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Tridacna Eating Flatworms


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#1
mzoo

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I have described my other battles with clam predators...bristleworms, hermit crabs. Those attacks were one-off, and pretty random, and we knew immediately what had happened.

But what I just went thru, the past month, and looking back, six months, has really blown my mind.

I had 3 clams eight months ago and moved them into my upgraded 20 gallon with metal halide. Those 3 had been with me, more or less, since Jan 2010.

Within first 2 months of this super expensive ultimate clam set-up, I was losing snails at a rate of two per week and my oldest clam died. He had new white growth, and was almost 2 years old. Beyond testing the water, and finding all normal, I did not know what to think.

Month later...added a 4th clam (back to 3). He dies within a week. Snails keep dying too.

Coincidentally, we assumed this clam died by hermit crab, because this is also when we caught a hermit chewing on another clam (that clam lived). Count now at 2, and 2 gone.

One nite lites out we catch a HUGE flatworm (2 inches +) on back wall of tank. We assume this is what was eating snails. This is end of July. 2 clams left fine, tank fine, snails stopped dying.

Flash forward to October 2011 and the picture I have on my profile. I have two clams left, and get a third. This makes 5 total in the new tank.

Two weeks later, one clam dead...seems eaten. This is the clam that survived the hermit attack, so we know he was healthy. Two weeks after that, another clam dead. Dead snails start to appear again. And this weekend, last clam dies. I took it out right away, same as others, white shell, mantle intact, eaten from within. no guts.

Put clam in a little dish. Later I came back, guess what is crawling out of clam...another HUGE flatworm. I research online and what do you know? Very common tridacna predator. Known to wipe out matriculture lagoons.

Obviously I cannot have clams in my new tank, which I set up just to raise clams, until I know there are no more worms.

Beyond letting any worms left eat all my snails, and then starve, and watching at night for next many months, what else can I do? I am soooo sad. Have had clams for almost 2 years now and to have 5 wiped out in 6 months well I feel terrible. Must have come in on new live rock.

#2
reefdummy

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Flatworm Exit

Should whip em right out.

That really sucks though, Ive never heard of flatworms that eat clams before. Best of luck to you!
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#3
jeremai

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OMG YOUR CLAM IS EATING FLATWORMS?! UNHEARD OF!






never underestimate the benefit of a well-placed hyphen.

pretty sure jer was referring to the length

 
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#4
reefdummy

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Also make sure you dip! Ive learned this the hard way more than a few times...

OMG YOUR CLAM IS EATING FLATWORMS?! UNHEARD OF!

never underestimate the benefit of a well-placed hyphen.

lol
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#5
mzoo

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LOL. Tridacna-Eating Flatworm. Thanks for the laugh! I sure needed it.

I do FW dip for all new corals, clams, etc. but I think these worms came from the new live rock, which I did not dip... :tears: I mean, do you dip live rock? Forgive my ignorance. I was going really slow with this new tank.

I did buy something like Flatworm Exit, just hope it works for free-living flatworms, not just planarians (which I do not have).

Thanks for not condemning me for not realizing the problem sooner. Won't be having any more clams anytime soon. Will have to lurk here.

#6
mmcguffi

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I know FWE can work on nudis, so I would imagine they would work on polyclads (that what you have right?) as Im sure they are more closely related to planarians than nudis are

#7
pismo_reefer

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I actually just started a fw exit regiment....
I hate flatworms... <_<
*clickety*
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#8
mzoo

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yes, a polyclad. specifically a stylochus matatasi. :scarry: and to think, I just kept feeding him my poor clams.

I may not have any more clams but I sure learned alot. I guess that's a good thing...

having clam withdrawal...they were the first thing I checked on each morning...

#9
.Newman.

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so you removed the first polyclad worm and then a while later another appeared and started to decimate clams again?
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#10
mzoo

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exactly.

and had not researched the first worm, or else I would have moved all my clams out and/or not bought more.

Figured it just ate snails, and we had caught it, so no problem. WRONG.

#11
.Newman.

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dang, how many do you think you have? did you nuke with FW exit yet?
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#12
mzoo

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I actually think maybe, maybe there was only one...the first one was very hard to remove, it kinda fell apart, and we may have left a piece behind. fingerscrossed

That may explain why it took another 3 months for it to get big enough to eat clams again. Just my hypothesis!

Hindsight is always 20/20.

I put the flatworm stuff in Saturday night and then did w/c last night...but never saw any dead flatworms.

I will probably dose and W/C one more time.

Got the maglite out late late last night and saw no worms.

But I still don't feel OK to put any clams in, of course. And of course, my favorite LFS has three awesome baby maxima clams right now for $40 each. Had to pass those babies right up. :tears:

#13
mzoo

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UPDATE....I baited my tank from November to February, caught several more worms. Also watched with flashlight at night and monitored snails.

The common worm medicines never worked on these large polyclads, and I was too worried about my fish to use the really heavy duty antiworm agents.

Once I was not catching or seeing any more worms (approx end of December), and new baby stomatella were popping up, I finally got a new maxima clam. Added him two weeks ago and so far he is doing great!! :D