AEFW - My long journey

Discussion in 'General SPS Discussion' started by ronnie, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. ronnie

    ronnie Acro addict

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    So I've been mulling over actually getting out of the hobby for about a month now. It was a Saturday, just like any other. The lights turn on around 12:30. I was looking at it and examining the frags on the frag rack (I do this regularly about three times a day out of obsession).

    I saw an Efflo frag that looked like it was browning out. So I pulled it to examine it. I saw small round circles on the base of the new encrusting part of the corals. I initially went into panic mode. Then I realized it - I am seeing bite marks from Acro Eating Flatworms (AEFW).

    I've read a great deal about pests over the years, from zoa eating spiders to montipora eating nudibraches. So I was familiar with the tell tale signs of AEFW. Lost color, receding base, slowed growth. I just never connected them.

    Upon further examination, I found a very small cluster of about 10-20 eggs. While scraping these off, I confirmed my every fear - a LARGE 1/4" flatworm handily seen from the frag drying in the open air.

    I can't get out - I've got salt deep in my veins. I'd be back in before I could get rid of everything.

    I hope to document every step I take to eliminate the "Reef Aids" I've contracted. These elusive creatures are no walk in the park. I take a lot of pride in having a pristine reef. It feels like I've been violated.

    I don't know where they came from, when I got them - nor could I even venture a guess. I've purchased and traded around 50 frags this year, from numerous people. The bottom line is I have them - that is enough. I love trading in this hobby - it is actually one of my favorite parts. I can't/won't do it with AEFW. Period.

    So, my journey to a pest free tank begins. I'm still working on drawing up a good plan at this point. I've started to use a turkey baster and I'm blowing the acros off daily or every other day for now. My 40B frag tank will likely become a recovery/quarantine tank for the acros. I have around 40 acros (some frags, some colonies) that I'll need to get off of the rocks. Complete removal and treatment is the only way to get rid of AEFW. This will be an 8-10 week process, with dipping every two-three days of each coral. I'm less than ecstatic to say the least.

    Any thoughts/ideas are more than welcomed. I'm currently in contact with a scientist that is working with Eric Borneman closely on examining the life cycle of these pests. They are several months away from publishing their findings, but she has helped as much as she can at this point.

    Wish me luck! To any who might have been infected (I don't know if anyone was, and I'm hoping not!) I'm truly sorry. I'll house and treat any frags that need to be treated if they will fit.

    :|
     
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  2. ronnie

    ronnie Acro addict

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    To the people that have beaten this little devils - what was your dip regimen, dosage, and routine? This is where I'm stuck. I haven't found any CURRENT and GOOD descriptions of what to use and how much.

    And, for the inevitable question. NO - flatworm exit does not work on these, I tried. If it does work, it is so expensive that I could replace all the acros with what I'd spend on FWE.
     
  3. ronnie

    ronnie Acro addict

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    I think I'm going to go with Revive. Anyone have any good success stories on dosages, frequency of dips, length of dips using Revive?
     
  4. gar732

    gar732 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter CTARS Member

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    I found I had them not too long ago. Unfortunately for me I didn't know what to look for so it was a while before I realized it. I was going nuts trying to figure out why my sps were doing so poorly, well at least now I know why. I've been dipping them weekly in a mix of revive and melafix. I have to figure out the best way to set up a QT (not much space) at which point I'll remove all acros and continue to dip. I have to say since I've started dipping I've seen a huge difference in my acros. Some have shown improvement quickly and some are slowly coming around. The first time I tried to do too many at once and had them in the dip for too long which caused many to brown out. I now have them on racks and remove and dip the whole rack at once, its much easier this way. I scraped off all the eggs I could find the first time and I'm hoping I'm killing them before they have a chance to lay more with each dip. Good luck and let us know how it works out for you.
     
  5. SDguy

    SDguy Well-Known Member Photo of the Month Award

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    Oh man, so sorry to hear this. I had a knee jerk reaction...I pulled out all my acros and threw them in a QT. I treated/dipped them once a week for a couple months I think. It was a nightmare, and I would not recommend it. I also used levimasol (no revive back then). Between the AEFW, the water quality in the QT, and the very harsh medication... I still lost many of my acros :(.

    If I had to do it again: First, evaluate how bad the problem is. Are there colonies with lots of eggs? Remove those, save frags with no eggs, and just toss the rest of the colony. Get yourself a MJ1200, and blast the acros at close range, branch by branch. The AEFW will come flying off. What sort of fish do you have? Most all will eat AEFW once they taste one (apparently they taste quite good to fish). If you have pieces that are easily removed and repeatedly dipped, then do so. Do this blasting/dipping often...at least once a week religiously, until you stop seeing the worms. You won't be sure you are work free for a good year or two.
     
  6. ronnie

    ronnie Acro addict

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    How often are you dipping?

    And thanks for the insight.
     
  7. ronnie

    ronnie Acro addict

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    Thanks for the reply Peter.

    I've been mulling for a month - no knee jerk from me at this point. Ironically, I was in the process of setting up a 40B frag tank, so I have it running right now. I'm letting it settle a bit for now. May start in a couple weeks.

    Most of my acros will be pretty easy to remove. I have an issue with my Red Planet though. I am very attached to all of it, and have considered dipping the entire rock that it has encrusted on. I see zero evidence of eggs or bite marks on it, so I don't believe it has been attacked yet. My other option/thought is to break the rock off behind all of the encrusting area. I just hate to break it off and lose the almost two years of encrusting growth.

    The rest of the acros are mostly upwards growing, so they won't be bad getting off of the rocks, but that RP is my favorite colony at this point.

    I will likely be trashing 80% of a very nice 8" tall tricolor, and a majority of a Tyree Sky Blue Millepora that is almost volleyball sized.

    I've considered levimasole, but it seems like it was really harsh from what I've read over the past month. I just ordered five bottles of revive tonight to go along with the one and a half I already have.

    The other alternative would be to quit. Might still after I go through this treatment - but I don't want to.
     
  8. akabryanhall

    akabryanhall Well-Known Member

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    Try this, after lights out try to set up a flashlight to point at the bottom corner of your tank. The flatworms should congregate in the light, at which point you should be able to siphon them out. I have heard people having good success with this method. Also, six line wrasses should be able to eat them, as will velvet nudibranches. Hope this helps.
     
  9. SDguy

    SDguy Well-Known Member Photo of the Month Award

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    Bah! Don't quit... it's worth the trouble to stay in it...and the satisfaction years later of not having AEFW is awesome :bigsmile:
     
  10. SDguy

    SDguy Well-Known Member Photo of the Month Award

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    Different flatworms :)
     
  11. ronnie

    ronnie Acro addict

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    And to answer the fish question - I think that is one reason it took so long to get out of control.

    I have a melanarus wrasse that is very fat and happy. I noticed him picking on the acros, which made sense after I figured out what it was. I also added a lubbocks wrasse a month ago as well. It is still pretty shy, and I actually fished it out of my overflow box tonight. Doubt it has done much good in there.

    I probably won't quit. It is very gut wrenching just thinking and typing about it, though.

    On the flip side - I get to aquascape again. :)
     
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  12. SDguy

    SDguy Well-Known Member Photo of the Month Award

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    It seems horrible now, but once it's over with, it won't seem so bad. Trust me.
     
  13. flipit13

    flipit13 Active Member

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    i had them awhile ago i feel your pain. i bought a xmas wrasse and did weekly dipping in coralrx. i like the coralrx cause its aggressive but corals dont loose color. so between both its been 9 months and finally the sps are back to growing and healthy. the bad thing is xmas only like live food lol and is killing my population of pods but is starting to eat frozen rotifers TG lol

    good luck and don't give in. we are all in a very rare and beautiful hobby and reap the benefits of a piece of the reef in our homes

    rick
     
  14. Rayzback

    Rayzback Well-Known Member

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    You have some of the nicest colonies of SPS I've seen.... mad skillz imho! Don't give up :squigglemouth:
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  15. joker295

    joker295 Well-Known Member SCMAS Member

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    i feel your pain i just got over the aefw a month ago.. i was ready to throw the towel in .. i was happy with where my tank was and then got crushed when i found the infamous bite marks on my acro.. but i fought through it and got my tank back up.. i used a revive dip and basting for 14 weeks to make sure every little ******* was killed and added a melanarus to my arsenal.. and my tank is now doing great. good luck..
     
  16. ronnie

    ronnie Acro addict

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    Thanks Joker. Revive is my planned method as well. I'm shooting for around 12 weeks myself. I already had a melanarus in the DT, and I think he is part of the reason I didn't catch it as quickly as I'd have liked to.
     
  17. mizzoumed02

    mizzoumed02 Well-Known Member

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    Man, it suxs to hear that your having this problem. I'm interested to hear how your 12 week treatment works out. I know there are a few commercial products out there, but I don't know much about them and how hard they are on the corals. Keep us updated on how its going!
     
  18. ronnie

    ronnie Acro addict

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    So it's been three months.... Still haven't treated. I've been basting off and on. Was directed to a product that is touted to kill red bugs and AEFW, so I'll be giving it a shot if my 40B ever stops being cloudy.

    Bayer Advanced 32 oz. Ready-to-Use Complete Insect Killer - 700280 at The Home Depot

    Dosage is .5ml to 2 cups of tank water (not a typo). Dip for no more than 15 minutes, 10 is typically enough.

    I have a 20H that I'll be dipping in, along with a 5G bucket.

    Pic of my tank from this week:
    [​IMG]

    I'm excited about the new treatment, especially for incoming dips (when/if I buy new acros that is).
     
  19. Kbra

    Kbra Well-Known Member

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    Revive doesn't kill red bugs on the dips though, right?

    Sent from my Xoom using Tapatalk
     
  20. ronnie

    ronnie Acro addict

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    Not totally, which is why I've always used interceptor. I will use bayer for dips, and if I ever get red bugs, I'll treat the whole tank with interceptor. From the looks of the potency of this stuff, along with the ease of mixing and dipping, I don't forsee that being an issue.
     
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