Is this a pest that can hurt my zoas?

eag

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I spotted this thing moving around on my glass today. Its body is tan in color and resembled a small bristleworm with no bristles... but it was clearly stuck to the glass and has a little tail looking thing... My zoas have not been doing well lately and I'm beginning to wonder if they're sick of if there's a pest somewhere.

 
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Tired

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That crawling creature is an acoel flatworm, I believe. Acoel flatworms can irritate corals if there are a ton of them, but they don't normally multiply to those numbers in aquaria. You may see a surge of them if your tank is fairly new, and they'll generally die off to low levels on their own. I used to have a bunch, and now I have very few. Not a concern for your tank unless you start seeing hundreds on every surface.

But yeah, that's an aiptasia on those zoas. Aiptasia sting and irritate corals, which is probably the problem. You should use Aiptasia-X to kill the aiptasia, or you can remove the entire plug from the water (carefully!) and cover the aiptasia completely in liquid superglue. That'll smother it. You need to not cover the zoas or they'll get smothered as well, but a bit of glue touching them won't hurt them any.
 
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eag

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Aah!! Yes, it appears to be an Acoel flatworm... Thank you everyone for the ID! I learned something today :)

As for the aiptasia... Yes ... It's getting pretty large, and has been visibly irritating my zoas. I got some Aiptasia-X from Red Sea in the mail yesterday, so soon it will be history...

Thanks again everyone!!
 
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eag

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As for the aiptasia... Yes ... It's getting pretty large, and has been visibly irritating my zoas.

Oh I guess I should mention that the zoa problem I mentioned isn't related to the aiptasia and the colony it's on... My other zoa colonies have been shrinking, retracting their mats, and some have visible problems at the base where they attach to the rock. Many have even become detached.
 

Tired

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Problems at the base would probably indicate some sort of pest. Do you by chance have few to no fish and a lot of amphipods?

On the off chance it's not, what are your nitrates and phosphates? Any idea what your iodine might be?
 
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eag

eag

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Problems at the base would probably indicate some sort of pest. Do you by chance have few to no fish and a lot of amphipods?

Oh, hmm... That would be correct, I don't have any fish... And I do see a lot of pod-like things, whether they're amphipods or copepods or some other pod people, I'm not sure. Are amphipods known to pester zoas? I guess I have some research to do :-|

On the off chance it's not, what are your nitrates and phosphates? Any idea what your iodine might be?

Nitrates are very low, they barely show up at all on my API test kit. I recently bough the hanna ulr test kit and will try it out shortly. Not sure about the phosphates or iodine, but historically I do frequent large-ish water changes so I'd be surprised if iodine was low. I've got some sexy shrimp and they molt ok.
 

Tired

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Copepods are tiny white dots that scoot around. Amphipods look sorta like a small shrimp that curls itself into a C and skitters around. Amphipods are definitely known to pester zoas in large numbers, especially if the zoas are already stressed, and they may even eat stressed zoas.
I would suggest getting a fish. Any fish with a mouth large enough to eat amphipods will happily do so. I have a trimma goby in my tank who I never have to feed because he eats nothing but amphipods, and this is a pico!

Though I will also say that sexy shrimp may pick at zoas. I believe they usually eat the frills? Be sure to feed them well.

I would try to increase your nitrates a bit, and make sure your phosphates aren't low. Zoas really like nutrients.
 
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eag

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Copepods are tiny white dots that scoot around. Amphipods look sorta like a small shrimp that curls itself into a C and skitters around.

Oh, that is useful! I see both of these things in my tank.

I would suggest getting a fish. Any fish with a mouth large enough to eat amphipods will happily do so. I have a trimma goby in my tank who I never have to feed because he eats nothing but amphipods, and this is a pico!

This is also useful! I have a pico too and have been considering a fish but struggling to choose one. Trimma goby is on the list, I will have a second look. No feeding?! That sounds nice :)

Though I will also say that sexy shrimp may pick at zoas. I believe they usually eat the frills? Be sure to feed them well.

I would try to increase your nitrates a bit, and make sure your phosphates aren't low. Zoas really like nutrients.

Yes my sexy shrimp have really done some damage on my SPS... I suspected that maybe they were tugging at the zoas too but not as bad as my stylo, for example. I began feeding them hoping to kill two birds with one stone - stop the nipping, and raise nutrients.

I know that nutrients have gone up because I can see some algae spots here and there, but nitrates still read low, my assumption is that the corals and algae are soaking it all up.

I will read more about the amphipods, and look into getting a fish,... probably would help with the nutrient thing too. Thanks for all your help @Tired!!
 

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No problem. Highly recommend a trimma goby, they sit in one or two places around the tank and don't move too much. Shouldn't bother anything else in the tank, but they love amphipods. A circus goby might also work- nocturnal fish with a large mouth for its size, likes to hang out under overhangs.
 

terraincognita

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Oh I guess I should mention that the zoa problem I mentioned isn't related to the aiptasia and the colony it's on... My other zoa colonies have been shrinking, retracting their mats, and some have visible problems at the base where they attach to the rock. Many have even become detached.
You can also super glue over aptaisa.

they can spread like wildfire so the quicker you kill it the better.
 

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