Best Flatworm Pest Control Fish
What are Flatworms?
Flatworms are small reddish-rust colored, 2-dimensional elongated pests that can be detrimental to your reef tank. Flatworm pests feed on small rotifers, phytoplankton and the like, and will become out of control, if left unchecked. They can create mats with their bodies, covering surfaces and smothering corals or other parts of substrates. If they overpopulate the tank, a mass sudden death is likely to occur, in which they release a toxin that can cause a chain reaction of deaths and even wipe out your entire tank.
How to Eliminate Flatworms
One way to try to prevent the occurrence of Flatworms in your tank is to inspect and quarantine all new glass/acrylic, substrate, coral, fish and live rock. These pests are great at hitchhiking on these surfaces. Another way to get rid of them, if you already have them, is to introduce your tank to pest control fish. There are a number of natural predators to control these flatworm pests. Predators to the Flatworms are Six Line Wrasses, Yellow Coris Wrasses, Melanurus Wrasses, Leopard Wrasses, Spotted Mandarin, and even Blue Damsels. The Blue Velvet Nudibranch is also an effective predator. However, once the Flatworm population dies out, the Nudibranch will soon follow as it will starve to death without its sole diet source.
While most wrasse fish are easy to take on for a beginner aquarist, the Leopard and Melanurus should only be introduced by intermediate or expect level hobbyists. Wrasse fish can also get territorial, so be sure to introduce your wrasses into the tank at the same time. Keep in mind there is a bit of a drawback to the natural approach; the fish won’t be able to consume all of the flatworms in the tank. They will, however, keep the pest population down. And as long as you quarantine all live species before introducing them in the tank and house any Six Line Wrasse, Yellow Coris Wrasse, Malanurus Wrasses, Leopard Wrasse, Spotted Manadrin, and Blue Damsels, you can keep your chances of Flatworm pest infestation to a minimum. Check out our care sheets in the links provided to determine which fish is the best for your reef tank.