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Reef Aquarium Pest
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Reef Aquarium Pest

Over the last 10 years, the reef aquarium hobby has enjoyed way better advancements in both information and technology in regards to living coral captive care.with all of this information and technology more hobbyist and organizations started producing fragments for sale to the public marketplaces, and they also trade amongst each other.

These frags of coral consist of a large number small and large Polyp Stony Coral, mushrooms, Soft Coral, and Zoanthid Polyps. These species adapt very well to your captive aquarium, but then there are the large number of parasites and pest that have also been entered into the home aquariums across this wonderful country of ours.With the personal selling and swapping of these coral frags with aquaculture facilities, club members, and hobbyist, with this in mind the presence of these pest is increasing in the United States at a very alarming rate.

I am going to try and let every hobbyist know what they need to know about identifying and preventing these frag pest from entering into your very precious and delicate reef aquariums.

Coral-eating Nudibranch

There are several species of nudibranch that can feed upon Soft Corals like Palythoa sp., Xenia sp., Leather corals, Sarcophyton sp., and also, Zoanthus sp. polyps have become very plentiful in this industry over the years.Most of these nudibranchs that eat soft coral can grow to at least 2 cm at maturity, and you will not see these creatures until your lights have been off for several hours. They can camouflage there self's by mimicking the coral they are about to prey on, making them very hard to locate or see. these soft coral-eating pest will slowly there prey causing discoloration and bare spots small or all of the corals tissue.

Symptoms and Signs

You will most likely not know you have these nudibranch pests until it's almost too late, due to they start feeding on the underside of your soft corals first. This is when you will notice white spots where these pests have eaten away your coral tissue. The most likely coral they attack is your branching forms and vase corals.

Treatment

Controlling these type of pest can be very difficult, and there are several techniques specialist are experimenting on right now.But right now your best way to remove these types of pest is by using tweezers.

  • If you would like to introduce natural predators of nudibranch try these: butterflyfish, threadfin butterfly, wrasse, and also a Red Sea Butterfly. The only problem with these is that they will consume your feather dusters and also the inhabitants of your live sand bed.
  • There are a few Chemicals you can use to eradicate them, but it does have different effects: Like iodine treatment using a concentrated mixture of aquarium water and Lugol's to kill the pest. this method has a limited effect on their eggs. But there is another treatment being developed, but it requires a prescription from a licensed Vet. The chemical is called Levamisole it does have a good success getting rid of them.

There is only one problem by using these chemical dips is that it only kills the nudibranchs that are on your colony, not the eggs that they have been known to lay in the rocks of your reef aquarium. Your best bet is to remove all your soft coral out of the tank and into a smaller one to start an iodine drip on them. that way you can starve the pest out of your main tank. In the smaller tank, you will be able to monitor your colony with greater ease.

I will get into more pest in my next article so thank you for reading this.


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