This is one of the most commonly found pests in saltwater aquariums. They appear from seemingly no-where, spread quickly, and are generally a pain to try and remove.
Aiptasia, commonly miss-spelt as Aptasia, is also known as a Glass Anemone. They are a clear/beige colour, and have stinging tentacles, like other Anemones. Their colour can make them difficult to spot, particularly in coral filled aquariums.
Aiptasia are a pain. There is no other way to describe them, without using expletives! They sting your coral, and react so quickly when you try to deal with them that parts of them are often missed, leading to them being able to regenerate and repopulate. If part of the Anemone is left, they are so hardy that they can regenerate from the smallest bit of flesh left in the aquarium.
How do you control the numbers?
There are several reasonably effective methods for dealing with Aiptasia.
By injecting a variety of substances found in your home directly into the anemone, you can reduce the numbers of the Aiptasia. I personally have used the Lemon Juice method with great outcomes!
For each method you should turn your flow OFF for 5 mins. before and during the treatment and wait 15 mins. before turning it back ON after the the treatment, including the return pump.
- Lemon Juice – While wearing gloves, fill a syringe with pure lemon juice and inject it directly into the Aiptasia. Make sure to move slowly to prevent scarring the anemone into its hole.
- Hydrogen Peroxide – Just like with the lemon juice, fill a syringe and carefully inject a small amount of the solution directly into the disk of the Aiptasia. Be extra careful to not release any hydrogen peroxide into the tank. This is not the safest way to remove Aiptasia.
- Kalkwasser – Also known as Calcium Hydroxide, kalkwasser is capable of killing Aiptasia. If you try killing too many in this way, you can inadvertently raise your tank pH level.
- Other Methods – Some of the other methods commonly used to eradicate Aiptasia include boiling water, vinegar, electricity and even super glue. If you’re considering these methods, there’s a better way that’s less dangerous to you, your tank and your bank account. Other methods include using Joe’s Juice, Aiptasia-X, Aiptasia Rx, vinegar, or even a laser.
If you’re interested in eliminating this pest without using chemicals or introducing unnatural compounds into your tank, you may want to consider nature’s pest control team.
- Peppermint Shrimp – Perhaps the most popular natural predator option, Peppermint Shrimp are an effective option if you purchase the right species.
- Copperband Butterflyfish – While effective killers, these beautiful fish may also find more non-pest inhabitants a delicious meal. These fish tend to consume sessile invertebrates, beneficial anemones, feather dusters and clams.
- Berghia Nudibranch – Officially known as Berghia verrucicornis, it is a natural predator of Aiptasia and is a safe addition to any reef tank. Unlike other natural predators, the Nudibranch isn’t interested in harming other tank inhabitants or coral.
- Aiptasia Eating Filefish – It should be noted that the Aiptasia Eating Filefish are shy fish with a tendency to be aggressive toward its own species and other small fish. While these hungry critters aren’t picky eaters, if their food stores dwindle, they’re known to nip on corals.
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