Parasite Plankton, Parasite Algae, Parasite Crustaceans, Parasite Molluscs, Parasite Worms, Parasite Nudibranchs, Parasite Anemones, etc... Of course all Local Fish Stores and Online Retailers have ready made answers and solutions to your aches... :) but... by now I'm sure you know there's a catch in every case: Myth-Information is so convenient for grabbing dollars from you.
The first thing you should know is that there are at least six MAJOR Parasite Anemones out there that are garanteed to kill everything in your tank including fishes... and all of these Monsters are sold Online or on the Local market... Aiptasia - Manjano - Rock - CurlyQ - Yellow - Colonial so-called anemones for example. Be sure to avoid retailers that have them IN Stock (usually at record low prices) !!
Then there are the honest dealers who end up with them like we did: by mistake. Most wholesalers, distributors and retailers have Central Filtration Systems for all their tanks and this is a major issue as you will find out.
The AEGIS tank was fitted with an external complementary Biological Filter and this is what created our NIGHTMARE. We took for granted that no parasite could ever crossover through 36 inches of filtration sponges and other materials to find their way back into the tank... (how stupid can we get)... So the free-swimming microspic offspring were siphoned into the filter where they grew, hid and multiplied. The microspic offspring then found their way through the filtrating maze back into the tank. Biologists inform us that adult Aiptasia will produce from 25 to 50 babies EVERY DAY !!!
When we first noticed Aiptasia in the AEGIS tank in August 2018 we immediatly applied the standard SBMarine methodology. They could only have come from Rock and Frag shipments we got in May, June and July 2018. More so they must have been microspic since they eluded all standard inspection methods...
Before we resume this discussion let me bring the following to your attention. There is nothing scientifically proven (yet) about these observations however they are mind boggling and fascinating...
ROSA: Mother Of All Clones
Facts about Entacmea quadricolor in the wild
click to enlarge
The research on Box Jellyfish was first performed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in the early 70's by a woman biologist. She not only was the pioneer in finding the technical means to maintain jellyfish in captivity but was the first to investigate the possibility of Intelligence in Cnidarians. She applied rigorous research protocols and proved that... there was something there... even though it cannot be explained... To the scientific community it is still science-fiction. The National Geographic Magazine published this information on Box Jellyfish in those days if you care to research the topic.
While Entacmea reproduces by fission in captivity: Aiptasia reproduces sexually... Aiptasia nevertheless shows the same collective behaviour. It appears in different ways than Entacmea however. To us at SBMarine; Aiptasia represents the culmination of Science-Fiction, Horror and Reality. Our conclusion applies to all marine parasites... They should be eradicated from any and all tanks worldwide without mercy...
we stopped counting at 200...
Why did the standard SBMarine eradication process fail in August 2018 ? Because it was not applied upon reception of shipments (parasites were too small to be visible). This protocol is intended to preserve Biological Life in a tank in order to avoid destruction of all tank components and specimens. Thus Zooplankton, Algae, Invertebrates etc... are kept alive without the need to rebuild and cycle a tank all over again (1 to 4 years as you know). It also keeps the cost of refurbishing a whole collection at bay... To fully understand please see the 2017 EOS tank tutorial and the pages on Sinularia dura (Cabbage leather coral).
This time around we will have to sacrifice all 'Pods and all Invertebrates, all life on live rocks except those specimens that can be removed without any rock or debris attached to them. The Aegis tank will become sterile and have to be cycled again for another year or more...
The killing of Green Star Polyps
There were three Purple Finger Leather Coral frags on this group of rocks from the EOS tank... GONE
To the left in the red circle is a tiny specimen of one of the world's most toxic and deadly family of Anemones. There are Atlantic & Pacific species - Cold & Warm water species - Diurnal & Nocturnal species - Small & Large species... We will not cover them today. But bear in mind that due to careless wholesalers: you must be on the lookout for many forms of parasites.
January 17 2019
The whole tank should be rebuilt within a working day to minimize stress on fishes and dying corals. Aegis would be placed in a 30 gallon holding basin to easily retrieve him. A working biological sponge filter borrowed from the Smooch tank would be placed in the basin. A Chromis survivor would be transferred directly to the NYX tank (dropped from the net to avoid any contamination). Corals would be extracted from rocks and mounted without adhesives on small rocks.
STEP 1) - At 7:30 AM we removed the live rock and transferred two corals on small rock fragments. At 8:00 AM the whole lot of aquascaping live rock was placed outside the Lab: it was minus 20 degrees Farenheit and we hoped that 8 hours in the freezing cold would destroy Aiptasia (and other parasites) permanently.
STEP 2) - The complementary external biological filter was unplugged. It would be emptied and thrown to garbage after everything was completed... In a Perfect World we would have refurbished it... But since we can no longer trust any shipment to be parasite free it becomes obsolete and useless...
STEP 3) - The Chromis was transferred to the NYX tank.
STEP 4) - AEGIS was put in the basin without stress
STEP 5) - 8:30 AM: Two cups of bleach were poured in the tank instantly destroying 'Pods and all invertebrates, algae that had taken a year to establish a cycled tank. Within 30 seconds all Aiptasia started to die and after 30 minutes were fully decomposed...
STEP 6) - All Coral sand was removed and rinsed under running water for two hours and later placed outside in the freezing cold.
STEP 7) - The SBMarine undergravel biological filter was rinsed thoroughly and tube brushed. It was also placed outside in the freezing cold.
STEP 8) - All water in the tank was siphoned out.
STEP 9) - Tank was scaped, brushed, cleaned and dryed.
The only Biological Filtration the AEGIS tank would get at STEP 10: would be from the working Sponge Filter. We wondered if it would be up to it since it would take a while for Nitrifying Bacteria to start colonizing the Coral Sand bed and Polyester pads again...
Once the tank was filled we poured a few scoops of LIVE CORAL SAND from the NYX and GAÏA tanks along with small rocks teeming with 'Pods.
From January 17 to January 20 the water was cloudy... and suddenly on January 21: the SBMarine undergravel filter started kicking in... at 5:00 AM on January 21 water was clear and we instantly knew our gamble had paid off !
CLICK to enlarge
Before placing arms in tank for maintenance I always ask AEGIS to move to opposite side and he gracefully acknowledges my request every time... He is such a pooch... When outside he moves back to keep me company and inspect whatever I'm looking at or photographing. He's been with us for over 5 years now...
To the left: a healthy Red Rhodactis from the NYX tank. Far left: (not visible) a yet unidentified baby Discosoma; this one is very sensitive to water chemistry and lighting, also from NYX tank. To the right: a half dead Red Devil Hand coral that was nearly killed by Aiptasia. Far right: unidentified Finger Leather coral who fought a tough war against Aiptasia...
Dying Corals will tell us nothing about the conditions such as water chemistry and biological filtration...
... but healthy ones will allowing us to determine if the weakened ones are on a road to recovery.