Benibachi Planaria Zero treatment?
I just ordered some because my tank has a bunch of very tiny planaria right now. They've been there since very early on in the tank while I was cycling so my guess is that they came from my LFS. Also some of my shrimp have what looks like scutariella on their antennae but not their rostrum. My main concern however are the 4 nerite snails in my tank, I can move them to a temporary holding while I treat my main tank but I was curious about how to go about reintroducing them to the tank. I don't want to do major water changes in case that shocks the shrimp too much who seem to be adjusting to my tank well. Does anybody have a good treatment and water change regiment that will get the snails back into the tank safely?
My tank is a 10g planted tank using ADA aquasoil. I did not have a particular goal when setting up the tank other than to have it well planted. While it was cycling I decided on keeping it as a shrimp tank in the hopes of producing some interesting crossbreeds stemming from the bloody mary line. The issue I ran into was that I was purchasing plants from several sources including my LFS (which is not a top notch store), as well as online vendors (of various repute). It is impossible to pinpoint exactly where the contamination in my tank came from (could have been my well water for all I know). However once my tank was cycled I went and purchased shrimp from a vendor with a weak reputation (unknown at the time of purchase) since they had a line of blue rili shrimp that I wanted for their genes. Up to that point my tank had been running for a little under two months since I had to fight a ton of different algae problems and cycling issues. The shrimp came and they seemed to be in fine condition and adapted to my tank well, later did I learn that some of them had Scutariella which was probably weakening them, although most sources I read stated that those could not kill shrimp. I did notice that my tank had some some pest snails from plants, and some small flatworms also were present in the tank. Whether the flatworms were rhabdocoela or juvenile planaria I am unsure. Additionally there were other forms of life in the tank such as seed shrimp, copepods and detritus worms as well which I have no problem with.
The shipment of shrimp came with extra shrimp so I was not worried if a couple of them died. However I noticed mysterious deaths occurring in the tank, a couple of the blue rili shrimp would have functional swimmerets but they seemed paralyzed from their upper body. All the shrimp that died also had Scutariella at the base of their antennae. My method of dealing with this was to remove the molts as soon as possible, since a trial salt dip did not end too well for one shrimp and the little suckers seemed to hang onto the carapace for a while before releasing. So after dealing with that issue, I let my tank settle for a week, content to live with the possible planaria in my tank. One of the shrimp that came with my ordered just happened to be berried and I carefully monitored her for a week, in case she molted and dropped the eggs. The eggs eventually hatched without her molting so I was able to see tiny shrimplets running around the tank. I was also able to see one of the flatworms interact with a shrimplet with no ill effects, the shrimp simply jumped away on contact. On a Friday all the eggs had hatched and I decided to let the problems in my tank exist. While transitioning to a mature tank style maintenance technique, I went with RO water topoffs while feeding the shrimp a little heavier to increase nitrates in the tank (measured at about 5ppm at that point, I wanted 10-20 to encourage plant growth). By Saturday however, I noticed that my tank had a huge bacterial bloom, either caused by the shock from the RO top off or the additional nitrogen in the system. I was totally fine with letting it pass since none of the shrimp seemed distressed by it, but when I looked into the tank, I noticed the dreaded hydra sticking to walls of my tank. I suspect the explosion of bacteria and copepods were feeding some small population of hydras which I hadn't noticed before. One curious note is that the shrimp did not like that side of the tank that had the hydra in it, I had assumed it was because that side had less flow however retrospectively it makes sense that the shrimp were avoiding the hydra zone. The planaria zero I had ordered arrived the previous day (I was saving it for a future treatment in case the flatworms got any larger or my pest snail population exploded), so in an effort to protect the baby shrimp I decided to take action.
Planaria zero from what I can tell is a betel nut extract which from my research prevents the absorption of nutrients, and the method of killing is starvation. Its half-life in humans is about 4 hours but in bacteria and other animals I am unsure. Why it has no effect on shrimp I'm also not sure. Since I have 4 nerite snails, I rehomed them rather haphazardly to a bucket of water (well water) for the duration of the treatment. They supposedly are quite sensitive to the treatment and they've been an effective clean up crew so I wanted to save them. Baby pests snails I left in the tank to see if the treatment would kill them as well. I had scrapped off the hydra off the walls of the tank in case a shrimplet decided to wonder over there and began my treatment. For the treatment I ceased feeding my shrimp as well as dosing fertilizers.
The package came with a little dosing spoon, however the instructions were not very clear at all. I went with the dosing regiment on the package since it made the most sense to me. Each spoonful was good at treating 6 gallons so I dosed 1.5 spoonfuls on the first day, 1.5 spoonfuls on the second day, and 1 spoonful on the third day. I also added in additional aeration to the tank in the form of an airstone as recommended by the packaging. On the fourth day I did a 20% water change, followed by another 20% water change on the fifth and sixth day. On the sixth day I also added carbon to my filter, waited about 10 hours then introduced the nerites back into the tank. My snails definitely seem sluggish however I am unsure of whether it is because they were sitting in an unheated bucket for a week with only a little food or because I only really replaced 50% of treated water in my tank. The powder itself is fairly insoluble as I found out the hard way when I dumped a whole spoonful into the tank only to watch it since to the bottom in a clump and stained my soil a powdery white. Eventually it did dissolve and the whiteness went away. The best method of dosing was to add a spoonful to some tankwater and mix it before adding to the aquarium.
No pest deaths of any sort occurred immediately which was a bit disappointing and perhaps a bit concerning since I could have just bought expensive flour from Japan. However, I do not see any hydra in the tank and I have not spotted any flatworms in the tank since I did the treatment. However I did change many variable during the treatment (aeration, feeding, ferts) so it is unclear whether results were from treatment or merely coincidental. Additionally, the pest snails were not affected by the treatment (which is why I thought it safe to add my nerites back in) so I have defaulted to manual removal. Most importantly however, the shrimp seemed to be unfazed by the treatment. Adults are still molting normally with no issues and the shrimplet survival seems to be 100%. Additionally, the shrimp are all over the tank now rather than concentrated on the other side of the hydra zone. Copepods and detritus worms also seemed unfazed by the treatment as well. All my plants survived more or less, although the lack of ferts during the treatment probably did not do them much good.
Anyway, hopefully this is useful for anybody else who was in the same boat as I was in the future. The lesson in this is to just buy plants and animals from well reviewed sources and save yourself the headache of experimental treatments.
Last edited by JusticeBeaver; 12-18-2017 at 10:27 PM.