Update 1: The 4 stages of competence and montipora eating nudibranchs | 52 Weeks of Reefing #BRS160
I think a lot of people might avoid sharing the challenges we run into in a series like this because the BRS team supposed to be perfect right? Well open and honest there is no such thing as perfection with a reef tank, just the pursuit of perfection and I think even more valuable than listening to an endless list of best practices is hearing real world situations where we encountered a challenge , hopefully hearing how we handled it can help all of you in your individual pursuits of reef perfection.
Despite what I would call our best efforts, we found monti eating nudi’s in the 160 which are one of the harder pests to deal with. So how did they get in there? Well despite the fact that we got the corals from trusted vendors, were ridiculously careful when adding all the corals to the tank, dipped them in an aggressive dose of Bayer, swished the heck out of them and inspected to the best of our ability. Somehow either a single nudibranch made it past, but much more likely an almost microscopic egg sac made it into the tank.
Some of the corals made a few trips back and forth from the frag system and I did use some live rock rubble from our a different system for zoanthid mounts so really the single nudi or egg sack could have been introduced in a variety of different ways. If I had to guess it was is one of the wild collected or maricultured corals that came with at least one egg sac because it is pretty unlikely an adult made it through the concentration of Bayer dip we did, the extended length of the dip and vigorous swishing after in multiple rinse buckets.
I am guessing it came in on a wild or maricultured coral that came out of the ocean because it’s simply more likely than coming from an aquaculture facility that grows small frags. While it is certainly possible that an aquaculture facility could get a pest like this, the nature of how these closed systems run with tightly packed corals means the population of a pest like this will often have explosive growth which is noticed rapidly and the existence of these aquaculture facilities requires intense dedication to procedures and protocols which prevent pests from entering the systems. To reefers, pests are the enemy of corals and to aquaculture facilities are the enemy of profits. At the end of the day these facilities are going to be the most careful about pests.
That’s just an impossibility or at least not practical with corals that come out of the ocean and held in large containment systems with a constant churn of new corals. While different vendors will implement different prevention procedures, particularly in relation to the adults there is no way you can spot every single microscopic egg sac on wild collected or ocean maricultured corals. So all that said that single adult or egg sac could have come from almost anywhere, I’m just making a likely guess.
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