How to Get Rid of Aiptasia
As an aquarist, Aiptasia Anemones will quickly become your worst nightmare. Aiptasia, commonly referred to as “Glass”, “Rock”, or “Glass Anemone”, is a dreaded visitor from the Cnidaria phylum and they are not to be underestimated. These parasitic, water-dwelling entities will quickly invade your tank and reproduce at rapid rates if not exterminated in time.
Whether or not you have been awarded the displeasure of housing one of these pests, at some point in life, you probably will. As minor and harmless as its presence may seem, you will want to get rid of Aiptasia immediately to avoid irreparable damage to your aquarium.
Why Is Aiptasia Bad?
Aiptasia anemone has a reputation for being the uninvited hitchhiker of the saltwater. These tough critters will make their way into your tank and occupy as much room as possible making it tough for the other creatures to enjoy their stay. To add insult to injury, they will also aggressively compete for food, and will most likely win the battle.
Sadly, the other fish and sea creatures are often no match for this nuisance as Aiptasia is equipped with painful stinging cells attached to their long tentacles called nematocysts. The power behind the sting can lead to a quick and painful death.
What does Aiptasia look like?
Aiptasia is very beautiful and oddly captivating, but don’t let this fool you. They are up to no good. Their erotic beauty looks similar to a delicate palm tree – its body form is the polyp. They can come in sizes as small as 1/4 of an inch up to 4 inches long.
They are typically brown or clear in color, however, there are many different species of Aiptasia and they come in different shades. The long tentacles on either side of their mouths may look like thick hairs – this is where the stingers reside.
How Aiptasia Anemones Enter Your Tank
As you may have guessed, no one actually wishes to own Aiptasia. These miniature beasts will infiltrate your tank by attaching themselves to a rock or coral that you have added to your aquarium.
They may also gain entry to your tank during a water transfer or an unnoticed infestation. It may start off as a mild issue or a single parasitic invasion, but because Aiptasia is able to reproduce both sexually and asexually, its population will increase in a very small amount of time. Unfortunately, a confrontation with Aiptasia Anemones is inevitable, no matter how careful you are.
Why Remove Aiptasia
Put simply, if you do not clear your tank of Aiptasia Anemone, they will torture and kill off all of the other innocent fish, corals, and crustaceans. These predators are nearly impossible to compete with as they are often very difficult to spot due to their small frames and ability to camouflage in water.
They are also very quick and vicious with their movements. To make for a tougher defeat, Aiptasia will often withdraw into tiny crevices and hide out until a threat is gone. This leaves its competitor confused and more open to attack.
Removal Strategies for Aiptasia
When attempting to get rid of Aiptasia, you are definitely in for a fight, but luckily, there are multiple methods to go about it.
First off, when trying to kill Aiptasia you will not want to downplay its will to survive. These creatures can easily adapt to harsh conditions and temperatures, so it’s best not to waste time trying to get rid of them passively.
Moreover, they will not just die off. If you are in a pressing situation and cannot readily access a means for elimination, you will want to limit their ability to thrive. Instead of releasing food directly into the tank, you will want to feed your fish and crustaceans directly. This will reduce the chances of the food being stolen by the Aiptasia.
Also, it is both ineffective and unsafe to try removing them by trying to directly grab them from your tank – this often only creates more polyps.
Here are a few practical ways to kill Aiptasia.
You can rid your tank of Aiptasia by adding other powerful fish and crustaceans to exterminate them. If you want to go this route, Peppermint Shrimp, Lemonpeel Angels, Hermit Crabs, Copperband Butterflyfishes, and Aiptasia Eating Filefish are all strong enough to combat Aiptasia, but there a few factors to consider.
Not only would you then be in charge of the health and safety of another sea creature (or multiple), but most of the critters mentioned may have a taste for the other fish in the tank. And by adding them to the equation, they may clear your tank faster than the Aiptasia would. They can also cause damage to your reefs and corals, and while they can easily combat Aiptasia, sometimes they are not even interested in doing so. This method is a bit of a gamble and can be a slow moving process.
Unless you are ready to start over completely or are willing to take the possibility of your plans failing, I would think twice before choosing the livestock option.
Natural Injectable Solutions
Surprisingly enough, Aiptasia cannot survive when injected with a few solutions that can be found in our own homes! You will need an injectable syringe or hypodermic needle to perform the following treatments.
- Lemon Juice- Use sparingly, only about 1-2 drops is needed
- Kalkwasser or Calcium Hydroxide- Monitor your PH balance when using this, it can be thrown off if too much is injected
- Hydrogen Peroxide- Inject directly into the Aiptasia and be careful not to release it into the water of the tank
- Steaming Hot Water – the elevated temperature can be enough to burn the Aiptasia to death
- Vinegar- this solution will melt the Aiptasia away
- Super Glue – this will immobilize the pest so that it is unable to use its stingers and will eventually die off
Before beginning any of these treatments, you will need to turn off your water flow five minutes beforehand. You can turn the flow back on 15 minutes after the treatment.
There are also many chemical solutions claiming to be able to effortlessly kill of Aiptasia. While some of the claims may be true, a few of the formulas are actually toxic to the other fish and coral of the tank. You will want to do research before trusting many of the brands on the market. These solutions can easily be found at your local aquarium supply store, but there is one in particular that I recommend.
Red Sea Aiptasia-X
This solution is phenomenal in its ability to get rid of Aiptasia Anemone. Not only will Red Sea Aiptasia-X get rid of these pets quickly, but the formula is also designed not to cause harm to any of the other creatures that may reside in your tank. This package is equipped with one 2.02 ounce eliminating solution and two needles angled in different directions to make for better access to Aiptasia that may be tucked away in areas that are harder to reach. Red Sea Aiptasia-X holds a high success rate for eradicating these pests in a few short moments while the rest of the tank remains unaffected.
These violent beauties can swiftly fill the space of your tank if you don’t act quickly enough. But like most other saltwater enthusiasts, with the determination to keep your aquarium safe, you will quickly adapt to methods of getting rid of Aiptasia indefinitely.