How to Get Rid of Aiptasia Anemones in Your Tank

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Treating an infestation of Aiptasia anemone is imperative to maintain a healthy saltwater aquarium.
Treating an infestation of Aiptasia anemone is imperative to maintain a healthy saltwater aquarium. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The Aiptasia anemone is one of the most common, and difficult to eliminate, pests in the salt water aquarium hobby. This particular anemone will propagate quickly and cover the coral, substrate and even the glass of an aquarium, quickly squeezing out the other inhabitants of your tank. You can use two methods to eliminate Aiptasia: using injected chemicals or adding natural predators to the tank.

Things You'll Need

  • Slaked lime
  • Ceramic or glass bowl
  • Syringe

Natural Predators

Add a sea slug to the tank. The Berghia nudibranch sea slug is commonly sold as a natural way to battle Aiptasia. However, it only eats the Aiptasia anemone so once the infestation is gone it will starve to death unless moved to another site with Aiptasia.

Buy a peppermint shrimp. Lysmata wurdemanni is the best choice because it won't attack your corals like other varieties and it cleans dead or dying flesh from marine fishes and corals.

Purchase a hermit crab. The Clibanarius digueti not only eats Aiptasia but also algae.

Purchase some anemone-eating fish. Butterfly fish are the choice fish to take care of this anemone. Other options are Chelmon rostratus and Chaetodon kleinii. Some other Butterflies also eat Aiptasia but are more apt to attack corals and other fishes.

Use Chemicals

Mix 1 part calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) with 2 parts water in a glass or ceramic bowl. Don't use a plastic bowl because the lime will eat into it.

Use a syringe to pull in the mixture.

Turn off the flow and filter systems in the aquarium.

Position the syringe over the anemone without touching it. If you touch it, it will pull back into its shell.

Shoot a bit of the mix into the disk of the anemone. The chemical will begin to eat away at the Aiptasia immediately. If the anemone regenerates, reapply the solution.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before using the chemical option, exhaust the predator option. Chemicals, even in small amounts, can alter the makeup of the tank and lead to stress or disease in a once healthy tank.

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