How to Remove Colonial Hydroids From your Reef Tank safely

Colonial Hydroids

You may have never heard of these pests, but removing them from your aquarium system may be a nightmare.

Fortunately, Reef Tank Resource offers everything you need if you discover one of these unattractive animals in your aquarium, regardless matter how long the infestation has lasted.

There are several strategies for removing unattractive wormy organisms from your aquarium. From critters that will assist comb the aquarium for pests to more direct means of elimination, we offer a variety of maintenance suggestions and insights.

What are Hydroids in an aquarium reef?

In a saltwater aquarium, hydroids may take two forms. The first form is a medusa, which has a downward-facing mouth and is rather free-floating. The other variety is colonial hydroids, consisting of polyps with an upward-facing mouth.

Frequently, a hydroid will undergo both of these stages during its lifecycle.

Different polyps within the colony perform various duties, ranging from prey killing to digesting. When the pest is in its polyp stage, it often attaches itself to rocks or coral to get a footing in the aquarium.

The tentacles extending from the polyp threaten the coral and fish in your reef aquarium.

Are Hydroids bad?

It all relies on the population of your aquarium and the number of digitate hydroids you have. According to the data, several species in your aquariums, such as SPS corals, Zoanthids, and several fish species, will undoubtedly be at risk from their presence.

In addition, the population may swiftly become uncontrollable if the environment fosters its growth.

However, some individuals have discovered that their hydroids had vanished after just two days. As a result, their tanks were insufficient to sustain the population.

On the other hand, many aquarists were unaware that the white worm in their tank was a hydroid, resulting in a population explosion for the species within a few weeks.

Once the population begins to grow, it may become more challenging to eliminate it from the aquarium’s ecosystem.

What may consume Hydroids?

If you have found that you have a problem with hydroid, several fish and other marine species may be able to assist you in eliminating the issue.

Since Lynx Nudibranchs nearly exclusively consume hydroids, it may not be wise to attempt to keep one permanently since you will endanger the animal’s health once your issue has been resolved.

However, if you have an aquarist buddy, you may be able to borrow one for a few weeks or months to eliminate aquarium pests. If not, there are several additional marine species from which to pick.

The sea urchin Salmacis bicolor might be a little sluggish, but it does an excellent job of consuming the hydroid in your rock over time.

Flameback Angelfish: This fish may fight the good fight and eat invasive pests, but it is also a risk that it will disregard them and nibble on your corals.

This little sea slug, Pterolidia Ianthina, is also a big fan of hydroid.

Do peppermint shrimp consume Hydroids?

Are peppermint shrimp as effective against the annoying hydroid as they are against other pests? The answer is sometimes.

As with any animal with a varied diet, there is no assurance that the species would consume the invaders if other alternatives are more tempting.

It depends on your aquarium’s hydroid. For example, there is documented evidence that peppermint shrimp will consume aiptasia, but there is less data for other species.

How large do Hydroids get?

Depending on the particular species you’re dealing with, you may anticipate a colony to reach a maximum of 5 inches broad and 1.5 inches tall.

But, again, depending on the size of your aquarium, this will leave some of your fish and invertebrates with few places to hide.

How do Hydroids reproduce?

Throughout the polyp stage of their life cycle, all species reproduce asexually by dividing one of their tentacles into more larvae. It is one reason why the bug may become so problematic so rapidly.

There must be one in your tank for problems to arise and pose a significant threat to your fish and corals. If they have access to food, there is minimal possibility that they will go on their own.

Do Hydroids sting?

Some species appreciate stinging hydroids. The main benefit of this species is that it feeds primarily on plankton, but its sting may be painful and threatens your fish and corals.

In addition, the stinging may be painful if you are not cautious, so if you attempt to remove the insect physically, be sure to use gloves and take other precautions to protect yourself.

Manual removal

If the number is minimal, manually eliminating the pest may be advisable. First, investigate every potential spot where the pest may be hiding.

Once every known position has been noted, take a pair of tweezers, approach their post, and remove them at their base. Be very cautious while removing them to prevent them from escaping elsewhere.

You may also attempt to seal the bugs within their dwellings using epoxy. However, the epoxy will block them from moving, causing them to starve.

Will peroxide destroy Hydroids?

You may be able to dose peroxide or inject it straight into the bug to eradicate it from your aquarium. It is effective if you are not dealing with many pests.

The sole disadvantage of peroxide is that it might harm beneficial microorganisms in the water column.

Fenbendazole usage against hydroids

Using fenbendazole might be an effective method for eliminating this bug from your aquarium rocks. However, the optimal time to administer this treatment is before adding live rocks to the reef aquarium.

Depending on your area, you may obtain this product more readily at a local tractor supply shop than at a fish merchant.

In addition, the treatment may be used as a dip to prevent pests such as bristle worms and hydroid from entering the aquarium.

As opposed to other treatments, such as peroxide, this approach will not harm the beneficial microorganisms in your aquarium.

During treatment, if you do it right in your aquarium, However, during use, disable filter mechanisms such as your protein skimmer, UV sterilization, and carbon removal.


You should dose your aquarium with 0.1 to 0.2 milliliters per gallon. It would help to stop the spread if you kept doing this every day for at least three days.

However, if it seems that the distance is not decreasing, you may need to continue for up to a week.


Fenbendazole is a dewormer that also kills other parasites in the body. If you have many of these worms in your system, there is a substantial risk that the ammonia levels in your water may surge.

After treatment, you should do a water change and conduct a water quality test. If you see a significant shift in the parameters, you may need to take different actions to stabilize them.

Digitate hydroids laser

You could try to get rid of the polyp colony in your reef aquarium by using an aiptasia laser, but there are a few things you should know before you start slicing through your tank.

If you are not cautious, the laser may harm the species in your aquarium significantly. Therefore, you must strictly adhere to the laser’s recommended safety measures to prevent harm and ensure effective operation. Ultimately, it is a laser capable of eradicating organisms from almost any place.

However, many disagree with their usage. As stated by reef2reef forum user salty joe, “lasers are too unsafe to utilize for pest management.” However, a laser might be effective, although risky.

For example, if you see that your bug has not yet multiplied excessively, you might attempt to eliminate it with a laser while ensuring that no children are in the room.

Digitate hydroids dip

You might design a dip to remove the hydroid from live rocks before placing them in your reef aquarium, or you could remove the live rock and dip it to remove the hydroid.

Depending on the dipping technique, you may eliminate beneficial bacteria from the post, so keep this in mind before using whatever is available to treat the pest’s location.

As a dip, fenbendazole is the most effective option since it eliminates bugs without destroying beneficial bacteria in the area. Nonetheless, you may need to apply a peroxide dip if it fails.

Last thoughts

Digitate Hydroids are hazardous to your zoa, fish, and aquarium’s general aesthetic. If you see one in your tank, it is advisable to address the matter quickly instead of delaying action.

Ensure that you search, so you do not leave a spot unsolved by mistake. As with any nuisance, they should be eliminated quickly.

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