If you were like me, you may have heard about this thing called coral dipping when you were new to saltwater. Before I was ready for corals I keet seeing this on the forums, yet I had no idea what it was for or why?
It is a simple process to dip a coral and one that many people seem to be afraid to do, but it is really easy and can save you from losing many corals in your main display tank.
Why Do I Need To Dip Coral?
Dipping corals is to kill any hitch-hiking pests that prey/live on certain corals and if they are allowed to enter your pride and joy, they can wreak havoc and cost you a fortune.
No matter where you get a new coral from it must ALWAYS be dipped. You could have received it from a good friend, family member, trusted local store, trusted online vendor, but the bugs are tiny and do get missed – If you don’t inspect them properly.
Think of this of like a quarantine for coral. Yes, a coral quarantine tank would be nice, but lights are expensive and running another tank just for corals is not feasible for the common aquarist.
Types Of Pests You Need To Remove:
- Acropora Eating Flatworms (AEFW)
- Zoanthid Eating Spiders
- Red Flatworms
- Asternia Starfish
What To Use To Dip Corals
There are three main players in the coral dip market:
Coral RX was designed to help remove unwanted pests from corals but also act as a medication to help treat and repair tissue on corals. It is a proprietary blend of natural ingredients and it is also Iodine-free. Iodine has been known to stain some corals.
The only downside to Coral RX is that it is not effective in removing Acropora Red Bugs.
20ml per Gallon of Saltwater
1.25ml per Cup
You can find it HERE at Marine Depot
Two Little Fishes Revive
Revive is mainly designed as a coral cleaner for use in acclimation and coral propagation. It too is a proprietary blend of ingredients that help to remove or kill unwanted pests and is the main competitor to Coral RX.
Two Little Fishes does not list what pests will be eradicated using their solution, but it is highly regarded within the industry. I have used it too and had very good results with it.
40ml per Gallon of saltwater
2.5ml per Cup
You can find it HERE at Marine Depot
Bayer Advanced Insecticide
Bayer Advanced Insecticide is also a great pest removal solution. Not as popular as the other two solutions but does work very well according to many, many aquarists.
I have not personally used it but I am recommending it due to its reviews throughout the community. It is easy to purchase within the US, but may be more difficult in other parts of the world.
160ml per Gallon of Saltwater
10ml per Cup
You can find it HERE at Amazon.com
Any of the solutions will work great and it will come down to personal preference which you chose to use. Many aquarists use a combination in an effort to catch every pest. Again the choice is yours.
I switch between Coral RX and Revive depending on what my local fish store has in stock when I go to buy. I have had great success with both products and can highly recommend either.
Equipment You Will Need
Before you embark on your first coral purchases I really advise you to get setup with your dipping supplies before you go. The following items I have found to be really easy and helpful when you get your new coral frags home:
Used for really close inspection of your frags. It really helps to create shadows or see any color differences when looking for the tiny pests.
Used in conjunction with the flashlight to look under all the nooks and crannies of the coral. This is where the pests are most likely to be hiding as they were safe from predators here in their previous aquarium.
Used to help gently lift parts of fleshy corals and used to pick off anything suspicious.
Same as Tweezers. Lifting, poking and scraping.
Used to measure out the required amount of dipping solution and good for sucking up and blasting the corals with the dipping solution/water mix.
Used for measuring out the required amounts of saltwater from your sump/aquarium to provide the correct dipping solution concentration.
Used to blast the coral frags and help remove any pests trying to hang on.
Lay it down on the work surface to help keep your work area clean and soak up the drips. Drips will get everywhere!
Assorted Tupperware Containers
I use a minimum of 3. One for the coral dipping solution, and 2 for washing the frags in aquarium water. Depending on the frag size I will only put 3-4 frags at a time in the dipping solution.
The required amount of your chosen solution. You can use one solution multiple times in one dipping session.
Required amount of water from your sump/aquarium. Do not use freshly mixed saltwater as the chemical elements like Calcium and Alkalinity may be too high and harm your new frags.
Used to remove most frags from their plugs ready for mounting on a fresh frag plug/disk. Fully encrusted SPS and Zoanthids are pretty much the only corals I leave on their plug.
You can find a great pair HERE at Marine Depot.
New Frag Plugs
Ready for mounting your newly dipped coral frags onto.
Find a Great Selection HERE at Amazon.com
Used to glue your new coral frags to their new frag plugs.
Corals and the dipping solutions can be nasty to you. Protect your eyes from any splashes.
I advise you to read my article HERE on Palytoxin Poisoning now you are getting into corals. It’s good to be aware of this. Be sure to Download my Free Symptoms Guide too and make your family aware of the symptoms – You may not notice them!
Protect your hands too. Hangnails and cuts are the perfect place to allow any coral toxin to enter your body. Stay safe.
Coral dipping is a simple process and to many, it may seem overkill, but if you see what an aquarium owner goes through when a pest destroys ten years of coral growth in a beautiful aquarium, you will never add a coral without dipping again!
With time you will become faster and it does not take me long to do a dozen corals in one shot if you have everything prepared.
Just like fish quarantine – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Enjoy your new frags!
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