If you have a saltwater aquarium reef, your coral and other marine life are your pride and joy. The time, effort, money, and love that you put into this wonderful ecosystem means that it becomes your number one priority. 

Because of this, it can be so hard when things harm and take over your saltwater aquarium. Something that commonly annoys saltwater enthusiasts are aiptasia. But what are they, why would you not want them in your tank, and how can you safely eradicate it?

What Are Aiptaisa?

Aiptaisa refers to a group of anemones that are commonly referred to as glass anemones. They are usually found living on hard substrate or mangrove plants. They are usually a brown color or clear, depending on the species, with a long body and long stinging tentacles. They are really hardy types of anemones with the ability to survive a range of salinities and different qualities of water. 

Aiptaisa usually gets into saltwater aquariums by hitchhiking on rocks or corals that you place into your tank. 

Why Do You Not Want Aiptaisa in Your Saltwater Aquarium?

There are a lot of wonderful anemones that are great in saltwater aquariums, however, species of aiptaisa can be really harmful to your tank and the other marine life that you have living there. 

The main reason for not wanting aiptaisa in your saltwater aquarium is because of how quickly they reproduce. They have the ability to reproduce both sexually and asexually and once in the tank, they will soon overrun the aquarium. A segment of the anemone will remove itself from the parent body and then establish itself and quickly grow.

Because it overruns the tank, the other creatures in your aquarium become vulnerable. The aiptaisa will fight for space and food, taking these things from your other marine life. 

Another main reason why aiptaisa should be removed is because of their stinging tentacles. When aiptaisa are threatened they eject poison from their tentacles and this has the ability to kill corals. They sting pray and neighbors and because their tentacles are so long, it isn’t hard for them to affect a lot of marine life in your tank!

How To Safely Eradicate Aiptasia

As we can see, aiptasia brings a lot of issues to your saltwater aquarium and so we must look at removing it as soon as possible. 

It is important to never pull out the aiptasia physically from the tank. This is because it will leave fragments of itself behind on the rocks and therefore grow back! Each fragment will turn into a new aiptasia, so you are actually making more of them in your tank by doing this. 

So what are some safe ways to completely get rid of aiptaisa?

Natural Predators

The best way of getting rid of these anemones is to add some natural predators to your tank. This is great because you are not adding in any chemicals that might disrupt any of your other marine life. 

The best natural predator for aiptaisa is the peppermint shrimp. This is a peaceful little invert that is pretty easy to take care of. They grow up to 2 inches and are bright pink or red, giving your aquarium a pop of color! It is a scavenger and will not only eat the aiptasia, but also other pests and debris. 

They are active at night and enjoy spending their day hiding out in rocks, so make sure you have good hiding spots for them in your aquarium. They are reef safe, too.  

There are certain fish that feed off aiptasia, too! The Copperbanded Butterflyfish is a common addition to tanks that are rife with aiptasia as they love to feed off the stuff. This is a beautiful fish, however it is not suitable for beginners. They are pretty difficult to look after and are infamous for being picky eaters. However, for more advanced enthusiasts, this fish can be a great addition to your saltwater aquarium. 

Chemical and Liquid Treatment

When treating your saltwater aquarium for any issues it is best to not add chemicals into the tank. This is so you keep it as natural as possible. However, if you are unable to add natural predators to treat your aiptaisa there are things you can do to rid your tank of the anemones. 

You can get products that are specifically for injecting and killing aiptaisa and usually work well. You must be slow when injecting the aiptaisa as they retreat quickly if they sense danger, creating issues with the process. Using these products to eradicate a whole load of aiptaisa can alter the quality of your water and therefore affect the happiness and health of your entire aquarium so you must be careful when doing so.

If you are using chemicals to treat your tank, pay great attention to the corals and their reaction. Do any chemical treatment extremely slowly and carefully. Keep measuring the water chemicals and watching the rest of your marine life. 

It is advised to only kill one of two aiptaisa at a time because of the chemicals it expels when it dies. Remember to always keep a check of the levels of ammonia in your tank while you are eradicated the aiptaisa. 

Some people choose to use lemon juice to eradicate aiptaisa. Injecting the aiptaisa with a syringe of 0.5ml of lemon juice at the base of the anemone will kill them. Do so slowly as to not scare the aiptaisa into its hole and use gloves to protect you from the stings. 

Final Thoughts

Aiptasia can be a huge issue in saltwater aquariums. They can quickly take over and harm the other marine life in the tank. Because of this, it is important to get rid of them as soon as they appear. 

We advise you to use natural predators in order to safely eradicate aiptasia. This means that you are not adding any chemicals that can alter the ecosystem of your saltwater aquarium which might harm your fish and corals. However, if you do choose to use chemicals, do so slowly and carefully.