What is Aiptasia? And why we control it.

Aiptasia is an anemone which can hurt other anemones or corals in an aquarium. I have heard and read of it hurting fish, but I have never seen it for myself. Although this is not one of the things that would make one panic, when we see it in an aquarium, we take immediate steps to control it.

What does aiptasia look like?

It can often be beautiful. It is also called the “glass anemone” because of its translucent skin. I’ve seen different colors. The tentacles around its top can be a drab brown and foreboding, or they can almost be flower-like.

There is a similar anemone, called a majano, with shorter tentacles, and sometimes bubble tips. Many hobbyists and maintenance technicians treat them the same way as aiptasia.

What aiptasia does

In an aquarium, aiptasia overruns the live rock and other surfaces, sometimes without being seen. It can reproduce very quickly, and in doing so, it can take over an area and keep corals from growing into it. It has a powerful sting, and they will use this sting to attack corals and other animals.

Controlling and removing aiptasia

Different methods have been developed. There is a technology commonly called a “majano wand” which is supposed to use electricity. I’ve seen mixed reviews of this, but haven’t used one, yet.

Some fish and shrimp are known to eat aiptasia. I have seen several people buy animals for this purpose. From what I have seen, it is hit-or-miss. In some cases, it works out very well, and the animal eats every bit of it. Other times, however, it hasn’t developed the taste for it and simply ignores it.

I prefer Red Sea’s product, Aiptasia-X. I’ve used several, and Aiptasia-X has been more consistent in its effectiveness. I found that some of the other products would dry out, and I would have to try to reconstitute them. I also found a higher tendency to clog my syringes with the other products. This made it hard to draw product out of the bottle and impossible to use.

From a maintenance point of view, the goal is to control aiptasia as much as possible with our visits. There is a limit on how much of the product can be used in an aquarium at a time. Depending on how many are in the aquarium (and whether they are accessible, or not), it could take multiple treatments.

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