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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone heard of using rove beetles to kill off flatworms? I ran into some old posts of someone suggesting them.
 

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Greetings,

I battled flatworms when I first built my big viv. I tried CO2 bombs, an anti-helminthic added to daily full tank spraying and constant removal of every flatworm I could find multiple times a night for weeks. Nothing worked. Eventually, I started seeing my frogs eating the flatworms - esp when the worm was eating a still-struggling fruit fly. I stopped seeing the worms a year or two ago and haven't seen any since. In retrospect, I probably could have left everything alone...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Greetings,

I battled flatworms when I first built my big viv. I tried CO2 bombs, an anti-helminthic added to daily full tank spraying and constant removal of every flatworm I could find multiple times a night for weeks. Nothing worked. Eventually, I started seeing my frogs eating the flatworms - esp when the worm was eating a still-struggling fruit fly. I stopped seeing the worms a year or two ago and haven't seen any since. In retrospect, I probably could have left everything alone...
While I've seen my frog eat an early riser or a worm who wasn't quite ready to go to bed, these guys are nocturnal and the one or two the frogs might eat a day isn't going to cut it.
 

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an anti-helminthic
Which one? Just curious, really.

You have imitators in that viv, right? I never saw my imitators eat any, but that may be due to differences in keepers' feeding habits.
 
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@JasonE - They are indeed nocturnal but are active enough in the morning and evening that I could observe them being eaten. I don't think frog predation was the primary cause of their disappearance - I wonder if it is a specific nutrient that was depleted or a pathogen that killed the bottlenecked populaton. After a couple of months of regular night-time examination and finding no worms, I stopped looking. I haven't seen a worm or the husks of worm-eaten flies in over a year now...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am very happy for you. I've gone in every night and killed them. Multiple times a night on weekends. I never find more than 5-7 anymore. But I'm still finding those 5-7 consistently. The population has definitely shrunk since I started killing them at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Which one? Just curious, really.

You have imitators in that viv, right? I never saw my imitators eat any, but that may be due to differences in keepers' feeding habits.
Also curious.

Whose viv are we talking about here?
 

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Whose viv are we talking about here?
Sorry -- my entire post there was intended to be directed at @kimcmich , whose post I quoted. I was asking if the flatworm-eating frogs were imitators, since my only flatworm containing viv housed imitators that I never saw eating flatworms. I should have been more clear in what I was asking exactly. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry -- my entire post there was intended to be directed at @kimcmich , whose post I quoted. I was asking if the flatworm-eating frogs were imitators, since my only flatworm containing viv housed imitators that I never saw eating flatworms. I should have been more clear in what I was asking exactly. :)
You're good.
 

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@Socratic Monologue

I used Prazipro - a formulation of praziquantel. At the proper concentration it was very effective at killing the worms on-contact - but it did not persist in an effective vermicide beyond direct contact at the time of spraying. It could, though, be an effective addition to a plant-dipping solution.

I've seen both imitators and variabilis eat worms (that were, themselves, eating flies).

@JasonE
I forgot to mention I also tried rove beetles. I did not see a positive effect in my viv and, in direct contact tests (beetles and worms in a small observation chamber), the worms were able to subdue and kill the beetles about 50% of the time. That made me think the beetles would not survive long enough to be effective worm control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@Socratic Monologue

I've seen both imitators and variabilis eat worms (that were, themselves, eating flies).

@JasonE
I forgot to mention I also tried rove beetles. I did not see a positive effect in my viv and, in direct contact tests (beetles and worms in a small observation chamber), the worms were able to subdue and kill the beetles about 50% of the time. That made me think the beetles would not survive long enough to be effective worm control.
Yeah I've caught my variabilis eating them but it seemed almost not purposeful. Like one frog was climbing up a monstera stalk and saw it wiggling. Another one was similar. He was just running up a log and saw one moving.

And ugh! I was really hoping the rove beetles would work. They're easy to clean out of a viv with a couple CO2 bombs, which I have yet to find evidence will work on flatworms outside of one person saying it did.
 

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Has anyone heard of using rove beetles to kill off flatworms? I ran into some old posts of someone suggesting them.
I wouldn't use rove beetles they have very strong mandibles and I would be worried about them biting the frogs. Also whats the deal with flatworms anyway? they don't hurt the frogs or plants and only pick off some fly's at night... whats the problem?
 

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Predatory flatworms eliminate microfauna. Many dart species depend on microfauna as a food source, either for themselves or their offspring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I wouldn't use rove beetles they have very strong mandibles and I would be worried about them biting the frogs. Also whats the deal with flatworms anyway? they don't hurt the frogs or plants and only pick off some fly's at night... whats the problem?
Hah! I wish that was the case. My tank hasn't had springtails in for at least 3 months now. The only things insect that haven't wiped out is my isopods. And the flies are no small thing either. I have to overfeed my frogs to account for all the flies the worms eat at night. And when they were booming, they'd take down 50 flies at night easily. Although overfeeding on flies may be what's saving my isopods.

Still it is no small thing to have them. The tank basically needs to be treated as toxic. And I'm not sure if I said it in this thread but I'm retiring to Costa Rica in a few years and selling this tank is going to be near impossible if I don't eradicate my flatworm infestation.
 

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Hah! I wish that was the case. My tank hasn't had springtails in for at least 3 months now. The only things insect that haven't wiped out is my isopods. And the flies are no small thing either. I have to overfeed my frogs to account for all the flies the worms eat at night. And when they were booming, they'd take down 50 flies at night easily. Although overfeeding on flies may be what's saving my isopods.

Still it is no small thing to have them. The tank basically needs to be treated as toxic. And I'm not sure if I said it in this thread but I'm retiring to Costa Rica in a few years and selling this tank is going to be near impossible if I don't eradicate my flatworm infestation.
For some reason the flatworms don't eat isopods. Maybe it has to do with their exoskeleton or maybe they are immune to the flatworm toxins, but either way isopods are the only microfauna you'll be ablt to keep going if you have these flatworms. I've heard reports that larger isopods can help keep the flatworms under control by eating their eggs, but I have not seen evidence for this.

There is next to nothing that is willing to eat these flatworms as they contain toxins that are damaging or even lethal to most critters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
There is next to nothing that is willing to eat these flatworms as they contain toxins that are damaging or even lethal to most critters.
I have definitely seen my varibilis eat them. No ill affects it seems.
 

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I have definitely seen my varibilis eat them. No ill affects it seems.
I should have phrased my post a bit differently. I meant in terms of invertebrates which is why I said "most critters" ;)
I have definitely also seen my frogs eat them either accidentally (when actually trying to grab a fly that was caught by a flatworm) or deliberately.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just to update I've decided that even if this would work, I don't want to trade one vivarium pest for another. I keep finding fewer and fewer worms as I go. I even saw a springtail crawling around on a piece of wood last night. I haven't added any springs in 2 weeks so that's a pretty good sign that the population of worms has been drastically reduced. I don't want to provide them a food source that allows them to stay under the leaf litter and feed and breed. So I'll hold off on adding springs for a bit. At least until I see froglets emerge. If they emerge. And we'll see what happens.

This severe reduction in population has given me hope that maybe I can eradicate by being diligent.
 

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@JasonE,

I've been where you are - driven half-mad by those f*cking flatworms. When I finally gave up trying to get rid of them (my rounds of Prazipro started hurting the plants) they disappeared by themselves in less than 2 years. I am suspicious that happens for most people since you don't hear many stories of people who have had infestations for years on end (though maybe the long-sufferers stay quiet?).

@Johanovich I have not seen these flatworms kill a large isopod, but the small tropical red and whites could be subdued and killed so isopods are not entirely immune to the flatworms.
 

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Jason, I did read something recently that could help explain kimcmich's experience. It appears that these flatworms are cannibalistic. So perhaps if you feed your frogs early in the day only what they consume, the worms may be limited to preying upon themselves. That and some praziquantel. I've also read that their favorite food are earthworms which are not killed by Praziquantel. I wonder if you could inject an earthworm with a concentrated solution of Prazi and place it in a container that the flatworms can enter but the earthworm can't. Or somehow pin the worm to something like a piece of wood, or fishhook with monofilament.
 
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