THE parasite; the most pervasive with neurotoxins (acontias) that affect far too many tanks. It is also the one about which you will find the most Myth/Information, alas !
Aiptasia is particularly attractive; it’s oral disc shimmers with blue, turquoise and green. For a neophyte, it is difficult to realize the disaster that awaits. The first reaction will surely be kinda like: - Great ! I just got gorgeous anemones as a bonus with my live rock ... -
They are often sold as – Colonial Anemones – or – Anemones – without any precise identification. I did not bother to photograph specimens unfortunately acquired this way. Bookstores and Internet offer thousands of them. It is imperative to be familiar with their appearance at all stages of their development: from BROWN (three or four millimeters) to brightly colored (1/2cm or more). The only valid contribution in regard of Aiptasia is their eradication.
I read an article recently that praised them as a food source for delicate Butterfly Fish .... And even those recognized as unsustainable in captivity because of their specialized diet. The author insisting that it is an economic and cost effective approach ... By comparison to corals and anemones, which are their natural diet in the wild ... If ignorance was not the only plume to his neuron: this social-media scribe would know that Aiptasia have a potent neurotoxin that; unlike corals & anemones that release venom of their nematocysts by contact with a prey… is released directly into the water through acontias. This neurotoxin released directly into the water dramatically affects fish tanks. I found out during a visit to an American Public Aquarium located in the basement of the Commerce Department in Washington (60’s). In the lower left corner of the aquarium called - Wonders of the tropics - all the rocks were covered with a thick mattress (1-2 cm) of red dynoflagellates on which stood a HUGE colony of Aiptasia. Many were scattered all over the tank also. In the top right corner and directly below the surface: glued to each other and quivering in unison were a dozen surgeon fish of various species ... Their nervous system visibly attacked by the THING !!!
So the only valid option is to eradicate them when they show up ...
Here is the procedure.
I will spare you a run down on miracle products offered. I’ll simply explain the method applied at SBMarine ... Use your own judgment. You are free to explore some other way.
As I said, it is imperative to have the ability to identify the THING. A magnifying glass will be of the greatest help. And a High Definition Camera... The best approach is to eradicate the specimens when they are still small (brown), it will facilitate your work if the invasion by adult specimens has not yet occurred. The methodology remains the same regardless of what stage of development.
Here's what you'll need:
- A solid pocket knife for cutting and digging the rock
- Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
- A dropper
- A 10X magnifier (large)
- Optional: I recommend using an HD camera to photograph the potentially affected areas to eradicate. Know that Aiptasia deeply retracts into the rock at the slightest alarm !! The only way to locate it with certainty: is with photographs; before undertaking anything !!!
Good ! It's done .... Remove the rocks from the tank (one by one: each in turn) and place them in a salt water container. Place this container under strong lighting and with the loupe make sure you spot every affected area (from 1 Aiptasia to several). Using your knife extract all the rock to a depth of about 2cm. Then rinse the excavations with fresh water to remove debris. Quickly turn the rock upside down to drain. Then (still above water) fill a dropper with undiluted 3% Peroxide and sanitize the excavation. The peroxide will kill everything it touches, so pay attention not to touch GOOD specimens on your rock. Moreover you will find, once back in the tray, these areas are now completely bleached and DEAD. Upon completion shake the rock in the container to remove anything that might cling. Dip them into another container filled with salt water before relocating. Yes I know… it's sad to see ... So many holes in such beautiful rocks ! But no traces will remain in a few months !
After completing these operations ... Free swimming Aiptasia must also be eradicated from your tank.... Easy: - Dilute the equivalent of roughly a cap of 3% peroxide/per 10 gallons. The dosage may vary. You're probably wondering how these planulae found their way to your aquarium. Just traveling with specimens brought back from the store in a plastic bag !
At this dosage Peroxide has no negative impact on most occupants: those who support it of course. Peroxyde has been a recommended treatment by serious hobbyists and veterinarians for over 60 years. Repeat at a couple of days interval. There are chances that your problem will be resolved forever. Now what about small Aiptasia established on the coral sand ? Easy ! Using a small net scoop sand by gently lifting deep from below to ensure that you actually pick up the parasite. Because Aiptasia will see you coming miles away with your net and will retract instantly into the substrate.
Of course, some invertebrates and molluscs will not survive the treatment… This is the case for bivalves and some molluscs, certain delicate Algæ. Small Brittle Stars are not affected, nor Asterinas. However large Starfish won’t. Any mobile animal can be temporarily relocated elsewhere for a period of about twelve hours. This is the time that peroxide takes to exhaust its potential. It’s better to lose a few specimens impossible to remove from the tank than having to throw everything out (including sand) to start all over again ...
The same treatment can also be used to eradicate extraordinarily invasive Plathyelminthes: Red Planary Worms. Except that in this particular case, you must treat the entire tank and all its occupants; WITHOUT EXCEPTION. A more aggressive dosage may be necessary and should be repeated for several days. This Platyhelminthe is sometimes useful to pros, to feed delicate specimens: In specific tanks however !!!!
You will find several photographs of these Plathyelminthes on the website and particularly in the Orion Briefing. They are easy to identify. For your information, SBMarine renounced their use.
Peroxide and Myth/Information date back to the early 70's !! When environmentalists struggled with the pulp and paper industry. Paper and other cellulose derivatives were treated with PEROXIDE to produce WHITE writing paper and cardboards: this industrial process created vast toxic pools that leeched into the environment. This waste by-product was the result of the chemical reactions, the EFFECTS of peroxide on cellulose. Paper mills have evolved since and switched to safer processes for the environment. But unfortunately: the Main Stream Media have carried on promoting this false notion of poison-peroxide ...
H2O3 - Hydrogen Peroxide
Two hydrogen atoms and three oxygen atoms that form an unstable Molecule. It’s the release of an unstable Oxygen atom that produces the typical reaction of Peroxide in contact with any matter.
Peroxide is water !!
H2O- with two additional oxygen atoms; one of which is unstable ....
That's all ... Oxygenated Water as stated on the packaging !!!
And when Peroxide has exhausted all unstable oxygen atoms .... There remains only water ... Just water ... and some oxygen … Do you see something toxic here ?
The problem with aquarium treatments is that some life forms cannot eliminate assimilated peroxyde from their metabolism. A low dosage is hardly perceived by most species. But depending on the desired result; doses may significantly increase affecting the most delicate specimens first. Peroxide is found everywhere in nature and some life forms (animal & vegetable) produce some while others struggle to negotiate its effects or to eliminate it from their metabolism. In some cases, Labyrinth Fish for example: it destroys their atmospheric lung. So now you know; peroxide is an integral part of life on the blue planet ...
Hydrogen Peroxide will always remain a valid treatment for those who can use it in an informed manner !! There are other useful applications for Peroxide in aquariophilia ... Did you know that it can accomplish the same job (in a non toxic fashion) as those horrible Ozone producers ? After an intricate series of chemical reactions Ozoners release an unstable atom of Oxygen in the water…. But cheap Ozone equipment (let’s say less than $50,000) is not very reliable and releases Ozone in your home also !! Ozone is a highly toxic gas that can cause dizziness, headaches, serious poisoning and even loss of consciousness !!!
© 2013 SBMarin