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FAQs on Identifying Aiptasia Anemones 1

Related FAQs: Aiptasia ID 2, Aiptasia ID 3, Anemone Identification, Cnidarian Identification, Aiptasia/Glass Anemones in General, Eradication by: Berghia Nudibranchs, Peppermint Shrimp, Butterflyfishes, Filefishes, Chemical 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

Hydroids? Aiptasia? Majano? Help! - 12/05/05 I have these little polyps spreading all over my live rock. They don't look like Aiptasia as their tentacles have "feathers". I think they may be some type of hydroid. <<A possibility...but they may also be Majano anemones.>> They sting everything and peppermint shrimp won't eat them (as of yet). Joe's Juice isn't effective either (they shrivel up only to open back up a day or two later). Can you please help me identify them and tell me how to get rid of them. <<Have a peruse through our FAQs starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemoniafaqs.htm>> They are not attached at the base and I've never seen one divide yet they spread like wild fire. They sting Xenia (and kill it) and everything else they come in contact with. You can see them in the pic to the right of the Xenia. Sorry for the size of this picture but it's hard to get a small one of them that you can actually see them in. <<There was no picture with the email.>> Any identification help and advice on how to get rid of them will be MUCH appreciated. I'd like to find a predator for them. They don't seem to need much (if any) light so they are hard to access (hide in small dark crevices). <<These anemones can quickly multiply to plague proportions. Do have a look in the FAQs, much info/help there.>> Thanks <<Regards, EricR>>

Aiptasia...By The Hundreds! - 06/08/05 I have 72-Gl tank for more then a year.  All my equipment and livestock was populated based on recommendation I found on this site.  Thank you for your support. It has 70lb of LR, 5in sand bed, 2 EHEIM-Pro2 filters, and AquaC Remora-Pro with Mag-Drive 3.  For lighting I am using Power Compact/Moonlight from Custom Sealife.  It is populated with 1 yellow tang, couple blue Chromis, 1 starfish, 3 clowns. All water parameters looks good.  It is LRFO <FOWLR?> now, but I also planning to add some corals in the future.  6 month ago I move this aquarium to new place and did not have much time to spent on it, except regular water changes, PH monitoring and salinity monitoring.  I did not clean up walls, but looks like it was in right cycle condition and survive couple month on low maintenance.  Now I got problem in huge proportion. All my walls and live rock covered by some brown feather dusters, which is growing by hours.  I am not even sure it is feather dusters. I attached some pictures for ID. They cover all my love rocks, grow on the glass walls of aquarium. If I clean them up they will reattach itself to glass wall in meter of hour. So now all my aquarium have this brown things all over the place and my fish almost not visible between it. How can I stop grow and remove them. What kind of feather dusters are they, if they are feather dusters at all? I search your messages, but can not ID them. Also I know some people may say it is good, that it is growing, or not harm, but it is our of proportion. I can enjoy 1 or 2 of it, but they are long and it is hundreds of them. They make aquarium looks dirty and looks like need to be removed. Is it any fish, or invert, which can quickly eat it up or control their population? Any chemical solution?  Attached are picture of this for ID: <<Ernest...what you have are Aiptasia anemones.  These nuisance anemones can multiply to plague proportions as you have discovered.  Go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm and start reading up on how to deal with them.  Be sure to follow the links in blue at the to of the page as well.  Much info on both biological and non-biological controls.>> Thank you for your support, Ernest <<Good luck, Eric R.>>

Aiptasia? Yep Hey guys. I've been noticing this anemone looking thing growing for the last couple months now and I didn't think anything of it, but now that I've been doing a little more reading I'm starting to think that it may be Aiptasia.  I've also noticed a couple more growths like it, but none near this guy. I tried touching it and it recoiled immediately, but I didn't feel the sting that some say is associated with it. Your oh so brilliant answer would be appreciated. If it is, should I also go medieval on the look-alikes? <... okay> Here's a pic, although I admit its clarity leaves a bit to be desired. If you need a better picture I'll have see what I can do. <No thanks. Clear enough... See WWM re. Bob Fenner>  

Re: Aiptasia or something else? Thank you for the quick response. If I understand you correctly, you believe that this is an Anemonia species, not Aiptasia, which although it can spread like Aiptasia if there are poor tank conditions, can otherwise be contained and enjoyed.  <Mmm, could still be a Glass Anemone species...> I looked at several different sources and while there are certain pictures of Anemonia cf. Majano that look similar, most of the pictures seem vastly different to me. The majority of the pictures of Anemonia cf. Majano appear to have more tentacles than the animals in my system. (I am basing that comment on the number of observed tentacles more than the tentacle position as depending on if the animals are open or "shut" the tentacles can appear different.) Furthermore, it appears that some of the pictures have a bulbish shape to the tentacles, while others are more rounded. Is this just a bit of diversity in the species or the hallmark of different species of Anemonia? <Both> Another question that developed as a result of my research is the fact that most of the accounts regarding the Anemonia species states that they tend to move towards the light. I have only had 2 of these animals move and in both instances it was away from the light. One going to the underside of a piece of rock for a few weeks before moving to the side of the same piece. Another just moving lower on the rock, away from the light. This seems to be contrary to everything I read, especially since I am running currently running a low light system (6500K NO T8 50/50 bulb while I am waiting on getting my ballast fixed) <Depends on the quality, intensity of light...> Finally, all of the literature seems to state that the Anemonia sp. all have a powerful sting. As I said in the initial question, I have witnessed multiple contacts between these animals and the other inhabitants of my tank. That fact does not make sense to me in light of what the literature states. <Your mileage may vary. Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia Detection: The "Eyes" Dear Crew,  <Greetings. Steve Allen with you tonight.> My tank was exposed to Aiptasia and I removed all the Aiptasia I was able to find.  <That's really the best you can do.>  Is there a test to determine if all of the Aiptasia is gone?  <Your eyes. Seriously, that's what you're stuck with.>  I had ordered Gracilaria ("Tang Heaven") from a dealer that claimed that it needed no quarantine. A few days after adding the Gracilaria to the algae compartment of my refugium, I discovered 3 Aiptasia specimens among the Gracilaria and promptly sanitized my refugium.  <Another case demonstrating the value of inspection and quarantine.>  Fortunately, between the algae and pump compartments of my refugium is a tank divider screen that serves to keep macro-algae (and perhaps Aiptasia) from reaching the pump.  <You are probably OK.>  It has been two weeks and I have seen no evidence of Aiptasia in my system. Is it possible that Aiptasia larvae or live fragments are still in the system and waiting for an opportunity to grow?  <Well yes, but probably not. Also, who knows if there aren't some small ones lurking in your live rock from when you bought it that you never saw. Personally, I think it is as futile to hope to keep Aiptasia completely out of a tank as it is for Michael Jackson to avoid getting colds by wearing a surgical mask (most cold viruses actually enter the body via the eyes.) Yes, you should do your best to avoid it, but without panic and paranoia. Keep an eye out and kill what you can get at if you see any. Keep nutrients under control. Like hair algae, Aiptasia only thrive in tanks with excess nutrients. If you have no shrimp eaters in your tank, you could consider adding a Peppermint shrimp. It would probably find and eat smaller Aiptasia before it can become a problem. If there's no Aiptasia, it will find other things to eat.>  Thanks very much. Regards, Paul.  <Your welcome. Don't lose any more sleep over this.>   

Aiptasia? Yep Hi Guys, <David> Love your site! Much useful info here and fun reading too! <Glad to hear/read> Spent the last 3 days trying to figure out exactly what I have here.  I believe it's Aiptasia, but all the pics I have seen are different from what I have. <They do vary... a few species, differ by circumstances as well...> They started out with 3 or 4 and now after 2 weeks I have 40 - 50 that I can see. <Oh boy!> Here are the pics below: <Very nice, yes, this be them>  The above pic is them with a single frogspawn stem. These little "daisy's" are about 3mm - 5mm across. Are they some type of Aiptasia?  30 gal reef tank w/2 peppermint shrimp arriving this Saturday! Thanks for your time, David Smo <And you for yours. Bob Fenner> 

Aiptasia Hello Crew, I've been over the web exhaustively trying to ID the anemones that I have. I have nothing in my tank but live sand and live rock from Tampa Bay Saltwater. These anemones, all the same species, range in size from 0.25" to 1.0" from foot to mouth. The tentacles are tapered and generally about as long as the individuals body. I'm sorry that I can't supply you with an image; hopefully this description will suffice. They are a translucent rust color and the tentacles are banded alternating white and the same rust color. Thanks for any help you can give me, Mike <Do see our coverage here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm  Your description does indeed sound like Aiptasia. -Steven Pro>

Aiptasia Thank you for all your efforts in sharing your knowledge. I feel it must be a labor of love but I'm sensitive that it times it might feel more like plain labor. I have searched your book, Sprung and Delbeek, and the web for information regarding my most recent aquatic concern. I just made the transition from a 55 fish only to a 125 gallon with the recommended 1/3 live rock. My little brother and his girlfriend donated the live rock that they had in one of their aquariums. (what a couple!) After a few weeks of illumination I noticed several small brown colonies, 10-30 in a nickel sized footprint, of what looks very much like tube worms. The tubes are approximately 2-3mm in length and the color is ominously similar to that of Aiptasia. I have noticed a single juvenile Aiptasia. Does Aiptasia spread in dense colonies? If not, do you have any ideas what I'm seeing based on the description. <<Hi Scott, This is Craig answering for the crew while they are in Fort Worth enjoying MACNA. It's difficult to identify these critters over the internet! Try these links for ID and any necessary treatment.  Keep in mind (if they are Aiptasia) they only really reproduce in nutrient rich environments. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aipfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasiaidfaqs.htm These have some photos and good info. Cheers, Craig>>

Tube anemones Greetings, I am still cycling my tank with live rock and recently discovered 6 baby and one rather large (over 1 inch wide) purple tube anemones attached to a piece of newly acquired live rock. I read on your site that these anemones may cause problems in a stocked aquarium.  <they are fascinating and beautiful but somewhat demanding to keep (fully dependant on target feeding by you) and VERY aggressive. A risk to fishes> I first attempted to extract the baby anemones with a siphon with no luck. They are firmly anchored on the rock and retreat deep into the rock crevices.  <indeed... you will likely damage of kill them in trying to remove them> I then attempted to remove them with tweezers, again no luck. After pulling off several tentacles they just retreat into the rock. Can you please suggest another way to remove these types of anemones?  <I'd suggest selling the rock with anemones to a LFS or aquarist that desires them> They are confined to one piece of beautiful piece of rock with large amounts of purple encrusted algae, which I hate to throw away (cost me 65$).  <the anemones are worth far more. $12-15 each wholesale!> Also, I was hoping that maybe I could keep just the one large tube anemone in my fish only tank. Would you perceive this to be too risky? <not at all with large bodies fishes (tangs, angels, wrasses). They are really quite beautiful! Perfect for a fed/high nutrient fish only tank. Give strong water movement so that the tentacles are always whisking about and please feed a small amount of finely minced meaty foods almost daily (for convenience to keep food away from fishes... take a slurry of minced ocean meats in some saltwater and feed through a long plastic tube... say1/2 inch dia.)> Thanks for your great site and all your help. Jeff <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Tube anemones
Thanks for the prompt reply. Today I noticed several more of these baby tube anemones on various other pieces of rock. They seem to be spawning quite rapidly.  <are you sure these are Tube anemones (Cerianthus species... see pictures) and not simply Serpulid fan worms? The fanworms/feather dusters are so common. The presence of one tube anemone is rare... reproduction is essentially unheard of> I have read the articles regarding the use of Peppermint shrimp and Copperband butterflies to eradicate Aiptasia. Are there any known creatures that will prey on tube anemones? <nudibranchs> Thanks once again, Jeff <kindly, Anthony>
Re: Tube anemones: actually Aiptasia
Anthony, I do not believe these are fan worms as they definitely have tentacles. I have sent 3 emails due to size of the pics. 2 pics are of the large anemone (2.5 inches from base of tube to tip of tentacles) and one pic contains a few of the babies. I have a total of 8 babies and one adult on a few different pieces of rock now. Sorry for the large/multiple attachments. Can you confirm this species by these pictures? Thanks, Jeff <thank you for the pics... the cnidarian photographed is clearly one of the nuisance Aiptasia species (glass anemones). There are literally thousands of pages of reference on the Internet about eradicating this animal if it becomes a plague. Rest assured it only becomes a plague in overfed or overstocked tanks (lack of nutrient control... skimming, water changes, water flow, etc). Else... they will not divide, breed or flourish. Do a keyword search on Google for WWM and beyond to learn more about Aiptasia. Best regards, Anthony>
Re: Tube anemones: actually Aiptasia
Anthony, <Steven Pro here this morning.> Sorry for being such a pest. I don't believe you ever received this pic though. This pic shows the large anemone's tube more clearly. Again, he's about 2.5-3 inches long. The tube is about 1.5 inches long. Do you still think this is a glass anemone? <Absolutely an Aiptasia> I thought for sure this guy was a tube anemone. As always, thank you very much for your help. Jeff <Have a nice day. -Steven Pro>

Aiptasia or not? I hope you can help me identify this .These guys that I have are green , not brown or clear like Aiptasia I have seen before. <Do you have an image? There are circumstances where Glass Anemones are greenish in color> Do you think a copperband b. would be the best thing? thanks a lot . I will send a picture also .P.S. I downloaded a few pictures to the web site and all was well for a couple of days until I looked again and someone else's name was assigned to my photos. My user name and password do not work. The picture "2nd crop.bmp will show some of the green Aiptasia and if you look at the bottom of the photo you will see my name. Robert McNinch. The pics are in the users section . user name " tiger" Thanks again <What? Can you point out where these images are (as in a URL)? Please do read over the "other pest anemone" section here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/otherpstanemfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Fw: Aiptasia or not? Hi Bob, The photos that I am referring to were downloaded to your site. WetWebFotos.com. My user name is tiger. The name that comes up when I click on my own photos is Janet Pereira. Please check it out and you will see my tank and Aiptasia. My name, Robert McNinch, is on the bottom of the photos. I have tried to correct this problem in the past, because I cannot edit or change anything. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 803-345-XXXX. p.s. I have no idea who Janet Pereira is. I tried emailing her about it, but got no response. <I know nothing about the WWF system... It's administered by Zo... I will send your note to him, and in turn ask Jason.C to look over all and respond. Bob Fenner> Thanks Robert McNinch
Fw: Aiptasia or not?
Hi Bob, <<Actually, it's JasonC this time. Greetings,>> The photos that I am referring to were downloaded to your site. WetWebFotos.com. <<Got it.>> My user name is tiger. The name that comes up when I click on my own photos is Janet Pereira. Please check it out and you will see my tank and Aiptasia. My name, Robert McNinch, is on the bottom of the photos. I have tried to correct this problem in the past, because I cannot edit or change anything. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <<I am Cc'ing Lorenzo about this, he is the person behind the curtain at WetWebFotos.>> p.s. I have no idea who Janet Pereira is. I tried emailing her about it, but got no response. <<Interesting.>> Thanks Robert McNinch <<Robert, those anemones do not look like Aiptasia to me. Do check that URL Bob sent you earlier. Cheers, J -- >>

Glass Anemones I have had my marine tank set up now for 8 months. I have a pair of clown fish, a Sulphur goby and a builder shrimp and a good culture of live brine shrimp and other small creatures living at the bottom of the tank. I have recently discovered several glass anemones growing in the tank and have been told by my local supplier that these are undesirable and that these are the reason my bubble anemone has died. <The first part is true, but not the later. These glass anemones, Aiptasia, are undesirable, but probably not the reason for your anemone's demise.> Is this true and if so how can I get rid of them without harming anything else? <Look up the many writings on WWM concerning Aiptasia.> I hope you can help because my clown fish are looking quite lost without their anemone and I wish to get another one soon. <Please read up further on anemones, their care, their historically dismal survival record, and its impact on the environment. -Steven Pro>

Dozens Little Brown Anemones Mr. Fenner, Over the last several months little, what look like brown anemones, have taken over my live rock. What should I do? I am afraid they are going to hurt my corals or worse spread throughout my tank covering everything. Do they have stinging capabilities? How can I control them? <What you have described sounds very much like Aiptasia. You can find answers to all your questions here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/Aiptasia/aiptasia.htm  and following on to the linked blue files.> Thank You, Jason <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Curlicue anemone Hi Bob, Steven, Anthony ( maybe I'll hit the trifecta and get all three of you to answer ;)  <heck... I just want to know what end of the horse that makes me...hehe. Anthony Calfo in your service> I'm about to become the unintentional owner of a curlicue anemone (Aiptasia mutabilis - and it's just a cousin of [I] those[/I] Aiptasia, from what little I've read it requires a male and female to reproduce), any info on these appreciated, esp. lighting. <actually... quite attractive to me. One of the few easy to keep anemones. Lives under most reef lighting, appreciates regular feeding and is admittedly aggressive (keep distance with other cnidarians)> one thought I had was putting this in the nano (the one with the 23wPC 5000 light - see this for more details: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=15&thread=2654)  <hmmm... likely way too aggressive for a nano unless it will be the featured animal in the tank> thanks for the help! P-F <ciao, bub... Antoine>

Berghia and Belgium Hello Anthony, <Greetings, my friend!> Well, please do accept my apologizes if I didn't explain myself good. <no worries at all> Indeed it goes over how to get them in quantities for sale as retailer). I thank you for the rapidity you have yet answered me and you may say to Bob from me "he is a lucky man to have holidays now". I wish him all the best a man can wish and to you all who come to Europe in a while, a good trip and a nice stay here. <I will do so and thank you!> I see (no offense) that as a lot of Americans, you are not a great geographer, ah, ah, ah. because Belgium must be two or three hundred kilometers nearer of America than Nurnberg is. At the other side, Belgium is a little country, more little of Germany but it is good to live here. <alas... it is true that many Americans are not at all well schooled on world geography> With all friendship. Claude. <In answer to your question, my friend. I am not aware of many places that wholesale the Berghia nudibranchs. Their production is still so low with a demand so high that most if not all are sold at retail prices. One such place is on the web at http://www.inlandaquatics.com/ you might look them up to see how their availability is. There is a very nice fellow there named Morgan Lidster who perhaps can advise you if they cannot serve you. Otherwise, I will post this request on the WWM board and perhaps some daily readers might write in with knowledge of a farmer with a large supply of these nudibranchs for sale> By the way what do you think of the WWM in French? It begin to take scope, is it not? <very exciting indeed! With kind regards, Anthony> Claude Declercq

Unidentified Creature Hello, <Cheers, Anthony Calfo in your service> We noticed this in our tank last night. It this an Aiptasia??  <yes> If so, how do we kill/get it out of our tank?? We had just rearranged the aquascaping last weekend. We never saw him before and we've had our tank set up about a month and a half. We have had 2 sally Lightfoots die, but they were no where near this rock so ????? Any help you can offer would be good. Thanks Katie and John Michael <the drama and "danger" of Aiptasia is way overblown. They only proliferate in tanks that have nutrient export problems... unfortunately this is applies to more people than not. Aiptasia will not grow without feeding any more than an anemone or coral will. So, tanks that are overstocked, overfed, poorly skimmed, lack water changes, etc find that they get plague proportions of these animals. You may not need to do anything... however, if you prefer... do research the topics of extrication in the WWM archives (articles and FAQs) and on the message board/forum. A tremendous amount of info has been posted about removal. It is a bit tough and takes repetitive procedures though. Best regards, Anthony>

Pesky anemones... Mr. Fenner, If you have a moment, I would greatly appreciate your opinions on a particular issue I am faced with. My saltwater aquarium (some assorted coral, four fish, a few crabs/snails/shrimp, three starfish) has been established for almost one year now, and over the past six months, tube anemones (which came on the live rock) have begun to proliferate like nothing I've ever seen. It all began with about five of them at the base of an umbrella coral I have, and now they are literally everywhere. If I were to approximate, there are probably over 100 in my tank. Needless to say, I want them eliminated. I have tried cutting them out, but as you are well aware, they quickly pull into their holes at the slightest touch. They are especially irritating to my snowflake eel. What are your thoughts? <To eliminate them (Aiptasia) as well> Biological (puffer of some sort??) or chemical (such as an "ich" treatment??). I've read through your book, and you were right on the head when you said that they are either dead, or alive and "impossible to kill." Thanks! -Samuel Sundberg Minneapolis, MN <Thank you for writing. Allow me to introduce you to our site: WetWebMedia.com and particularly the introduction to the "Glass Anemone" sections, beginning here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aiptasia.htm Beyond the survey piece you will find links (at the top, in blue) to the various FAQs files detailing others questions, input re eradication methods... If your infestation is as bad as stated, it might be a good idea to "go the route" of killing most all on your live rock (bleaching... protocol on WWM) and re-starting with some new live rock placed on this now/then dead base material... Read through these areas and we'll chat further. Bob Fenner>

Live rock??? I have a 55gal salt water tank. I have just recently added 15 more lbs live rock from my LFS. The day after adding the rock while inspecting the tank, I saw something that I am not quite sure what it is coming from the LR. It is a reddish- brownish color flower looking "something" with about 10 or so fingers. It retreats into the LR if I put anything near it? Is this something to worry about or an added bonus?  <Perhaps either, both> I only saw that one on one piece of rock and then one other on another piece under some plants. Any clues as to what this is? Thanks in advance. <Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aiptasia.htm and follow the links along till you are satisfied. Bob Fenner>

Anemone Problem (Anemonia?) Hello Bob, I have been doing a lot of research for the last 4 months while preparing to set up a marine tank. I have read "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" (excellent reading) as well as several other books on the subject. I have been looking at WetWebMedia to determine how to rectify a problem with anenomes. Here is my situation : I recently purchased a live sandbed that was about 2 yrs old (4" bed in my 135G). The tank is going through a minor cycle and has only a few pieces of rock rubble . I started seeing these little brown anemone and there are quite a few of them (definitely not Aiptasia). <Hmm, don't be too sure... are they semi-transparent/translucent, move very quickly when touched... there are many species.> They are currently anywhere from the size of a match head to the diameter of a soda straw. The anemone have small bulbs at the end of the fairly short tentacles. I went to the LFS today, after 4 days of trying to determine what they are, and they were identified as Anemonia.  <Oh! Another possibility for sure> I have seen a few references on WWM about Anemonia but no info on how to rid my tank of them. I was told by the LFS that my only option is to inject with Kalkwasser. <Hmm, only one line of attack. Actually, the control, eradication avenues for both genera are about the same...> Fortunately, there is nothing in the tank for them to adhere to presently except for some small rubble and the aquarium glass. I removed the rubble and did a fresh water scrub and used a razor blade to get them off the glass and removed from the sandbed and tank with a net. I guess what I am asking is can I do anything more to rid myself of these pests ?  <If there's a bunch of them that were removed... albeit as thoroughly as you could... they'll be back... and are best dealt with biologically... Chelmon/Copperband Butterflyfish, their relatives, Lysmata wurdemanni shrimp, Berghia nudibranchs... As posted on the WWM site> I intend on going with about 150-200# of cured LR after the cycle but want to eliminate (or as close as I can get) these pests before they are out of control and take over my new live rock and tank. Just in case tank info would help, I will be setting up a FOWLR tank and I presently have a 135G with a 4" DSB (Berlin),30G sump (will be adding a 2nd), CSL PC's with 50/50s, AquaC EV150 skimmer, Eheim 2026 canister filter (strictly mechanical filtration, left over from my 55G) and a water turnover rate of roughly 10x with powerheads and return pump. Thank you very much for your time and all the info you provide on your website. I have found your site to be a very helpful resource. Have a wonderful day. Chris <You as well my friend. Don't allow this infestation to stop your progress here. It may well be that the changes brought about with the new live rock will displace the Anemonia/Aiptasia/your-pest-anemone-name-here problem... If these do crop up in good numbers, employ living predators. Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia? Bob, This isn't as much of a question as it is an observation. (OK, I had to sneak a couple of questions in at the end!)<okay> But first of all, thank you for your help and site, I'm sure you hear that a lot, and I owe many thanks to the information available here through you and the forum. <Never tire of hearing/reading accolades...> Ok, back to my observation. In the 72 gallon bow front reef tank I set up for my office as Christmas gift last year I had a small piece of LR that had a brownish anemone like creature coming out of it. It had tentacles that were tapered to an abrupt point, and were about 1"+/- long. It did not look like any pictures of Aiptasia I had seen before.  <Might be a member of the genus Anemonia...> About 2 months ago I noticed a second, smaller one was now on the same rock next to it. I did not remove the rock, however I did move it to an area of the tank where it was not touching any other LR so I could observe it. The closest thing was a Platygyra brain coral about 3 inches away. The next day both of the anemones were gone and haven't' been seen since. I'm assuming they were eaten by a fish or maybe (??) the Mithrax crab from the clean up crew.  <Or maybe "stung off" by the Brain Coral...> I have 3 damsels, a yellow tang, maroon clown and a flame angel. I've never seen the angel bother any of the soft corals or my clams, but I don't think any of the other fish would touch these so the flame would be my first guess. <Mine's the coral> Anyway, I was still wondering what they were, and the other day was reading through your book and found a couple of pictures of what appear to be identical creatures. On page 30, just behind the clown triggers tail on a piece of LR appears a similar creature. An even better picture is on page 100, just to the right of the yellow tang amongst the zoanthids is a perfect picture of what was in my tank. I was just curious if you could identify these and if that is in fact Aiptasia. <Zow, you have keen vision. These are almost without a doubt members of the genus Aiptasia> Also, while I have your ear, the boss was at a restaurant near Harrisburg PA that has a large marine tank and he loved it and is now wanting me to get another fish for the office. The Yellow tang is the largest I have now, about 4", and all the fish get along great and the water quality is good. I think the fish he saw was a Sailfin tang, which I know is pretty much out of the question cause of fighting with the yellow, but he was wondering about one more "tang sized" fish. Any thoughts on what might do? <Mmm, for the tank you mention... I would likely try the Sailfin... one of decidedly larger or smaller (by an inch or more) size... They will likely "joust" for a bit, for a few days... but no likely real damage.> Lastly, I'm in the construction industry and have access/skills to cabinet making and other carpentry, plumbing etc... In the next year or so I plan on designing a large(200+) tank for my house, similar to some of the ones in your book by Jeffrey Turner.  <Beauties> Is there any resources available that sell or make available 'plans' for tanks such as the ones in your book or ideas to get started?  <Hmm, the best as far as I know is "Oz' Reef" on the Net: http://www.ozreef.org/ ... see "cupboard" and the links to other sites under "aquarium stand".> I've tried your link in your book to Jeffrey Turners website but I get another site every time I try. <Hmm, this site?: http://www.orafarm.com/> Thank you, as always, Kris, PA <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Anemonia? Mr. Fenner, I have recently set up a 60 gallon reef tank and seem to have acquired the so called Anemonia guys. I was wondering if you can confirm this for me. It is now about the size of a dime with bulb tips during the daytime and then at night it turns into spiky tentacles. It is green with red/maroon tips. I've had him for over 3 months but it has not multiplied yet so I'm not sure if it is an Anemonia or not. <Mmm, could be... there are other possibilities... really have to "relax", preserve, imbed (in paraffin is how I've done it), thin-slice (as with a microtome), stain and do some careful observing, drawing under a microscope to get a definitive i.d....> It seems to have planted itself into a crevice on my live rock and has not moved since the first day I saw him/her and picked it up to take a closer look. The tank is now about 5 months old and everything is going well (knock on wood). I would hate to start my battle with Anemonia/Aiptasia when my tank is going so well. Could you please help a reef keeper out or point me in the right direction for some self help in identifying this little critter? <Mmm, take a look over the scant references posted on our site re the anemones (WetWebMedia.com) and a visit to a local college library to search the literature on both genera and related forms...> I've fed him a few times and it seems to like it. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.  pham15  <If this animal hasn't been spreading... I'd leave it be, enjoy it. Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia Dear Mr. Fenner, I am so sorry to mail you as often as I do. I have a question about what I believe to be an Aiptasia. I have found many of these on my live rock. We I have been looking through books and web-sites I have found few pictures of the clear type of the Aiptasia. I know that there are many varieties. I just want to get a hold of this. <Mine posted here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aiptasia.htm> I have a good friend who has a Berghia Nudibranch and confirms the fact that they will eat any Aiptasia. His 180 gallon was rid of them and has been free for some time now. I will search for a dealer who has one in stock or can obtain one. My LFS said that if I get this nudibranch that they have a list of people who can give him a good home once he has eaten his fill. <Yes, and this nudibranch can be "ordered" from places through the mail> Do you know of any dealer (I am waiting for an e-mail back from FFX to see if they can get them) who can get Berghia Nudibranchs? I thank you again for all of your help. I do hope the pic of my "Aiptasia" was clear enough. Best wishes Josie <There are folks, businesses who list them for sale in the back of the hobby magazines... and etailers on the net (some listed on our links pages:  http://wetwebmedia.com/links.htm Bob Fenner>

Spreading Anemone (Aiptasia) I have a serious problem going on in my reef tank. About 6 months ago I purchased a SPS online. Little did I know then, but it came equipped with a hitchhiker. When it first started to grow I thought it was kind of interesting, but now it's spread throughout my tank and I don't know how to rid my tank of it. It looks like a cross between a Long Tentacle or a Condylactis, Atlantic. It's spreading at an alarming rate and wrecking all of my SPS. I've tried pulling it, scraping it, just about everything I can think of but whatever I do only seems to make it worse. When I pull it up it leaves what looks like white threads about an inch or two long. I've used suction when pulling and scraping but they still spread like crazy. When I remove one a dozen more replace it. I'm almost to the point of scrapping all of my rock and starting over. I have a 150 gallon tank, and any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance, Bill <Please read through our site on all links re Aiptasia: http://wetwebmedia.com/aiptasia.htm Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia Hi Bob, I was wondering what kind of lighting conditions Aiptasia prefer.  <Can grow, use intense direct light, but have seen, photographed members of the Glass Anemone family in dark spots (under hangs) in the wild...> I just received 120 lbs of LR, and it seems like I have some type of brown-ish, black anemones. But it is like they are afraid of the light. They only open up when all lights are out. When the lights are on (6 x 96 pc over a 125), they 'shrivel' up like it hurts them. Thanks in advance. Jason <Might still be "them" photo-adapting... Bob Fenner>

Hi There! (Aiptasia?) Tank is progressing well after switching to a DSB and adding LR. Thanks for all the previous help! It seems I may have Aiptasia.  <They do "happen"> One critter growing from the LR exhibits the following: Tube like Almost 1/2" long One stalk, attached onto/into LR Clear/tan stalk About 1/4" in diameter Round oral disk, same diameter and colored brown Very, very small tentacles(?) around oral disk <Bingo> It almost looks like a kid's drawing of the sun, except brown, when viewed from the top. I added an IPSF special yesterday and within a half hour, this creature described above had killed and was munching on a bristleworm. Could it possibly be anything else? Please say yes! :) After viewing pictures of Aiptasia, they all seem to have very long tentacles. The tentacles on mine are about 1mm. Is this because it is not mature yet? <Maybe... there are a few species of the Glass Anemone family... and some other "pest" anemone species of other families... Nothing to panic about. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Sue

More on Aiptasia Mr. Fenner -- just a quick note since my last email to you seemed to make it into your faq on identifying Aiptasia and I believe we were mistaken: I had written to you about 3 translucent (slightly blue) anemones that had appeared in my tank several weeks ago when it was cycling with some fairly well established live rock from a friend's tank. after chunking two off, and watching another grow, I am quite convinced these were in fact Tubastrea, not Aiptasia.  <Really?...> the survivor has thicker, shorter tentacles than the spidery Aiptasia, and has the speckles I have seen in pictures of the Tubastrea. I'll try to email a photo somehow.... oh, and a definite Aiptasia has appeared on another rock.... now the real work has begun. thanks again. Todd <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia Bob--I found this link on the NG tonight. It seems that people are always writing you and complaining that the Aiptasia photos aren't good enough for them to make an ID. You might see about using this one! Hope you have a good weekend. (The LFS called today--my tank is in--will be set up next weekend!) --James D <Thank you for this... will add to all the Aiptasia pages on WWM. Bob Fenner> http://www.reefsource.com/aptasia.htm

Aiptasia? Mr. Fenner -- luckily I came across your FAQ's just as I started my mini-reef. thank you for all the helpful information I've read on WetWebMedia. I'm truly amazed. I have just started cycling my tank which is a 30 gallon eclipse 2 with a visit-jet (in tank) protein skimmer and about 50 lb of live rock and 3-4" of live sand. I received the rock and sand directly from a friend who had 2 successful reef tanks that he is dismantling and paring down as he prepares to move away. <How nice> after 3 days, two small (1 cm) anemones appeared on one rock with clear tentacles (slight bluish tint) and tiny white tips at the end. today, a 2-3mm daughter showed up next to them. I've read everything I could on WetWebMedia and other sites about Aiptasia, but can't get a good idea about what Aiptasia look like (usually brown, right?) <Yes, to transparent> and with the rapidity of this proliferation, I'm a little worried. these anemones will retract if disturbed by direct contact or strong currents on them directly. sound like Aiptasia to you? <Yes... Anemonia is another "pest" genus of anemones... but don't retract quickly...> except for the white/clear Aiptasia on WetWebMedia, all the other pictures I have seen are brown. what is the variability in coloration? <High...> and finally, with established rock and sand, how much cycling and die-off should I really be expecting.  <Very little.> my protein skimmer has put out nothing after 6 days. (maybe because it's a piece of junk? or am I just an over-anxious newbie?) <Perhaps a little bit of both... Not to worry here... if your conditions were near what your donor-friend/aquarists were, and the system otherwise stable, you should not have seen, will not see much collectant. Bob Fenner> thank you very much. Todd

Glass anemone Looking for more pictures of the glass anemone... the funny thing is, I have 3 baby anenomes growing in my tank... I thought my bubble tipped was multiplying right? well now that I read this article on your WWM, I think I have the evil ones, but I want more pictures so I will know, mine are different looking than on your page, mine are pink, like my bubble tipped... but so far don't have as many tentacles on top of it... really it only has one layer of tentacles around the circumference of the little guys I've been feeding them. hehe. Also, you know any place where I can find info on a Flower Anemone? could it be baby flowers or am I doing a little to much wishful thinking? thanks <Does sound like these are Anemonia, not Aiptasia... use the genus name in your search engines and search the listservs... especially Topica... Bob Fenner> Tim Geddes
Glass anemone II <sorry>
I just wrote you a letter asking for info on glass anemone, and I now know these I have ARE in fact glass anemone, because of the way they move if you get close to them, they shrink up really fast, my bubble tip can shrivel up rather fast too but not from just sensing movement around it... I only have 1 piece of live rock with one that looks as if it is recall deep inside it. Only the tentacles stick out, he is a new find I just came across.. Of course when I found him, I fed him, and all the other 4 I found <in a 29 gallon tank> and decided to try to find out for sure what they were. I wish I had not. hehe. So before I decide to start jacking with the stuff, I have a few questions that I don't believe were answered on your site... How big can they get, average? <An inch or two in height generally> How much will they actually take over? I mean, will my tank be destroyed by them? or will they just be a lot of them and I can just make it into a species tank <this 29 was just my experimental tank before I went ahead and forked out the money for a larger one later this year, I am fond of anenomes. All kinds, and I enjoy feeding them. These dudes are very greedy too, I accidentally fed this small Glass Anemone a LARGE chunk of brine shrimp cube and it ate it without any problems, then 4-5 hours later the stuff looks almost already digested in his stomach> <They can/will come to occupy most all hard surfaces in time... perhaps stinging most all sessile invertebrates> Will it kill everything in the tank or just kinda spread all over?... The reason I'm asking is, I don't wanna break one trying to take it out and end up with more than I started with.. So will it just naturally spread so slow and equal out with what can survive, or will it become so much of a problem that my entire tank will suffer to the point of having to start all over again and losing all the life on my rock from fresh water soaks? <More of the latter... and freshwater soaks will likely not do the trick> Also, one last Question. One of the Glass Anemone is close to my Bubble tipped anemone, will it out-sting a large bubble tipped or cause it harm? thanks for your help, you know your the man! <A toss up... depending on which is favored by your going conditions, could be either one... or neither. I would not try to move the Bubble Tip> FYI all of them are about 1/2 " to 1" tall fully extended. Tim Geddes <Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia Bob, I have been on your site WWM as well as others and looked at several of my reference books for photos of Aiptasia. I have only been able to find two photos of which none look like the things I see in my tank.  <Hmm, well there are several species in the genus... and they can/do look quite different under different tank, growing conditions... then there are a couple of somewhat similar (though not clear/translucent) pest anemones in the genus Anemonia... I would check these out next...> I have noticed between 6-8 things that look like tube worms but have some of the characteristics that you mention on your site regarding Aiptasia. For example that have a brownish-tan look and when I gently tap them the quickly hide in their tube.  <Aiptasia are not tubiculous...> The differences are that in the photos and personal sightings that I have seen of Aiptasia it seems as if they have a stalk rather than a tube and they are usually growing on top of live rock. The items I have are on the lower half of the rock and mostly hidden from direct light. In addition their tubes seem to be tapered, narrow at the base and larger at the top as well as having a curved or in two instances bend in the tube.  Since they are so small 1/4" - 5/8" in length it is difficult to ascertain any particulars regarding the top/head of the organism. Any thoughts/help as to what I am looking at before I take action to eradicate these things would be greatly appreciated. Nick <Except for their size does sound like Aiptasia... removal of all these pest anemones is about the same in any case... keep eye on them re growth, reproduction-spread is my advice... Bob Fenner>

Anemones Hi Robert, I am so glad I came across your site, what great information for the struggling new marine hobbyist. I have been sitting here for hours just reading all the articles and Faq's.  <Great to hear of the work's usefulness> Seems I have a few new things to worry about now too! Yep, I definitely have glass Anemone's (SIGH)!  <Sort of like "colds"... if you're into reefs/live rock... you'll eventually run into Aiptasia.> I actually wanted to ask two questions and hope you can help. I have a 125 gal. setup, with all the extras. Protein skimmer, Quicksand filter, mechanical millennium filter, 802 powerhead also two fluorescent lights one white the other blue. I was planning on doing a species only tank of Seahorses, maybe a couple pipefish, Blennies etc. I also have 40 lbs. of live sand and close to 100 lbs. of live rock. I spent a pretty penny too curing that rock with daily water changes until the ammonia and nitrates dropped to acceptable levels. I finally received my second half of the live rock package which included: 2 Sea Cucumbers (which I haven't seen since I put them in the tank) 80 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs, Star Serpent, Glass Anemone's (haha),  <No charge, I hope...> various large snails the other 20 lbs. of rock AND as a so-called "extra" because the rock took so long - two really large Anemone's. (yikes) I know nothing about these, I would have immediately given them away because they will eat my future Seahorses but the only local pet store won't take them. I was also told that I needed to upgrade my lighting or they will die.  <Maybe... depends on the species (some are more reliant on photosynthesis for nutrition/physiology others more "meat eaters".> One is really large, long tentacles, pink with slightly darker purple tips. This guy is not doing well, he shrinks up completely into his orange base, and detaches himself and just floats around, I noticed that he does it more often when I turn the lights off especially the blue, so I have keep them on continuously hoping soon to upgrade my lighting.  Bad? He does eat the offered shrimp however but moves around and shrinks a lot. The other Anemone is white with short stubby tentacles, his mouth is visible, kinda like a weird cauliflower, he hasn't moved from where he was originally put but I have noticed the end of his little tentacles turning brown.  <The first sound like a Heteractis... maybe a Condylactis of some sort ... and do likely need more light... the second... I don't know, but your statement about turning color is indicative... it too needs more intense illumination> I was told by the rock shipper that these were "Atlantic Anemone's" also with the Cucumbers. I test the water weekly and all levels are great. pH 8.0, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0. Temperature and salinity are stable. I just put in some Caulerpa and do have other 'unknown' plants growing. I noticed about a day ago that there were tons of little tiny larvae type shells floating at the top of my tank all along the rim. The shells were small less than half an inch, dark brown, very hard, long and thin. I know it must be hard to just go off descriptions. I immediately removed these but noticed today that there were dozens of tiny white minuscule bugs crawling all over the inside of my glass. I have no idea if these came from the larger larvae type shells or I just never noticed them, these baby's are small! I wiped off the inside of my glass and did a water change, also changing and cleaning my filters and skimmer. Any ideas? <No worries re these newly found "critters"... most all are innocuous and will cycle through...> I'm sure it can't be good. Any suggestions on the Anemone's? I don't want them to die. I have a 20gal. freshwater setup (Fancy Guppies only) and a 55 gal. brackish tank (Puffers, Mono's, Rainbows, Scats). I kinda moved up slowly to salt and now I feel unprepared with these unexpected Anemone's. <You do sound like an ideal aquarist... Perhaps another local aquarist will "take them on"... you might meet up with them through the internet, the local hobby club, your LFS... Otherwise, you really shouldn't risk Seahorses in with them...> I only have maybe ten Glass Anemone's but unfortunately they are on rock that has dozens of large clams covering them, can I remove the Clams safely? <Yes, you can cut them away with a sharp knife and move them to where they will reattach... be careful not to overly disrupt the Glass Anemones or they will break up and spread.> I do want to apologize for such a long email, I would really appreciate any suggestions and thank you for taking the time to read and answer all the problems people have. It's a really nice to do! Kasandra <Am glad to help. Please do consider using Peppermint Shrimp here as well to control the Aiptasia in the long haul (yes, unfortunately they will likely be back)... these will help to keep the system clean for your Seahorses as well... Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia1 I'm sending you three messages--the first two have photos of the suspected Aiptasia on one live rock. I took these my digital camera and used the digital zoom feature, then processed them down to a manageable file size. The third one is another suspected pest--which is on a rock with some mushrooms and can't be treated like the first two. So I'm just looking for confirmation of what I have here. I'm going to go ahead and begin the freshwater soak on the live rock tonight, but can't really do that with the rock that has mushrooms on it. In all three photos, the pest is in the center of the photo. Thanks for your help! <Hard to make out... but looks like the genus... you said you tried the "quick reactions test"... almost certain this/these are Aiptasia sp... Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia I've been reading about the Aiptasia and glass anemones on your website--and I think I have three of them--isolated on one piece of live rock, as far as my gazing into the tank for hours has revealed. Based on what I've read, if that's what they are, then they need to go. I've looked at the photos on the site and I'm not 100% sure that these are the trouble anemone species. <There are several species, some quite different in appearance... all fast moving... as opposed to Anemonia and other "pest" actinarians> The photos on your website seem to show multiple rows of tentacles, and these only have one row. The critters I'm speaking of have a thin tubular "base" about 1/4" long (one is larger, 1/2" long), they are almost transparent (or slightly milky/beige/translucent in color), and there is one row of "tentacles" that radiate at an upward angle out from the base and taper to sharp points. Each one has 8 or 10 tentacles. The diameter of the smaller ones--measuring across from the point of one tentacle to the point of the opposite one--is about 1/4 inch, the larger one is almost an inch in diameter. I have touched them to see if they react, and upon being touched, they instantly disappear into the rock. I'm not completely certain it's Aiptasia or glass anemones, but the fact that they so quickly and readily retract when touched indicates that it's animal and not plant growth. <This is the genus> The fortunate thing is that this is a small piece of live rock, and is on top of the stack, so it would be easy to remove, and I therefore don't have to try to eradicate these guys in the tank. I can basically do whatever I need to do with it (even throw it away, I guess, if I had to), but I'd rather not have to just toss it. If these are Aiptasia, then they need to be destroyed before they start spreading to other pieces of live rock (if they haven't already done so--the tank has been set up for about 3 months now). <Do remove the rock, soak in fresh for a week, let completely air dry... another week or so, soak again, rinse... Take care at this point to not "splice and dice" the Aiptasia you have... they regenerate, populate in this way...> My question is, do these sound like Aiptasia or glass anemones? If I soak that one piece of live rock in fresh water (RO/DI) for several days, will that kill the anemones, and after the soaking, can the live rock be returned directly back to the system with no ill effects? Or should it be cured in salt water again before being returned to the tank? This is not a large piece of live rock--probably 3-4 pounds--and I have a total of 150# in my 115 gallon system. Thanks once again for your advice and tireless commitment to this endeavor. BTW, the purple tang appears to have completely cleared up, after a week with the cleaner shrimp! Thanks. <Ah, good to read. Bob Fenner> James A. Deets

Aiptasia3 This is the one that looks different, if not more dangerous and threatening than the first two. Is this the same thing, different species? <The same genus, different species. Bob Fenner>

Re: Aiptasia Thanks once again for your quick reply. I looked more closely at the appearance and behavior of the critter on the rock with the mushroom (the third pic I sent), and it actually is a very tiny featherduster worm. In response to stimuli (including casting a shadow over it), it disappears instantly into a very small tube and reemerges from the tube just like the featherduster, and its head is the same shape as the featherduster. Looks like these guys start out very small. Better start calling around to find a good predator for the others, though, probably a peppermint shrimp (if my LFS can get the right kind for me) or hermit crab. Thanks. <Ah, yes... and have some other, better pix of the group to post to the WWM site... did the Turbinaria ayer, today the Tubastrea of Dendrophylliidae... Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia Hi, I currently have a 30 gallon tank in which I recently placed about 35 lbs of Manono Island live rock. The rock has cured and everything is looking great, but I am concerned that I may have a couple Aiptasia anemones and I would like to eliminate them before they become a problem. I noticed two suspicious creatures after the tank was settled, the first a small colonial anemone that looked almost like a tiny fuzzy mushroom on a stalk and the second a flat creature almost like a tiny beaded anemone. The only pictures I have seen of Aiptasia show them elongated, shaped like common yellow polyps, so I could not positively identify these critters as Aiptasia. I have not seen much of the small fuzzy anemones, but I currently have three of the small, flat, beaded anemones on a rock in the center of my tank and they appear to be slowly reproducing. Do you think that these are Aiptasia? If so, what would be the best way to remove them? Would it be best to try and suck them out with a small syringe, or possibly spray a little bit of calcium additive directly on them? To me it would seem best to remove the entire rock that they are on (it is only about five inches wide) and immerse it in a solution that would kill the Aiptasia, as this would eliminate any ones that might be hiding inside the rock. These creatures are somewhat attractive, but if they will infest my tank I would like to nip this problem in the bud right now. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! < Thank you for your clear, well-composed query. I do think these small polyps may well be Aiptasia... this is a genus of some diversity (of the Glass Anemone family)... I have posted some images of a few typical, atypical members on my site: www.wetwebmedia.com for folks perusal (under the Marine Index, Aiptasia file name). And do concur with your apparent philosophy and planned action... I would gingerly (lest some cells shake off... become new colonies), remove the rock, scrub off the bad spots, soak it in freshwater for a couple of days, rinse and return the effected rock... Bob Fenner>

Flower anemone I am suspicious of my flower or rock anemone, I have green star polyps and green button polyps that used to do well in a small 10gal setup with 2 15" florescence. I transferred them to a 90 gal with a 400w MH and the flower anemone is in their also and the polyps seem to be suffering showing signs of dissolving and white patches on their flesh. < I agree with you... the polyps sometimes take a beating from being moved, different light, nutrient conditions... but they definitely lose to Rock Anemones... Can you move the polyp colonies out of harm's way? What are your plans for the Anemone(s)? Are they multiplying (yet)? Bob Fenner>

Flower anemone I would love to just remove the anemone (only cost 6bucks) but when I try, it just shrivels up and hides in this crack on the bottom of my tank it has not reproduced as far as I know. I have all pacific species in my tank now except the anemone. I think I screwed up when I got it. Any suggestions on removal. The polyps are pretty far from the anemone about a foot or so do they have to contact it to get hurt. < Take out the whole rock (if practical) and soak it in freshwater...  Bob Fenner> Thanks - I do have them. That's the best picture I've seen on the internet (and I've been looking for a couple of days), but it's a shame you cannot open my picture - it is very good. I sent it to a couple of friends and it worked fine for them. Maybe if I only send one? < Got it! Hmm, doesn't look like an Aiptasia species to me... the tentacles don't appear long and pointed... and you say it doesn't move rapidly when you approach it? I wouldn't get rid of this anemone unless... too many, trouble from them. Don't know what goes on with some image attachments...  Bob Fenner>

Thanks for the Ostracion cubicus info you sent me. I have one more question for you. In another tank I have a rock with yellow polyps on it. It came in with some brown anemones intermingled with the polyps. They are about 1/2 inch tall--as tall as the yellow polyps. They are thicker bodied in comparison to the yellow polyps and they have a flat disk shaped top with short brown tentacles coming off of them. It almost looks like somebody put a coin flat on top of the tube. The only photo of an Aiptasia that I can find is somewhat unfocused and shows an anemone that thins at the top and has long tentacles in comparison to the body. Well, these little guys have already moved onto other rocks and the floor of the tank. They look very cool and don't seem to be harming the polyps that they are mixed in with.  What do you think? Aiptasia? Should I pluck them out just on general potential for Aiptasia? I'd hate to needlessly kill a bunch of animals. Thanks! Randy >> Hmm, well, they sound more like the colonial anemones called Zoanthids to me... though there are several species of Glass Anemones in the genus Aiptasia... One acid test is how fast they can move... Can you poke at/near one of them with a net handle of something inert? The zoanthids will barely more, whereas the Aiptasia is generally lightning fast. Bob Fenner

Boyd Bunk's anemones? Dear Bob:  I was wondering if you would take a look at a picture I took of some  anemones that started appearing in my reef tank? When I first received my  live rock I noticed one of these anemones on a chunk of it and thought it was  cool, but now their are so many that I started wondering if they could be  harmful to the rest of my inhabitants. [Unable to display image]  Thanks, Boyd Bunk  < As you can see, your image didn't load... but I'd be willing to gamble my Labrador (he's a handful) that what you were attempting to show were our least favorite genus of Glass Anemones, Aiptasia... Such a nuisance and common that I've posted a column on them and some images, and FAQs on the website www.wetwebmedia.com Do react as these pests can become more than an eyesore... stinging, polluting a captive system... Bob Fenner>

Brown invert I have a 125 reef tank. I have noticed that there are about 8 brown creature  growing on my live rocks. They look like feather duster and when I touch  their tentacles, they withdraw. Are theses guys good inhabitants or should I  remove them. they are getting growing faster than anything else I have in my  tank. < Welcome to the incredible world of Glass Anemones... what you have are undoubtedly Aiptasia, a genus of real pests... that may sting your other livestock... and that you do want to remove if you can...  I have an article detailing what these animals are and the common courses taken for their eradication posted at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com Good luck... they're tough... and prolific! Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia anemones Hi, Bob. Thanks for all the help in the past. I'm back with yet another question. I have noticed references to "Aiptasia anemones" from time to time in your column and was wondering if you could give me a brief run down on their appearance, size and danger to and eradication from in reef aquariums? I have noticed a couple of creatures in my tank that resemble button polyps but with much longer arm filaments. Thought they might be some of the little buggers. Second question: I am considering getting a Mithrax crab to combat a growing population of bubble algae in my system. It is not to widespread yet. What stocking level would be appropriate for a 100 gallon tank? I already have a couple of abalone, about 12 Trochus snails and quite a few hermit crabs at work. Any computability problems with any of the above or with Lysmata sp. shrimp? As always, thanks for the help. Mike Fodrea >> Dollars to donuts, you're looking at Aiptasia.. their common name (family) is Glass Anemones... most species are clear-brownish... tall stalked, long tapering tentacles... and here's a salient characteristic: fast moving! (as you know). One or two Mithrax for your one hundred will be fine... doesn't take many, or very long for them/it to have a discernible effect. And no compatibility (hey, check your spelling, methinks you're spending too much time in front of your monitor!) problems with your other crustaceans. Bob Fenner

Polyps? Hi Bob, I have a newly set up tank with some live rock in it, my tank is cycled and doing great. There are so many things growing out of the live rock, I have identified some of the things, 2 yellow polyps, 7-10 feather dusters, some live plants, but not all of them! I am really stumped, they look like polyps but are a reddish brown and are thriving in numbers, I noticed a few at first and now about 50 of them ranging in size from minute to 2 1/2 inches. Can you please help, I am starting to get concerned. Do you know what they are? Are they bad or good? What do I do to keep them, or get rid of them which ever is better? I have nothing in the tank but the rock and 4 damsels that were added to help cycle it what is my next step? I have done a lot of research on this but everyone has a different way to do things? Anything you can do to help would be helpful! Thanks, Randy >> Up to 2 1/2"! Hmmm, may well be an unwelcome guest in the form of the Glass Anemones, genus Aiptasia. Most books show pictures of some species, and you should be able to find pix of these pests on the net... but not for sale, just "popping up". Another possibility, but remote on the basis of size are the colonial anemones called zoanthids (Order Zoanthidea)... are the things you're seeing adjacent, stuck together? Do they just have outer rings of tentacles? Can you count the number of tentacles on one specimen? Are they tall or flat, like buttons? Can you make out their "mouths"? Are they grooved at one end or both?     Your next step is easy, as you state you've done "research" and can't decide what do to... keep studying. Your system is not going anywhere and will only improve with aging as you become more sophisticated and sure of what your possibilities are. Bob Fenner
Re: polyps
Thanks for your help, I believe they are Aiptasia! Thanks for the lead, I am going to get some peppermint shrimp this weekend since there are no other corals in the tank except two tiny yellow polyps , and I heard a nudibranch would do the job also but I don't know if anyone carries them. Well thanks for your help. If you have any further advice for my problem please e-mail me back. I would like to add a coral or two in the near future but I think these things should be gone first since they could kill them. Thank you again, Randy < Aha, Sherlock Bob solves another one! Hey, if it will fit into your stocking plan, do consider the all-mighty Aiptasia eating butterflyfish, the Raccoon (Chaetodon lunula). The ones from Hawai'i are especially excellent. Bob Fenner> Polyps > they are not stuck together, they are all separate , all over about a 10 lb  rock. > They look kinda like the yellow polyps that are there to but more tentacles > around the outside that are uncountable, some short and some long, kinda > bunched > up in a ring but not uniform. There is a presence of a mouth structure at the > top > of the tube. From the bottom of the tube to the top of the tentacles range > from > about 1/4 inch to the tallest on 2-2 1/2 inches, and a reddish brown color. > does this description help out more? > thanks for your reply > >> > The color is about all that is throwing me, but am pretty sure these are > glass anemones. Take a look in any marine aquarium reference work under the > name Aiptasia. Is this them, even if a different color? > Bob Fenner

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