How To Get Rid Of Vermetid Snails | Reef Builders


Within the early days of the interest once we had been simply completely happy protecting something alive, our subsequent biggest pleasure was once we received one thing to breed. It might have been Caulerpa, Aiptasia, after which lastly one thing like Xenia. No matter what it was, we had been completely happy as a result of the overall consensus was that we had been by no means going to have the ability to get something to breed in our tanks.

Sadly, many people have earned the exhausting approach that we are able to get our invertebrates to breed in our tanks and we’re particularly profitable at this if the animal in query is a pest. For no matter motive we are able to get the pests in our tanks to breed at astronomical charges. One of many worst of those now’s the Vermetid snail, the pesky little worm that builds a calcareous tube round itself and is seemingly impervious to something.

As you might be studying this, I’m certain you might be considering, “Mike will need to have each pest conceivable in his tank”. Sadly, after virtually forty years of doing this, I’ve had or have seen nearly every pest imaginable and sure it’s irritating, however I’ve realized the way to do away with most of them and that’s what I hope to elucidate right here as I’ve been requested by fairly a couple of hobbyists of late how to try this. So I’m assuming that they’re turning into an increasing number of of an issue.

Vermetid snail feeding technique is attention-grabbing, however it will probably kill and irritate corals.

What are Vermetid snails?

Vermetid snails or worms are the small creatures that develop round, below, and typically in corals and stay rock. They initially are available in or on stay rock or the plugs that corals or frags are available in on. At this section, they’re often small in dimension and low in quantity, so they don’t seem to be eliminated. Sadly, they develop rapidly and reproduce even quicker. The issue is often not with their tubes, though when you’ve got reached below a rock or coral and had the tube pierce your finger or hand you’ll disagree. The issue with them is definitely with how they feed and what they do. They feed by sending out a viscous web that adheres to something that it is available in contact with together with meals, detritus, and corals. This final half is the place the issue lies, as this web over time irritates the corals that it is available in contact with, and if this irritation is not eliminated it can kill the coral.

As these worms get greater these nets additionally get greater so these worms and their feeding nets will irritate corals farther and farther away from their tubes. Not all corals are irritated to loss of life by this, however sufficient are that these animals should be eliminated. Along with irritating the corals as they get greater and extra quite a few they will additionally start to compete for area and if left unchecked they will additionally grow to be problematic in plumbing as they have an inclination to love areas with good circulation in order that meals is extra available. Contemplating all of this there actually isn’t any good motive for not eliminating them, aside from it is rather tough to take action.

Tough to kill

As I discussed, they secrete a tough tube round themselves and whereas this tube is tough sufficient to take away, the snail additionally has the capability to seal the highest portion off, so it’s tough so as to add something to the tube to kill them. All of this additionally makes it tough for something to take away or eat them. I’ve tried a number of supposed pure predators, together with Greenbird wrasses, which eat all worms and snails together with absolutely open bristle worms, and Niger triggerfish, which have been reported to eat them as properly, all to no avail. I’ve additionally tried bumblebee snails, which have confirmed to work in some situations. Nonetheless, in 500-gallon tank I might have wanted to make use of a whole lot of them to make a dent within the inhabitants. These snails have labored in smaller tanks and in addition in small areas once I added a bunch of them to an space with an enormous inhabitants of those pests. Sadly, I’ve not gotten these snails to breed, not like the Vermetids which breed like rats, or perhaps its rats that breed like Vermetids.

The writer even tried Niger triggers, Odonus niger, however to no avail.

Why are Vermetid snails turning into an issue?

Understanding that these worms have been round because the begin of the interest, why are they instantly turning into extra problematic? The primary motive might be as a result of an increasing number of of us at the moment are feeding our corals and the meals we feed our corals can be fairly useful to the animals. Second, we at the moment are bringing in additional maricultured colonies than ever moderately than wild colonies. Whereas it is a good factor, the mounts that many of those corals are on, not like wild colonies that are connected to nothing, usually are the house to those and different pests. And lastly, as we now have gotten extra profitable with our tanks, we are able to hold not solely corals alive higher, however also the pests that often live with them in the wild. Understanding what sort of pests these are, the query is the way to remove them, and I imply remove not management as even when you depart only some alive, they are going to come again and be problematic over time.

Prevention is healthier than remedy

Step one is prevention. With something you add to your tank, examine it and take away something that would grow to be an eventual pest. I’ll speak in regards to the dip and quarantine strategies I take advantage of in a future article, and this ought to be finished with any new piece. However since these are already in lots of tanks how can they be eradicated? Step one in removing is to make use of mechanical means. When these snails are noticed needle nostril pliers, forceps, or coral cutters ought to be used to chop the tube as near the bottom as attainable. If finished correctly the snail out of its tube ought to be uncovered and plenty of fish will eat this tasty morsel.

If a snail is seen and it can’t be gotten to then tremendous glue will be dabbed onto the highest of the tube which when finished proper will seal its inhabitant into the tube. Sadly, I’ve seen the glue dislodge usually earlier than the snail dies so this technique isn’t the most effective. If the piece of stay rock or coral through which the snail resides will be faraway from the tank it ought to be and the snails clipped off. This may be taken a step additional and their holes doused with vinegar or delicate acid, the rock rinsed, after which positioned again in place. I’ve additionally tried coating them with kalkwasser paste and this has lowered their quantity as properly, however not solely eradicated them.

Vermetids excel in capturing frozen meals, so feed flake meals as a substitute.


To be sincere, at finest these mechanical strategies are at finest a stop-gap measure and whereas they could assist in decreasing their numbers to manageable ranges or get them away from the corals they’re irritating, they won’t remove the issue long-term. For this, it takes a multi-step method that I’ve developed over a few years and takes not less than a month to completely implement. First, they should be hungry, so they should cease being fed. So, if the corals are being fed it must be stopped. Feeding additionally must be modified for the fish within the tank as properly. Vermetids feed on detritus and if this detritus is fish meals that has gotten into their nets it must be lowered. In addition they appear to desire frozen meals like mysis, so this must be stopped as properly.

When attempting to eradicate these pests I’ve discovered it finest to solely feed the tank flake meals. For no matter motive these worms don’t prefer it and don’t reproduce on the similar fee when it’s being fed. Feed a high-quality flake meals if you find yourself doing this as you don’t want to starve the fish, and truly after having to do that for nearly two months to lastly remove these worms none of my fish appeared to undergo. After having all of this in place the precise technique for eliminating these worms now comes into play.

Twice a day for the primary week the stay rock and corals should be both basted with a bulb baster or washed with a small powerhead to get the detritus off the rock. Getting this detritus off the rock and into the water column stimulates the worms to start out casting out their feeding nets. As soon as these nets are out pure calcium carbonate is basted onto their nets. Vermetid worms can not choose what attaches to their nets, so that they should convey every thing into their mouths. By filling them with inert calcium carbonate their guts grow to be full of undigestible matter they usually starve. The formulation for calcium carbonate that I take advantage of for this remedy is 2 tablespoons of calcium carbonate per liter of tank water. Calcium carbonate has been used for various years as a tank clarifier and it’ll not have an effect on the water chemistry in tanks the place it’s used. Treating the tank twice a day for the primary week is only a begin. Then as soon as a day for the subsequent 3-4 weeks, I’ve even needed to go a complete of eight weeks, this appears remedy is completed. I often do that proper earlier than the lights exit because the worms are often extra energetic at night time.

Attempt lacing Vermetid feeding nets with Calcium Carbonate.

Often after two weeks a diminution within the variety of worms is quickly seen, however these are simply the bigger worms and the worms out within the open. So it’s not time to cease, I’ve made this error, as there are nonetheless small worms and worms within the cracks and crevices within the tank that you may’t see. Because of this, it’s essential to proceed this remedy for not less than two weeks. In case you look rigorously you’ll usually discover worms within the overflows or sump. So long as these worms are alive, they are going to have the capability to repopulate the tank. Because of this, the remedy ought to proceed till these remoted worms are gone. Proof that the remedy has been efficient is when these tubes are damaged off and they’re fully empty.

Even after remedy is profitable these should be watched for and much more importantly if any new additions are made, they should be worm free as properly, in any other case, the issue simply begins once more. Yearly we discover extra and new pests getting into our tanks, inflicting issues. Over time we often discover options for combatting them. Whereas not as problematic as some pests, Vermetid worms can nonetheless trigger points so that they should be eradicated.

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