Feeding time is when we can usually get a pretty good head count of the invertebrates still alive in our tank. Our fish will not eat food that has fallen on the substrate, so this left-over food is prime opportunity for our shrimp and crabs, adding some variety to their diets. As of the last feeding time, I am fairly certain we are down to one peppermint shrimp, as we only ever see one at every feeding time. I also know that both of our emerald crabs are still alive, as well as at least one brittle star.
Once in a while however, feeding time will bring out some surprise visits as well. One such surprise came in the form of a worm, inching its way out from “Medusa”, our Pulsating Xenia. When my husband tried to grab him however, he retracted back into the coral too quickly to be caught. We didn’t think much about him until we noticed that there were a few polyps that looked half-eaten and started reading about worms common in Xenia’s.
It took a lot of searching but we finally think we narrowed it down to a worm in the Syllidae family by using a website called chucksaddiction.com, which we commonly use to help identify hitchhikers.
So to remove this worm from our tank, and specifically from our Xenia, we dipped the coral into a “cleaning” solution for five minutes. This procedure is known as a coral dip, and some aquarists recommend doing this with every coral before placing it into the home aquarium. The products we used were Seachem Coral Disinfectant, and Revive Coral Cleaner.
The Revive Coral Cleaner smells like Pine Sol, and the Seachem Coral dip is an iodine product, so it’s a pretty good idea to wear gloves. We placed equal parts of each solution into a tupperware container large enough for our Xenia to fit into, and then filled the container with RODI water. Once we placed the Xenia into the mixture, it took only a matter of seconds before the Syllidae worm detached from the Xenia and we were able to grab him with no effort. We waited 5 full minutes to see if any other worms emerged (none did), and then rinsed the Xenia in RODI water. It took about an hour after the Xenia was put back into the display tank before she opened up again, but has since looks and acts normal.