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Aiptasia is a pest that plagues every single beginner reefer just like hair algae. At first you don’t know what it is and think its a cool hitchhiker coral. But then, after a simple post to facebook or forum, you realize you are dealing with your first pest. Don’t panic! There are many routes you can take to get rid of all those ugly brown anemones that you didn’t quite mind at first, but are now overrun in your tank.
If you do not want to deal with it in the first place. Don’t add it to your tank! I know it sounds obvious but a lot of us reefers will add a frag plug that has aiptasia on it and think to ourselves that we will just deal with it later. No! Stop! This is how the problem begins.
A simple QT tank setup to observe the coral and frag plug for just even as short as a week can reveal if your new coral has it hiding on the plug somewhere.
If you’re a gear junkie like myself then you may want to look into the Reef Delete Aiptasia Killing UV Pen. This newer technology uses UV, but it’s in a sleek portable pen, resembling that of a mini lightsaber.
You simply put the Reef Delete underwater and point it towards it or any other small pest, press the button and watch the UV decimate anything in its path. May the force be in your favor!
This UV pen will not be the best option to help get rid of an infestation as it will take a long time, but it strives on the single lonely aiptasia hiding under a frag plug.
If you want to see more on the Reef Delete UV Pen, check out the video.
A filefish will absolutely destroy our least favorite pest anemone. However it will take some time.
On average you can expect to be pest free in about 2 to 3 months depending on how big your tank is. In my 40 gallon aquarium they were gone around the 2 month mark.
After the glass anemone is gone they may start to have an appetite for your lps corals.
If you have anything meaty or similar to an acan like a scoly, acantho, or trachy just keep an eye on them.
Another chemical free and natural way to get rid of them in your reef tank is with the use of peppermint shrimp.
The key to success with them is to NOT feed them fish food.
If they manage to grab a snack while you are feeding your fish, then they will become lazy and not do the job they were hired to do
You will need to remove all of your fish and place them in a holding tank until the shrimp have done their job.
If you are dealing with a full tank outbreak the more peppermint shrimp you add, the faster the problem will go away. In my 40 gallon tank it took 2 weeks to clear my tank up using 10 shrimp..
Berghia nudibranch will also absolutely demolish them in no time. You will need to start off with quite a few which can be expensive. They will take a little time to reproduce to enough mass where you start to see a difference but once they reach that point, the problem is solved very quickly..
The downside to using berghia nudibranch is once your aiptasia problem is solved they will not eat anything else. They will either starve and die or become a snack to your fish as they float away in the water column.
A copperband is one of the more advanced natural methods to help rid your tank of aiptasia. A lot of them end up dying because after they are gone they do not do well in a reef aquarium environment. ‘
I would steer clear of copperbands until they have been captive bred in the aquarium setting for a few years.
There are a couple proven chemical methods that will work but I would use them as a last resort when you have tried some or all of the above.
F Aiptasia works by applying a thick paste-like substance. In a short time the paste will harden and entomb them in their final resting place. It works great but can be a lot of work if you have an infestation.
Aiptasia X is a somewhat heavy liquid that you inject into them to kill them. A lot of reefers report that this will work but before it dies it releases spores into the water column and they come back 10x more. So use at your own risk.
There are many ways to get rid of aiptasia. Depending on if you are controlling them from the start by quarenting, using natural or chemical methods or a mixture of all three, they are not very difficult to get rid of. Choose your battle wisely and enjoy a pest free reef tank once and for all!