My Acclimation/Coral Dipping Set Up

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Enderturtle, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    Just wanted to share my set-up/protocol for acclimating and dipping corals.

    So as most of you know, one of the main rules for putting new corals into your tank is.......YOU GUESSED IT.


    There are a number of pest species that can enter your reef tank and kill everything in your tank or make it so ugly you want to quit. Examples: Aptasia anemones which multiply and sting corals, Bryopsis algae which grows like a weed and is really hard to get rid of, bubble algae, coral-eating fireworms, acropora eating flatworms, montipora eating nudibranchs, zoanthid-eating spiders/snails. You get the idea. Blindly putting corals in your tank is like making love with a stranger. You don't know what you might catch.

    So where do I start? After getting a new coral (from the store, your friend, frag swap) I inspect the coral for any obvious pest species. Afterwards, I try my best to take the coral off of the fragplug/rock. I use everything I have which includes scapels, exacto knives, bone cutters, and a dremel. Sometimes you can't get it off the frag plug. Oh well. Do your best. Don't kill your coral. A good rule is that if you remove most of the substrate that the coral is on, there's less hiding places for pest species. Afterwards, I put the coral on a NEW fragplug or rock.

    So here is my plastic container. I've measured where it holds 1000mL, using a measuring cup.


    1000mL = 0.26 gallons

    I put the coral in the cup and drip acclimate using your standard tube/valve. I do this for a while until the salinity matches my tank. Usually have to pour out some water from the cup once if the salinity is off.


    I use revive as my dip so I only have to put one cap full into the container. Then I stir the dip with the water.

    The white plastic things are two pieces of eggcrate (aka light diffusers) glued together to hold frag plugs so that they stand up and aren't flying all over the place when I blow with the turkey baster.

    While I'm blowing the coral with the turkey baster, I watch to see what flies off. If the motherlode of all flatworms comes flying off of a big rock of coral, I would take precaution and set up a quarantine tank or throw it away...or sell it to someone you don't like. Just kidding, don't intentionally give people pests!


    EGGS OF PEST SPECIES USUALLY SURVIVE MOST DIPS. This is where you need to visually inspect frag plugs/rocks/etc. Scrape those eggs off and keep an eye on it. Repeat dips if you have to.

    So there's my quick write-up on dipping. I'm glad to say I have almost no coral pests in my tank. A few bristleworms. Some hair algae which I've defeated but nothing else really. I started with live rock which was cured in bleach.

    Sometimes I dip my corals when they are not healthy looking (e.g., not opening when all other corals are doing fine). That's what I was doing today for some zoas that haven't opened when all other zoas were happy.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
  2. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    Nice write-up....Thanks
  3. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    - I don't trust revive, but I do trust both lugol's, and bayer.
    - bayer > lugol's > saltwater.
    - I spend anywhere from 5min - 15min for bayer and lugol.
    - by the time i get to lugol's, you can see what didn't make it, and you can continue to scrub off stuff.
    - the last saltwater dip stage is confirmation on whether or not you were successful.
  4. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    Nice writeup Alfred. I've never had luck with 5-10min dips. Always done 2-3min.

    Scrub Algae/crap > Revive dip > Lugols dip > Saltwater rinse > DT
    neuro likes this.
  5. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    Also a fan of the Bayer dip. It seems to be easier on the corals and worse for the hitchikers than the Revive dip.

    FWIW, if your new coral has hitchikers, there is a good chance that it also has eggs. There is not any dip that will kill the eggs. You really need to dip and put your corals in a holding tank for a few days and then dip again before they go into your tank. This helps insure that any eggs hatch in the holding tank so that the dipping can be effective.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
    neuro and Coral reefer like this.
  6. T.louderback

    T.louderback Guest

    Going to try this next frag trip, I've been a little too lenient lately
  7. Baykes

    Baykes Webmaster

    I regret to say that I have been the same. This is a great demonstration, thanks!
  8. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    Yeah common dips include

    Revive (made by Two Little Fishies)
    Coral RX
    Lugols Iodine
    Bayer Insecticide
    (make sure you do your research before using)

    I've heard that revive can be harsh on acros.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
  9. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    Yep...has not bothered my other acros but from the frag swap it took out almost half of one of the acros I dipped...and it was a short dip too....but I will get it back to heath....hopefully...
  10. Ahruk

    Ahruk Guest

    Another thing which I am not an expect in but have BEGUN to look into/test is hydrogen peroxide dip in addition to the traditional dips. It is supposed to help kill algae.
    Baykes likes this.
  11. Baykes

    Baykes Webmaster

    I was also looking into this to get some hair algae off of a couple zoo frags. There seems to be a lot of success with this method as well.
  12. Ahruk

    Ahruk Guest

    Yea, that's why I figured I'd give it a shot with a couple of the coral that I got at the swap (Not all of them just the two that seemed to have some hair algae on them) I did it a little bit less then recommended just because I was nervous and kind of wish I had done the full dosage. But I also cut down the rocks around the zoas to minimize potential risk. Last time I checked they seemed to be fine (not happy-only half open) but I'm out of town for a couple of days so hopefully they've opened up all the way by now. None of my zoas from the swap were very happy :/
  13. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    All your zoas are open now Jill.

    I think your zoas were unhappy because you dipped them in Hydrogen Peroxide.

    All the corals I got from the frag swap opened and were happy the next day.
    BirmanReefGirl and Ahruk like this.
  14. Ahruk

    Ahruk Guest

    I told you already, I only dipped two of them in hydrogen peroxide lol. The other 5 just wanted to tease me and make me wait a week to admire them :p
  15. If it make you feel better, I had a set of like 6 that took at least two weeks to open. The wait just about killed me.
  16. Ahruk

    Ahruk Guest

    Oh man that's painful!!! But at least they opened in the end so to quote the bard "all's well that ends well" :) but man those two weeks had to have been rough.
  17. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I use about the same strategy as @Enderturtle, though I'm jealous of his fancy frag-rack/dipping container. I use a 1L glass pyrex cup.

    My drip acclimation tubing/clamp looks almost the same. I think I have a package of tiny plastic valves if anyone would like one, then you just need airline tubing and you've got a nice drip acclimator.
    Ahruk likes this.
  18. muhli

    muhli Guest

    They sell many different size containers at daiso for cheap :)

    Got mine similar to ender's for 1.50

    I used revive on an Acro I got from Neptunes yesterday and its not looking too hot...
    Ahruk likes this.
  19. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Usually, during my lugols dip, I scrub the frags to get rid of nuisance algae. I really pinpoint some spots if the algae is tough like turf algae, with tweezers.

    I'm too afraid to use hydrogen peroxide.

    I haven't had issues with most nuisance algae, so i think i've been pretty lucky.
  20. Ahruk

    Ahruk Guest

    Yea it's not recommended for sps and if I had a really expensive zoa I probably wouldn't dip it.

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