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Aiptasia – Pest with a Purpose

AiptasiaIf you have a saltwater tank, there is a good possibility that you’ve had some experience with the pest anemone, Aiptasia. Aiptasia can seem to spring from live rock or new corals from nowhere, quickly becoming an unsightly “weed” all over the tank. But despite their prolific nature and the possibility of damage to coral colonies from their stings, eradication may not be your only solution.

I noticed that around the overflows of some of the holding tanks the Aiptasia anemones seemed to gather. Only a small amount of Aiptasia appeared within the tanks, on walls and rocks. Intrigued, I decided to research this in Anthony Calfo’s book, Book of Coral Propagation. He revealed an interesting use for the pest anemone.  

According to Calfo, these pest anemones can be used as a form of mechanical filtration. They can be especially helpful in a tank with a larger fish population, where larger amounts of food are distributed.   They can collect particles of food that the fish miss! To help with controlling the population in the main tank, Calfo also suggests that a good place for them may be near overflows or where the water flows through, like the sump or refugium. The next time you see an Aiptasia in your tank, you might want to think about collecting it and using it to your advantage.



Aiptasia image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Haplochromis


  1. avatar

    I seem to notice they come to my tank un-invited. I’ve tried to physically remove them – no luck, until I remove the rock and pour boiling water over them or use Joe’s Juice if I can get it at their base.
    I can understand this theory, might even be willing to try it, but give me a clue as to how to “collect” them

  2. avatar

    Not an easy task…it may be easiest to move infested rocks to the refugium in hopes that they will migrate off onto macroalgae or rubble in the refugium itself. They can be removed from rock with a razorblade too, if they are on attached to the rock or glass in a place where you can get to the basal disc, they’re pretty tough so you don’t have to worry if the razor slips. I guess it comes down to how much tume you want to allot to collecting them! This was just a creative solution or alternative to eradication.

  3. avatar

    i know peppermint shrimp will eat them. the lysmata wur something

  4. avatar

    aslo the aptasiaX works to but you have to inject on the baisular disk

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