Lets discuss my losing battle with aiptasia please

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GJak

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Haven't been on the boards much this year with all of the adulting things taking priority but I need some opinions here because I'm on the verge of losing my display tank.

About six months ago I purchased a lobo from an online vendor (I'm not going to name names here, that isn't the goal of this thread) that was not exactly true to the picture of the coral. When it arrived, half of it was covered in bubble algae on the part of the coral that had died had a receding skeleton showing. There were also numerous pests that showed up in the bowl after it was dipped, flatworms, astarina's and all other manor of things that I did not want to introduce into my tank. Against my better judgement, hoping that I could bring that beautiful coral back to a healthy state, I put it into the display after scrubbing the base and manually removing any other undesirable hitchhiker I could find. Fast forward six months, my tank now has bubble algae issues but the worst part..... aiptasia has completely taken over every square inch of the entire tank.

It's on the power heads, the return nozzles, its growing on the sand, every little crevice of every rock is just completely covered in aiptasia and it is choking the life out of every single coral it touches. When i first saw it pop up, I tried super gluing over them, bought a majano wand, injected them with kalk past, anything I could do to smother one out as soon as i noticed it. That worked for a short time but over the last month, the ones that I couldn't see or couldn't get to have just exploded into the state it is now.

The first thing I tried was of course berghia. Spent $300 on 20 full sized adult nudis. Made sure to transfer each one into the crevice of my zoanthid garden rock because that was where the aiptasia was doing the most immediate damage. After i put them in the first day, I never saw a single one again and the aiptasia continued to pop up everywhere. Figuring that maybe the zoanthid garden was too close to the power heads and maybe the nudis didn't survive the flow, I again purchased another batch of adult nudis and spread them out this time, a few in deep crevices on each of the rock structures in all different parts of the tank. I watched every night for a week. For the first couple of nights, I'd see one here or there but within a week, again they were never to be seen again. My own guess is that maybe the coris wrasse is picking them off but I've watched the tank and even put a camera on it following the latest addition of berghia and I've never seen him try to pick one off, even when they are out in the open.

After wasting $600 on what I thought was the best option to try first, I purchased 5 peppermint shrimp. When they arrived, they were a lot smaller then I was expecting and I watched them get picked off one by one by either the wrasses or tangs as soon as they popped their head out of the rocks. It was like I just dumped some frozen mysis in, they went straight for them and that was that.

My next effort was to locate a source of bigger peppermint shrimp. This time I ordered 20 of the suckers and made sure they were all full sized adult shrimp. I put them all in the display at the same time and the entire batch of them immediately swam to the zoa garden and set up shop. They had the entire two clusters of rocks completely clear of aiptasia within three days. The kicker here though, they haven't ventured off of those two rock clusters on the right side of the tank for two months. They are happy to just hang out there and eat whatever they pick off when I feed the tank and will not under any circumstance, go after any of the other aiptasia in the tank. I even tried to make them uncomfortable there by putting a flash light shining on those rocks at night in hopes they would want to hide from the light and seek shelter in another part of the tank but they don't. They just huddle together in the zoa's themselves and hide. I've bottled trapped some and move them to other rocks, they always end up right back in a group in the same spot.

My most recent and final attempt was the addition of a file fish from biota. After getting harassed by the angel and tangs for two weeks, he finally had enough courage to venture out and join the population. That was about two months ago and I haven't seen him even look at a single aiptasia much less try to nip at one. He is also happy to just eat whatever I feed the tank and nothing else. Doesn't nip at corals either, just swims around, hangs out under my scraper occasionally and that is it.

So my question for you guys is, where do I go from here? I have a considerable amount of money in my display tank right now and I am about to lose the entire thing to this aiptasia explosion. I feel defeated and I don't know what to do. The only thing I can think of is to set up a second tank, salvage any coral I can frag or remove without damage and nuke the display. I really don't have the time or energy for something like that though. What would you guys do in this situation? Any advice would be appreciated because i'm at a loss on this one.
 
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Fishyfish22

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You took all the right remedies, just with the wrong situations.

Berghias would have done the trick. But you you found the problem, the wrasse viewed them as a Thanksgiving meal. Wouldn't be surprised if both times you added them the wrasse would devour them the very night, they're a delicacy. If you had any shrimp they would feast on the berghias as well

Peppermint shrimp do the trick like they did in yours, but they're known for being lazy. The tale usually ends the same as yours, they start doing the job, realize there's a much easier source of food coming in, and stop eating aptasia. If you want these to work you have to stop feeding the tank, it'll get them to finish the job. Problem is that'll most likely cause issues with your other livestock.

Finally the file fish. The file fish is usually the key. You made one key error though: biota. Biota fish are tank bred/raised and their whole point is that they're accustomed to eating food the rest of the fish it. They're for the hobbyist who wants the aptasia eating filefish but doesn't have any aptasia. The liveaquaria page even states that it takes a while for biota file fish to start eating meaty foods.

Screenshot_20201122-182207_Samsung Internet.jpg


Now before you add another, non biota, file fish it is reccomended that you remove the biota one. This would prevent learned behavior from the new file fish into eating only prepared foods.


I would reccomend the following steps
1. Remove the biota aptasia eating filefish
2. Use aptasia X to eliminate the larger disked aptasia. Shut off the flow when you do this. You'll know you're doing it right when you'll squirt the aptasia x into the mouth of the aptasia, itll close up around the paste, then almost instantly you'll see it puff out a white cloud. It's somewhat satisfying to see.
3. Get a non tank raised non captive bred aptasia eating filefish. Be aware, when your aptasia issue is gone you will need to get rid of it by selling it to another reefer or you'll need to supplement it with aptasia from another tank. Also be aware its possible to have another outbreak after getting rid of the filefish from one aptasia not being killed.


As far as the bubble algae. Try an emerald crab, see if goes for it.
 
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You took all the right remedies, just with the wrong situations.

Berghias would have done the trick. But you you found the problem, the wrasse viewed them as a Thanksgiving meal. Wouldn't be surprised if both times you added them the wrasse would devour them the very night, they're a delicacy. If you had any shrimp they would feast on the berghias as well

Peppermint shrimp do the trick like they did in yours, but they're known for being lazy. The tale usually ends the same as yours, they start doing the job, realize there's a much easier source of food coming in, and stop eating aptasia. If you want these to work you have to stop feeding the tank, it'll get them to finish the job. Problem is that'll most likely cause issues with your other livestock.

Finally the file fish. The file fish is usually the key. You made one key error though: biota. Biota fish are tank bred/raised and their whole point is that they're accustomed to eating food the rest of the fish it. They're for the hobbyist who wants the aptasia eating filefish but doesn't have any aptasia. The liveaquaria page even states that it takes a while for biota file fish to start eating meaty foods.

Screenshot_20201122-182207_Samsung Internet.jpg


Now before you add another, non biota, file fish it is reccomended that you remove the biota one. This would prevent learned behavior from the new file fish into eating only prepared foods.


I would reccomend the following steps
1. Remove the biota aptasia eating filefish
2. Use aptasia X to eliminate the larger disked aptasia. Shut off the flow when you do this. You'll know you're doing it right when you'll squirt the aptasia x into the mouth of the aptasia, itll close up around the paste, then almost instantly you'll see it puff out a white cloud. It's somewhat satisfying to see.
3. Get a non tank raised non captive bred aptasia eating filefish. Be aware, when your aptasia issue is gone you will need to get rid of it by selling it to another reefer or you'll need to supplement it with aptasia from another tank. Also be aware its possible to have another outbreak after getting rid of the filefish from one aptasia not being killed.


As far as the bubble algae. Try an emerald crab, see if goes for it.
Thanks for the reply, can anyone suggest a place to source a wild caught file fish that has had success previously? I see the live aquaria information but i've also read the exact opposite on the boards here at least 20 different times. Wild caught has a higher chance of eating your corals and the captive are more likely to stick to the aiptasia, which is why I went captive bred. I'm open to trying anything at this point though,
 
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GJak

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@vetteguy53081 really promotes the blue faced kleini butterfly, so far I’ve been to scared to try.

I've heard the same thing about copper banded butterflies being more likely to eat aiptasia. I had one last year that decimated all four of my hammer corals in days so I wasn't too keen on the idea of trying another butterfly again.
 

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Thanks for the reply, can anyone suggest a place to source a wild caught file fish that has had success previously? I see the live aquaria information but i've also read the exact opposite on the boards here at least 20 different times. Wild caught has a higher chance of eating your corals and the captive are more likely to stick to the aiptasia, which is why I went captive bred. I'm open to trying anything at this point though,
Look at an LFS nearby, ask them to get one for you. If there's a local reef group check around maybe there's someone who's selling that just got through their aptasia.
 

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Is it an option to set up a peppermint shrimp tank and give them one rock at a time to clean? Swap it with an infested rock from the display after they clear that one off?
Also, pics of your infestation?
 

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Peppermint and filefish uncertain
Kleini is a sure bet/ get the blue head not yellow version
 
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Is it an option to set up a peppermint shrimp tank and give them one rock at a time to clean? Swap it with an infested rock from the display after they clear that one off?
Also, pics of your infestation?
My whole display is basically column rocks with flat shelf rock mortared to the top with one big arrangement on the left side. You will have a better idea looking at my build thread. There's just no way to pull any rocks out without destroying the whole thing and losing a lot of coral in the process.

If you can tell by the one close up picture, every square inch of that rock is just covered in it.

That's my final option though if I can't figure this out. Salvage any frag or full coral I can. Set up a temporary tank for quarantine and let the berghia clean out anything that makes it to the secondary quarantine tank. After I don't see any pop up for a period of time and the berghia starve, I'd know it's safe to start repopulating the display. The monetary cost, the time it would take and the effort would be massive to go that route so it would definitely be the last thing I'd try.
 

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You took all the right remedies, just with the wrong situations.

Berghias would have done the trick. But you you found the problem, the wrasse viewed them as a Thanksgiving meal. Wouldn't be surprised if both times you added them the wrasse would devour them the very night, they're a delicacy. If you had any shrimp they would feast on the berghias as well

Peppermint shrimp do the trick like they did in yours, but they're known for being lazy. The tale usually ends the same as yours, they start doing the job, realize there's a much easier source of food coming in, and stop eating aptasia. If you want these to work you have to stop feeding the tank, it'll get them to finish the job. Problem is that'll most likely cause issues with your other livestock.

Finally the file fish. The file fish is usually the key. You made one key error though: biota. Biota fish are tank bred/raised and their whole point is that they're accustomed to eating food the rest of the fish it. They're for the hobbyist who wants the aptasia eating filefish but doesn't have any aptasia. The liveaquaria page even states that it takes a while for biota file fish to start eating meaty foods.

Screenshot_20201122-182207_Samsung Internet.jpg


Now before you add another, non biota, file fish it is reccomended that you remove the biota one. This would prevent learned behavior from the new file fish into eating only prepared foods.


I would reccomend the following steps
1. Remove the biota aptasia eating filefish
2. Use aptasia X to eliminate the larger disked aptasia. Shut off the flow when you do this. You'll know you're doing it right when you'll squirt the aptasia x into the mouth of the aptasia, itll close up around the paste, then almost instantly you'll see it puff out a white cloud. It's somewhat satisfying to see.
3. Get a non tank raised non captive bred aptasia eating filefish. Be aware, when your aptasia issue is gone you will need to get rid of it by selling it to another reefer or you'll need to supplement it with aptasia from another tank. Also be aware its possible to have another outbreak after getting rid of the filefish from one aptasia not being killed.


As far as the bubble algae. Try an emerald crab, see if goes for it.
Be careful about emerald crabs sometimes they’ll mess with zoanthids (you mentioned you have a zoanthid garden)
 
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This won't help you, but I gave up trying to get rid of aiptasia. I too tried it all except getting a fish to eat them. I don't think the 6 peppermint shrimp I tried even touched one and the berghia were gone so fast it was like they never existed in the first place. I tried to zap them all daily but it seemed to make things worse and the whole tank suffered. I finally made piece with the aiptasia. I let them grow in areas where they won't hurt anything and zap the ones pop up near a coral with aiptasia x. After a while, honestly, I have excepted them as a natural part of the reef. And in the right spot and context, they are kind of beautiful in their own way. Zen can be a powerful thing.
 

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Haven't been on the boards much this year with all of the adulting things taking priority but I need some opinions here because I'm on the verge of losing my display tank.

About six months ago I purchased a lobo from an online vendor (I'm not going to name names here, that isn't the goal of this thread) that was not exactly true to the picture of the coral. When it arrived, half of it was covered in bubble algae on the part of the coral that had died had a receding skeleton showing. There were also numerous pests that showed up in the bowl after it was dipped, flatworms, astarina's and all other manor of things that I did not want to introduce into my tank. Against my better judgement, hoping that I could bring that beautiful coral back to a healthy state, I put it into the display after scrubbing the base and manually removing any other undesirable hitchhiker I could find. Fast forward six months, my tank now has bubble algae issues but the worst part..... aiptasia has completely taken over every square inch of the entire tank.

It's on the power heads, the return nozzles, its growing on the sand, every little crevice of every rock is just completely covered in aiptasia and it is choking the life out of every single coral it touches. When i first saw it pop up, I tried super gluing over them, bought a majano wand, injected them with kalk past, anything I could do to smother one out as soon as i noticed it. That worked for a short time but over the last month, the ones that I couldn't see or couldn't get to have just exploded into the state it is now.

The first thing I tried was of course berghia. Spent $300 on 20 full sized adult nudis. Made sure to transfer each one into the crevice of my zoanthid garden rock because that was where the aiptasia was doing the most immediate damage. After i put them in the first day, I never saw a single one again and the aiptasia continued to pop up everywhere. Figuring that maybe the zoanthid garden was too close to the power heads and maybe the nudis didn't survive the flow, I again purchased another batch of adult nudis and spread them out this time, a few in deep crevices on each of the rock structures in all different parts of the tank. I watched every night for a week. For the first couple of nights, I'd see one here or there but within a week, again they were never to be seen again. My own guess is that maybe the coris wrasse is picking them off but I've watched the tank and even put a camera on it following the latest addition of berghia and I've never seen him try to pick one off, even when they are out in the open.

After wasting $600 on what I thought was the best option to try first, I purchased 5 peppermint shrimp. When they arrived, they were a lot smaller then I was expecting and I watched them get picked off one by one by either the wrasses or tangs as soon as they popped their head out of the rocks. It was like I just dumped some frozen mysis in, they went straight for them and that was that.

My next effort was to locate a source of bigger peppermint shrimp. This time I ordered 20 of the suckers and made sure they were all full sized adult shrimp. I put them all in the display at the same time and the entire batch of them immediately swam to the zoa garden and set up shop. They had the entire two clusters of rocks completely clear of aiptasia within three days. The kicker here though, they haven't ventured off of those two rock clusters on the right side of the tank for two months. They are happy to just hang out there and eat whatever they pick off when I feed the tank and will not under any circumstance, go after any of the other aiptasia in the tank. I even tried to make them uncomfortable there by putting a flash light shining on those rocks at night in hopes they would want to hide from the light and seek shelter in another part of the tank but they don't. They just huddle together in the zoa's themselves and hide. I've bottled trapped some and move them to other rocks, they always end up right back in a group in the same spot.

My most recent and final attempt was the addition of a file fish from biota. After getting harassed by the angel and tangs for two weeks, he finally had enough courage to venture out and join the population. That was about two months ago and I haven't seen him even look at a single aiptasia much less try to nip at one. He is also happy to just eat whatever I feed the tank and nothing else. Doesn't nip at corals either, just swims around, hangs out under my scraper occasionally and that is it.

So my question for you guys is, where do I go from here? I have a considerable amount of money in my display tank right now and I am about to lose the entire thing to this aiptasia explosion. I feel defeated and I don't know what to do. The only thing I can think of is to set up a second tank, salvage any coral I can frag or remove without damage and nuke the display. I really don't have the time or energy for something like that though. What would you guys do in this situation? Any advice would be appreciated because i'm at a loss on this one.
I had a problem with aptasia. I recently bought 10 peppermint shrimp. My tank is 175. They have cleaned nearly all the rock now. I ordered from RUSalty. They came healthy and maybe were already trained. Try feeding them brine shrimp over the rock area you want them to move to, with circulation off. Mine come out when I feed the fish because I used to target feed Sailfin Blenny. I worried peppermints would just eat the brine, but they have done both. I hope you can get them to move!
 
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GJak

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This won't help you, but I gave up trying to get rid of aiptasia. I too tried it all except getting a fish to eat them. I don't think the 6 peppermint shrimp I tried even touched one and the berghia were gone so fast it was like they never existed in the first place. I tried to zap them all daily but it seemed to make things worse and the whole tank suffered. I finally made piece with the aiptasia. I let them grow in areas where they won't hurt anything and zap the ones pop up near a coral with aiptasia x. After a while, honestly, I have excepted them as a natural part of the reef. And in the right spot and context, they are kind of beautiful in their own way. Zen can be a powerful thing.
Some of the bigger ones are kind of beautiful at maturity with the iridescent purple / blue color to them. I however am not zen about it like you lol. I'm going scorched earth on them if I have to. I gave in to the vermited snails and learned to live with those, not the aiptasia though.

Maybe there's other people like us that think they are somewhat pretty though. Anyone interested?

1 polyp frag, indo holy grail purple alien color morph aiptasia for sale $1200

Pm me, buy two, get free shipping
 
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