Showing posts with label Aiptasia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aiptasia. Show all posts


How to Deal With AIPTASIA the Natural Way

Aiptasia sp.
Aiptasia sp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aiptasia anemones plague many saltwater aquariums, particular those including reefs. These anemones can be quite hard to get rid of. This is both because they are extremely hardy and because of their reproductive strategies.

Aiptasia can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Their asexual reproductive method is known as a pedal laceration. This method involves the growth of daughter clones from the foot of the mother anemone. Pedal laceration allows aiptasia to reproduce very rapidly, and to create multiple new offspring at the same time. Furthermore, many attempts to destroy aiptasia fail. This happens because, even if the mother anemone is manually removed or destroyed, a circle of daughter clones will be left behind.

Chemical approaches to aiptasia removal are also problematic because they can easily destroy other species and ruin the delicate balance required to maintain a vibrant, living reef aquarium. Luckily, humans can borrow some ideas from nature as to how to deal with these prolific anemones; the best solution to an overabundance of aiptasia is to introduce some of their natural predators into the aquarium ecosystem.

There are several potential species to use in this manner. Peppermint shrimp are small cleaner shrimp that naturally consume aiptasia. However, their efficacy is limited by the fact that these shrimp generally prefer other food sources.

Some reef keepers also use a few varieties of butterfly fish, with the Raccoon Butterfly species being the most popular. These fish have also been known to eat other reef inhabitants, including tube worms, corals and other anemones.

The best choice for a predator to introduce is generally Berghia nudibranchs. These animals are mollusks which are commonly called "sea slugs". Berghia nudibranchs are more focused than other potential species on eating aiptasia anemones.

This species of mollusk is small. At the largest, they grow to be one inch in length. When newly hatched, these animals are so tiny they cannot be seen by the unaided human eye. They are often shipped when they are only partially grown, at a size of half an inch or smaller. Berghia nudibranchs at this size are still quite delicate.

Shipping in general causes significant physical stress for aquatic animals. As such, it is highly recommended that you allow your newly arrived Berghia nudibranchs several days at least of time in mason jars to recover their strength. If you do not do so, you risk the mollusks being damaged by high water flows or simply being eaten by the other denizens of your aquarium.

The best practice for nurturing your Berghia nudibranchs in jars before transferring them to the main aquarium is as follows. Place at least six Aiptasia in a large mason jar a week or two before you expect the nudibranchs to arrive. Fill the jar with water from your aquarium. Keep the jar in an enclosed, dark place with a consistent temperature. Allow the newly arrived nudibranchs to remain in the jar for at least two days. When you do transfer them to the aquarium, do so at night.


AIPTASIA - An Aquarium Pest

English: Sea anemones : 1. Bolocera tuediae 2....
Sea anemones : 1. Bolocera tuediae 2. Anthea cereus, 3. Aiptasia couchii, 4. Sagartia cocoinea, 5. Sagartia troglodytes
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Practically every reef-keeper can identify tales of the numerous hours put in checking out their new aquarium, observing to determine exactly what new life may appear from the liverock. It's virtually a magical period, particularly for someone new to reef-keeping, as the miracles of the sea gradually happen inside the modest glass world we've designed for it. 

 The majority of experiences which involve Aiptasia begin in exactly the same way. All of a sudden, a brand new little anemone is noticed on a freshly added item of liverock or live coral fragment, just a 'baby'... However, quickly that one 'baby' will become two, then several, then a lot more. By the time most reef-keepers realize who their new house guests happen to be, they quickly understand that this problem grows and multiplies at a very quick pace.

In keeping with their name, Aiptasia sp. Anemones (this means 'beautiful') tend to be exquisite critters, but they are additionally obtrusive and hostile competitors. Left uncontrolled, they will often completely over-run a fish tank. This doesn't take much time either, as we quickly discover.

Aiptasia has developed to be dominant neighbors and house-guests. They replicate both sexually and asexually, and they are effective at regenerating an entire creature from a single cell. Furthermore, they're armed and dangerous hunters! When Aiptasia are disrupted (possibly by way of a passing fish or invertebrate) they eject harmful white-colored stinging threads called Acontia which contain venomous tissues known as Nematocyst. These Nematocysts are designed for supplying a powerful sting that can cause tissue regression in sessile corals, immobilize prey, and even kill unlucky corals, crabs, snails or fish. Considered by many experienced reef enthusiasts as a pest (or worse), early identification and action are necessary to quickly remove Aiptasia from your tank before they reach epidemic proportions - making control/removal far more difficult.

Step one to managing an Aiptasia outbreak is proper identification. It accomplishes little to commit time and expense towards a means to fix the wrong issue.

Aiptasia sp.
Aiptasia sp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aiptasia anemones could be revealed by their similarity to miniature palms, with a polyp body (the Coelenteron) up to two inches in length and an oral disc one inch across outlined with a combination of several prolonged and lots of small tentacles (up to one hundred tentacles may be found) situated in thin bands about the outside border of the oral disc. The tentacles tend to be lengthy slim protrusions that form well-defined tips at their ends.

In the middle of the oral disk is the mouth in the form of an elongated slit. At the bottom of the polyp, the body is the pedal disk which features as an anchor for the anemone in addition to a means of asexual duplication.

Pigmentation of Aiptasia is a result of the existence of Zooxanthellae (microscopic photosynthetic dinoflagellate alga - species Symbiodinium Microadriaticum). For this reason, specimens living in bright locations are often light greenish brown to dark brown, with those in areas which receive less light are typically medium to light brown or tan in color and those from low light areas tending toward a transparent appearance. Often an anemone's column or stalk is lightly marked with parallel longitudinal lines. Sometimes white or light green flecks can also be found close to the tentacles, and it's also not uncommon for juvenile specimens to be completely engrossed in them.

As with any members of the Cnidaria phylum, Aiptasia is able to sting for both offensive and defensive reasons. Just about all Cnidaria possess stinging cells called cnidocytes, each that includes a stinging mechanism, cnidae or nematocyst. Aiptasia has got both cnidocytes on their tentacles in addition to specialized cinclides around the lower area of the column (small blister-like protrusions) by which it expels acontia.

Acontia is threadlike protecting organs, made up mostly of stinging cnidocytes cells which can be expelled from the mouth and/or the customized cinclides once the Aiptasia is agitated. (A lot of anemones don't have acontia or cinclides yet Aiptasia does.)

The nematocysts of Aiptasia possess a contaminant which is stronger than the vast majority of corals held by the enthusiast (with the Elegance Coral - Catalaphyllia jardinei being one exception) and may cause cellular material regression in sessile corals, immobilize prey, as well as kill ill-fated crabs, snails or fish.

As an additional shielding mechanism, Aiptasia may also pull away into tiny holes inside your liverock if confronted. Taking advantage of this trait, it's possible to poke a diagnosed Aiptasia anemone with a probe and view its response. If it quickly pulls itself downwards (as opposed to folding in on itself), it's likely an Aiptasia.

Aiptasia is a formidable enemy, and pose a significant threat to any reef aquarium. Anyone harboring such species in their aquarium should look into natural predators, as chemical fixes don't work in the long run. Peppermint shrimp can often suppress Aiptasia, while Berghia Nudibranches can eradicate the problem pests.


How To Rid Your Tank of AIPTASIA

Italiano: Anemone bruno (Aiptasia mutabilis)
Aiptasia mutabilis
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aiptasia anemones or commonly know as glass anemones are a common pest in saltwater and marine aquariums. They are usually introduced into people's tanks as hitchhikers from new livestock, in particular new corals and live rock. The problem with aiptasia is that they can multiply extremely quickly and can be very difficult to get rid of once they have begun to take over your tank.

They have a tendency to move themselves around to find the most suitable place and once they have their foot into the rock work or similar they are very hard to remove manually. The vast majority of the time you will be unable to remove the by cutting or plucking as they retract deep into there crevices as soon as you attempt to get near to them.

There are many products on the market that are suitable for removing aiptasia. One of my personal favourites is Joe's Juice. I have used this many times and it never fails to kill the aiptasia that you have targeted with it. Personally I didn't like the syringe that came with it, so I used a separate syringe that I had with a very long fine nozzle on it which allowed me to get much closer to the anemone and in turn apply Joe's Juice to it. This is a fantastic product and is completely safe to your aquarium unlike some of the more unorthodox methods.

You should start off by killing the larger anemones first as they are the ones that are producing the vast majority of spores which can lead to further infestation. Then once you have managed to remove the vast majority of the large ones you can focus on the smaller one. It is a rather time consuming job to actually get rid of them all and you can never be certain that they will all be gone as they embed themselves deep in the rockwork and other crevices that they deem suitable for their home. However you will be able to keep them under control and as soon as a new one appears or seems to popup out of nowhere you will be able to treat them accordingly.

Some of the more natural methods to removing and controlling aiptasia are to use actual marine inhabitants that consume them as part of there normal diet. Peppermint shrimp or a good choice for helping to reduce the amount but at the same time there are mixed reviews on the effectiveness as they don't just consume aiptasia and may only destroy a few of them. Between 4-6 peppermint shrimp for every 30 gallons of water should be adequate to help keep aiptasia under control, but as I mentioned earlier they also eat other foods such as fish and coral food you maybe adding to your aquarium.

Copperband Butterflyfish will also eat aiptasia, but it is recommended that your tank be 75+ gallons to keep these fish. They love to eat aiptasia and are an absolutely stunning fish to look at and watch. One problem with these fish is that they may start to target your corals and some of your invertebrates as food as well. So once again these may not be the best solution for everyone.

A more recent addition to the market, or should I say an ever increasing popular choice is the Berghia Nudibranch. These are extremely effective at destroying aiptasia as it is the only thing they consume for food. The main issue is that once they have ridded your tank of infestation they will slowly begin to die as they will starve to death. An alternative to buying Berghia Nudibranch is to actually rent them from a Local Fish Shop, which is also becoming common practice. Other ways to obtain them would be too look at your look marine / reef clubs as they also quite often have members that rent/lend them out to member's tanks.

Removing these pests from your marine aquarium is far from an easy task and can be time consuming. As previously mentioned Joe's Juice is one of the quickest and most effective ways of ridding your aquaria of these pests. Keep a look out for more articles from me. In a future article we will be looking into the use of a Majano Wand to rid your aquaria of aiptasia.

    By Matthew Braker
    Matt @ Coralswap has over 5 years experience in setting up and maintaining Marine Aquariums. Why not visit our site and learn more about maintaining and setting up marine aquariums as well as trading corals & frags with our other members. We hope to see you soon! Coralswap - Swap Corals You can also visit our store at Coralswap Store Cleartides

    Article Source: EzineArticles