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Cultivated Reef

Anyone else allow pests to co-exist?


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Am I the only one here that let common reef tank pests co-exist with the rest of my system in balance?


I have bubble algae, aiptasia and red flatworms in my system that I "allow" to exist and in turn have NOT overrun the tank.

In fact at present the only pest i'm anxious to get rid of is an evil fulgida worm that is impossible for me to trap, which is feasting on my near endless supplies of juvenile turbosnails.


So anyone else here that "allow" percieved pests to roam free? :lol:

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I kind of do :)


I only kill aiptasia if they get huge or end up in the middle of my corals. Flatworms have gone unchecked but have disappeared. I think my scooter ate them. Anyway I try not to go nuts if a pest appears.

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they are pests because eventually, they will overrun the system. Given enough time. 1 Aiptasia, after a year or so, will eventually turn into a couple and then a couple hundred. Bubble algae can do the same if you have the right nutrients for it.


That said, aiptasia have caused me minimal harm, but have made the view a lot more unpleasant.


yeah, i've had flatworms and they just disappeared and never came back.

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My worry is that since our tanks are i guess, you can say, incredibly small micro-ecosystems (in comparison to the ocean), there is not enough space or other organisms to control the pests.

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Nope. Dispose of with extreme prejudice. They get out of hand with even a moment's lapse. Bubble algae, mojano anemones, aiptasia, bryopsis, GHA... they're all pests because they out compete and are incredibly virulent. It's not about a spotless tank, it's about proactively dealing with an issue. I've seen a "balanced" GHA, mojano, aiptasia, tank. They're a disgusting mass of pick your pest.


Edit: they may be "in check" momentarily but should your parameters change slightly or you become less diligent with water changes, you'll rue the day you left them alone.

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+1 to them eventually expanding. I remember having just one or two, and then roughly a year later, there was a huge explosion of tiny individuals all over my rocks. The same is true with Caulerpa and bubble algae. In the relatively high nutrient water of our tanks, they are better suited to growth than our desirable corals.

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I have learned not to freak out when I see pests. My system has a hitch hiker crab and red flat worms. I just siphon out flatworms when I do water changes, if they are getting out of control(which is only when I've skipped water changes). I believe that chemical cures and tearing aquascaping apart should be a last resort.

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