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Critter-preserving dip for new corals? Want to dislodge, not kill.

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I want to start my tank up with mostly dry rock to hopefully avoid pests, and I want to dip new corals on arrival to dislodge anything that's in them. I don't want to kill everything that's on the corals, though, there's all kinds of fun creatures to be had on rocks. 

What I want to do is get a container of the dipping mix set up and place a net in it, then dip and swish the coral inside the net. That way, anything that falls or darts off will be in the net. I can then quickly transfer the net to a container holding the saltwater that was in the transport bag, so as to cause minimal harm to the critters, and I can sort through them to find the good stuff. 

What dip would dislodge the most pests, while causing the least possible harm to them and to the corals? Fresh water? 


Are there any dips that are safe for rock flower nems? I know some of the actual medicated dips are bad for them.

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 I think the dip you want is a freshwater dip.


But I think the actual solution to your worry is not a dip, but a quarantine period. 


This goes for live rock as well as your corals. You're much much much much much much much much much better off starting with live rock.  And if you cannot get past your worries  even though hitchhikers that are actually problematic are "few and far between", use a quarantine period to see if there's anything to actually worry about.  (It makes sense for many reasons to wait a few weeks or even a month or longer between every stage of adding things to your tank.  Most people are moving too quickly for that and too focused on peripheral or even hypothetical issues like pests they have read about.  Take it slow and eliminate worry with time and observation.)


You can do the same observation thing with your corals more or less, but since they are easier to handle and have so little surface area compared a giant piece of rock you can actually go over each coral with a fine tooth comb so to speak (use an inexpensive jewelers loop; $10+) in real time, more or less avoiding the wait.


If your concerns about pests on your prospective coral purchases are even stronger than I have suspected, then you might want to reconsider the source for your corals – no dip or quarantine procedure is perfect.


Consider getting your coral from somewhere you can observe them before purchase and where you can be aware of the corals surroundings prior to being bagged up.

Edited by mcarroll
missed a part...and typos

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I wasn't planning to start with entirely dry rock, just mostly, with a handful of easily inspected little pieces. I suppose a quarantine would be easy enough, though. 

I have an empty 2-gal tank. Can I just pop some live rock in there with a random light source, an airstone, and an occasional sprinkling of food, maybe swap some water out once a month? It would, I suppose, have the added benefit of giving me a bunch of cycled, cured live rock that I could use to get my tank started. 


The coral sources I'm thinking of are two reputable LFS, and everything looks healthy on inspection. It's just that I'd prefer to know what's on there. Mostly I don't want to deal with flatworms.

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On 9/9/2019 at 1:19 PM, Tired said:

It's just that I'd prefer to know what's on there. Mostly I don't want to deal with flatworms.

Part of the reality is that you can't know "what's on there" with any certainty...the microbes are both too multitudinous and for the most part too microscopic.  At most you can look for some likely targets, if you are familiar enough with any of them.


Do your due diligence

and use your own judgement on each coral...but just know that pests really are uncommon, not inevitable.


Most people go their whole reefing careers without seeing a flatworm in their tank.  If you've seen one before then it would seem virtually impossible by the stats that you'll ever see one again.


("Pests" which ARE common like hair algae or cyano aren't even real pests.)

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