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Aiptasia has made me lose faith in humanity


john1014

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I saw a great deal on LR from a guy on a certain online classified page. As it turns out, he had an accident with his rather large tank (or so he said) and he had to sell off all of his livestock/rock/etc. Anyhow, I bought 35lbs of live rock from his tank that really had very little visible life on it, but was too cheap ($2.75/lb) to pass up. Besides, the ad DID say it was aiptasia and mantis free. So I take the rock, and place it in my shiny new 28g hqi to kick off the cycle.

 

Fast forward three days. The die-off is falling away, my ammonia is increasing, aquascape looks cool.........and AIPTASIA! I saw one little guy on a small piece of rubble I was saving for the fuge, so I boiled that for 10 minutes in freshwater.......and within 12 hours, I saw four more on a larger piece, so I boiled that one, too. Each anenome was small (less than 1/4" radius) and the rocks were touching each other in my aquascape, so I am hoping I got the entire population before they were mature enough to begin sexually reproducing and seeding other rocks, although something in my gut tells me this is unlikely. After all, I would rather have a dry rock that will eventually seed than months or years of problems with a pest anenome. Plus, the tank is just starting its cycle, so adding additional waste this early will not ruin it.

 

After completely rearranging all of my rocks and spending awhile staring at them after the tank cleared up, I see no more, so I am hoping that my problems are over. Am I being overly optimistic by hoping for a 100% aiptasia-free tank, or should I just admit defeat and try to manage with peppermint shrimp? I do NOT want to use chemical or mechanical means of eradication at the moment because of all the horror stories I have read about using kalk/lemon/boiling water and having one of the things turn into thousands...and I am not prepared to drop a ton of cash on Berghia Nudibranchs unless the problem becomes ridiculous, which I doubt will happen.

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Get a peppermint. Do not feed it, it will eat the aiptasia when it gets hungry enough. Don't put anything else in the tank until your problem is solved.

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I've read posts about aiptasia x that said it wasn't any good or didn't work, etc. I had my biocube running for about a year and a half with no aiptasia when I saw a beatiful rock in a lfs covered in zoa's that I had to have...problem was...There were atleast two aiptasia on it that I could see. I risked it and bought the rock anyway. Well, it took about four to six weeks of zapping those two and one or two more would come back...sometimes even in different places. But I have been aiptasia free now for six or eight months and buying that zoa rock was worth it a thousand times over. Goodluck with it whatever you do.

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I've read posts about aiptasia x that said it wasn't any good or didn't work, etc. I had my biocube running for about a year and a half with no aiptasia when I saw a beatiful rock in a lfs covered in zoa's that I had to have...problem was...There were atleast two aiptasia on it that I could see. I risked it and bought the rock anyway. Well, it took about four to six weeks of zapping those two and one or two more would come back...sometimes even in different places. But I have been aiptasia free now for six or eight months and buying that zoa rock was worth it a thousand times over. Goodluck with it whatever you do.

 

 

i'm currently using aiptasia X and LOVE it....great product...does exactly what it claims to just FOLLOW the directions!!

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I have had great success with aptasia X except when it was on a rock with a zoa coloney i didnt want to accidently end up with it on my zoas so I tooks the rock outta of the tank and made the aptasia retreat by touching it with tweezers... then when it was in i filled in the area with loctite super glue control gel. and i never saw that one again either... both of those methods have worked well for me.

 

 

Good luck,

Tom

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As someone who has studied marine invasions at a research science level (I worked for the Smithsonian Marine Invasions lab in SF), I have lost all faith in total eradication of any pest population, even in a small, controlled environment like a nano.

 

That being said, I think that aiptasia's main strength, its speed of reproduction, could possibly be considered a weakness. If the effective breeding population is limited to only 2ish individuals at any given time with predation, the gene pool is extremely limited and inbreeding depression will lead to deleterious mutations which will be passed down to the progeny. It may take hundreds of generations, but these mutations will eventually wipe the population out from the inside. However, this largely depends on aiptasia's mutation rate (which I assume is high compared to many other animals, because it is highly adaptable). I guess it's a feasible research experiment if anybody has a PCR kit, a thermocycler, and the time/resources to do selection experiments.

 

Sorry, the genetics geek in me just took over for a second. Anyhow, back to my situation.....I have plenty of rock, alot with a pretty good amount of growth coverage on it. If I am lucky, I completely nipped the problem in the bud. I think I have come to the conclusion that if I see aiptasia on one rock, I will boil, but if I see it on multiple pieces, I'm going to assume that the ones I murdered managed to reproduce beforehand. If this is the case, I will be going for management instead of eradication (peppermint shrimp). If it seems like several peppermint shrimp of different ages from different pet stores aren't taking a liking to the stuff, I'm going to go to go for aptasia X (seems to be the most preferred of all chemical treatments). Beyond that, I'm draining the tank, bleaching everything, buying 5lbs of GOOD live rock, changing the sand, and seeding the dead stuff. It will be a pain in the butt, but honestly will not cost me that much money...just a little bit of my time. I doubt it will get to that point, and if it does, it will take months to get that bad, so no need to anticipate the worst just yet.

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In my experience with aiptasia, there is no cure. They're like herpes; they always come back. I wasted 3 months of my life with my first biocube battling those little a-holes, thanks to some cheap LR. I had very little luck with Aiptasia X because they always hide where you can't see them and peppermint shrimp just couldn't seem to keep up with it. Best bet is to tear down and sterilize the tank. I've managed to keep my main tank free of it with quarantine and visual inspections of ANYTHING that goes in the tank. I won't even buy frags from stores that have aiptasia in their tanks. Diligence is the key here.

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In my experience with aiptasia, there is no cure. They're like herpes; they always come back. I wasted 3 months of my life with my first biocube battling those little a-holes, thanks to some cheap LR. I had very little luck with Aiptasia X because they always hide where you can't see them and peppermint shrimp just couldn't seem to keep up with it. Best bet is to tear down and sterilize the tank. I've managed to keep my main tank free of it with quarantine and visual inspections of ANYTHING that goes in the tank. I won't even buy frags from stores that have aiptasia in their tanks. Diligence is the key here.

 

 

Well said.

 

That's what I fear this may come to. I guess I will find out in the next week-ish if I have effectively nipped it in the bud or not. Like I said, a couple fresh lbs of live rock is cheap compared to years of control...it's just a little bit of a PITA to tear down, sterilize, and start a fresh cycle.

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John1014 I really don't think you can factor inbreeding depression when asexual reproduction is such a dominant form of spread.

 

I don't think you should stress too much. Kill whatever comes up - zealously, and if everything goes to pot then try biocontrol. I built myself an aptasia zapper a few hours ago and it seems to be working like a charm. Its literally a 15min DIY - just google it

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I would think asexual reproduction creates more mutations over time relative to sexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction allows for recombination and increased diversity, but asexual reproduction does not allow for this natural "fixing" of mutations in a population. However, if enough offspring of either form of reproduction reach sexual maturity, then it pretty much nullifies the effect. Regardless, it is probably a form of treatment that would take years to run its course, while I can dunk my rock in RO water and kill every bit of aiptasia in a week if necessary.

 

I saw the aiptasia zapper in a previous search for treatments. That thing is truly badass. Do they release gametes in the process though? It doesn't seem like it would seal the mouth from that happening and you could end up with more aiptasia than when you started. Let me know what happens!

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  • 4 weeks later...

If you haven't dispatched them yet, try 2-ish M NaOH placed directly above them with a small wide tip syringe (the kind for giving infants medicine.) Let the solution sit on the animal (zero circulation, obviously) for 5+ minutes and move the water a bit with your hand to dissipate the "cloud" of solution. You are a professional nerd so I won't bore you with the joys of exothermic reactions and why this works. I have exactly the same setup and problem, have been removing a rock or two at each water change putting them in the "dirty" bucket. If you let it sit for a few minutes they all come out of hiding and just wait to be burned to death. Obviously you will kill anything that comes in contact with the solution, but I have a 100% success rate so far at the expense of a couple cm of coraline algae. I've heard of people using this method in the tank because the effect of 1-2 mL of NaOH is negligable once dilute, but I err on the side of caution when possible.

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phi delt reefer

just buy dry rock and learn to be patient. you will save money and ton of headache. use a couple nice pieces of live rock (small enough that you can fully inspect it) and use it to seed. Better yet, just use some live sand to seed you tank.

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When I had this problem I just used some peppermint shrimp, cleaned it up in less than a week. It has been at over a year with none popping up (Knock on wood).

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