As a saltwater hobbyist, an aiptasia infestation is sure to present itself at some point or another. Unfortunately, these hitchhikers tend to find their way into an aquarium on live rock or coral frags.  While they are an anemone, they are considered a pest due to their aggressive nature and rapid rate of reproduction.  If left untreated, the problem can quickly escalate making them difficult to get rid of.  However, there are a number of tried and true methods for successfully removing aiptasia from an aquarium.

Removing Aiptasia From Your Saltwater Aquarium

Chemical products are the least favorable method for removing aiptasia.  While they serve as a good alternative, chemicals should always be a last resort for your saltwater aquarium.  When using a product such as Red Sea Aiptasia-X, be sure to watch the health of the other corals in the tank.  If they appear irritated, extra water changes are recommended to remove the chemicals from the water.

Four Safe & Inexpensive Methods for Aiptasia Removal

  1. Hot Water
    The least expensive of all of the methods, hot water can be used to spot treat an aiptasia. This is typically done through a syringe where heat can be applied directly to the anemone.  The hot water cools quickly causing zero harm to other tank inhabitants.
  2. Lemon Juice
    Surprising to most, lemon juice is an effective treatment for removing aiptasia. Like hot water, it should be applied directly to the aiptasia using a syringe.  This method has a high success rate when done correctly. Using lemon juice from concentrate, insert the syringe needle into the mouth and inject the juice.  The aiptasia will contain the juice within before disappearing quickly.  It is recommended to only treat a few each day to limit any sudden changes in water chemistry caused by the juice. Watch video here.
  3. Peppermint Shrimp  
    Peppermint shrimp are one of the most popular defense methods for removing aiptasia from an aquarium. They are relatively inexpensive and while they can remove aiptasia successfully, there is a minor flaw in this method.  Unfortunately, the shrimp become accustomed to food that is fed to their tank mates causing them to become uninterested in anything else.  As a way around this, feed the aiptasias to draw the shrimp to them.
  4. Berghia Nudibranchs  
    Berghia Nudibranchs - aiptasia removal
    Berghia Nudibranchs

    While tiny, the berghia nudibranch is the best natural method for removing an aiptasia infestation. These little guys come out at night and feed upon the aiptasia until there is nothing left. Unfortunately, once the aiptasia have disappeared, the nudibranchs have nothing left to eat resulting in starvation. Some aquarists will attempt to catch them and share them with other reef keepers with an aiptasia problems.  However, they are typically tiny and difficult to find once added to an aquarium.

Using one or a combination of these methods should correct an aiptasia infestation. Keep in mind that while some of these methods work well when combined, peppermint shrimp can prey upon the nudibranchs and chemicals are harmful to them as well.  Luckily, there is no need for costly chemicals to correct this problem. It can be fixed at a low cost by using something as simple as lemon juice or hot water.

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