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De-Pestifying Your Corals

Posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2011 at 11:03 am by

Have you ever sat back and thought about how much time, work and money you have put into your reef tank? How much have you spent on corals? Go ahead think about it…. Now that you have an idea of where you are in the hobby, imagine picking up a few new corals. After acclimating them and introducing it into your system, you now have a new family of monti eating nudis, some AEFW, zoa eating nudis, etc….

Quarantine is a great tool to the reef enthusiast who has the time/money/area to do it, but most of us find ourselves wanting to introduce corals into our systems fairly quickly. If you find yourself in a similar situation, dipping corals can definitely help alleviate some of the woes of unwanted pests into the aquarium. Another viable reason for dipping corals is when you see one or more of your corals not looking like they should/are stressed and there is no explanation due to tank levels, you may want to dip a coral.

Please note: Some corals do not react well to certain dips. Make sure to search which dip is effective on the coral you plan on dipping.
So you have your brand new coral or that coral you want to dip in mind. Let’s assume you have already temperature acclimated your coral using your method. Some reefers prefer multiple dips to achieve the end result of de-pestifying your coral before going into the tank. Keep in mind that certain corals stress more than others when dipped before moving on.

Before dipping, ideally we should have a large enough container with premixed fresh salt water, kept at a stable temperature, prepped for the dip. If you go ahead and decide on multiple dips, then multiple containers are necessary. In addition to the dipping/dirty containers, another container containing fresh salt water with no additives should be kept to rinse the coral.

Here is where we will go ahead and perform the dip. In this scenario let’s go with a 2 dip process. Since we have the 2 dips, we will prepare 3 containers of an adequate size for the coral/corals we are dipping. Each container contains the specified dosage per amount of water inside the container and kept at a decent temperature. Some reefers overdose with the dip chemicals and corals have no adverse effects, but tread carefully since corals will react differently. This is suggested only if you have had experience with the process and are confident that the coral will survive.

While the coral is in the container, wait for the set amount of time as directed. During this time, some aquarists use a small powerhead in the container to help move the water and blow off the pests which are dead or in shock.

Others wait a certain allotted time and give it a good shake every once in a while (shake it more than twice and you’re playing with it), and in some cases a turkey baster can be used to blow on the surface to see it particles come off.

After waiting the set time, the coral comes out and goes into the second dip where the same process is performed. Once your second dip is done, you are at your rinse stage. This step is the last step in the process before the corals going back into the tank. Placing the coral in the rinse container, and agitating the water/each coral is a great way to make sure all the baddies are off of the coral.

Then you can sit and admire all of the junk that comes off of your corals. At this point it just looks like a bunch of specs/micro fauna.

When taking a closer look, you can spot out the pests…. In this case, zoa eating nudibranchs.

In this picture we have one dipping container and a rinse container. Even in the rinse container, bad/things keep coming off of the frags after a good shaking.

For comparison this is a regular sized frag plug. (Look at the size of those pods…)

That is it, it is a pretty straight forward process, but some newer reefers tend to overlook the process and wind up with a slew of pests. Spending a few minutes up front, can save hours of headache later. Hopefully your tank will be better off and your corals will be de-pestyfied.

Go ahead and post what your dip process is, and what you dip. It will definitely help others in deciding what will help their corals. Check out the local thread in the forum for ongoing discussion about dipping corals.

Happy reefing and stay pest free.

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One Response to “De-Pestifying Your Corals”

  1. Kevin says:

    Great write up and great pictures. Those pods are huge!

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