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Removing Red Planaria, the cheap way.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by h2so4hurts, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. h2so4hurts

    h2so4hurts Inactive User

    +0 / 0 / -0
    Some of you may have seen the thread I posted a few weeks ago asking for guidance on ridding my tank of red planaria.  I did a bunch of research and was directed to a great reef central thread about using Pig Wormer (levasimole HCl) to kill flatworms.  I chose this route mainly because the reef central thread was very detailed and most of the people posting in the thread had great success.  Here's the thread if you're interested. Additionally, this stuff is $15 a bottle and treats ~1,000g of water compared with 300g for flatworm eXit at $25.  I'll summarize what I did. 
    I started by ordering 2 pounds of activated carbon and a 100 micron bag from bulk reef supply.  I then made my own siphon carbon filter out of a 2 liter pop bottle by cutting the little triangle wedges on the bottom out with my dremel (I'll post pics later).  The great thing about using a 2 liter bottle is that the cap is just bigger than 1 1/4" so it fits very tightly in a 1 1/4" ID tube!  This is perfect for a high flow carbon filter.  I then stuffed the media bag into the modified pop bottle and filled it full of activated carbon.  Probably about half a pound.  This is used by starting a siphon from my display tank to the fuge of my sump. (Again, I'll post pics later)
    I also removed my main sump carbon filter and replaced it with about 1/4 lb of new carbon (that's probably 5x as much as I normally have in there). 
    I'd say that this amount of carbon was probably overkill for my situation, but you really want to be more safe than sorry with these little bugs.  If you're going to do this on your system, have at least 1lb of carbon on hand and ready per 100 gal of tank water.
    Along with carbon, it's also very important to have at least 50% of your tank volume of new salt water on hand for water changes!  Do not underestimate this.  You might not need it all, but again, way better to be safe than sorry.
    Finding the drug was probably the hardest part.  Apparently there have been supply issues with it, so call around to your local farm supply stores.  I called Tractor Supply this Monday.  They said they had it, but then when I went to get it this morning they were out and had no idea when they'd get more.  I ended up driving around Cedar Rapids looking for it, and eventually found 2 bottles of Durvet Pig Wormer at Thiesen's.  They also had large tabs for sheep which I'm sure you could crush up and use too.
    The pig wormer mix is 1/2 teaspoon of wormer per 240mL of RO/DI, and then dose 1mL of drug per gallon of tank volume (display+sump) I have a 120 + about 30 gallons in my sump so I dosed in 150mL of the mix. 
    This stuff is amazingly fast.  The worms were obviously distressed within the first minute of addition and by 10 minutes they were all floating in the water without a single one attached to the rocks or substrate! 
    As soon as the worms started dieing I started siphoning them out with a 1" tube and into a 30 gallon rubbermaid tub.  Once I removed 20 gallons of worms/tank water, I added back 20 gallons of freshly mixed and temped salt water and started sucking them out again until I had removed another 20 gallons and saw a noticeable reduction in the amount of worms in the water column.  This is when I started my carbon siphon filter and threw in my freshly charged carbon filter sock.
    Throughout the whole process I saw no distress in my corals, anemone, starfish, peppermint shrimp, hermits, or snails.  (All of my fish are still in QT so I don't know what effect the treatment would have had on them).
    I will be following this treatment up with a .3mL per gallon treatment tomorrow to snag any leftovers and then a full treatment once a week for 4 weeks (You can see how this might get expensive very quickly using flatworm eXit).  The follow up treatments don't require the massive water changes or excessive amount of carbon.
    Quick Cheat Sheet
    Have lots of carbon on hand.  You can't have too much, figure about a 1lb per 100g, and used in a forced system ie siphon filter or canister filter
    Have 50% new salt water on hand
    One bottle of [class="nf"]Durvet brand levamisole hydrochloride[/class] [class="nf"]Soluable Pig Wormer (Anthelmintic) Net Wt 0.0712 oz (20.17g)[/class]
    Mix 1/2 teaspoon with 240mL RO/DI water and shake until clear (will have a yellow tint)
    Suck out as many worms as you can before treating.  Don't slack on this, clean them out until you can't see any.
    Add 1mL of the drug you mixed up per total tank volume (Display, sump, skimmer, etc.)
    Prepare to suck out worms as they die and fill the water column.  Don't turn off your pumps or skimmer.  Replace the water you removed with new salt water.
    Once you're satisfied with worm removal from the water column, start the carbon filters (don't wait more than an hour though)
    Keep a close eye on your livestock and corals.  If they start closing up completely or bleaching, do a 50% water change.
  2. Eric Experienced Reefkeeper

    West Des Moines, IA
    +33 / 0 / -0

    Nice post!

    I knew you were getting ready you do this but I didn't realize it was happening so quickly.
    If I remember from the RC thread, this same treatment could cost several hundred dollars w/eXit.

    You posted this on the 21st - what day did you actually do it and as of today, the 23rd, have you noticed any issues with corals/snail/etc?
    Luckily - I've never had these little critters.

  3. h2so4hurts

    h2so4hurts Inactive User

    +0 / 0 / -0
    I posted that the night I got done. Only took a few hours to prepare and complete. It was a lot of fun actually :)

    I didn't have time to get any pictures but if anyone wants to borrow the siphon filter, they're welcome to it.

    I saw about 5 yesterday and did the follow up dose of .3mL per gallon and they disappeared. If I see any more I'll give it the full dose early. I don't need them laying more eggs...

    Corals, snails, and inverts are all fine. One of my acros started to bleach slightly, but I think that was from the 40% water change I did. I had to redose Alk and Ca yesterday to bring them back within range. Ca went down to 380 /DesktopModules/ActiveForums/themes/_default/emoticons/sad.gif

    To do a similar treatment on my tank with FW exit would be about $60 vs the $15 I paid for this bottle of pig wormer. Although the guys in that thread said they've spent hundreds on FW eXit because it never really got rid of the problem.
  4. h2so4hurts

    h2so4hurts Inactive User

    +0 / 0 / -0
    3 weeks of dosing once a week and now I don't see any. I'm keeping a close eye on the tank though and the second I see one I'm dumping a dose of the pig wormer in. I have enough here for about 2,000 gallons, so if anyone gets red flatworms, I have the drug /DesktopModules/ActiveForums/themes/_default/emoticons/wink.gif

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