So… Why dip? Both wild and cultured corals can carry pests and diseases. Just like fish, coral can be stressed and killed from parasites if left unchecked. You may find later with closer observation pests like flatworms or red-bugs present on corals in the tank, even if the water quality is great. These pests can then potentially infest the tank, spreading to other corals. For these reasons it is always good practice to dip all newly purchased or traded corals before placing them in your main display or quarantine tank. Dipping can also be beneficial if a coral looks like it is not doing so well and is retracting itself, as there may be unseen issues at play. So, here are some tips and a simple guide on how to dip coral.
Is it Safe?
First know that coral dips are safe for coral (as the name implies), but are not safe for mobile invertebrates which many pests are. The dip is great at effectively killing and removing parasites like flatworms and nudibranchs, which can be seen crawling or falling off into the dipping container as the solution takes affect. So, keep in mind dips must only ever be used in a separate container and not added to the reef tank, as it would wipe out snails, hermit crabs and shrimp.
- Infected corals can be dipped regularly until no parasites are seen falling off in the dip water. Fleshy corals like LPS retract when dipped and may need multiple dips to eradicate parasites that are caught or hiding in the folds of the retracted coral tissue.
- Using a powerhead in the dip container helps mix the dipping solution in the water and flush the parasites off coral tissue.
- Always rinse the corals in another separate container of tank water after dipping to wash the dip off, then discard both rinse water and dip water after when finished.
How to Dip Coral: Step-by-Step
- Using a clean container add one gallon of water from your tank
- Add the coral dip to the dipping container with the acclimated coral
- Place a powerhead in the bucket to circulate the water and help mix the dip
- Dip for the recommended time from the manufacturer’s instructions e.g 10 minutes.
- Take a second container of tank water (without dip) and rinse the dipped coral to remove any residual dip solution and to not transfer dip water back to the tank (as it is harmful to mobile invertebrates).
- Take the rinsed coral and place it back in the tank.
- Discard the dip water and rinse water from both containers to clean, dry, and store for next time.