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FAQs on Identifying Aiptasia Anemones 3

Related FAQs: Aiptasia ID 1, Aiptasia ID 2, Aiptasia ID 4, Aiptasia ID 5, Aiptasia ID 6, & Cnidarian Identification, Anemone 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

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

ID help please    7/16/12
Can anyone help me identify the purple item in this picture?  It has been growing on my live rock like a vine, or at least that is the best I can think to describe it.  I have tried looking at some of my favorite websites under plants and corals with no luck.  I don't know what, if anything, I need to do for its care.
Thank you for all your help and all you do.  Your website has the best information out there. 
Thanks Again,
<Looks to be a species of Glass Anemone. Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: ID help please    7/16/12
Thank you for the amazingly quick response.  I checked out the link and I think I asked my question wrong.  I am trying to ID the other thing.
  They/it looks almost like it opens like a flower on top. It closes up with the lights off and opens back up when I turn the lights on. Underneath it is like a vine that goes down the rock and wraps around.
Thank You,
<Ahh, this is a Clavulariid, and the collective tissue/vine... Please see here re:
and the linked files above. BobF>
wot a hoot!

Aiptasia et al. 4/8/11
I have attached a picture, and was wondering if this was Aiptasia.
<Appears to be, yes>
Also, I read that the Red Legged Hermit Crab consumes Aiptasia, does this include the dwarf red legged hermit crab?
<Mmm, neither usually do>
I have also included a picture of a colony of brownish things on my live rock. Is this also a type of anemone?
<Perhaps... more likely a Hydrozoan or Zoanthid>
They don't look like feathers, but they look too thin to be an anemone. Any help would be appreciated, I don't want to do anything until I know for sure what I am dealing with. Thanks!
<Mmm, please do send along a better resolved image if you can... And if/when you have time, peruse WWM re these groups of Cnidarians. Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia?? 4/4/11
Hi Crew! You're site is amazing its been a lot of help to me over the last year.
I noticed a polyp like growth on my live rock about 2 weeks ago that I believe is an Aiptasia anemone.
<I do agree>
I did some reading on the site re natural removal methods and had purchased 3 peppermint shrimp, but as far as I can tell, they haven't left the rocks in their corner of the tank. I've also tried frying it with lemon juice but it just seems to shrivel up and come back out a bit bigger the next day.
At this point I figured I'd see if you guys could help ID this for me, just in case it is a polyp of some sort and not Aiptasia.
<This/these are glass anemones>
I do apologize for the quality of the pictures cell phone is the only camera I could fit back there :p
Tank Info:
90 gallon display
75 gallon refugium with live rock and Chaeto (taking care of all filtration in here)
about 120 lbs of live rock (slowly adding more)
5 Blue Green Chromis
2 Ocellaris Clowns
3 Bennagi Cardinals
1 Yellow Tang
1 small feather duster worm about an inch or so away from the "polyp like growth"
1 banded sea urchin
1 Cleaner shrimp
3 Peppermint Shrimp
4 mushrooms
1 Pearl Bubble Coral
Tank Parameters
Nitrates / Nitrites / Ammonia not readable by my test kit
Specific Gravity 1.025
Thanks again for all your help!
<There are other controls... I'd go the biological route choice/s myself. Bob Fenner>

id please 10/20/10
Hi guys
<... and gals>
Once again thank you so much for all your help in the past.
I have Indonesian live rock which has just past the two month cycling stage and I am not sure if what I'm seeing is some sort of pest anemone. I would hate it if it was Aiptasia
<Appears to be. Read here:
the linked files above>
and I just let it proliferate. I've only seen two of them and they are very, very small. Probably like a quarter of an inch or just slightly bigger than that.
I have attached some pics of them.
Thanks for your help.
regards from South Africa.
<And back to you from not-so-sunny S. Cal. BobF>

Re: id please
thanks so much! At least I can try and get rid of them now.
<And you my friend. BobF>
Cnidarian Identification 2-1-08 Hello. <Hello. Yunachin here.> Can you please help me tell whether the attached photo is an anemone or a coral? We've had this piece of live rock for 6 months or more and originally thought this was a coral. Yesterday, however, I noticed that it aggressively moves to take food that drifts nearby and very quickly takes the food into a hole in the center of its body. I thought only anemones did that, so now it's got me wondering, which one is this? I've checked your site for Cnidarian identification help, but I am still unclear which this is. <This is in fact a type of anemone, Aiptasia. It is a common site in marine aquariums and if not removed can become a very troublesome tenant, even multiplying. Peppermint Shrimp are a good choice as are Red Legged Hermit Crabs if you are searching for something to devour this pest. Here is a link to help you learn more about them and methods to eradicate them if you choose: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/Aiptasia/aiptasia.htm ;> Thanks, <You're welcome!> Stephanie

Re: Mystery Cnidarian: Aip. contr. 2-2-08 Hello Yunachin, <Hello again!> Thanks for the response. I read (and read, and read some more) on your site now that I know what kind of anemone we're dealing with. I definitely want to get rid of it immediately, but I'm concerned about my corals. We have a large variety of big, beautiful corals that were also quite expensive. It sounds like the peppermint shrimp and/or the hermit crab will eat those indiscriminately, in addition to the Aiptasia. Is that the case? <I have never experienced any problems with TRUE Peppermint Shrimp eating corals. The problem is they are sometimes mislabeled and are really Camelback shrimp, which will taste your corals. Worry not though as they are easily distinguished, the Peppermint Shrimp being a much lighter color than the Camelbacks. As I see, the only danger of adding the shrimp is they might be at risk of getting eaten by any current livestock you have already. As far as the Red Legged Hermit, they too will leave your corals alone and go on scavenging for algae and Cyanobacteria. They may become food if you have puffers though. Other than that you are in the clear! Good Luck with your new clean-up crew.---Yunachin> Stephanie Well, that's good news then, thanks for your help! <You're welcome! --Yunachin>

And it's free! RMF

Please Ident. Looks Like A Pest Anemone To Me! 01/01/08 Hi! <Hi there! Mich here.> Can you identify this creature for me? I mean, it is Aiptasia anemone. It is? <Yes I believe so!> This creature came to me with a small piece of rock. Seller says: no this is not Aiptasia, and also other people from Internet says the same. <Looks like a pest anemone to me. What are the others telling you?> But it looks like this http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/Aiptasia2.jpg and this http://www.saltyunderground.com/images/aiptasiaCloseUp.jpg <I would agree. More here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/aiptasia_impressions/aiptaisia_impressions.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemoneidfaqs.htm and some 16 more pages of anemone ID! > Excuse my English language pls. <No worries my friend.>
Thank you.
<Welcome! Mich>

Question re: Identification of corals'¦ Aiptasia 11/04/2007 Hello guys, <Hi Lynne, Mich here.> I am attaching a couple of photos (sorry they are not the best) of some corals that are growing and spreading quickly in my aquarium. <Heehee! I bet they are!> What type of coral is this? <You have Aiptasia, a nuisance if there ever was one... will kill most any other coral it comes in contact with as you have seen with your Caulastrea. More here about this pest that easily reaches plague proportions: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/Aiptasia/aiptasia.htm > The store said it was pink tip tulip coral or something like that. <Oh good grief! Please tell me you didn't actually PAY for this 'coral'. I've got a bridge and some prime real estate in the Pocono Mountains for sale'¦ You could build a casino! Interested in buy either?> Well I also have I was also wondering what type of behavior can I expect from this coral. <Did you see the Star Trek episode titled 'The Trouble with the Tribbles'?> When it came in contact with my Candy Cane coral it killed those and seems to be taking over. <Yes indeed. Is what it does.> Any information you could provide me on this type of coral and its behavior would be much appreciated. <Nuke it! Some removal options here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/aiptasia_impressions/aiptaisia_impressions.htm Though I would recommend avoiding the flambéing method someone recently wrote in and suggested'¦> Thank you!
<Welcome! Mich>

Aiptasia Maybe? (I Don't Think So) -- 11/10/07 Hi kids, <<Hiya Vicky>> I am sorry to have to bug you, and thanks in advance for your time. <<No worries, you're quite welcome>> I am trying to ID some little guys I just noticed in my tank a couple of nights ago. <<I'm sure you are aware inclusion of a photo or two would have helped'¦>> When I first saw them, I immediately thought "Oh no, glass anemones!!!" But I'm not sure. <<Oh?>> These things are really small. I have been going through your site forever (ok, maybe just an hour or two), and while I have learned what big ones look like, critters that might eat them, and several ways to get rid of them, I have not been able to confirm this is what I have. Granted there is a ton of info to read through, <<Indeed>> and I'm really sorry if I missed it. I just can't find any kind of reference to what "baby" Aiptasia might look like. <<Ah'¦quite simple to identify really as they are miniature versions of their larger brethren>> I tried to take some pics, but they are just too small, and I couldn't get a clear shot. <<I see>> At this point they poke about half a centimeter away from the rock. There is a small group of 6 or so in an area about 2-inches around. They are very anemone-ish....stalk with a crown of tentacles around it. Completely clear. A little tinge of white on the stalks, but otherwise completely see-through. The tentacles seem to be just one row on the outside edge. A little smaller around than a pencil eraser. When they are fully stretched out, the tentacles are about half as long as the base. I'm afraid that's about all the detail I can get...they are really small. They only come out at night, and when there is light, they completely "poof!" disappear. <<Hmm'¦not likely to be Aiptasia then as they are decidedly not 'light-shy'>> My dilemma is that if they are these little nasties that I have just read so much about, I certainly don't want to wait till they get bigger so I can match them to any of the pics I've seen. But if they are something harmless, I don't want to destroy them. Help!! :-) <<I don't think these are Aiptasia, though they may well still be 'little nasties.' It's possible what you have are a species of Hydroid or maybe Majano Anemones (though the latter usually shows some 'color'), which, are in many ways worse than Aiptasia in their stinging potency and difficulty to control/eradicate (do try a Google keyword search on these names and see what you think). It is also possible these are simply a small undescribed Cnidarian that won't be a problem at all. The key is whether they multiply and cause problems with your other (more desirable) livestock. You can enjoy them/keep an eye on them for now and see what develops'¦or you can go ahead and deal with them'¦it's up to you>> Thanks again for your time, and thank you all soooo much for this site, it is the single most informative web site to ever exist for any reason. :-) I do not do/buy a thing before researching it here first. <<Happy to help'¦and thank you for the kind words>> Vicky <<Regards, EricR>>

Aiptasia?... Yep 7/25/07 Hey Crew! <Hi there! Mich here!> Just spent a while going through the site, and think I have identified my mystery anemones that have been popping up as Aiptasia (pic attached), <Bingo!> so I'm just looking for a confirmation. <Got it!> I only have a few of them at this point, <You're lucky!> so I will likely just pick up a Peppermint Shrimp and see how it goes over the next little while. <I'd get at least two so they might breed. I have used peppermint shrimp successfully for Aiptasia control. I have found they are less likely to eat Aiptasia if they are well fed, so you may want to limit feedings initially.> Also going to step up the maintenance in general. <Almost always a good idea.
Good luck!

Aiptasia ID/Refugium Cycle -- 07/24/07 Good morning Crew. <<Greetings Andy>> I have two questions that I wanted to run by you. <<Okay>> A few months ago, I e-mailed a picture of an anemone that I noticed on a piece of live rock. It was small, so Bob had a hard time identifying it but guessed that it was a "rock anemone". I Googled "rock anemone" but wasn't able to find a picture that looks exactly like the anemone that I have (actually, there are three on the same rock, in close proximity to each other--they are very small. The largest is maybe 1/2" across. I've been carefully watching this piece of rock now for 3 months to make sure that it doesn't start sprouting new anemones, just to be safe. So far, I haven't noticed any multiplication of organisms. <<Okay>> Anyway, today I was Googling "Aiptasia" and found a picture that IS my anemone. <<Oh?>> It's the 5th picture at http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/organismstoavoid.html <http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/organismstoavoid.html> . As you can see, this website claims that my anemone is indeed Aiptasia, and I was wondering if you agree. <<You are in the best position to make that assertion. Aiptasia are VERY common in the hobby. These are definitely an Aiptasia species and if this is what your anemone looks like, well then...>> If so, I'll begin the extermination process. <<Better now than later...>> Most Aiptasia I have seen are cream colored and clear with no striations like the one in this picture and have long, wavy/flimsy looking tentacles--very different than the anemone shown in this picture. <<Differing species>> Second question relates to my refugium. I set it up within the last month. It's 30-gallons with a deep sand bed, a few pieces of live rock and some Chaetomorpha. <<Sounds good>> So far things are going well--it is teaming with Copepods and this morning I noticed several creatures that look like Amphipods scurrying around the sand. <<Very likely>> However, green/brown Diatom algae is starting to cover my sand, and I was wondering whether I should let this algae run its cycle or add some snails or other organisms that won't prey on my pods to clean it up? <<You can do either, though 'I' would not be concerned here and let the 'fuge continue to cycle/increase its bio-diversity (including the diatoms).>> Thanks! Andy <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Algae? Yep, Aiptasia? Nope 8/28/06 hello crew! first of let me say that your site is hardcore awesome and greatly appreciated, especially to a saltwater novice! ok, I had asked a question before about my light set up, but now I have an algae problem! I have had my tank running for about 3 weeks; 30 gal., 15 watt 20,000k light, Penguin 200 BioWheel (a protein skimmer is the next purchase). my parameters are pH 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate between 10 & 20. I am looking to add a single dwarf zebra lion. <About all the life that should go in thirty gallons> problem #1: I have started to have an outbreak of brown algae on the glass and on the sand. It returns all over the sand within 3 days of siphoning. I know that I will have to be doing faithful water changes anyways with the lion, but is this normal? <Yep> I know that I cannot keep shrimp or crabs. not for long at least...and I have also read that sea stars can be difficult to keep. The only other critters I can think of are snails. How many would it take to make a difference for algae control? <Wouldn't go this route. See WWM re> I have attached a picture. problem #2: I was checking out my LR when I noticed a tiny, white, flower shaped. thing. that would retract when approached. I thought it was neat, but after attempting to identify it, I'm afraid that I have "the weed"--Aiptasia. I can only count about 4 or 5 of them right now. since I'm only going to have LR and the lion should I go through the measures of eradicating the creatures? I sneaked up on it and have attached a photo, let me know what you think. thank you so much! you guys are lifesavers! <See the pinnules? These are "featherduster" worms. "See WWM re". Bob Fenner>

Aiptasia ID 3/23/06 Hi Staff, I was recently cruising through tons of your messages doing research on my Anemone, when I quite by accident discovered Aiptasia on your site, what it looks like and what it does. 2-3 weeks ago I purchased a coral that had came on a piece of live rock with all kinds of goodies on it. Included in those goodies was a reddish polyp which I am now fearing might be Aiptasia. Now I was thrilled to see how fast it was growing, but I was unaware of its harmful effects until today, in fact I was unaware that it was even an Anemone. Please Identify the pics I have attached, and let me know if it is Aiptasia. If it is, I believe I can still eradicate it quickly because it is still mostly on the original piece of live rock and only a couple other places in my main tank. Its behavior is as described, it retracts very quickly when I touch it with something. <<Your pics are definitely of Aiptasia. Early eradication is key to preventing a serious problem. Much info is available on WWM and the web at large for eliminating them. I have found two excellent commercial products. One is Elimaiptasia by Tropic Marin and the other is Joe's Juice. Both come with nice applicators and are quite effective.>> Also, IMHO, the things aren't that unattractive. I would have let them flourish and spread around my tank if it wasn't for today's discovery that they will harm other tankmates. If it is not Aiptasia, then I will let it resume it's spreading. In my case, it hasn't been as severe has others have described, in approx 3 weeks I went from 2-3 polyps of the stuff to about 6. Here are html links to the photos if you wish to post them on your website: http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c162/Baxter5/GrossCoral2.jpg http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c162/Baxter5/GrossCoral.jpg <<I agree that they are attractive in their own way, but in some cases, the only thing that separates a desirable specimen from a pest is the rate at which it grows!! For example, I am trying to eliminate all Zooanthids from my aquaria. Some of them are stunningly beautiful, but have become unacceptably harmful to other creatures. Best Regards. AdamC.>>

Aiptasia ID part2 3/24/06 Thank you very much, your site totally saved my healthy growing tank from serious issues. I was very fortunate to just happen to find this beast while I was going through your site researching my Sebae. Mostly, I am very fortunate that you were able to positively identify this menace that up until yesterday, I didn't even know existed as a first time reef keeper. <<Glad to help. It is amazing that some unscrupulous (or ignorant) retailers will sell these!>> The polyps of this Aiptasia are all centralized on the original small piece of rock I got from the fish store - so by simply pulling that rock out I have eradicated 90% of it. There are couple more on a neighboring rock close to that spot which are positioned in a way I believe I physically remove them, and one polyp on another rock that I can take out of the tank to remove the Aiptasia. <<If they are this isolated and the rock is small, removing the whole thing is a reasonable strategy.>> I hope I am lucky enough that there are no new ones growing somewhere I haven't spotted yet, but had it not been for your site I would of let this thing keep growing for who knows how long before I figured out what was happening. Thanks again, you saved this novice a lot of time, aggravation and money!!! My tank inhabitants thank you too for sparing their lives. <<It is our pleasure to help out!! Do observe carefully for the next couple of months to be sure no new ones pop up elsewhere in the tank... they are know to do just that! Also, quarantining all new corals is a great way to prevent reintroducing them. Best Regards. AdamC.>>

Aiptasia ID 1/22/06 Do any species of Aiptasia Anemones have red tips? <None that I've ever encountered> I have a chunk of live rock that is home to three or four little anemones with red tips, translucent green tentacles, and orangish/tan trunks. They are all currently the size of pennies. I'm a bit worried that I'm about to be hip deep in Aiptasia. I do have a bubble tip anemone in the tank as well. Mike Lushbaugh <See WWM re Anemonia majano... the Google search tool... Bob Fenner>

Re: Aiptasia 1/22/06 Thanks, my LFS agrees that it is majano. After consultation I performed a majanoectomy on my live rock, no traces remain. Thanks for the help. <Welcome. Bob Fenner> A

nemone Question - 12/18/2005 Hi There, <Howdy David!> After 3 weeks of careful scrutiny my live rock has finally yielded up it's first offering of animated "life", at least other than copepods and various algae including a bubble algae and what looks like Caulerpa racemosa. A mixed blessing! <I doubt you need to worry about these. Without excess nutrients they'll just stay put, kind of like a picture.> Anyway today I noticed what appeared to be the tentacles of an anemone protruding from a crevice, I investigated and sure enough, they are, it is. But should I assume that as it has survived the various trials travel and curing rock that it is likely to be trouble and get rid of it before it can do any damage or adopt a wait and see attitude. <I always like to wait and see. Again, without excess nutrients pest anemones won't get the chance to become a plague.> I would prefer the latter as I have been waiting to see something from the rock and would hate to have to adopt the role of the great white hunter. I cannot see anything but the tentacles and they are about 1/2 to 3/4 inches long and more or less transparent (Aiptasia springs to mind). <I agree, likely what you've got.> What do you advise? <Enjoy unless you notice a quick explosion.> Thanks in advance, again, David <Glad to help. - Josh (whose first brush with Aiptasia resulted in wonder, awe and the worst feeding spree ever seen)>

Aiptasia??? 11-29-05 Hi, <Hello> I'm an absolute newbie and your site is a great help. Thank you! I'm working on setting up my very first saltwater aquarium. Almost all plumbing is done, equipment is being tested and everything ready to go. <Now the real fun begins.> I purchased 50 pounds of live rock which now is being cured in a great big tub with a heater, power head and a skimmer. I was planning to set it in the main tank tonight to start cycling. However yesterday I saw a creature which first amused me. <Don't they all.> But today when I tried to identify it I realized it might be a baby Aiptasia. <Not as amusing now I bet.> It looks very much like ones on photos I found. It's very small, 1/4 of an inch. When I touched it it first hid it's tentacles and then detached itself from a rock, rolled itself in a bubble and down it went into the water. Now I'm wondering what would be the best way for me to proceed. I read a number of articles regarding the issue but could not find anything which suites my particular situation. First, I do not see the creature anymore. It's hiding. <They will do that. Hopefully he has hooked on to your container and is not back in the rock.> Second, I do not have tank set up yet so I can not use active predators. And most of all, I'm afraid to move the rock to the tank. What do you think I should do? <Put the rock in the tank. Just keep an eye out for him and nuke him with some Kalkwasser paste or Joe's Juice when he pops out.> Thanks again for all your help! Inna <You're welcome, Travis>

Is this Aiptasia? And what's up with my Hammer? 11/23/05 Hi WWM crew! Thank you so much for putting together this wealth of information. I've only been in this hobby for 6 months or so (if you include research time, anyway!), and I've found that I go to your site first for all my questions. Having said that, I've definitely done my research but still can't figure out a few (hundred) things, but I'll start with two. 1) Do I have Aiptasia? I've done some serious picture surfing, and all the photos I see don't look like what I have. I still feel like it could be, due to its glassy appearance and the fact that there are three of these little guys on my brand new piece of beautiful, if infested, rock. Well, three as of last night anyway; I can't find the third today, so I'm figuring it's either been eaten by a hermit, or retracted after the hermit started nibbling. I had a hard time getting a picture, but I've attached what I was able to capture. It's clear, with little milky tips on its ends. Should I try to get rid of these guys? <I wouldn't... don't appear to be Aiptasia species... are attractive...> Will my hermits take care of them? <Maybe> I've read they will, but I've read a lot of things I'm not sure are true! 2) What is my hammer coral doing (picture attached)? It's been in there a few weeks now, and it's been doing well, by my measure anyway. It's got great color, seems to be full and happy. It's just a tiny little guy, about 3" and only one head. Well, when the hammer came into the tank I did a little re-aquascaping to get everyone in the right current. That included my pipe organ coral, which moved closer to a powerhead. However, he seemed to be getting blown a little too hard, so I relocated him as the new rock went in yesterday back to (approximately) his original location, which just so happens to be about 6 inches away from the hammer. I know hammers are aggressive and can wage warfare on other corals, so I'm wondering...is the hammer reaching so far with several of his 'arms' to try to get the pipe organ (or the Aiptasia)? <Maybe "feeling about"> I also read that it could be reproductive behavior, but I don't know if he could be *that* happy in just the few weeks he's been in my tank. He's in a medium-low current area on the substrate. I figure it's war or a cry for help, but who knows the difference? Not me! I've got a 50 gallon with just rock, the two corals, and a bunch of snails and hermits. I'm thinking maybe a blenny and a few Percs after the holidays assuming all is well. Water is 'good', with ammonia, nitrate and nitrite at 0. Ph is 8.3, SG is 1.022. <I'd raise this to 1.025> Calcium is a little low at 350 or so (the color change test is hard to read), and I haven't had much luck with supplements in getting that up. <Need to study...> I'm thinking of just trying smaller, more frequent (weekly) water changes because I've read that the trace minerals in the salt are all you really need, especially for a new tank. <Usually, yes> Thoughts on all of this? Thanks in advance for your time! ~Amanda
<Bob Fenner>
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