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Q11231 - HOWTO: How to Dip Corals By Robert Farnsworth, Reef Squad
How to Dip Corals

12 months have passed since setting up your tank, fish are healthy and many of the new corals you added are flourishing and beginning to grow. You get home from work one day, take a gander at the tank and you see what looks like little bugs crawling on your corals leaving behind tiny bite marks in the tissue. If left alone, these little critters may consume coral tissue and polyps leading to a quick demise of the entire coral colony.

As hobbyists, this is a position you never want to be in. Having a fully stocked and thriving aquarium only to find out you have introduced some kind of parasite, pesky organism, or disease that will be almost impossible to kill completely and will slowly kill off many of the corals you have invested so much time and energy into.

Here is a list of common coral pests that you might encounter on corals.
  • Red Bugs
  • Red Flatworms
  • Acropora Eating Flat Worms
  • Montipora Eating Nudibranchs
  • Zooanthid Eating Nudibranchs
  • Zooanthid Eating Spiders
  • Sundial Snails
  • Bristleworms
  • Nuisance Algae
How do you prevent introducing parasites, unwanted coral pests, and disease into our aquariums? Dip your corals before they enter your aquarium of course. This way you will eradicate the pests before they even enter your tank and infest other corals. This is how you do it.

Equipment Needed: What to do:
  1. First, float the coral in the bag for 15-20 minutes in your aquarium in order to acclimate for temperature. This is only necessary for new coral additions. If dipping corals that are already in your tank, this step is not necessary.
  2. Fill both containers with 1 gallon of aquarium water each.
  3. Add the chosenCoral Dip to one of the containers of aquarium water and mix to the concentration specified in the directions. It is also safe to make homemade coral dips with Iodine or even plain freshwater. Be careful when using homemade solutions and do your research first. While it might be safe to dip Zooanthids into freshwater, it is certainly not safe for most SPS corals
  4. Put on rubber gloves - not absolutely necessary but recommended.    
  5. Remove the coral from the bags or your aquarium and place immediately into the mixed coral dip solution.
  6. Set your timer based on the coral dip instructions and watch the little buggers fall off your coral. It may be necessary to agitate the water using a turkey baster or air stone in order to help remove dead organisms. Dipping time can vary depending on the type of coral, severity of infestation, and type of coral dip solution being used. Anywhere from 5-20 minutes is typical dipping time. Be sure to observe the coral for any obvious signs of severe stress during the dip (i.e. tissue loss, extreme slime excretion, etc.). Remove the coral immediately from the dip solution if severe stress is observed.
  7. Remove the coral from the dip solution and place into the 2nd bucket of aquarium water in order to rinse off any residual coral dip solution.
  8. Place coral immediately into your aquarium and observe closely for the 5-7 days. If any kind of parasites or pest is noticed, the process can be repeated.
While dipping corals is a common and fairly safe practice, it is important to read the labels of the coral dip you are using thoroughly. Furthermore, some coral dips are known to be more effective at attacking certain types of pests over others. It is not un-common for hobbyists to come up with a regiment of multiple dip solutions in order to cover the entire basis.
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Approved Comments...
Very good information to know. Approved: 8/1/2013
new to the hobby and need all the information I can get Approved: 7/27/2013
In my last tank had lots of bristle worms, it would been helpful to have known this then. Approved: 7/27/2013
Putting a dipped piece back in a dirty tank does not solve the problem Approved: 7/27/2013
very concise yet complete. Approved: 7/27/2013
Was just ok Approved: 7/26/2013
Good info, maybe more on what different dips target. Approved: 7/26/2013
I am still learning the hobby and do enjoy your emails like this to learn from. Keep up the good work! Approved: 7/26/2013
The more people know, the better. Approved: 7/26/2013
Perfect information as required, including step by step instructions that are clear and concise. Approved: 7/26/2013
Great Ive been having corals with holes in them that came from fireworms. Ill try this now and hopefully itll help . Thanks Marine Depoe yall do give great advise. Andy W.cola sc Approved: 7/26/2013
Good tips, however none of the suggested dip solutions will even bother the Red Bugs. For those we should get a prescripted dog medicine that each day is harder to find in the market, it will be good that some one like you could take care of pursuing a brand to elaborate a version available for us (the aquarists). Approved: 7/26/2013
Tells me why, how, and what! Approved: 7/26/2013
Article Details
Created on 7/25/2013.
Last Modified on 7/26/2013.
Last Modified by Dot Yuson.
Article has been viewed 7470 times.
Rated 9 out of 10 based on 44 votes.
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