Berghia Nudibranchs for the Dreaded Aiptasia Anemone

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First off I don't consider myself an expert reefer.
I'm just one person that's been in the hobby for many years and, I'm still learning.
I also like to help others to be successful too.

So, I want to write this piece to help others make a decision while dealing with an Aiptasia outbreak to this Berghia Nudibranch method as a option for them.

I want to apologize upfront about the picture quality as we go. I only have an old cell phone and have no filters.

I would like to thank:
@MrMichael @prsnlty @hybridazn @Maritimer @justingraham
and many others that took the ride with me and my reef from the start to the finish while performing this method.

I also must thank Ryan @Ryan2428 from Salty Undergound for coming on board at the end as we all watched the last aiptasia go down.

I want to break it up into several postings, to make the piece more detailed with the dates to each post as we took the ride.

The first shot is my reef and you can try to use it as a reference point to where I'm taking the photo's as we go.

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Zoanthids
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GoVols

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Now some info about the Berghia Nudibranch.

Well,
Aiptasia is the only thing that the Berghia Nudibranch's eat for their food source and when that eat the aiptasia they do it in away that the aiptasia do not release their spores.

Water Parameters:
They do need pristine water conditions to flourish, but most good and mature reefs already have those water parameters.
As an example: My reef has held solid with nitrates being at 4.5 to 5ppm for over a year.

If your still cycling, dealing with dino's, cyano, bryopsis, unstable water parameters and so on, then this method for an aiptasia outbreak, is not for you.

Acclimation:
I did float them for about 20 minutes and drip acclimated them for about 30 minutes.

Their packaging bag came in very clean with no waste inside the bag so I was not worried about the ph rising and getting an ammonia spike with them while I was using the drip acclimation method.

When you buy and introduce them. You do not place them on or inside one of the aiptasia.
If you do, then the aiptasia will kill them.


Placement:
You want to place them in one spot on your live rock as a group and let them get settled in. I placed mine beside the big green sps on top and they went under that coral as a group.

You want to place them in your reef as a single one spot group for two reasons.
1) They will breed together and lay egg sacks that will hatch into new baby nudi's.
2) They hunt the aiptasia down in packs during the night.

I never saw a single Berghia Nudibranch after the first evening until the last three days when they had one aiptasia to go.
I could see the aiptasia missing from day to day but there were also two long period's that I saw nothing happening at all.

Cut off all flow during introduction and after placement:
One should remember that when you introduce them that they are confused and have not got their bearings yet.

So, You need to stop all your reefs flow for at least 10 minutes after you've placed them so they can get their bearings and grab a hold and attach to your live rock. Then bring back up your flow slowly and make sure that they are still all attached and not floating within your reefs water column.
 
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How do the Berghia Nudibranch's consume Aiptasia???

Well,
They start at the base and you will see the aiptasia sinking down inside of the holes of your live rock.
As they eat their way up stem the aiptasia will get even shorter and they consume the aiptasia's oral disk last.

So, Let's get down to some pictures (and dates) as we went along, in the next postings. :)
 
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June 13th shots of some of the aiptasia's outbreak. (wish I had taken more shots of the entire outbreak)

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Zoanthids
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July 13th (Down to one big striped aiptasia on lower left hand side and two inside the blasto. Rest of aiptasia has been entirely wipe out)

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8am / July 25th (See the last man standing with bulging stem)

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Blow up shot #2 (See two nudi's around it's base and one on the inside of it's stem / eating it from the inside - out)

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July 26th (last man standing, gone)

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(one tiny nudi in shot above, searching for the left overs)

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Happy Blasto :)
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The next night after the last aiptasia was finally defeated, I did see the (origanal) Berghia Nudibranchs, for the second time.
They were all on the move, going back over sacpe, just one last time.
Looking back on it now, it was a really good ride, sad to say goodbye, but I knew that my reef... would be just fine.

To my Reef 2 Reef family, Yes, your in a rhyme, just wishing you the best, thanks for the time, if this piece severed you well, the job is done, see you around, we'll have some fun.



During the entire time with this method I only changed two things.
1) Dropped my temp. from 80 to 78 degrees to slow down the outbreak
2) Turned off my Gyre at night to reduce the flow for the nudi's.

I did try using Aiptasia-X before I bought the nudi's. It did not do the job and only made it worse from all the spores.
You can see where I tried Aiptasia-X around the Duncan's rock and it paled out the upper layer of coralline algae on that rock.

I used the Berghia Nudibranchs in 2012 (in another reef) and this year, so that's 2 for 2 on aiptasia outbreaks that I've dealt with.

I truly hope this helps other Reef 2 Reef members as a method to consider when taking on aiptasia.

A big "Thank You" goes out to @MrMichael
I was just about to tear down the entire upper levels of the reef (to treat it with fresh bottle of Aiptasia-X) and he reminded myself of the Berghia Nudibranchs, just in time.

Regards, GoVols. :)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Upate: This write up has been continued on post #32 :)
 
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