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How to control Acropora Eating Flatworms (AEFW)

Posted by on Apr 15, 2012 in Education, Equipment | 0 comments

How to control Acropora Eating Flatworms (AEFW)

Acropora Eating Flatworms (AEFW) almost destroyed my tank. My fight against those sly AEFW’s began about a month ago in this post. Since then I have been periodically blasting my corals in the tank with a pipette/turkey baster as a test and haven’t seen any AEFW come off of the corals. If there are any AEFW’s they usually come off of the coral because of the pressure from the turkey baster. Also all coral polyps are out, corals are growing and coloring up again and I can’t see any AEFW eggs. I don’t see any bite marks either! Once you see these things in your tank they are so easy to recognize again. It seems like I am winning the battle against AEFW’s. Below I have outlined my procedure to help you in case AEFW’s are affecting your tank. If I can do it, anyone can. Don’t give up. I’ll update if I see changes. Procedure: 1. Removed all Acropora corals from rocks including encrusted ones and scraped off encrusted left over coral parts on the rocks. Inspected each coral with a flashlight for 2 minutes outside of tank and water (a bit of air drying allows eggs to be  easier to identify) and scraped any off eggs. I even cut the base off of one coral and threw out a couple of other corals that had many eggs. 2. Dipped in diluted Revive solution (according to instructions) for 8-10 minutes for hardy Acroporas but 5 minutes for deep water Acroporas and other sensitive corals. Swirled corals initially in Revive solution then blasted them with a turkey baster 5-10 times while dipping. Be careful with deep water Acropora corals and others.  Pearlberry, Ice Fire, and Hawkins Eechidna corals are especially sensitive as you can blast the skin off of them if you are too harsh. 3. Swirled and let sit in fresh saltwater after Revive dip for 10 minutes. Blasted with turkey baster 3-4 times every few minutes. Returned to tank but on sandbed. 4. Repeated weekly for 2 additional weeks. 5. Glued corals to small rock bases and reattached to live rock. Now every time I look at my tank for I check corals for bitemarks and AEFW’s that may come off by blasting, etc. Use common sense. 3. I added a Yellow Wrasse, scientific name Halichoeres chrysus, to form a biological AEFW control team with my Six Line Wrasse. These guys like to eat small pests from corals. That’s it! It required much patience and diligence but seemed to have worked so far. Additionally after the third dip, I removed a lot of live rock to get rid of the wall of rock look since I really didn’t have any corals on most of the rocks at this point. I was really worried that by removing about 50% of my live rock I would see adverse negative reactions. The ancient but still prevalent 1-1.75 pounds of live rock to 1 gallon of water rule embedded in my brain was hard to break. However it is clear that I worried unnecessarily. Now I have about 25-30 pounds of live rock in a 65 gallon tank. I still have 9 fish who are fed well and tank parameters are fine as judged by health of fish and corals. I...

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Best coral polyp photo ever

Posted by on Apr 8, 2012 in Coral, Featured, Photography | 2 comments

Best coral polyp photo ever

              Look at the delicate and beautifully geometric shape of that coral polyp grown in an aquarium, the Red Sea Max 250! Nature is amazing and as some have said already, built to mathematical standards. Imagine how easy it would be to hurt this polyp and coral. Now think of global warming, people who walk on reefs and anything else related to the ocean that is bad. These guys don’t have a chance if we don’t protect and respect them. Also, if corals die, fish disappear. This polyp is only about 2-3 millimeters in diameter. I took this photo of an Acropora coral polyp using the Nikon D7000 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. I also posted this photo on a marine aquarist forum and one aquarist said this was the best coral photo he has ever seen! Thank you...

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Video update of Red Sea Max Reef after 17 months

Posted by on Apr 4, 2012 in Equipment, Fish, Reef Critters, Video | 0 comments

Video update of Red Sea Max Reef after 17 months

The Adobe Flash Player is required for video playback.Get the latest Flash Player or Watch this video on YouTube. Video update of the Red Sea Max Reef and it’s growth after 17 months. I am disappointed in the quality of this quick video. This was filmed with the iPhone 4S but I need to get a better video camera. Any suggestion? My last video update of the tank was 8 months ago and posted again below for comparison. The Adobe Flash Player is required for video playback.Get the latest Flash Player or Watch this video on YouTube.  ...

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Bellina in Red Sea Max 250 reef

Posted by on Mar 30, 2012 in Coral, Featured, Photography | 0 comments

Bellina in Red Sea Max 250 reef

Photo of the relatively rare recovering Bellina coral using the Nikon D7000 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. I had previously posted this photo of this same Bellina when it was riddled with Acropora Eating Flatworms bite marks. It is now recovering well in the Red Sea Max 250 reef. Those green polyps are about 3 mm in diameter.                

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Blue Hornet Zoanthid coral

Posted by on Mar 24, 2012 in Photography | 0 comments

Blue Hornet Zoanthid coral

Photo of the relatively rare Blue Hornet Zoanthid coral using the Nikon D7000 and Nikon 105mm macro lens.

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Centerfold shots of Red Sea Max Reef

Posted by on Mar 22, 2012 in Photography | 2 comments

Centerfold shots of Red Sea Max Reef

I took a few photos using the Nikon D7000 of my new minimalist Red Sea Max 250 reef. What do you think of this look? I have never seen a minimalist Red Sea Max 250 reef tank on the web. A front view can be seen here.                                                                      ...

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Eradicating AEFW in the Red Sea Max 250 reef

Posted by on Mar 18, 2012 in Guides | 0 comments

Eradicating AEFW in the Red Sea Max 250 reef

In dealing with Aceopora Eating Flatworms (AEFW) in my Red Sea Max 250 reef, I took all of my Acropora corals off of rocks, dipped for weeks, added wrasses for patrolling, and all the other suggestions out there. I did lose a few corals, especially deep water ones due to the stress of the dips and sensitivity to Revive. I am out of patience and whatever happens now happens. If AEFW want to eat my Acroporas, then they are going to and I’ll have to not have any Acros. However, since the reef was being dismantled at this time, it was a great time to correct a few mistakes I had made a long time ago that only experience teaches, if you know what I mean. A few that come to mind are: 1. Glue corals to small pieces of rocks and then glue small rocks to larger rock scape so that they are easy to remove if necessary. I had to cut off so many corals that were encrusted on rocks with bone cutters and/or a Dremel tool with a diamond cutting wheel. 2. While it’s easy to attain, the wall of rocks look in a home reef is not the only one that can be accomplished. However with my tank’s dimensions it is difficult to make a minimalist, multiple islands styled rock scape because it all ends up looking like a wall of rocks in the end. When looking for Red Sea Max 250 (my tank) reefs online, I can only find tank photos with walls of rock. However, I want to attempt to attain a first. I got over the fear of removing rocks from my tank and took the chance to at least attempt a different look. We’ll see if the loss of rocks and hence the bacteria and other organisms in the rock drastically affect my tank’s stability and parameters. I am sure it’s going to have a mini nitrogen cycle now due to all of the rearrangements so maybe I’ll know after that cycle is finished. 3. Incorrect placement of corals based on growth pattern. For example, a tabling coral requires a lot of side to side space as it grows, but I didn’t know how my corals would behave in my tank. Now that they have been in my tank for a while, I do and I placed more appropriately. 4. Caps or plating Montipora corals are a pain because they grow so quickly and cover so much area, so I got rid of most. 5. It is OK to throw out a few frags/corals that never grew or are ugly instead of hoping that it’ll become something eventually. 6. A clean sandbed is beautiful. Keep it as coral free as possible. 7. Fish need room to swim. While my wall of rock had many caves the fish cold only swim in front of the rocks. Now with the new arrangement they have less caves but enjoying swimming behind and in front of rocks and corals. 8. Quarantine, quarantine, quarantine in a separate tank before adding to the Red Sea Max reef. Anyway, here is my previous tank setup               Tank during AEFW treatment               Reorganized tank after AEFW treatment...

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Deep Water Acropora photo

Posted by on Mar 10, 2012 in Coral | 0 comments

Deep Water Acropora photo

                Check out this macro photo I took of a deep water Acropora coral in my Red Sea Max reef tank. The textures and colors are so smooth. Nikon D7000 and Nikon 105mm macro lens were used. Can you tell that this is a photo of a...

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Red Sea Max 250 reef destroyed!

Posted by on Mar 4, 2012 in Coral, Featured | 0 comments

Red Sea Max 250 reef destroyed!

Before the destruction of the Red Sea Max 250 reef                 After the destruction of the Red Sea Max 250 reef               A terrible thing has happened: Acropora Eating Flatworm (AEFW) invasion. After the Interceptor treatment for the Red Bugs pests, these AEFW have increased in numbers to the point that my Six Line Wrasse (normally a great biological control for pests) can’t help much. I see bite marks on almost all of my Acropora corals, similar to the bite marks pointed out earlier on the Bellina coral in this post. The Acroporas are dying. It’s so painful to watch. I have read the horror stories, seen the disasters and home reef death with only a few successes in handling AEFW. Corals are so sensitive. There is such an amazing balance in the natural reef ecosystem that this doesn’t happen except in a closed tank. It is likely that my system is missing their natural predators. I removed a few severely infected corals and dipped in Revive, a chemical (smells like PineSol) that is commonly used to dip corals to remove pests, diluted with salt water and many AEFW fell off. They were white, elongated and almost transparent at about half a centimeter in length. This was confirmation that I definitely had AEFW. I tried Flatworm Exit another chemical known to kill flatworms at 1.5X the recommended concentration in the tank. Stupidly, I didn’t know Flatworm Exit only works on the less destructive brown flatworms, not AEFW. A week later, more bite marks. I have quite a number of Acroporas and even threw out a few that weren’t encrusted on rocks. However, today, I decided I was going to shut down my Red Sea Max 250 reef and quit the hobby. I have dealt with so many issues including the Red bugs and now these guys with no known treatment to eradicated them completely. But…that would mean they would win so after a few hours I decided to fight on. I unpacked the Dremel, hammer and chisel and did a partial tear down of the tank. I removed all Acropora corals including those heavily encrusted on rocks, dipped in Revive, checked for eggs, cut off the base with eggs (and tossed, but should have burned!) of what I believe to be patient Zero since it was so heavily infected. The flatworms on patient Zero, the coral known as Hairy Monster, were unbelievable large, 5-10 times the size of any average AEFW I have seen. I don’t want to throw away patient zero. For Acropora corals that were encrusted on rocks, I scraped off and siphoned coral tissue that was left on rocks and after dipping, re-glued to small pieces of dead rock, something I should do with every coral I get before putting in my tank. The corals will encrust on these small rocks and they can be glued to the rock scape in the Red Sea Max 25o tank. Corals can now be moved around without chiseling and scraping. I don’t have a quarantine tank or even a real sump so all of the Acroporas are currently on the sand bed or temporarily wresting higher up on rocks. I hope to dip in Revive after...

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Red Sea Max 250 Feb 2012

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Coral | 0 comments

Red Sea Max 250 Feb 2012

            This is a full tank shot of the reef in February 2012. The reef is doing well but the sand needs cleaning up. Most of the soft corals have to be given away, sold or traded. The Red Sea Max 250 is filling up quickly but I still want more corals. I have decided against an upgrade to the Red Sea Max 500 or 650 at this time.

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