterested-in or incapable-of catching the amphipods and copepods that are the refugium's reason-for-being. << Well that is tough. >> Can you think of any kind of 'magic bullet' in terms of an crab/shrimp/crustacean (even if it's a generally non-reef safe creature like an arrow crab) that might work in this segregated area? I'm even willing to try a 'best guess' and report back on the results. . . << In that case. Cut the lights for about 4 days. Your algae won't like it, but will recover. The Planaria on the other hand... the really don't like it. Otherwise I too would recommend a wrasse. >> Chuck << Blundell >>

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 >>

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. >>

Pest control-flatworms and the like Hi, I have a 72 gal saltwater FOWLR set up. It is 6 months old and doing good, except for a few things. One is I had an unbelievable abundance of amphipods a few months ago. It looked like the entire sand bed and the live rock was constantly moving, their were so many. And then came the flatworms. They are the little white ones, round at the head and then taper back into two little "legs". These things multiplied and grew and now I have hundreds of flatworms and no amphipods. You could see the worms eating the pods, so I'm sure they definitely had something to do with it. The only fish I have are one ocellaris clown and a longhorn cow. And yes, I will be getting a bigger tank when the cow grows up, but right now, he's only three inches long. My concern is, I had planned on getting a good amount of pods, to hopefully be able to add a mandarin to the tank. I have been reading that mandarin's have no interest in flatworms. << I don't agree with that. In fact I have a hard time advising anyone to buy a mandarin, but sometimes do advise this when they are battling flatworms (Planaria). However, there are better fish to control flatworms, which I'll get to. >> Too bad. I am interested right now though, in finding a "peaceful" predator to naturally eradicate these alien creatures from my tank. Any ideas would help. << Okay, I recommend a wrasse. Some people find good luck with six line wrasse, or a dragon wrasse. I haven't personally tried either of those, but did have success in my tank using a Puddingwife wrasse. Another option (as hard as this is to believe) is that many people have reported success using the common yellow tailed blue damsel. >> I have also a question concerning those little "internal refugiums" that can be suctioned to the inside of your tank. Would one of those be suitable to help sustain an amphipod reserve for a future mandarin? << Absolutely. Any type of refugium would be of help. I of course would recommend a large sump type of refugium, but any refugium would help. >> Also, I have recently noticed tiny little worms crawling up the side of my tank. They are about an inch long and so thin they look like a scratch in the tank until they start moving. They also tend to curl up their tails and in defense, will curl into a little ball. I had a Bristleworm when I first got this tank, but that was about 6 inches long and very fat. Do you have any ideas what these may be? Are they harmful, and do they have any natural predators as well? << I don't know what they are, but I certainly wouldn't worry about them. If something eats them, fine, if not, fine. I wouldn't look for a predator because as your tank matures everything will take care of itself. >> Hopefully you can help. Thanks again for the info. << Adam Blundell >>

Mushroom Questions Dear Anthony, Thanks a ton, looked up your book "reef invertebrates" as well that I had purchased some time ago. I had a Mandarin fish for about 2 years in my tank but it died when I moved home, I was a problem transporting fish I had to hold all the corals and fish in tubs for a night an there was a metal leach in one of them which killed all the corals overnight and that took all the fish too in that one, which included the Mandarin. << Sad to hear. >> I may consider a Mandarin if the skimming does not work. << Something to consider, but I still recommend wrasse first. >> I am worried because I have a lot of leathers and Xenia in my tank. I do not want the flats to spread to them as well. << Yes flatworms can be quite troublesome. Try cutting the light for 3 days. Yes, cut the light for three days. The corals will be fine with that, and it can really help to rid flatworms. >> Kind Regards, Bruce << Adam Blundell >>
Re: Mushroom Questions
, flatworms Hi Anthony/Adam, Thanks for your email. Well, the flatworms look slightly lesser, maybe the skimming is working or maybe its my imagination. I will not go with the fish, tank is quite loaded already and Phosphate levels are up. Funny thing has happened though the mushrooms have started to split, so that's pretty good for me. One of them split in half and has formed two handsome pieces. Another two are in the process of splitting. << Good to hear. >> I also have purchased some Tubastrea sp. about 3 weeks ago and they have started to sprout little buds. I have positioned it just below where I feed the fish so they get a lot of food and are open most of the time. I have a Majestic Angel and some Lyretail Anthias, so I feed them every 3 hours in small quantities and a variety of foods. The Morning feed is Tetra bits, then angel formula/1, enriched brine shrimp, Mysid shrimp depending on the day of the week, but the last feed is Kent Platinum Chroma Xtreme soaked in Boyd's VitaChem. A lot of this falls into the gaping arms of the Tubastrea sp. They seem to relish this and eat it with gusto. From observing they seem to like the Mysid Shrimp and this Kent food the most. I may sound crazy me talking about a coral like this, but this the response that I have noticed. I don't think that this is a problem but would like some confirmation from the expert; do you think feeding them (Tubastrea sp) the Kent Food could pose a problem in the Medium - Long term? << Not really. I think if the coral eats it, it must be good for it. I still think zooplankton like rotifers are best, but there are a lot of food options out there. >> Kind Regards, Bruce << Adam Blundell >>

Blasting Flatworms (5/23/04) Hey Guys, I thought you might like to hear about a discovery I made. I have had a flat worm problem for about 3 mos. I didn't want to use chemicals and the protein skimming wasn't cutting it. I read in your book about water flow so I added 2 cheap power heads and everyday after work I blasted them with a turkey baster, in the last 3 days they have been reduced significantly. It also gives me a little, OK a lot, of pleasure to see them flying off! Valerie <Thanks for sharing. Good to hear that a chemical-free approach is working for you. We'll post for the edification of others. Steve Allen.>

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>

Tank not able to support coral life 3/4/04 Good morning, I will try to keep this short and thank you in advance for your assistance. <Good morning Paul. Adam here, glad to be of assistance.> Background My 120 gallon reef tank ran for a few years with success, supporting softies, LPSs, SPS, bugs, fish etc. until a dreaded flatworm crash that killed just about my entire tank. Unfortunately, I did not have a skimmer that was able to deal with the toxins from the millions of dying flatworms and consequential events. <Was this crash incidental or induced (Oomed, Flatworm exit, quinine drugs)? If it was induced, you have the combined issue of the flatworm toxins, the rotting flesh and the medication. This can be quite a stressful combination! Powerful skimming, water changes and carbon can help ameliorate these problems.> So, I tore down the tank treated everything with Melafix and set it up again - that was about 8 months ago. New sand and water but same live rock (if I can still call it "live"). I did not get a new skimmer at that time - BIG mistake. My tank has run for the 8 months being able to support only fish with little evidence of life otherwise. I would buy snails, a frag or two, bugs, and everything would die. Algae everywhere (hair and Cyano), despite my attempts at growing macros, poly filters, etc. <Why Melafix? This is an "herbal" (read: questionable) treatment for fish disease, and my impression is that it is really only meant for FW. Your ongoing problems probably have many causes. Lack of good skimming may be contributing, but you probably also did significant damage to the life on your rock.> Today I have a new LifeReef skimmer that has been up and running for about 6 weeks. Since then, I have seen dramatic improvement - worms, virtually eliminated the Cyano, great reduction in algae, and even some zoos I didn't know I had are coming back. My parameters are (Salifert): 1025 salinity, 8.2-8.4 ph, 10 DKH, 78 temp, phosphates undetectable, nitrates undetectable, calcium 300. I am working on getting my calcium up. Lighting consists of two 175 watt 14K halides with two 96 watt actinics. My circulation is via sea swirl and closed loop. <The skimmer is a nice addition, and it sounds like a nice set-up. It is a good sign that things are recovering.> Problem/Question I purchased a few frags on Saturday (Acros, Hydno, cap, torch, xenia, zoos). As of this morning I have lost the Acros, cap. The Hydno and torch do not look good. The zoos look fine. With the exception of my calcium, my parameters seem good. Can you tell me, is it possible that I have left over effects from the whole flatworm thing? The Melafix?, Can their be some pathogens or bacterial problems? Toxins? <Could be some combination of all of the above. You have moved right into some of the most finicky corals. Acros, torch, Hydnophora and xenia are all very sensitive to a wide variety of water quality issues. Zoanthids (zoo's is an improper contraction... If anything "Zo's" would be less confusing with Zooxanthellae which begins "zoo". Sorry for the pet peeve rant.). You can rule out pathogens. Coral pathogens are extremely rare, selective in what they infect and generally opportunistic on already stressed animals. Toxins are a possibility and could be from your previous treatments or the flatworms.> At this point I am very frustrated and confused. Would a UV sterilizer help? Thanks again and sorry for the length but I figured you needed to understand the whole story. <No worries about the length, the more details, the more likely we will find a solution. UV will not help since this is not a pathogen. The lack of life shows that at very least your tank has to be built back to "maturity". It could take a long time to accomplish this since most of the life was killed off. You may be best served by replacing all or at least a large portion of your rock to get back on track.> Paul <Best Regards. Adam>

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>

Flatworm? Hi WWM crew, <Hi Manus> My reef tank has been running for more than a year and everything seems fine until recently I notice something like flatworm are rapidly populating. But I'm not sure what it is actually. I've attached a photo and hope you can help me to identify. BTW, should I worry about this. Regards, Manus <Is a flatworm of some sort. Please read through the postings on www.WetWebMedia.com re these animals. Can likely be ignored at this point. Bob Fenner>

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