What is Aiptasia?

Aiptasia are a member of phylum Cnidaria and is a translucent brown in color.  The nematocysts of Aiptasia have a potent toxin which can harm corals and humans.  They can also reproduce quickly and over run an aquarium.  Aiptasia normally come from either hitch hiking on live rocks or on the base of the corals.

Aiptasia tend to reproduce faster in a tank that has a high level of nutrients and detritus.  Last thing you want to do it to smash one if you see it because it will reproduce to may more individuals.  Best way to get rid of it is to inject it with concentrate lemon juice.  If the Aiptasia is on a movable piece of rock, carefully remove the rock from your tank.  You can kill the Aiptasia by pouring boiling water on it for more then a minute. It is important when practicing this method to use safety goggles, face mask, and most important not to breathe in the vapors.

Natural predators like the Nudibranch (Berghia verrucicornis) will consume the Aiptasia but the only problem is that Aiptasias is all they eat. It’s hard to find a place that sells it and when you do get one, they will starve to death if there isn’t any Aiptasia for it to find.  Your best bet for a natural predator is the Copperband Butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus), Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni), or Camel Shrimp (Rhynchocinetes sp).  Keep in mind that the Butterflyfish and the Camel Shrimp will pick at corals where Peppermint Shrimp is reef safe.