Originally Posted by Sniperhank
boiled water, lemon juice, aptaisia-x...straight squirted into the mouth of it.
I found this.
Anyone who possesses a saltwater tank will probably, at one point or another, experience an invasion of Aiptasia. These anemones can become quite hazardous to the flora and fauna in the tank and can cause high stress for the coral and can potentially kill fish as well. They are quite difficult to remove once they have been introduced to the environment, typically as hitchhikers on liverock. It is not uncommon for attempted physical removal to cause an increase in Aiptasia population. Therefore, Berghia Nudibranchs have become a popular means of extricating the pests due to their ability to target only the anemones instead of the rest of the tank, ensuring Aiptasia removal.
The Aiptasia Anemone
In order to better understand the means by which the pest can be destroyed, it is essential to comprehend what the anemone is and what its characteristics consist of.
Aiptasia can be quite misleading due to its elegant nature. Despite its beautiful appearance, it is an aggressive and invasive creature that is capable of overrunning an entire aquarium. When the anemone is disturbed by another animal, it ejects a series of stinging strands that contain nematocysts, which consist of venomous cells that can damage or even kill aquarium fauna.
Aiptasia is a type of symbiotic cnidarians that belongs to the Anthozoa class which contains sea anemones as well as corals. This particular sea anemone is found mostly in tropical waters and, more specifically, on the roots of mangroves or in nearby substrates.
This sea anemone maintains a symbiotic relationship with dinoflagellates, or algae, as do many other species of cnidarians. These symbionts provide the Aiptasia with food which primarily consists of sugars and lipids that are produced as a result of photosynthesis. In return, Aiptasia provides the dinoflagellates with inorganic nutrients as well as a protected environment.
The Aiptasia species consists of “weed-like” anemones that are capable of surviving in a number of environments that vary in saline concentrations as well as other water parameters. It is for this reason, combined with the fact that the species is able to reproduce very rapidly, that Aiptasia has become one of the most bothersome pests in saltwater aquariums.
Despite their undesirability in tanks, their fast reproductive processes and resiliency has made them excellent objects of study in laboratories. Because of this, Aiptasia has become the source of much knowledge in regards to the biology of cnidarians, particularly in regards to symbiotic relationships between algae and cnidarians. Symbiosis is an integral phenomenon to the survival of ecosystems containing corals. Without the algal symbionts that can be destroyed when coral bleaching occurs during periods of stress, coral reefs can experience devastating effects.
Species of cnidarians are able to have two different forms, this being the medusa or the polyp. Aiptasia, along with all other anthozoans, exist in the polyp form. The body of the anemone consists of a pedal disc which the organism uses to attach to the substrate on which it resides. The column of the body is elongated and smooth and the mouth consists of a disc from which stinging tentacles protrude.
Unfortunately for saltwater aquarium owners, Aiptasia is able to reproduce both asexually and sexually. The asexual reproduction of Aiptasia consists of a process known as pedal laceration. This indicates that groups of cells are able to be torn or pinched off the pedal disk which is located on the base of the anemone’s central column. These pieces develop into buds and, within two weeks or less, are able to use their new tentacles and mouth to consume their own food. These clones are able to spread to other areas of the tank in order to colonize another location. These animals are also resistant to one another, meaning that one anemone will not attack any of its clones.
In contrast to other species of cnidarians, Aiptasia can regenerate or generate a whole animal from a simple single cell. This makes physical removal of the pest an enormous challenge. Asexual reproduction is believed to increase when the animal is under large amounts of stress particularly when oxygen is low, when circulation is disturbed, in periods of low lighting, or when under attack by predators or by those trying to physically or chemically remove the anemone.
Although asexual reproduction is probably more common, sexual reproduction may occur as well. The creatures, which consist of two separate sexes, are able to produce free swimming zygotes via external fertilization which eventually becomes a polyp after it settles in a particular location of the tank. Both the male and the female Aiptasia release their gametes with fertilization occurring in the surrounding water. The zygotes are referred to as planula larva that are able to swim but eventually settle in one location where they undergo metamorphosis. It is then that the Aiptasia takes on its adult polyp form. There is also some debate as to whether or not fertilization may occur internally. The newly generated larva do not possess symbionts. It is not until they have matured into polyp form that they are able to acquire symbiotic dinoflagellates from the environment.
Aiptasia Tank Introduction
The majority of tank owners consider the anemone to be a pest, which most often enters the tank on coral or liverock. They are usually far too small to see at this point. However, in no time at all, the Aiptasia is able to spread and take over the whole tank. If there is nothing done to control the growth of the pest, it can pose an enormous risk to the other creatures in the tank, including coral, invertebrates, and fish.
Ways to Control Aiptasia
There are several chemical solutions that are available in order to eliminate Aiptasia. Although they may be effective, they typically contain harmful or toxic substances that can change the chemistry of the tank and even kill other species in the tank.
Other solutions consist of natural predators such as the Copperband butterfly fish, the filefish, and the Peppermint shrimp. Although these fish may attack the Aiptasia, they are usually not safe for reefs and are likely to feed on polyps, sea mats, corals, clams, and other invertebrates. Additionally, these animals are known to browse on Aiptasia but none of them actually consume the anemone as a primary source of food. This means that the anemone will not be fully eradicated from the saltwater tank.
It can be very disheartening when you find Aiptasia within a tank since they are so difficult to remove. However, there are numerous available solutions for getting rid of Aiptasia although there is certainly one which has been shown to be the most effective – the Berghia Nudibranch.
Benefits of the Berghia Nudibranch