View Full Version : Treating 900gal system for flatworms - help me get it right

05/02/2008, 05:44 PM
I recently treated the 205 for flatworms with much more toxic fallout than expected: 4 of 5 anthias dead; 2 of 4 rose BTAs still looking stressed 10 days later, and a scribbled rabbit who didn't eat for 6 days but is fortunately eating and looking fine now.

I'd like to avoid any losses in the big tank, especially of guys like my 13-year-old naso or the 10-year pink trigger.

Here's what I did in the 205:
* 5 hours vacuuming out 95% of visible flatworms before treatment
* 60gal water change after the worms died
* Ran ~6lbs of carbon in an Eheim ProII cannister filter

In the 700 I, unfortunately, won't be able to match the vacuuming quality or the % water change, so I'm thinking I'll need truly massive amounts of carbon. Here is my plan:
* Vacuum, probably 60% of visible worms
* Treat
* Water change 200gal
* Suspend 3 10lb bags of carbon in the tank (has 5 6200 streams to circulate)
* Add 3 10lb bags carbon in the sump (~4000gal/hour flow through the sump)

Does this look like a reasonable plan? I've also thought about things like fashioning a homebrew carbon reactor using a salt bucket and Mag18. And, if skimming would make any difference, I have a giant Spazz skimmer on the way to replace the RK2: I could wait for the new skimmer to arrive and have both running when I treat. The LifeReef on the 205 didn't react at all to the flatworm die-off, so I'm thinking skimming doesn't pick up the flatworm toxin.

Any and all thoughts appreciated!

05/02/2008, 07:44 PM
I am not an expert at all, but my suggestion would be to run a large fluidized reactor of carbon for this treatment. I have two MRC 6"x24" fluidized reactors that hold a lot of carbon and fluidize it quite nicely. This would give you very good removal of toxins. I run an Oceanrunner 2500 on each one that gives 600gph flow through the chamber.

05/03/2008, 06:32 AM
Have you tried non-chemical ways? I had great luck with a yellow tailed damsel. I've also heard six line wrasses will eat flatworms.

05/03/2008, 09:10 AM
Thanks for the replies.

Nanook, I do have one MRC 6x24 reactor that I'll definitely use but I think iIneed faster turnover and more carbon. The Eheim cannister I ran on the 205 was able to provide 1x/hour system turnover vs. the ~0.66x/hour that the MRC will give me on the big tank. I'm considering hacking together a large fluidized reactor using a salt bucket, mag 18 and a couple of slip bulkheads, just not sure if it would do any better than filter bags in high-flow areas of the tank. Maybe I'll do both.

Masmedic, I do have a six line wrasse and yellow tail damsel. If they're eating flatworms they're not keeping up!

05/03/2008, 08:13 PM
Try blue-striped Nubibranch (Chelidonura varians) they are flatworm predators

05/04/2008, 09:58 AM
cut the feeding dramactically, lower the nutrients, and go with very mnimal lighting for some time. FW have a short life span but duplicate quickly in a tank with high nutients and high lighting. They'll eventually die off faster than they are born.

11/15/2008, 09:06 AM
how did everything turn out? I am facing the same dilema, looking for ideas.

11/15/2008, 08:19 PM
Melanarus wrasse aka Hoeven's Wrasse will eat all your flatworms guaranteed. Its about %99 reefsafe. The most it will do is eat a few tube worms and only turn to polyps if it is STARVING. The one i had would eat all pellet food. Just don't overfeed or they can die easly

11/16/2008, 04:44 AM
get some scooter blennies

11/16/2008, 08:46 AM
Only problem in trying fish is for one I live in a small town, and getting fish in is next to impossible especially Melanarus wrasse. I can order it from the big cities, but shipping is a killer, and would have to wait to see if they even have it. Secondly I have a 4 line wrasse who is an ***, killed a small blennie I put in, anything smaller he would kill, even goes after my clowns.

I was hoping pmrogers was going to try FE, and had some feedback.

11/16/2008, 09:33 AM
Years back I had a lot of them to deal with, I added some of the Chelidonura varians (actually had them lay eggs, had the eggs hatch but couldn't get the larvae to settle out) and also siphoned out the detritus and increased circulation and that took care of them.
They often show up in large numbers when there is an accumulation of detritus and lack of flow and you can often deal with them by reducing detritus and increasing flow.

11/16/2008, 10:29 AM
it would be ideal to add several wrasse's that will dine on FW's to reduce population.....then medicate w/ FWE>>> u can use a micron filter sock on drain lines to catch the dead "free floaters"...followed by carbon/water change/ aggresive skimming

make sure u premake your water a few days prior to get the chemistry right

good luck and happy hunting..lol

11/19/2008, 10:00 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=13750556#post13750556 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Gools
how did everything turn out? I am facing the same dilema, looking for ideas.

Unfortunately, not great, though I think I did at least figure out what to do differently. Despite all the preparations, the toxins were overwhelming and I ended up with every fish in the tank looking absolutely horrible. The 13-yr-old Naso did die, along with a 6-year Harlequin Tusk and lawnmower blenny. All of the other fish bleached almost white, got cloudy eyes and didn't eat for 2 weeks after the stress, but eventually recovered. On the bright side, the corals (assorted softies), gigas clam, and snails were unaffected.

Even more unfortunately, 2 months later, the flatworms were back and almost as bad. This time I was able to treat without losses by performing a freshwater dip of 90% of the rock. This was a _huge_ undertaking in a tank that size, but seems to have done the trick. The water only slightly discolored during treatment and none of the fish reacted.

11/19/2008, 10:15 AM
I've tried damsels, six line wrasse, scooter blennies.Reduced feeding. Vacuumed out as many as possibly.Still flatworm have over took my tank. I've ordered flatworm exit. As a last resort.:bounce1:

consumed reef
11/19/2008, 11:26 AM
carbon will remove the meds, but it won't remove the toxidity of the dead flatworms.

a massive water change is in order.


11/20/2008, 01:02 AM
any pics of these flatworms? y are they so bad? ...thx

11/20/2008, 07:03 AM
When I treated my 210 for flat worms, I made up treatment tanks of of anything that would hold water. I then spent a lot of time removing everything i could and treating them in the smaller tanks so that I could easily discard the dead flat worms. I returned everything to the tank, and the next day treated the whole display. Carbon and wet skimming helped, but I also did a lot of water changes. 40 gallons at first, then another 40 the next day, and another 40 a couple days later. I also treated the tank a coupe more times in the following weeks to make sure I got all the FW.

I can't imagine how difficult it would be to do this is such a large system, and i know its too late now, but if you ever have to do it again, you need more of everything, especially water changes IMO.

11/24/2008, 04:08 PM
As I think you have probably surmised, the only real treatment for a large population of flatwoms in this much water is chemical, IMHO.

I think you are going to have to do a number of treatments--probably start with the recommended dose of a product like Flatworm Exit and ramp the dosage up in additional treatments to what it appears your livestock can tolerate. Do the treatments as soon to one another as you can do adequate water changes after each one.

One step that maybe you didn't mention but should do is siphoning off the flatworms as you do the treatment to get them out of the system right away. Perhaps in your case you could use a net. If you use a hose then use one with a small diameter so as not to drain off too much water

Bear in mind there are all types of flatworms so I assume you have just the one type. Different kinds of flatworms--different treatments.

11/25/2008, 09:24 AM
Are you talking about the red / brown flat worms? I have them in my sump and on the sand bed of my 325. They dont get on the corals. Besides the look I dont see them as a problem.