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FAQs on Aiptasia Anemones in General 3

Related FAQs: Aiptasia 1, Aiptasia 2, Aiptasia 4, Aiptasia Identification, Other Pest Anemones, Eradication by: Berghia Nudibranchs, Peppermint Shrimp, Butterflyfishes, Filefishes, Chemical/Physical Injection, Hypo/Hyper-Salinity,  

Related Articles: Impressions of Methods to Eliminate Pest Anemones by Steven Pro, Aquarium Culture of the Aeolid Nudibranch Berghia, Predator on the nuisance anemone Aiptasia By Anthony Calfo, Anemones, Cnidarians

New Print and eBook on Amazon:  

Anemone Success
Doing what it takes to keep Anemones healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Aiptasia ID/Refugium Cycle - 07/24/07 Thanks for your thoughts. <<Very welcome>> I have read just about every FAQ and article in the world on eradicating these creatures. <<Really?>> Because I have only 3 or 4, I think it seems silly at this stage to (I) invest in Peppermint Shrimp or a butterfly that may or may not eat Aiptasia and/or may or may not eat my mushrooms, tree coral, feather dusters and other desirable inverts, or (ii) spend a lot of money buying Berghia. <<Not in disagreement with you here>> I'm not convinced that buying Super Duper Aiptasia Buster with hypodermic needle is a good use of resources either. <<Mmm…I find an injection of lemon juice is quite effective in most cases>> Rather, I'm thinking that my first line of defense should be to use a small siphon tube to pull them off the rock. <<Faulty logic I'm afraid…these pests can regenerate/spread/multiply from the tiniest of fragments>> The problem is that I've read conflicting advice here on WWM <<Differences in opinion>> regarding physical removal. Some crew members have said that it's a good first start. <<"This" crewmember disagrees>> Others have said that physically removing them will do nothing to solve the problem and, in fact, will only exacerbate it by spewing Aiptasia cells all over the tank. Thoughts? <<As stated, will regenerate from very small pieces. Either remove the rock and let dry to kill the Aiptasia (essentially killing the rock), or try injecting them with simple lemon juice (make take more than one "hit"). EricR>>
R2: Aiptasia ID/Refugium Cycle - 07/25/07
Okay, okay. I think I may move the rock to my QT and add 2 peppermint shrimp or buy a needle! Andy Bulgin <<The injection method will prove more reliable than the shrimp in my opinion...and considering you only have three of these pest anemones to deal with... Eric Russell>>
R3: Aiptasia ID/Refugium Cycle - 07/25/07
Thanks. <<Welcome>> Will try it. <<Good>> What are your thoughts on Joe's Juice? In your experience, any impact on surrounding fauna? <<I've not used this product myself. but from what I have heard I don't think it is necessarily any more or less effective than using plain lemon juice. EricR>>
R4: Aiptasia ID/Refugium Cycle - 07/25/07
But lemon juice doesn't give me an excuse to go to the LFS ;-) Andy Bulgin <<HA! Indeed, mate!! Joe's Juice it is then!!! Eric Russell>>
R5: Aiptasia ID/Refugium Cycle - 07/26/07
Just an update. <<Okay>> Joes Juice popped a cap in the Aiptasia. Almost instantly the things retreated not to be seen again. <<Time will tell>> Not sure my tree coral that's about 10" away liked it, as it has been closed up since I treated, but we'll see. <<Will likely be fine>> I'm running new carbon and other inverts (dusters, etc.) right next to the treatment areas seem to be fine. Andy Bulgin <<Thank you for the update, Andy. Eric Russell>>

Re: chocolate chip starfish for use as Aiptasia control part 2   12/15/06 Hi there, <Vicki> I wrote y'all a couple months ago asking if a Chocolate chip starfish would be a good idea for Aiptasia control.  Y'all told me to give it a try and let ya know how it went.  Well it was a great idea and seems to be working.  Out of the dozen or so Aiptasia I had in the tank, all but three or so are gone.  I have gotten a great deal of joy out of "Cookie" that I may not even mess with corals this spring.  I would feel bad about taking him back to the LFS and someone else buying him and not taking as good care of him as I do. Thank you for your advice, Vicki <Thank you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Majano/Aiptasia Removal 11/8/06 Good evening (at least it is here in TX.); <Evening> My question revolves around 2 pest anemones. I am currently in the process of cycling my new 110 gal., corner overflow, that is using an old wet/dry trickle filter as a sump/live rock design of my own (no bio balls or ceramic, I just want to use live rock, DSB). My question is, I have recently spotted a Majano anemone, and a few Aiptasia anemones in one of my other tanks (thanks to WWM for helping me ID these bad boys!). I want to remove the live rocks that these "pests" are on and put them in my sump for the 110 gal. to help cycle it and act as a filter. My question is two-fold 1. Will these "pests" invade my main tank if they are in the sump? <Very possible.> and 2. Will live rock in a sump require a lot of lighting to be an efficient biological filter?  <No light needed for biological filtration, but a little might be nice for some algae.> Thanks in advance, Erick.. <Chris> Erick Swanson

Aiptasia killer   5/25/06 Hi, Thanks for your great web site.   For once instead of a question I have some potentially useful information.  I had a mini-epidemic of Aiptasia in my 55-gal FOWLR tank. They were damaging the nearby soft corals and were really starting to cramp my seahorses' style.  They were growing in crevices on the live rock, and when I would remove a rock to try to cut or scrape them off they would quickly retract out of reach.  So I decided to get nasty and it seems to have worked: I took a soldering iron, replaced the tip with a new one (to prevent contamination from the flux chemicals), heated it up, and jammed it in the crevices where the Aiptasia were growing. After a quick saltwater rinse to get rid of the debris, I put the rocks back in the tank, and the Aiptasia haven't come back. I like this method because it's easy to control; I was able to kill the bad guys without damaging the nearby good guys.  It also provides immediate gratification.  Smells very bad though....use an exhaust fan or you'll have to blame it on the dog. Thanks, Tim Iafolla <<Tim:  Interesting idea.  To accomplish the same thing, I make a batch of Kalk paste and inject it into the Aiptasia holes with the plastic syringe you get with baby medicines.  After you inject it, don't scrape the paste off.  Eventually coralline algae will grow right over it.  Best of luck, Roy>> Aiptasia Control  - 03/12/2006 Hi Bob,  <James with you today.> I have currently noticed the sudden outbreak of three Aiptasia  anemones in the last week on my live rock. My tank is only a 7 gallon hex and I  wanted your opinion on my for a way to get rid of them. I was thinking maybe a  Berghia Nudibranch or a peppermint shrimp. Any help would be appreciated.  <Read here and the related FAQ's for answers.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm> Thanks.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Aiptasia Control  - 03/12/2006 Bob, <James today> I have recently purchased a used 90 gallon tank with sand / live rock. There are several (10 plus) small nuisance anemones.  What is the best way to get rid of them, prior to adding fish / livestock to the tank?  Since, this setup is being moved to my house soon, I was hoping there are some better solutions that might rid all of them prior to setup but not necessarily kill the "live rock".  I plan on scraping the ones that I can see off first.  Do they require light?  Would keeping the rock in the dark for a few weeks get rid of them?  <Google search our site, keyword "Aiptasia control" and read the article and related FAQ's. You will find the answers to your question there.> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jack Whitley

Coral Healing & Book, V2 Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 Bob and Anthony: I thought you might find this picture interesting. It shows both the damage that Aiptasia can cause and the power of a coral to heal. This Blastomussa achieved this amount of healing within 4 weeks of me killing the Aiptasia that made the hole. I used 3 ml.s of vinegar injected with a 20-gauge needle. Also, Zo is vacationing in Utah. I happened to be home last weekend, so we got together for lunch on Sunday. It was great to meet him and we had a pleasant and interesting conversation. That and a recent WWM query led me to wonder how the second book is coming. Any projections on publication? Steve <Thanks for sending this along Steve... the work progresses, though inexorably slowly. B>

Aiptasia control, Peppermint Shrimp cannibalism HELP! I have Aiptasia everywhere, I have about 25 LIVE ROCKS, they are all covered with this pest... I had to remove all my rocks into another tank. So that my fish could swim freely again without all these Aiptasia bother them so I don't know how much longer I can leave my 75 gallon tank? With just decorations in it for hiding purposes. Do you think I should buy more Live Rock now?  Or just wait for my other rocks to be rid of this pest. Sorry forgot to inform you that I put my Live Rock in a 30 gallon tank with about 6 peppermint shrimps, hopefully this will solve the problem, but I don't know if this is enough because I check my tank, everyday and they just keep growing and growing, some of them are quite big, will the shrimp still eat them? <Mmm, you have a few options, with sub-options beyond... the use of biological predators... starving the Aiptasia by limiting nutrient (and perhaps light)... nuking the present LR... maybe later using it for base... I would read over re these possibilities: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm  see the linked files above in blue? And make up your own mind re how you want to go... I would likely enlist the help of a predator species or two.> I don't feed them, hoping they will fill themselves with all this Aiptasia farm I have.... Another question I don't see them very often, but I do see them once in while, this peppermint shrimp, don't eat each other do they? <Mmm, they can, will if crowded, hungry> Cause like I mentioned I don't feed them. I' am at the point were I am considering leave them outside one night in this cold cold weather and freezing them to death, Just Joking . Again if there's any other ideas you could help with I would greatly appreciate them. <I suggest you turn off any other distraction and READ where you've been sent. Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia Help Hi Bob, I am a third grade teacher in Westborough, Massachusetts. Four years ago I installed a 180 gallon reef aquarium in my school's foyer through grant writing.  <How nice... a useful skill in these times> Last year the Aiptasia went wild, I believe due to poor water quality. Since then they have really populated the tank. I can't seem to get rid of them.  <Can be very persistent> Unfortunately, I only know enough to be dangerous and when I try to educate myself by talking to local "professionals", they all seem to have a different philosophy and I get a lot of conflicting information.  Any additional information or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.   Sincerely, Tom Salvemini <Tom, our collective input on this group, its control, eradication can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm  See the linked files, above, in blue? A few approaches that can be tried... biological predation likely the best category in your circumstances. Bob Fenner> 

Brown algae/diatoms and Aiptasia Hi guys! First, I want to apologize if this is really dumb to e-mail you about, as I love & respect your site. Unfortunately, I'm not the aquarium nerd I hope to be yet, so I don't quite understand all the A's to Q's in the forums. <Me neither> I do know that I have "brown algae" everywhere in my tank, which my local pet store owner explained was actually diatoms. <Likely so... but could be other groups... as well or in addition> He also explained that it will go away as soon as the tank cycles, so I shouldn't worry. <Pretty much so> The tank is only about 4 wks old, & I have 6 damsels. Is this really the case? Will a Bio-Wheel help my tank? <Short answer, yes> Also, (1 last Q!) Why are Aiptasia so bad? I have 2 on my LR (<-live rock?), & they're pretty to me.. Should I consider actually getting rid of them? Thanks so much for any info & the time!! Robin Wilson <Mmm, "bad" is a value judgment... Glass Anemones can be "bad" in that they may sting other desired livestock, crowd out other sessile invertebrates, utilize nutrient you might want available elsewhere... But they are gorgeous in many settings... Bob Fenner>

Complete Tank Break-Down Hi WWM crew <Hi! Ryan with you today.> You've always helped me with my weird questions in the past, so here's another one: <Shoot> I have a 150 gallon 6 yr old reef.  For various personal and professional reasons, it has suffered severe neglect during 2004.   The fish (blennies, gobies, tang, mandarin, clowns) are fine, water changes have been done every 2-3 weeks in my absence so water quality parameters are currently fine, but the tank is a veritable farm of Caulerpa (the fern-like and grape-like varieties) and Aiptasia.  I have been using your varied recommendations for Aiptasia control for years, (only thing that ever really worked was keeping peppermint shrimp in a separate tank and moving my rocks in and out every couple weeks, that was incredibly high maintenance but worked for a long time) but I've just lost the battle for good.  I put in 2 large Berghia and 20 peppermint shrimp as a parting effort to save the tank in July, but to no avail.  It appears I now have approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000 Aiptasia, and all my corals are stung to death.  The only thing I have left is some nice huge mushrooms that have been tougher than the Aiptasia. <Tough luck!  Let's get you set up properly for next time.> After much soul-searching, I decided I do not want to get out of this lovely hobby and will need to essentially start over so I'm not fighting this losing battle forever. <Good choice!> There should not be Caulerpa in my main tank, that's a mistake from 2000, and I can be far more aggressive about Aiptasia control the second time around.  I have been trying to figure out how to start over.  What do you think of this plan?  <Fantastic.> 1. Remove half my live rock, "sterilize" it with fresh water, sunshine, and my garden hose, then set up a circulating tub with "live sand" from a bag and let the whole thing cycle for a few weeks. <No, I'd do this.  Take a tub of saltwater, and put one rock at a time.  Use a toothbrush to get every little piece of anemone off the rock.  Then pour saltwater all over the rock, taking any last little pieces away.  Repeat with all rocks.  Then get yourself a bottle of Joe's Juice.  This still really works, as long as it's not in the display tank.  Monitor the rocks, outside of the display, and treat any pop-ups with Joe's Juice.  6 weeks from the last anemone sprout, you're ready to roll.  This is a much faster process than killing your rock and starting the entire process again- This can take years to get great purple rock.> 2. Remove other half of live rock and all the substrate, replace with new live sand and semi-sterile rocks. <Just let the substrate run fallow for some time.> 3. Throw out old substrate, sterilize and cycle the second half of the rocks, and replace them a few weeks later. <I think you ought to try the scrubbing, rinsing and Joe's Juice in quarantine before a full surrender.> If you think this is a bad plan, I would love to know what you would do? Also, I have several questions about this plan: 1. When cycling my rocks in a tub, what should I do about lighting?   <You can use sunlight, a single MH pendant, or 2. Do Aiptasia "humors" persist in water, or can I keep some of my water if I'm not scraping and damaging Aiptasia? <Yes.  Run carbon during this period for great results.> 3. In the same vein, will Aiptasia in my refugium spread to my main tank so do I need to dump the refugium too? <Yes- Same process with the rocks and substrate> 4. Should I remove my mandarin, as I will now have a "new" tank?   <Unless you can supplement his diet with Cyclop-Eeze, DT's, then yes.> 5. Any recommendations on how to save some of my mushrooms?  I think I can detach some of them from rocks and walls, should I glue them to something or will they be ok floating free and eventually attach to something? <I'd cut a yogurt container in half, and add some rubble.  Then put a mushroom in there, and cover it with netting of some sort.  They'll re-attach quickly, and can be kept in these little "Forts" until you're ready to go> 6. Any recommendations for specific sources of stuff to restore my lovely array of feather duster worms, mysterious small algae & growths, Mysis shrimps, coralline algae, all the beautiful things I'm going to be sacrificing?  Maybe a few new live rocks from my LFS, some GARF grunge? Other recommendations?  I know it will probably be a year or more before this tank looks good again but anything I can do to speed it up would be great. <After your rocks are back in the main tank, I'd buy a nice big piece of show quality rock (QT'd of course) and add it to increase biodiversity.  As long as you wait a month or so before adding fish, the variety of life should be restored rather quickly.> 7. One of the mistakes that led to this chaos is overfeeding that I started when I got a lovely 7 inch long watchman goby last year.  His total mass was just a little less than all my other fish put together. He is slow to come out of his hole for food and really big, and started looking skinny because the food was all getting away from him.  I doubled the amount of food and direct it toward him with a turkey baster, but there has been a fair amount of floating excess food.  How do you guys handle a fish like this?  He looks great now. <I'd use a feeding tube- Air pipeline with a baby food syringe.  Works great for a little more control.  He'll even put his mouth right to the tube once he's used to the pattern.  You could also use a feeding hook like the type that you'd use for a lion- Put a larger chunk of fish or shrimp on the hook and let him pig out.  Good luck, Ryan> Thanks for any input Tracy Creek :-)

Aiptasia I have been reading over some of the info about Aiptasia since I have a horrible bloom of them.  I also have a crazy bloom of green hair algae as I just moved about 4 months ago. <Both the result of nutrients liberated by your move, no doubt.  Both can be controlled by the same techniques...  Limiting nutrients, manual removal and the introduction of animals that will eat them.> I bought some tank scrubber and am going to try this. <I don't know what this product is, but don't know of any that really work well.> I noticed that you said particulate food as a way to decrease the Aiptasia.  What is meant by this?  Does this include frozen Mysis shrimp and ground krill???  <LIMITING particulate food will help control them.  Mysis and krill are superb Aiptasia food and will fuel their growth.  Consider peppermint shrimp as well as Kalkwasser paste to eliminate those that you already have, and limit food to slow their growth.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Strange creatures abound Good evening! <And to you> Was wondering if you guys could help me id these "creatures" <Will try> the first is a purple-ish nest/cocoon type of thing.. there are three that I can see. <Almost w/o a doubt a species of sponge> the second is something growing out of the sand.. there are a lot of them! like patches of very thin hair or something.. <Looks like a filamentous species of Red Algae> pictures attached... Thanks for all your help. p.s. I have some (about 20) rock/glass anemones.. some of them are quite large (the base over 3" tall) and often eat the goldfish/rosy reds I feed my other fish. <Yikes> I heard the Copperband butterfly fish, or some special crab (which I can't seem to find anywhere to buy) are good at consuming the anemones in question.. but my question is, because they are so large, will they make a snack of the crab or fish instead?? <Hopefully not... but I would likely try a Berghia Nudibranch here> truth be told, they really don't bother me, and they look kind of cool.. but my friend says they are bad for the tank... <Mmm, not necessarily... Have seen quite a few well-established tanks with this pest... the fish, invertebrates seem to develop awareness, perhaps some immunity from their stings. Bob Fenner> Thanks again for all the help! Mark

Where to buy Berghia Nudibranchs 11/19/04 Where can I purchase some Berghia Nudibranchs. I would like to breed them in my 35 gal refugium to eat the Aiptasia in my 100 gal reef tank. Georgie <do try: inlandaquatics.com or coralsandbar.com if these do not pan out, write back to me and I will find other sources for you. Kindly, Anthony>

Aiptasia control Hi Mr. Fenner, got a quick question, I have a Aiptasia problem developing in my reef tank right now. I've got a bunch of soft corals and a couple of hards inhabiting my 30 gallon right now. iv read about ways I could deal with the problem and basically there were 3 choices, butterfly's, peppermint shrimps, or starve them. << Or just go kill them.  But my choice would be either shrimp or butterflies. >> well butterfly's and starvation is out of the picture because either my reef is going to die or my reef is going to die, either way I lose. peppermint shrimps are not available in Hawaii where I live and live stock is not allowed to come by mail, according to Hawaii law. << Good point, I'd certainly go with a Copperband butterfly.  I consider them quite reef safe, except they eat Aiptasia. >> here's the question, any other ways to take care of this problem? iv come across a website called http://joesjuice.com . they sell a product that "claims" to be reef safe and eliminates Aiptasia. have you heard of this or perhaps tried it? << Yep, it appears to be Kalkwasser.  I'm not claiming that is what it is, just that it appears to be.  Basically you can take some Kalkwasser, mix it up and inject it right into the anemone.  It more or less kills them as it dissolves their tissue. >> maybe you would like to and post the results on your website. any ways, if you have a remedy to this slow plague. please let me know thanks guys at WWM, << Well first a reef tank in Hawaii is of interest to me.  Hmmm, where are you located?  Second, I'd go with a butterfly.  You have so many wonderful local butterfly fishes there and they do wonderfully well.  If it doesn't work out, and he eats your coral, then you can always catch him later. >> mike <<  Blundell  >> Berghia Nudibranchs cheers, Keith Bob Fenner forwarded your e-mail to me re: Berghia Nudibranchs. there are several folks selling these fantastic little Nudibranchs online. Do look up Rob Ferguson at coralsandbar.com or Morgan Lidster at Inlandaquatics.com Both are great chaps that can provide these to you likely. If not, do write back to me and I can find/refer other folks to you :) with kind regards, Anthony

Starting aquarium for Nudibranchs or flatworms 9/24/04 I have a fish only tanks for a number of years. I am now interested in starting a species specific tank for Nudibranchs or flatworms. any web sites, books, articles, recommendations would be helpful. thanks mark <hmmm... both are rather challenging. The Opisthobranchs for their oft-obligate diet on inconvenient (to us) prey... and flatworms for much of the same (largely predatory too). There are some great Nudibranchs that can be cultured though... temperate and tropical... carnivorous and herbivorous. Check out some the fine ID books at Behrens seachallengers.com... and be sure to visit the seaslugforum.com on the Web. I have an article on culturing Berghia Nudibranchs in the January issue of reefkeeping.com if it interests you. Best regards, Anthony>

Is one Aiptasia a problem? Hello- << Hi. >> Was wondering: I have one of these buggers and I am wondering about getting rid of it. I guess it's Aiptasia--it sprouted from a very small piece of live rock I bought. It has grown rather slowly over the last 3-4 months. << If it is small, and you only have one, I'd leave it alone. >> Just started to move around a little--maybe a couple of inches max. To be honest I liked to watch it grow. << Then do so. >> Call me stupid.<< Nope, sounds fine to me. >> Anyway, since it's such a small piece of rock it's easily removed. << Well that helps, but I think most people make too big of a deal with Aiptasia. >> The rock has some beautiful purple algae on it that I'd like to be as nice to as possible. I was wondering if I could possibly remove the rock and place it in a shallow container of water with the anemone area above water. Would this not kill it if exposed for a while? << No.  I would rather take out the rock, and physically scrape it off, then spray or wash that area with either vinegar or Kalkwasser. >> Just curious. << The problem is, whenever you disturb Aiptasia you run the risk of them spawning and producing more. >> Also, I have a large-ish hermit crab. Do you think it would it eat a peppermint shrimp if I added one? << No, I wouldn't worry. I mean they can, but I doubt it. >> Thanks! << So, either leave it alone, or maybe pull out the rock and use the Kalkwasser method.  That is my advice. >> Lance <<  Blundell  >>

Glass anemones I have a problem! Glass anemones (Aiptasia) ?I have peppermint shrimp in there and I tried a Raccoon Butterfly But I have a Yellow Tang in the tank and it would not leave it alone. It is a reef tank and I know that Raccoons are not good but I am out of ideas.  I did take the Raccoon out.  My next step is Muriatic acid. What else is there? Thanks Sandy <Hi Sandy, I used a product called "Stop Aiptasia" which worked fine in my case. You need to apply it with a syringe. Here is a link http://www.premiumaquatics.com/thestore/prods/STOP-APTAS6OZ.html Some reefers also inject them with Kalk, which works from what I hear. Other than that, and other chemicals or substances which can be injected, there are no 100% reliable biological answers. Copperband butterflies are hit and miss (not to mention a bit fragile themselves) and peppermint shrimps do not always work as you've found out. If there is a particular rock or two that have a large concentration, you can pull that rock out and boil it if practical. You will kill the rock but it will be decolonized in time. Don't do this to more than 20% of your live rock at once though. Hope this helps. Good luck Jim>

Hermit crab risk and possible Aiptasia eating starfish 8/6/04 AdamC Hi Nicole here. Only have one coral and it has to go back due to not enough lighting and can't afford to get more just yet (sad) but anyway would hermit crabs be a problem for feather dusters if I get them soon? Don't really care if I have to remove them they just eat crap on the bottom and keep tank clean. Cleaned my canister filter today and found only two Aiptasia. Found one large one behind a rock but otherwise no sightings, tank one was on substrate so easily removed likewise filter ones. Got cowry after Aiptasia disappeared so has to have been starfish then. They are just little ones about 1 inch across that I got from local boat ramp, nondescript brown mottled. but damn they do a good job keeping the tank clean and obviously Aiptasia free too, yay!!!!! <Your hermits are probably fairly risky to your feather dusters, especially if not well fed.  I would encourage you to test your theory that the stars ate the Aiptasia.  If they do, you may have a lucrative cash crop!  Best Regards.  Adam>

Hermit crab and other invert info 8/1/04 More info than a question in case anyone's interested. I have a hermit crab that like eating my closed brain coral, b*st*rd it is slowly disappearing so hermits are a problem in reefs.  <I am fairly sure that you will find that most of the crew that replies to marine and reef queries are not fans of crabs of any kind.  I generally advise against keeping any.  They are far too destructive for their benefit.> Also I had quite a numerous Aiptasia problem on live rock got a few with Kalkwasser but only the bigger ones now there is not one to be seen. There were less every day until now there are none yay! Must have been eaten by something,  <I would love to know what!  Peppermint shrimp are known predators as are Berghia Nudibranchs (not what you describe below).  Other, less specialized predators (some starfish, some predatory snails other shrimps, etc.) are probably very risky to also eat corals.> in my tank I have damsels (lemon, sergeant major, blue/yellow and 2xblack with eye spot on tail) small wrasse similar to Christmas wrasse, two purple/orange/black Nudibranchs, small brownish mottled starfish, cowry, pistol shrimp, four or so hermit crabs I think that's it. So one of them eats Aiptasia! Hope you find this of use.  <Out of the bunch, I would only suspect the starfish or cowry.  The Nudibranchs are a very very tiny possibility, but most of them are very specialized feeders (sometimes down to the exact species of coral, sponge, etc. that they prey on!)  Thanks for sharing, and please update us if you hone in on your mystery helper!  AdamC>

Distressed Leather? (Removing An Aiptasia From a Leather Coral) Greeting WetWeb Crew! <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight!> Kudos to you all, for the time and effort that is put into this site. It helps people like me to better enjoy and appreciate this great hobby. <We're thrilled to be here for you...We have as much fun answering your queries as we do playing with our fish!> I've been reading your site now for about a year and have a 90 gallon marine tank for almost as long. My question is about a beautiful new mushroom leather coral I just purchased -Sarcophyton. The crown is about 4 to 5 inches across and is attached to an approximately 2 inch thick "stalk", about 3 or 4 inches long. On the very bottom the stalk is a piece of rock about the size of a quarter. Wedged in-between this piece of rock and the coral are a couple of nasty Aiptasia. Eeek!! If I am very careful, with a sharp scalpel, or exacto-knife, could I or should I slice a very thin layer of the coral just above the rock, taking the Aiptasia with it? <I have experienced a similar occurrence with a Sarcophyton, and was surprised how easy it was to remove the Aiptasia without damaging the coral. The base of the Sarcophyton is surprisingly "tough", and you can practically scrape the anemone off of the coral without damaging it.> If so, what treatment should follow? <My best advice is to simply maintain very good water quality after this "procedure"> I have read in Anthony's Coral Propagation book that these corals are quite forgiving. I value your advice. What do you think?   Thanks in advance,  Brenda. <They are very forgiving! As Anthony and others have implied, you can practically run 'em through a blender and end up with a new coral. However, they do deserve the highest level of care we can offer, so try to be careful when conducting this "operation". Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

AIPTASIA CONTROL Dear WWM Crew, I recently purchased a Copperband Butterfly in order to control an exploding population of Aiptasia in my 437 gal. tank.  The fish has taken care of the problem but has, to my surprise, killed all my Nassarius Snails.  Apparently the Copperband assumes that the trunks of the snails protruding through the substrate are worms. << I've seen many butterflies go right up and eat snails that were on the glass and rocks.  He may be confused, or maybe he isn't (just taking advantage of the situation). >>  I had about 100 of these snails before adding the Copperband.   What can I add to the tank that will keep my sand bed aerated but will not be eaten by the Copperband. << Bristle worms?  Sand sifting gobies?  Hmm, not sure what I would recommend.  Certainly micro fauna of copepods are the best. >>   How many Peppermint Shrimp would I need to keep the Aiptasia under control in such a large tank?  << I'll just throw out a number... 10?  That is what I would try. >> Thanks, Ron Allard <<  Adam B.  >>

A good way to get rid of Aiptasia Bob, <Craig> Aside from peppermint shrimp (they will make quick work of the Aiptasia pest) I have made a suction device that works quite well in my tanks containing live rock and fish whose menu includes peppermint shrimp. I use a 60 cc plastic piston syringe (normally called an irrigation syringe and available at any surgical supply and most pharmacies) with a length of rigid 1/4" plastic tubing attached to the end with a small piece of 3/8" flexible tubing used as a fitting (allows easy positioning of the rigid tube in the tank. Then it is simple a matter of placing the end of the rigid tubing just above the anemone, pulling the plunger of the syringe back, and sucking the whole of the little devil right off the live rock into the syringe. Works flawlessly every time and without chemicals. Craig     <Hee heee! And I like the thought/imagery of the whole process! "Schhlurrrrp! You're outta there!" Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia Killer! Hi dudes, <Hi! Ryan Bowen with you today> collected a piece of live rock with "baby" (ha ha) anemones on. ID'd shortly thereafter as Aiptasia. <OK> They have tried to get onto other surrounding things such as rocks and substrate but only probably two or three a week and I just remove the substrate particles as I see them Seem to be under control so far. Questions are: 1) If I scrub one off a rock with my fingers in the tank am I spreading the particles to produce many more wherever they float? <yes> 2) Will careful feeding (not overfeeding) of fish etc., and vigilant removal of interlopers keep them in check long term? <No, they'll spread like wildfire and kill most anything in their way.> 3) Should I just count myself lucky they are still on the rock and remove it while I still can (only it has lovely Caulerpa growing wonderfully on it) or can I remove the rock and treat it somehow maintaining the plants and "live"ness of it? <Kill it all.  Joe's Juice works wonders, as does vinegar with a syringe.> 4) Also the ones I find on the substrate are they likely to be just moving from the rock or reproducing and spreading? <You're going to need to kill every last one!  Good luck, Ryan>

Eradicating Aiptasia II Hi again Graham, the rock in question actually has hundreds of the little buggers on it ranging from an inch or so in height to barely 3mm and every couple of days I check for evacuees and usually get two or three around the place on the substrate which I remove along with the shell or sand they are attached to. When they attach to my other rock or glass or equipment however they cannot obviously be removed without risking leaving bits floating around. So are these ones the evacuate the rock likely to be reproduced ones or simply the ones that are there moving around? <It's very tough to say. Generally it's a poor idea to leave pieces of tissue floating around the tank, as this can actually be used as a method to propagate even more anemones.> I don't want to crate a problem of plague proportions in my tank if I can avoid it and have managed to keep it contained to the one rock so far which is why I think unless you believe they are not that big of a drama, that I would choose to get rid of them now (without killing the rock if possible as I have found on it some really pretty coralline I would like to culture in my tank and some very neat other unidentified "growths" such as a feather duster I believe and some cool pink anemone type things about the same size as the Aiptasia but bright pink and the tentacles have little balls on the end of them not unlike my corals look, any idea on what these might be? <Sounds like Anemonia Majano. From my experience, these are worse than Aiptasia as you are very unlikely to find a natural method of defense against them.> So the Aiptasia how do they reproduce I mean by that is it at a certain size or certain conditions that they do or just completely randomly? <Aiptasia will naturally reproduce by fission, a way of creating an identical morph of the anemone. Under nutrient rich conditions do Aiptasia multiply the quickest. If you feed your tank heavily this may be one reason why the anemones seem to multiply so quickly.> Would a hyposalinity treatment of the rock kill the coralline and Caulerpa? <Yes, eventually it would.> it would probably kill the other creatures I mentioned though I suppose? <Correct.> How successful is injection and should I wait for the little ones to get bigger as they may be very difficult to inject, in the mean time are they likely to reproduce? <From my experience, Aiptasia can reproduce at almost any size. From the way you described the situation, injecting the Aiptasia will most likely make little damage to the Aiptasia in such large numbers.> As you can probably tell I am at panic stations in fear of these critters after all I've read. Do they actually kill other stuff in the tank like my coral or anemone etc. What harm exactly are they capable of doing? <They multiply quickly and can sting neighboring corals. Not to mention that the larger anemones may also consume small sized fish, such as clownfish or cardinal fry.> Thanks so much for humoring my myriad of questions. Cant seem to find any definitive answers anywhere else. <I would highly recommend you cut down on your feeding, as this may be a factor which is contributing to the growth of the anemones. It would also help to get a description of your tank, including all of your livestock, filtration, how old the tank is, water quality, etc. The more information you include, the better. As far as control comes, I would highly recommend the Peppermint shrimp I stated earlier. Around 6-8 may make a difference in eradicating the Aiptasia. Take Care, Graham.>

Free Gift with Purchase? Hey crew, <Hi! Ryan with you today> I have to say that your site is awesome! <Thanks! Glad to hear you like it> I am a newbie and have found so much information on it but currently I have a situation which I haven't been able to find a definitive solution. <I understand> I have a 30 gallon tank with 1 clown, 1 blue Chromis, 1 cleaner shrimp, 4 snails, 3 hermit crabs, 1 conch, just a few pieces of live rock, some plants and crushed coral as my base. I am currently using a Tetratec PF300 Power Filter but I am thinking about investing in a protein skimmer. <I would highly encourage you to do this> I just picked up the snails, hermit crabs and conch 2 days ago from my LFS since I am having a brown algae problem (tank is approx 2 months old). I discovered an Aiptasia on the conch's shell. I have read that these can breed quickly and removing them is difficult. I researched on your site but can't find anything similar to this situation. I also submitted this question in the newbie forum but no one could really come up with anything.  I don't want to hurt the conch especially since he is doing such a great job cleaning house. The Aiptasia is pretty small. <Remove the conch from the tank, place him in a bowl of water. Use a set of tweezers to remove all the Aiptasia from his shell. You don't want to do this in the tank, or all the little pieces that you break off from the anemone will regenerate in your tank when they land. After you've got all of him off the shell, go ahead and put the animal back in. > The base of it is about 1/4 inch in length and the tentacles are about 1/2 inch in length. How should I remove this little pest from him? Also, do you have any recommendations regarding protein skimmers for my size tank? <A CPR Bak-Pak would be a great skimmer for this sized tank. Good luck! Ryan> Thanks so much for your help!

One Aiptasia? Dear crew, <Ananda helping out today...> I have made an agreement to purchase a used reef system in a 46g bow front tank. The system is over 4 years old, the tank and VHO lighting system are 1 year old. The livestock is of negligible value, 2 PJ cardinals, a mature Percula or False percula clown with his anemone, 2 small brittle stars, 2 medium scarlet reef hermits, an impressive bristle worm at least 6-8 inches long that I intend to get rid of. <Aw. Maybe put him in a sump? BTW, compared to retail prices around where I live, I'd put a $$ value of about $75-100 on that livestock.> There is 100 lbs of well encrusted live rock and a 2 inch coral sand base. Because of sale of house I'm able to get this set up with a beautiful, custom made oak stand 6'X4'. I can get the whole thing for $200! <Sweet!> The rock alone is worth at least $800! There are many small white polyps on the rock and, here is the rub, one white slender-tentacled something that looks suspiciously like the Aiptasia on page 100 of Bob Fenner's book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". Since I haven't taken possession yet should I back out of the deal? What I'm asking is since there is only ONE suspicious organism in a 46 g tank and I'll be running an AMiracle Quad protein skimmer rated up to 90g and have A peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) is this set-up worth the risk and potential work it may entail? In your opinion of course. <I'd go for it. There's a definite possibility the shrimp will munch the suspected Aiptasia; if it doesn't, an injection of Kalkwasser or hot water may deal with it.> Let me know as soon as possible since I'm supposed to take possession on Sat morning. Thanks in advance for your input. Sue <I'd say "Have fun with your new tank." :-) --Ananda> 

Aiptasia Again (4/127/04) Hello, I was wondering if I could get some advice, as always I turn to WWM crew instead of LFS. Before I ask my main questions I wanted to know where I can get Mr. Fenner's book other than ordering on line. <Often available at local bookstores. I have seen it at Borders and Barnes & Noble. But what do you have against ordering online? I love Amazon. That's not to say I buy everything online, but only to point out that there is nothing to fear. You're probably at greater risk handing your credit card to a restaurant server.> Anyway I have 140 gal. reef water is nitrate 20, nitrite 0, ammonia 0, 1.024 salt, I have about 180 pd.s of LR. I have a very bad outbreak of Aiptasia, I put in Peppermint shrimp, they don't do anything! <Are you sure they're true peps (Lysmata wurdemanni) and not another species mistakenly sold as peps?> As a matter of fact my hippo tang pulled' clean it , the tang got mad at it and killed it. <Hmm, maybe I'll try that next time I don't get good customer service somewhere. ;) > I read about Copperbanded butterfly fish, <Iffy. No guarantees here either.> I knew they were hard to keep, especially when all the food is gone. The LFS sold one to me and said after he gets big and fat bring him back for full credit so someone else can use him. <I had a nice big plump healthy looking one that I found leaning up against a rock dead one morning after 8 months. He was eating and acting normally the night before.> Sounded great except one thing. I put him in he started to eat and do fine right up until my Naso tang swam up to it and killed it <Can be mean indeed>, I tried to get him out but in a split second it was over. I do try too look up all husbandry, and I didn't see were the two wouldn't get along, I felt really bad for her. <Sounds like you have a bully on your hands. It ill probably kill your Regal eventually too, as your tank is too small for the two of them.> I have way too many Aiptasia to squirt with chemicals and last weekend I tried the boiling water trick, nothing seems to work, other than taking the rock all out I'm not sure were to go, I don't have many corals but I'm afraid it will get the better of them , I have a bubble coral as well as a cabbage coral and a LTA and a flower pot which I have had for a year. I'm Afraid it will kill my corals. Do you have anymore suggestions? <You could look into Berghia Nudibranchs as long as you don't have fish that will eat them. I'd be a little concerned about the Naso in this regard. This situation is a clear demonstration of the scourge of Aiptasia and the need to eradicate it before it gets out of hand like this. You may need to pull the rocks out one-by one and inject the Aiptasia in a separate container of SW, such as a clear Rubbermaid. There is a lot of great information in the FAQs on Aiptasia. DO read all of them.> Thanks in advance. PS excuse the spelling I am a bad typist. <That's what spell-checkers are for. Also, please capitalize the proper noun "I" and use apostrophes so your mails are easier to read.> Scott <Hope this helps.>

Goby Gobbles Nuisance Anemones, News at 11:00 Hello Crew, <Drew> Just thought I would share this as seems every one has come up with different ways to get rid of glass anemones.  In my marine tank I have a Fan dancer goby or Black knight goby, and yes he is marine and has been for close to 5 months now , I bought him as brackish along with some monos and was told that the monos do very well in marine, and I did some reading and found that Gobies will do well full marine as well. <Some species> anyways off topic there the reason I am passing this on is my goby has acquired an appetite for Glass Anemones, in fact the 11 I had sprout up he has devoured in one day.  Just thought I would share this with you and see if you have any thoughts on this? Thanks, Drew <Neat. Will post for others edification. Bob Fenner>

Ridding Aiptasia 4/20/04 hi bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead> another dreaded Aiptasia question, I have 3 in my tank that I know of for sure. <really not that big of a deal. They will only flourish if there is a flaw in the system: overfeeding, sloppy feeding, poor water flow, weak protein skimming, weak water change schedule, etc... things that allow nutrients (especially particulates here) to accumulate> Would you please be able to tell me how to rid this guys, <not trying to pass the buck, but this topic is written about extensively in our archives... we work so very hard to build this database for folks and friends like you to help themselves and learn/help others in the future. Please do take the time to enlighten yourself there (wetwebmedia.com)> and what is the root cause of getting them <wholly nutrient driven... they do not grow from thin air, or nutrient poor water, as it were> and how can I avoid this in the future? <proper quarantine of all wet livestock: fishes, corals, snails, sand, rock, algae,... everything! QT is not only for diseases, but for preventing the introduction of pests and predators too. We also have articles and FAQs in the archives on QT protocol> and on another note, earlier today I had about 5 or 6 Stomatella snails standing up on a piece of live rock, spitting out this white milky substance for around 5 - 6 minutes, would you know what this strange behavior would be? <not so strange... simply reproduction and the release of gametes> Thanks Tim <lots of reading ahead for you Tim... enjoy the journey! Anthony>

-Humu and clown- Hey Guys, great website!  I had 2 quick questions.  First, the other day my maroon clown fish picked up a small rock in his mouth, swam to the top of the tank, and spit it out almost hitting my Humu trigger, who was down below. < (gasp) > A little odd, do you think he's trying to take him out? <Haha, I think you've been watching the Sopranos too much.> My more important question is that I believe that I (have) glass anemones, that have slowly spread from 5 in the original rocks 1.5 years ago to 15 now. <Wow, spreading out pretty slow, nuke them now.> Do you think that I should do something about them? <Well, maybe I shouldn't be so hasty. If you have no intentions on keeping any live coral, then you have no need to kill them. They're only pests if they're killing stuff, absolutely no problem in a fish only tank.> They kind of add to the tank but I don't want them to become pests.  Thanks a lot in advance, Jon <I hope this helps! -Kevin>

Aiptasia Bath? Good Afternoon, <Same to you! Ryan with you today> I have a friend whose tank is filled with Aiptasia.  He thought these were a good thing (as he was told by his LFS). <Heard this story too many times!>  Now we've been trying to remove them.  We tried injecting w/ pH up, Liquid Calcium and Boiling Water, and had some limited success. <I actually like Joe's Juice in a quarantine tank, or scrubbing the rocks down> The boiling water led to an idea.  I carefully locate the varmint's position on the rock, and then place the whole rock into a bucket of tank water.  I bring this to the kitchen sink.  Most of the rock will stay in the water in the bucket.  The part with the Aiptasia I will hold out the top of the bucket, wrap it in a wet towel, leaving an opening about the size of a quarter over the removal area.  Then I simply spray that small area with the hottest water from the sink, being careful to have water spray away, rather than in the towel and over the bucket.  <Will kill the animal, but not certain that it will prevent it from returning.  All pieces of the tissue must be removed, as they may create new growth.  I like you idea...maybe combine it with a small toothbrush?  I even know people who Dremel out the little buggers.> Then it's back into the bucket and on to the tank.  We tried this with 4-quarter sized areas and did no more, because I was worried about the tank cycling.  He's tested every day for three weeks, and there's been zero ammonia and nitrites with no increase in nitrates which have been 10 ppm. <If he's cycling, and there is no life on the rocks worth keeping, I would just take the rocks out, scrub them down with a brush, and let them bake in the sun for a few hours.  It will kill most everything, and spike ammonia, but after a few water changes you'll be back in action.> Am I foolish to think that this is a viable method of removal (there has been zero sign of Aiptasia in all 4 areas tested)?  Or is the risk too great that there will be more die off than the tank can handle?  The purple encrusting coralline algae did bleach in all 4 areas, but that bleaching has not spread at all past the sprayed area.  In fact, one area has already started growing a light green encrusting algae that is located on it's neighboring rock.  <This should grow back amazingly fast, even if it dies back.> Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge with us everyday. <You're more than welcome, and good luck!  Ryan>

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