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· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, with a recent release of a new season of Top Gear, my desire to build a new tank always seems to increase (the office tank was built while watching season 10), but I did not really need to start a new tank. However, my wife was thinking about a betta fish (freshwater) for her office so we looked at getting her set up... but she ended up with a indoor plant instead.

So with that "tank build" scrapped, I turned to a pest that turned up on a zoanthid colony I bought about two weeks ago. I small aiptasia pop up from one half of a small bivalve shell connected to the zoa colony. I picked the shell off (including the one aiptasia) and held it in a tupperware bowl for a day. I then decided to turn the would be betta tank into an aiptasia tank... and have an experiment with it. I want to see how fast the bugger spreads from one anemone to dozens. Here is the deal:

I will not keep the condition of the tank always in "good" conditions... like an absent minded reefer... but enought to generally support life.

I will feed the aiptasia(s) any time I feel like it.

The tank has a led "light" (a candle would put out more par) but it will be near my other tanks so there will be some spill over light.

I will nuke the tank (heat, bleach, iodine, salinity, kalk, pH, anything) from time to time just to see how resilient the anemone are and how fast they respond.

If you have an idea of what to do, let me know. Majanos might be next. I just want to experiment of how exactly tough these little aquarium pests are.

So here is the "build" project.

The tank


Finding space for the tank (tough to do without upsetting the wife)


Adding recycled sand (16oz to be exact)


The anemone... I have named it "alpha"


The tank with water


Anemone added (far left on the top of the rock... looks like a dot)


Please, if you have any ideas of what to test on these buggers let me know.
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I will definitely agree to test the aiptaisa cures... once I get a tankful of them. But first I have to see how fast one measly pest can cause so much heartache! But those fighting the good fight against these guys, it isnt not only an experiment... it is revenge.
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
dang Alpha can eat. I fed it three mysis shrips and it handled all three without an issue (along with some cyclopeeze) wow
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have only had success with peppermint shrimp in the past. The search and destroy method with other treatments worked well when you could get to all of them... diffcult for the under the back ledge area.
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I have fed Alpha again tonight... just to keep proper records. Although I am thinking that some tubastrea would be more rewarding to feed... oh well.... hummmm. The aiptasia moved slightly getting its foot deep into a crevice so this is where the pest gets dug into for a fight.

One good result of this experiment is that I made a aiptasia feeding device (turkey baster with some air line to extend the nozzle) and it works well. It also feeds other corals as well.
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
well, if the peps are well fed, why would it "work" for food?
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
In the interest of science... I am reporting that I fed Alpha this evening. It has doubled in size in the last week, the growth has been amazing.
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
oops I have forgot to post that I fed alpha last night... ahhh the tedium of science

While alpha's mass has increased, there has yet to be a beta yet (has not multiplied). So this is very interesting, despite a period of heavy feeding, it has not split. I am assuming that the manual aiptasia cures might be effective in the early stages since there is only one (in this case) to deal with. So if there is only one pest, nuke it early.
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
thanks for the info, your solution may indeed work, but I realized in your comment that I think this problem is one area of the hobby where patience does not work as a solution (gasp)

I guess for the interest of science and for those who do not know my aquatic philosophy. Here is my bias statement and past experience. I have had success with peppermints in the past (three different occasions using freshly shipped and large number of specimens). Predation does work... when there is a willing predator without an alternative food source. Still "natural" methods are not guaranteed... but then again we are NOT trying to have a natural tank since the mere act of having a tank or removing aiptasia is a artificial construct. There are no "natural" methods IMO and the methods break down much like filtration methods: mechanical, chemical, and biological (but "biological" is not the term I like to use and I will explain this later).

Mechanical (in my definition) is scrapping, boiling chipping and any other means of physical removal (please note that I am considering 'heat' a mechanical process). Chemical is the use of commercial or home made compounds/poisons to kill the anemone. Examples of chemical include kalk, vinegar, joes juice, and ect. Both mechanical and chemical process are "manual" solutions which requires the hobbyist to "seek and destroy" individual or groups of aiptasia. Any aiptasia undiscovered by the hobbyist will not be destroyed. I (personally) find chemical attempts to be the least effective since you have to kill them personally. While the chemical attempts may be effective (a high kill rate) with a single individual anemone, there is less success with a infestation. Mechanical is hit and miss as well, and it only successful (IMO) when tearing down and cooking (both meanings) the tank.

Finally, this leaves me at the biological. I hate this label. Biology does not kill aiptasia... thus it is to broad of a term to be used here. Rather what we are really after in is case is "PREDATION" Here peppermint shrimp, some butterflies, filefish, ect will seek aiptasia when there is not another abundant food supply. This is why there is a fair amount of debate about the effectiveness of the predation method. When the potential predator is well fed by the hobbyist (and it is likely the aiptasia is as well), then the likelyhood of predation removal is decreased. As a result any potential predator that is well fed or adapted to aquarium feedings, those damage the overall reputation of this method... But in the end the predation method is like any other tool. It only work when it is used properly.

All methods are going to have their ups and downs... and if aiptasia was easy to get rid off this would not be an interesting thread. I know I am biased towards predation... so filter it as you will. I am going to give the other methods a fair shot but I really dislike the "seek and destroy" approach and rather just let a critter graze on my enemies.

After a week of feeding and no splitting, I feel it is best to nip in the bud early.... but this is not what the experiment entails. Let the aiptasia spread!
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 ·
well, I am eager to roast one or a few (I have taken a lighter to one in the past just for fun... wow... that sounded a little 'unbalanced'), but I can't rush the experiment. I have to start with one to see/show how fast it grows, document, and then nuke.

On a different note, I am currently kalking some green star polyps... I rather have aiptasia
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #28 ·
brainstorming ideas of how to nuke the buggers... mostly because I think once division starts, it will be a fast process... or I will eventually break down and get a large colony if the division isn't happening.

Mechanical:
1) boiling water blast w/ turkey baster 2) boiling water injection 3) boiling water bath 4)torch/lighter 5)microwave 6) 24 hour dry-out, 7) sandpaper rub 8)drill

Chemical: 1)Commercial remedies (I will come up with a list later) 2)kalk paste 3) kalk injection 4) vinegar injection 5) copper, 6) bleach bath 7) bleach injection 8) diluted dishsoap injection 9)hypersalinity injection

Predation: I am not sure how to test this in a 1g tank.

Anyone else go any ideas?
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Yes, the acreichthys tomentosus are anemone assassins. However, I think there are many names of the fish in the hobby as far as the common name (leatherjacket, bristletail, atlantic green filefish) which can lead to confusion. In addition, once the aiptasia are no more, they seem to seek out other anemones and polyps... and then one is going to need a filefish predator. :D
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #34 ·
yes, anytime with going with predation method... or just stocking the tank with eyecandy, every time one does with a living creature it is hit or miss... except that lions eat everything smaller than its mouth... that is almost a given

as far as stressing the nem... that comes later. Right now it is getting the "spa" treatment... such as receiving two mysis tonight.
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #37 ·
well it is a cute nem... almost makes you want to put 'em in the main tank... crafty little bugger
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #39 ·
the aiptasia is only really kept under the cheam blue LED lights that came with the tank and with spillover light from the other tanks. It is fed as regularly as I post when I do feed. Thanks for the info wtd, it looks like it is on the right track!
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Well, I fed Alpha today. The nem has moved a bit but I have no seen any pedal lacerations or budding. It is amazing, even aiptasia reproduce slowly when you watch them. fun times...
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #42 ·
thanks for the offer explosive, but I am not collecting aiptasia right now... I am only interested in Alpha. As for you nem, please kalk, lemon juice, joes, or peppermint the little bugger and share you experience. I guess it would be good for the experiment to have more "third party" results! :D
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #46 ·
you can kalk-away you pests Scott if they are that much of a problem... ok, just kidding. Although having Gem tangs budding and spreading across a tank would certainly be a problem!
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #48 ·
The nem has moved since the last report... but I have not seen any new buds or lacerations. Still it has had a meal tonight and I will keep waiting.

Considering how "fast" I have heard these spreading, I am wondering if some reports only see "one" but there many hiding and thus a report of massive splitting... but my experiment is not generalizable... so...
 

· Aquatic Philosopher
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15,750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Ok, photo update here

here is alpha... he is in a difficult place to shoot, but I got the blurry guy.... kinda

 
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