View Full Version : Aiptasia Eradication

big dog
01-02-2011, 12:54 PM
I just returned to the hobby by purchasing a established 90 gallon that was infested with aiptasia and majanos. See the photo ..........


Prior to moving the tank home I read everything I could on how to eliminate these pest so what you're about to read is a culmination of what I've done to eradicate these pest. I have no idea on what I'm doing is right or wrong nor the effect it will have on the rock but it seems to be working.

Before I moved the tank I set up a 20 QT and purchased a 40 breeder to quarantine the original rock and purchased cured rock for the tank setup. I placed some sand from the original tank in the breeder just to minimize cycling. The DT is up and running and so far so good. It's been up two months and with 20% WC's every week, all stock is doing wonderful. It did appear to go threw a mini cycle after setting up. I'm currently at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates and 20 on nitrates (the tank had a heavy fish population and I just removed 4 tangs and 3 chromis).

On to the pest ........... After putting the 100+ pounds of the original rock in the 40 ans 20, I realized I was in for a big project. The first week I hit it with Aip-X hard and ordered one of PaulB's zappers. Patience not being one of my virtues, I thought of the suggestion given to me in another forum about cooking the rock by isolation sooooo after my 3rd water change of the DT tank I put the removed water in a heavy duty sterilite type container and put the rock in it with pumps and heater. I then covered the rock with a few ceramic tiles in the water and placed the lid on the sterilite. I left a few of the rock in the breeder that had minimal infestation on them and worked those rock with aip-X and the zapper.

During the first week I rinsed off the tile every day, every day each of the three tile had 20 or more pest on them. By the end of the first week aiptasia was floating in the water. On my next DT water change, I replaced the water and continued the rinsing of the tile, every day I got fewer aiptasia. I also noticed that I could easily flick the majanos off the rock. Messing with the rock also gave me the opportunity to save lives (snails and crabs).

On my most 4th DT water change and before I placed the rock in it I brushed it. I couldn't believe how easy the majanos and aip came off the rock with just a flick of the wrist. I feel confident I've removed 90% of the pest. The rock that I left in the breeder has no visible pest, the aip-X and zapper seem to have done the job although I look every day. I'm continually took a piece at a time from the sterilite and placed it in the 20 to be eliminated with the X and zapper. The rock in the sterilite had minimal weed and I continued the process until it was gone.

My hope was to use some of the rock in the DT and eventually did. Here's a pic of the tank as it it today ...............


The 40 has the rock I have pretty much did in the aip and the coral I won recently at the club raffle (except for the galaxia, started receding in the DT and I put it in this tank). I'm not sure what got to the galaxia but it appears to be coming back in the 40 breeder. Photo follows .......


The 20 is the tank I do the real damage on them and I no longer have any rock in isolation, all is in one of the three tanks. It pays to be diligent!


01-08-2011, 12:24 PM
Aha -there is hope for me yet- my office tank is again filled with MOJO's.

01-11-2011, 01:52 PM
Yeah, but it looks like this was pretty labor intensive Ted. Seems almost easier to just tear down the tank, and start over with BRS dry rock. Especially when you can house the livestock you're hoping to save in your home tank for a few months while you cycle the other one back up. Maybe this will finally give you the excuse to get that 180 running.

Anthony Calfo
01-13-2011, 12:48 PM
Thanks so much for sharing at great length! A help to hobby friends indeed.

01-14-2011, 03:21 PM
"Maybe this will finally give you the excuse to get that 180 running". Well, after your last post I am wondering if my floor will handle the 180. Sorry for the thread steal.

Anthony Calfo
01-14-2011, 06:18 PM
Floor jacks :)

01-21-2011, 12:22 AM
Yeah, you can do it, you just have to ensure that you make things the way they need to. I don't have the space without moving 250 gallon heating oil drums (yes, they still exist and are used, which makes my mailings from Dominion Peoples offering to "maintain" my non-existent gas lines that much more selfless on their part). In any case, if I remember correctly, yours is on an interior wall that is close to the center of the house front to back, making it very likely that the center carrying beam in your basement with a block wall is there as well. The downside is that I believe that's the finished part of your basement.

01-24-2011, 08:06 PM
big dog,

This is my suggestion:


There are two "double saddleback" butterfly fish. C. ulietensis and C. falcula. ulietensis is a little harder to find and a little more expensive. However, it will reportedly feast on pest anemones, but is safe with most corals (certainly safer than most butterflies and angels). It will of course go after ornamental anemones and fleshy large polyp stonies would be at some risk as well.

Other butterflies and angels will also eat them, but are riskier with corals. A few pest anemones made it into my display but disappeared quickly in the presence of my regal and majestic angels. It is important to note that I had to remove a few corals because they got picked on. Another important note is that in many cases, after introducing these fish, the anemones will disappear but if the fish is removed, the anemones that were just hiding from the fish will suddenly reappear.


01-25-2011, 11:19 AM
I don't suppose those butterflies will eat MOJO's.

01-25-2011, 01:57 PM
I use a syringe filled with liquid (but thick) kalkwasser, with a needle. Stab the stem and slowly fill the aptasia with the solution until they balloon but not explode. I've never seen one survive. Its also my understanding spores/ pieces of the aptasia will NOT be released doing it this way. I can't prove that, however in my experience it seems true. The down side is this will raise your pH if you have a lot to kill.

01-26-2011, 12:14 AM
There are worse things than Aptasia to have in a tank also. I know they're unsightly, and can get out of control, and they were the lesser half of the reason why I tore down my tank to start over with bulkreef dry rock (the greater half being nuisance hair algae that IS a huge problem if it's out of control.) In my experience, if you use either kalk paste or lemon juice, you can experience some success. I had success sometimes with peppermint shrimp, and sometimes not. You do need to make sure that you get peppermints and not camel shrimp, but even then it's a 50-50 situation whether or not they actually try to eat the aptasia, a lot like the butterflies in that regard. Getting a healthy butterfly that will eat prepared foods can also be an issue. I guess that the bottom line is that there is no great way to deal with these pests, but there are a bunch of different options you can try and odds are that you'll be able to use one of them to at the very least get your tank back under control. Good luck!

01-26-2011, 01:04 AM

I don't suppose those butterflies will eat MOJO's.

Actually, they will! With gusto!


01-26-2011, 07:22 PM
hmmm - do I see a butterfly in my office tanks future??? Well I know that the Copperbanded did not eat them - that was before Anthony came over and informed me that they were not aptasia, but MOJO's.

01-27-2011, 01:04 PM
Hi all,


I just saw that That Fish Place has C. ulietensis showing in stock for $49.99. I believe they are giving us a discount this weekend on top of that. They don't show up all that often (at least in my experience) and the price seems quite reasonable to me.