Inherited an Aquarium, Anenomes taking over

Discussion in 'New to Saltwater & Reef Aquariums? Post Here' started by OceanTeacher, Feb 14, 2018.

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  1. OceanTeacher

    OceanTeacher Member

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    Hi everyone! I'm a first-year teacher who inherited a saltwater aquarium in my classroom. I've loved having it, and the kids are really invested in it, but I was focused only on maintenance so far this year. Now that I'm settling into my job, I've started to put more effort into keeping the aquarium running well.
    I've noticed that some anemones have been spreading all over my tank. At first, I was happy because maybe it meant my water is good, but after a bit of research, I realized they're pests--glass anemones--and probably the reason the coral in the tank is slowly dying.
    I looked up some various solutions, and was thinking of trying to get some Nudibranch Burgia to control them. However, I'm living in Asia, and have limited resources (can't speak the local language well enough to explain the problem to the local fish store, and ordering through the school takes weeks).
    My questions is two-fold.
    1. Is it a good idea to eventually get nudibranch burgia to help with my anemone problem?
    2. What can I do in the meantime to control them? I really want to save my coral, and I'm afraid I found the problem too late.
     
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  2. NanoCrazed

    NanoCrazed Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Pictures of the anemones? Depending whether they're pest anemones or not (which it sounds like they might be), the approach might differ...
     
  3. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Depending on the size of the tank , you may get some kinds of fish to help.
    For me , it was a pigmy angle.
    You can also look at peppermint shrimp. The key to both of these in my experience is the aptasia are generally small , so you have to kill the larger ones.

    Bergia are a Carribean nudi , so I’m not sure they’d be available there.
     
  4. Jesterrace

    Jesterrace Valuable Member

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    Interesting, I've never heard of a pygmy angel eating an anemone. The only fish I have seen that really goes after them are some types of butterflyfish (but they will also likely wipe out the corals as well).
     
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  5. NanoCrazed

    NanoCrazed Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Matted filefish... even without aiptasia, I'm a fan if keeping them. Interesting fish with lots of personality....plus they change (shades of) color
     
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  6. OceanTeacher

    OceanTeacher Member

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    Here are pictures. I started out with about 5, and now have about 20-30.
    As for tank size, I just measured it, and I think it's 218L, or 60 gallons.
    Fish/shrimp sound cool, and I hesitate to get one only because I don't know anything about species interactions or how much my fish tank can support.
    Edit: The first picture is most accurate for color.
    P_20180215_045643.jpg

    P_20180215_045625.jpg

    P_20180215_045617.jpg
     
  7. NanoCrazed

    NanoCrazed Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Yep -- those are aiptasia.

    There are a lot if different options to deal with them... from going full tankwide chemical treatment using Aiptasia-X to injecting lemon juice, etc.

    Many have had success adding a matted/bristle tail filefish to the tank, or peppermint shrimps (this various greatly in terms of success depending on actual species), or my favorite...take rocks out of tank and spot cook the aiptasia with a cheap soldering iron... :) your corals should be able to survive put of water long enough to the cookout to take effect...

    Alternatively, if your tank is small, consider turning it into a pest tank... the are a lot of unwanted critters that usually get nixed in the hobby but they are awesome in their own right. Could be an interesting classroom project / lesson...
     
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  8. ncaldwell

    ncaldwell Active Member

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    I injected larger ones with kalkwasser slurry, and bought a peppermint shrimp to eat the smaller ones. They were gone in about 2 days from starting with over 40. Your local fish store (not petco) should be able to stear you in the correct direction
     
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  9. NeilW

    NeilW Member

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    I've also had success with peppermint shrimps although these days it's my bannerfish that keeps them from being able to take hold.

    Also looks like you have an algae problem. Can I suggest you look at this link to help identify and understand how to tackle it.
     
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  10. OceanTeacher

    OceanTeacher Member

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    Thank you all for your suggestions! I will (try to) talk to my fish store and see if they have peppermint shrimps. My oceanography class has been learning about invertebrates and I think it's cool if I have species they can see. Is there anything I should know about peppermint shrimp before I decide to get one?
    If I cook the anemones, should I try to clean off the dead stuff? Will it affect the water?
    And thanks for the tip about algae, too! I'll look into it.
     
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  11. brandon429

    brandon429 why did you put a reef in that R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    consider the power and reusable practice of debriding them outside the tank so that they’re gone.


    Nothing will beat this> not an external locus of control...it’s right in our hands with a rasping tool

    External locus is adding something and hoping

    As a dentist removes plaque it’s so simple

    I once removed 200 red mushrooms from my reef in a thread online and they’re no different than aiptasia and you only have a few.

    Must be external tank work not internal due to fragmentation avoidance, it’s not a big deal to lift out a rock for a test run. All reef rock will tolerate emersion, but if concerned, have someone mist it with saltwater while someone else is the dentist

    Take a knife, a sharp and firm tool, and pry up under the anemone and damage the hold point with digs and scrape, taking as much tissue in one pass as you can, and you are rinsing off the area in a prep sink with directed saltwater each time

    Bits go down the drain, attached to bits of substrate they were allowed to seat on

    What’s left is no anemone tissue on your rock. It’s topical growth, you can see where it is or isn’t after rinsing

    The former anemone spot was damaged by the rasping, but it grows back and can be planted with something better. In one day, done with the invasion.

    That spot plates over with coralline in time, always hand garden the reef into compliance. Glue a coral in it’s place is great idea, coral flesh rejects growths and growths choose uninhabited areas, dig it out with medical precision externally, try one test rock.

    I cannot count the number of tanks we’ve cured of aiptasia online in our nano reefs using this, maybe a hundred over the years. Larger inaccessible systems must play the gauntlet of trial

    But the accessible tank has its plaque removed directly.


    saw above that you may choose to demonstrate predation on the reef with animals which is fascinating for sure. I still recommend one test rock of required compliance practice

    It works for other invaders too where animals won’t control

    Aiptasia has been known to take over, it’s prudent to have the base control mechanism at least demo’d once should shrimps not work, which online threads do show at times. I think filefish and branchs and peppermints are the top three animal controls online. Maybe cure one aiptasia by hand, the other few are watched for predation curing lesson
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
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  12. OceanTeacher

    OceanTeacher Member

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    I may try the scraping even if I do eventually get a shrimp, as a partial solution. I know some students who would be more than happy to help with the "surgery".
     
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  13. brandon429

    brandon429 why did you put a reef in that R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    It’s totally fun agreed. In my opinion if they’ll wear eye protection and wash up/aseptic lab cleanup habit afterwards it’s a safe event. In my opinion marine substrates need a level up safety cleanup vs freshwater tanks when working with kids due to slightly elevated risk of pathogens, but not so elevated I didn’t have my five year old doing the same work with full on dental tech mode :)
    DFA3B51F-F8C9-41E4-B0DB-9BB805D23944.jpeg


    We didn’t do eye goggles cuz we didn’t scrape, but we did either glove or wash hands afterwards coral farming.


    It’s such a fun analogy, the dental one

    Take turns being the directed stream rinser of saltwater, take turns on the dig ha! Can chat fragmentation by asexual means, and it’s veracity range among anemones (with aiptasia being very prone to reproduce from fragments) and the rinser is making sure bits go down the sink


    The rasper is the parrotfish


    They -bite damage- the reef and poop the sand, we damaged that spot clean of a potential tank invader since we have no hawksbill turtles to just bite the whole area clean and digest it. Fun stuff yay for the class
     
  14. NanoCrazed

    NanoCrazed Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    For tanks I don't want aiptasia or Majano in, I take the rock out and hit eat aiptasia with a soldering iron :).

    File fish (aka matter, bristletail, aiptasia-eating...) usually do a good job. As for shrimp, your mile may very given that you're in Asia. There are two species typically sold as peppermint shrimp. The Atlantic ones will eat aiptasia in most cases... the Pacific ones won't. So you'll need to confirm the exact species if you're buying for aiptasia control
     
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