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Do you have a problem with aiptasia infestation? Learn how to get rid of aiptasia, how to identify it, and how to prevent a larger outbreak.
Dread it, run from it, aiptasia still arrives!
I still remember the day when I first noticed a small aiptasia in my reef tank.
I started my aquarium with dry rock and dry sand. I thoroughly inspected the corals I put in my tank, and yet somehow, this notorious saltwater aquarium pest got in my tank.
It was just a small aiptasia, and it didn’t look bad at all, so I figured out I let it live. The biggest mistake I’ve done so far.
In several months, that small aiptasia got bigger and spread all across my tank. Now, it’s very difficult to eradicate it.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are ways to remove an aiptasia from a reef tank, and that’s what we are going to talk about in this article.
Without furder ado, let’s get started!
What is Aiptasia?
Aiptasia is a small sea anemone, also known as a glass anemone, usually found on hard surfaces and mangrove roots in the wild.
These sea anemones reproduce both sexually and asexually, making them very adaptable to a wide range of living conditions.
In the saltwater aquarium hobby, they are considered a pest because they can quickly reproduce and populate the whole tank.
The aiptasia sea anemone has a powerful sting that can be harmful to the corals in your tank.
How do you identify Aiptasia?
Once you see an Aiptasia you’ll never forget how it looks. They look like small palm trees.
Aiptasia anemones are smaller than the usual anemones we see in the saltwater aquarium hobby.
They have a dull transparent brown color which is usually not desired among reefers, and frankly, it shouldn’t be. The aiptasia anemone is quite an unpleasant sight in a reef tank.
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How did Aiptasia get into my tank?
You are probably wondering how did the aiptasia get into your tank? You didn’t introduce it intentionally, yet somehow it got in your tank.
Aiptasia is often accidentally introduced with the live rock you put in your reef tank. Additionally, they may be introduced with the corals you’ve purchased.
You need to be very careful when you put something in your tank. Once established in the aquarium, the polyps are difficult to remove. Trying to remove them with brute force often results in the opposite effect.
The aiptasia leaves parts of itself that later on fully grow into another aiptasia.
See Also: What is aiptasia eating nudibranch
How to get rid of aiptasia?
Despite being one of the most notorious saltwater aquarium pests aiptasias can be removed from a reef tank.
There are several aiptasia removal methods, some done naturally, others with commercially available products. Let’s see what are the best methods for aiptasia removal.
The best method for aiptasia removal is to not introduce them in the first place. Easier said than done.
Sometimes whatever we do, we can’t stop some organisms to get into our tank. However, the wise thing is to inspect every coral before you place it in your display tank.
If you have a quarantine tank even better. That way you can observe your corals for several weeks to spot if an unwanted hitchhiker pops up.
Natural strategy-What eats aiptasia?
The second best way to get rid of aiptasia is to introduce an animal that feeds on aiptasia.
There are several aiptasia eaters available in this hobby but they are not all suitable for every tank’s needs. Here are some of the best aiptasia eaters:
Aiptasia Eating Filefish – Aiptasia eating filefish are small fish that feed on aiptasia. That is not their primary source of food so you need to be lucky to get one that eats aiptasia. Be careful, these fish may nip on corals, as well.
Peppermint Shrimp – Peppermint shrimps are well known for their ability to eat aiptasia. However, sometimes people confuse peppermint shrimps with camel shrimps (similar appearance). Be careful, the latter ones are notorious for eating corals.
Berghia Nudibranch – Berghia nudibranch are natural predators to aiptasia. They are the best natural way to get rid of aiptasia, but it’s their only source of food, and they will die when the aiptasia is gone.
Copperband Butterflyfish – The Copperband Butterfly is a beautiful fish that may or may not eat aiptasia. These fish are difficult to take care of and are usually not recommended for beginners.
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There are other ways to get rid of aiptasia besides the natural way. Here are some of the most popular:
Lemon Juice – Fill a syringe with lemon juice and inject it directly into the aiptasia’s mouth. The acidity should be harmful enough to cause the aiptasia to die.
Kalkwasser – Some hobbyist use kalkwasser( calcium hydroxide) to eridacate aiptasia. It’s not recommended for beginners because a mistake in dosing can be detrimental to your tank.
Aiptasia X –This is a well-known product that is successful in removing an aiptasia.
Boiling Water – The theory behind this method is that boiling water will cause tissue damage from where there is not coming back. Be careful, because you may also harm the surrounding corals.
Super Glue –Some people super glue the aiptasia and swear by this method. Keep in mind, that you need to use a super glue gel.
See Also: Does aiptasia eating filefish work
Aiptasia infestation is a common problem among saltwater aquarium hobbyists. I don’t know a person who didn’t have an aiptasia at some point in his tank.
But, it’s nothing to sweat about it. There are a lot of ways for removing an aiptasia from a reef tank. Just, don’t let it get out of control.
One day is one aiptasia, next week there are tens, and in a couple of months, there are hundreds of them overrunning your tank. You get the point!