Friday, September 18, 2009

Q&A with Keith, 9/18/09


QUESTION
I have a reef tank and anemones have begun growing on the rocks. They look nice but I have been told I should get rid of them. I bought an aiptasia remover but have not used it yet. Should I? I'm hoping you can shed some light on the subject.


ANSWER
Without seeing a photograph, it is difficult to determine if you have what are regarded as pests in reef aquaria, namely aiptasia and/or majano anemones. I am including a couple of pictures (click them to enlarge) within this post
to help you ID the anemones so you can formulate your plan of attack. The photo on the right shows aiptasia anemones; the photo on the left is of a majano. Their exact colors may vary. Aiptasia may appear more clear (hence the term "glass anemones"); majanos could be brown like the accompanying photo or green, like this photo on Melev's Reef.

You have a few options for dealing with aiptasia:

  1. Use a natural predator. Introduce an animal that feeds on aiptasia, like a peppermint shrimp, berghia nudibranch or copperbanded butterflyfish. Of the three, the peppermint shrimp is (generally speaking) your best option for a couple of reasons. First, they aren't expensive ($5-$10 each). Second, they are hardy and will usually eat other types of food once the aiptasia are gone. Berghia nudibranches only eat aiptasia so once the aiptasia are gone, you will either need to find the animal(s) a new home (with aiptasia) or buy rocks with aiptasia on them for feeding. Copperbanded butterflyfish tend to be sensitive and many times won't eat prepared foods.
  2. Use boiling water. Marc (aka Melev) Levenson describes this technique on his website, Melev's Reef: "My system was to boil some RO water (rather than tap water), and suck this up into a syringe. Injecting each majano with boiling water allowed me to scrape them off one by one with a dental tool. Some were siphoned out with thin flexible tubing."
  3. Use a chemical solution. Another option is using one of the many aiptasia control solutions available on our website. They are all applied in pretty much the same fashion—squirt/inject liquid into or on top of the anemone—although their ingredients vary. I have used Joe's Juice in the past with great success; Red Sea's Aiptasia-X, while newer to the market, has been very well-received by users (both products have more than 80 customer reviews on our website).
If you do have aiptasia or majano anemones, you should be proactive about their removal. They multiply quickly and will encroach upon your corals, stinging and possibly killing them.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact us for assistance.

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