Does Aiptasia Eating Filefish Work?

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If I told you that there is a natural way to get rid of aiptasia and at the same time you get a beautiful fish for your reef tank, would you believe me?

You probably won’t!

I present you the aiptasia eating filefish, one of the rare species of fish that will eat aiptasia.

This fish has an unusual appearance, interesting movement, and has the ability to eradicate an aiptasia. What else could you wish for?

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. On some occasions, the Aiptasia eating filefish may nip on corals.

If you want to learn more about the aiptasia eating filefish and why it is one of the best ways to eliminate an aiptasia, keep reading.


What is Aiptasia eating filefish?

The Aiptasia eating filefish, also known as Bristle-tail filefish, is species of saltwater fish from the family Monacanthidae.

It is found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific, where it inhabits shallow reefs, usually around places with a lot of seagrasses.

This fish is relatively small, reaching a maximum size of up to 4.7 inches (12 cm). The average size ranges from 1.5 to 3.5 inches (3.8 to 8.9 cm) in length.

The Aiptasia eating filefish has a mottled green or brown coloration but can change its color and skin texture to avoid predation.

This fish is popular among reefers because of its ability to eat aiptasia, a common saltwater aquarium pest.

See Also: How to get rid of Aiptasia

Does Aiptasia eating filefish work?

The first time I heard about this type of fish, I thought to myself: Does this thing really work?

When I entered the saltwater aquarium hobby, I quickly learned that when some things sound too good to be true, they are probably not. 

So naturally, I was suspicious whether the aiptasia eating filefish is just a marketing trick for stores to sell more of these types of fish, or it really does its job.

Well, it’s something in between. Most aiptasia eating filefish will eat aiptasia, but this pest is not its only source of food which means that it might not eat it.

However, that’s not the worst thing about the Aiptasia eating filefish. The worst thing about these types of fish is that they might eat your corals.

Is Aiptasia eating filefish reef safe?

Let me put it this way. The Aiptasia eating filefish is reef safe until it starts to eat your corals. It sounds silly, but that’s the way it is.

These types of fish are either hit or miss. You’ll never know when they start nipping on your corals. 

They are excellent at their job and will eradicate the aiptasia anemones from your tank in no time, but they also might eat other fleshy corals.

However, many people had success with the aiptasia eating filefish, so, in the end, it’s up to you. 

If you want the aiptasia eating filefish just for aiptasia removal, I would recommend returning the fish in the store after you are aiptasia free.

See Also: What is Berghia nudibranch

Tank size & Tankmates

Most people buy this type of fish for aiptasia removal but fall in love with its personality. 

These fish have an odd shape and swim backward, forwards, basically in any direction. It’s very amusing to watch this behavior. 

In general, they are peaceful fish and can live with different types of saltwater fish. They are only aggressive against their genus.

The aiptasia eating filefish is a small fish with an average size of around 3 inches (7.6 cm). It requires at least a 30-gallon aquarium.

Aiptasia eating filefish not eating aiptasia

The main reason people buy an aiptasia eating filefish is to eliminate the aiptasia in their tanks. 

But what if your filefish is not interested in eating aiptasia?

You probably need to give it a time because not all filefish start eating aiptasia immediately. 

If your filefish still refuses to eat aiptasia, you have two options. The first one is to keep the filefish in your tank because they have an unusual appearance and interesting personality. 

The second option is to return to the store. Whatever option you choose you won’t get it wrong. If your filefish don’t nip on corals, I vouch for keeping it.

See Also: How to get rid of Vermetid snails infestation

Final Thoughts

The aiptasia eating filefish is a fantastic animal with unusual behavior and an amusing personality. In addition, it is very good at doing its job (eliminating aiptasia).

However, it’s often hit and miss. You need the luck to get a specimen that will eat aiptasia anemones and not corals. If you have one, you should consider yourself a lucky one.

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