I’m always looking for cheaper and more effective ways to do everything, so I was quite excited to start using a cheap coral dip found on the shelves of local hardware stores. This coral dip method was developed by “Whisperer” on a ReefCentral thread in 2011. I’m a bit slow behind the curve because it took me this long to run out of CoralRx.
For about half the cost of traditional dips (and about five times the volume), it kills red bugs, Acropora-Eating Flatworms, various pods, and just about any other hitchhikers with no known damage to the coral. It also appears to have a wide range of effectiveness without damaging corals. Compared to other commercial dips, this one kills almost everything, much faster (except Montipora Eating Nudibranchs or various eggs).
Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Killer is typically found in most hardware stores in the lawn care aisle. It contains 0.72% Imidacloprid, 0.36% B-Cyfluthrin, and 98.92% other ingredients. According to its Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which you should review before use, it is highly toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. It is also harmful to humans through inhalation, ingestion, and skin should be thoroughly cleansed after contact. Please use caution and use at your own risk (and read all manufacturer precautions!) Although it is highly effective on aquatic invertebrates, it does not seem toxic to corals. I’ve dipped various soft corals, LPS, and SPS with no adverse reactions. Again, this is meant for a use as a dip only – this should not be used as an in-tank treatment.
2 cups (16 oz) tank water0.5 ml Bayer 2 containers of tank water large enough to submerse the coral
Mix the 0.5 ml Bayer in the 2 cups of tank water. Add the coral, and allow the coral to sit in the dip for about 15 minutes while gently blowing it with a pipette. Of course, remove the coral immediately if it shows signs of stress (expelling zooxanthallae, losing tissue, etc.) After 15 minutes, remove the coral and swish it gently in the first container of tank water. Transfer the coral to the second container of tank water, and swish it well again. This should remove enough of the Bayer to make the coral safe enough to go into the aquarium.
To be honest, I’ve forgotten to swish corals in clean tank water before. I’ve also accidentally doubled the dosage. Even with these mistakes, I’ve experienced no coral losses. There are lots of reports online of people using several times the dosage I use with no problems as well.
Hopefully this will be another tool in your arsenal against serious reef pests, especially since it is much less expensive and easier to obtain than prescription medications.