Pest and Parasite Control Buyer's Guide - Stop Unwelcome Guests From Plaguing Your Reef!
One of the most frustrating aspects of owning a saltwater aquarium, or any aquarium for that matter, is the threat of algae, pests, parasites, and disease. While diligence and proactive measures go a long way in the prevention of these pests, being prepared for an outbreak is something all tank owners should embrace. Sometimes, preparation is as simple as knowing what to look for but can also be preventative treatments, chemicals, medications, or various other tools to help you eliminate pests should they arise.
Coral Dips & Pest Treatments
With coral pests, it's all about prevention. 80% of pests can be avoided by only putting forth 20% of the effort so long as it's proactive. Using coral dips to clean and eliminate pests from new corals, before they go into your tank is the only way to prepare. While some pests may survive coral dips, you will ultimately reduce the introduction of said pests meaning a serious outbreak is far less likely.
If pests do show up in your display, it can be very difficult to get rid of them, let alone put your entire reef at risk. Take the time to understand common coral pests and know what to look out for so you can spot signs early. If you can spot pests right away, sometimes you can just remove the single or few infected corals before the pest spreads throughout the tank.
For some pests, like flatworms, chemical treatments can be effective right inside your display but in more serious situations like red bugs or bacterial infections, removal of infected corals and repeated medicated coral dips are likely going to be required to ultimately save the corals. Also, maintaining optimal coral health at all times will help your corals resist secondary infections and withstand damage caused by various pests.
Photosynthetic Pests - Algae, Cyanobacteria, Diatoms & Dinoflagellates
These are the things that often show up in new aquariums and create what hobbyists have dubbed "the ugly stage". Prevention goes a long way with photosynthetic pests but ultimately, these plagues enter our aquariums by hitching a ride on livestock. Corals, fish, invertebrates, and even rock carry these things into our tanks and when conditions are right, these pests can bloom to epic proportions. New aquariums are especially vulnerable because the lack of diversity and balance within the biome leaves room for pests to dominate.
Developing a balanced and diverse biome, introducing microcrustaceans (copepods) before the lights are turned on, and stocking the tank with a well-rounded clean-up crew, including herbivorous fish, really help to combat any one pest from reaching plague proportions during the first year of your aquarium.
Should you experience an outbreak that shows no signs of slowing down, these treatments can help you resolve the problem.
The dreaded aiptasia makes its way into our aquariums as hitchhikers on live rock and coral mounts. Avoiding the introduction of aiptasia is possible but don't feel bad if you do notice an aiptasia in your tank, it happens to even the best of tank owners. The key to controlling Aiptasia is eliminating them before they get out of hand and being persistent with treatments.
Frank's F-Aiptasia is our favorite chemical remedy because it seems to be the most effective but there are also natural aiptasia predators you might consider adding to your tank. Peppermint shrimps, Berghia Nudibranchs, Copperband Butterflyfish, and Bristletail Filefish are all known aiptasia eaters and readily available.
Understanding Fish Health and The 80/20 Quarantine
Explore the practice of proper quarantine and how to prevent common fish diseases in your aquarium.
Fish Medications & Quarantine
The practice of quarantining new fish before they are introduced to your aquarium is like an isolation period where you can employ medications and observe new fish for signs of illness. If you're diligent enough and use effective quarantine methods on ALL your fish, you can drastically reduce the chances of fish disease in your tank. While eliminating disease-causing parasites and bacteria is near impossible, the success of quarantine has been proven by biologists and aquarium professionals for decades.