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FAQs on Identifying Aiptasia Anemones 6

Related FAQs: Aiptasia ID 1, Aiptasia ID 2, Aiptasia ID 4, Aiptasia ID 5, & Cnidarian Identification, Anemone Identification, Aiptasia/Glass Anemones in General, Eradication by: Berghia Nudibranchs, Peppermint Shrimp, Butterflyfishes, Filefishes, Chemical Injection, Hypo/Hyper-Salinity.

Related Articles: Impressions of Methods to Eliminate Pest Anemones by Steven Pro, Aquarium Culture of the Aeolid Nudibranch Berghia, Predator on the nuisance anemone Aiptasia By Anthony Calfo, Anemones, Cnidarians

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Anemone Success
Doing what it takes to keep Anemones healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Please help identify    11/10/13
I received a mushroom rock from a lfs the other day and this was said to me a mushroom. I am concerned that it isn't. I am new to the hobby and need some assistance. It is fairly large and doesn't look like other Aiptasia that I have seen. Please help.
<The image shows both Corallimorpharians on the left and an Aiptasia...
Search WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Nuisance Aiptasia/glass anemone/hydroid?    10/14/13
Hi All,
I have a reef aquarium with some. Unique circumstances.  Liverock, some Zoas, Turbinaria, gorgonian, Acanthastrea, Montipora, Duncanopsamia and 4 lionfish (radiata, dwarf zebra, fu Manchu and antennata).
About a year ago, I started noticing some small white to clear cnidarians spreading over the rocks.  It's been very difficult to get a clear identification. 
<Can be>
At first look they appear to be Aiptasia.
<A genus with several species...>
 However, they never get bigger than my pinky-nail, and never actually turn the distinctive brown color of an Aiptasia.
<Nah; what's the more common name (in English)? "Glass Anemones"... depending on circumstances, can be translucent>
 Last spring they were numbering in the hundreds, if not thousands, even growing on the sand.  I tried removing the lions to another tank, and then added peppermint shrimp. Within about a week, all traces of the mystery pest were gone. 
After another week I removed the shrimp and put the lions back in thinking problem solved.  However after a few months, the infestation returned.
<Only takes a small bit...>
 About two months ago, I tried about 2 dozen Berghia Nudibranchs, and still waiting for some sort of reduction in the pests.  Part of me thinks that the amount of flow in this tank is inhibiting the Berghia.  There is a VorTech that stirs everything up pretty well. 
For filtration the tank has a reactor with NPX bioplastics, a powerful skimmer, a reactor with Rowaphos, a deep mud bed with an aragonite cap,
and about 12 mangrove trees planted in the mud. 
The pests are a nuisance, specifically to the Zoas, although the Zoas continue to grow despite being surrounded. 
I have attached the best photo that I've been able to get. 
What would you think it could be?  Aiptasia?  Hydroid?  Some other species of cnidarians?
<Can't tell from the image... could be any of the above, others...>
Thank you so much in advance.
<Well... would like to pr/offer more... IF a Butterflyfish or Monacanthid of use will fit here... I'd employ it. Bob Fenner>

Can you ID these hitchhikers growing on my clam shell please? 1/26/12
Hello Bob, James or other possible responsive crew member,
I have attached some photos of some hitchhikers that must've been on my clam when I got him. They started small and are clearly growing. I have two other of these besides the three on my clam in my tank attached to the live rock. They do not move. Initially when they were little I thought they were Tube Worms or a Vermetid Snail so I wasn't too concerned. Now I'm wondering if they are Aiptasia Anemones
<They are>
or Hydroids. I'm not sure as they seem to
have characteristics of all of these. Please advise. It doesn't appear that they are bothering anything. In fact, as you can see in the photos no matter where I move the smaller clam, he always finds his way right back to the bigger clam and prefers to be adjacent to him for some reason. Anyway, It doesn't look like these organisms were disturbing the mantle on my bigger clam even though they were touching. I was concerned because my husband had one of these hitchhikers on his maxima clam in his tank, and when he removed it with tweezers
<Won't work>
(did not expose the clam to air) the clam later died. I think it was related as the clam was doing fine, and there was nothing to indicate any other reason it should've died. After he pulled it out the clam stopped opening and died within a few days.
In the photos, the smaller clam on the left has three of them growing out of his shell. The biggest organism is in the front right on the clam in the photos and two smaller ones at the top right on the other side of the clam.
I moved him to allow me to touch the organisms so that you could see what they looked like when disturbed, and I wanted to try to get a better photo.
I have a 70 gallon display with DSB and 40 gallon refugium with DSB, Live Rock, rubble, Tisbe Copepods and Chaetomorpha Algae. AquaC EV-180 protein skimmer, and I change carbon in a media bag under the return for the protein skimmer every two weeks along when I do water changes. I have a Wavemaker with Koralia Power Heads, covered with mesh and sponge filters in the overflow box and one power head as well on intake and outtake in the refugium which I clean twice a week. Latest test results
Calcium 420
kH 10
phosphates 0
ammonia 0
nitrates 0
ph 8.4 lights on, 8.25-8.3 lights off.
temp 78 degrees
I recently started dripping Kalkwasser, and it seems to be working out fine. It raised my PH slightly, but it was slowly and now it's constant.
My calcium consumption rate is increasing as my corals and other livestock are growing, so I test daily and dose if needed.
<I encourage you to read re Magnesium, test for this as well... often
distorted ratios can cause troubles, in particular when dosing/using Kalk>
My tank inhabitants include:
1 Ocellaris Clownfish
1 Red Linckia Starfish (ordered a Fromia, but they sent me one labeled as a Linckia)
1 Mandarin Dragonet-he eats most of the frozen foods I feed as well as copepods
4 clams, One Maxima and three Crocea
Yellow Sun Corals
Orange Sun Corals
1 Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
1 Blood Red Fire Shrimp
Hermit Crabs
2 Orange Spot Nassarius Snails
Bumble Bee Snails
Cerith Snails
Turbo Snails
A few LPS towards the bottom of the tank-one Scolymia, a colony of Trumpet Coral, a purple Blastomussa, Dendrophyllia
Several SPS towards top of tank-Pink Birdsnest and Acropora
2 different Zoanthus sp. colonies
3 different colored Ricordea Florida Mushrooms
1 Hawaiian Feather Duster that has produced several more
Several yellow Feather Dusters that have multiplied as well.
I have two Orphek PR-156W LED light fixtures on a daylight, moonlight cycle of 12 hours daylight, 8 hours moonlight, four hours total darkness. While the display is in moonlight/dark, the refugium T5's are on. I feed everyone a daily cocktail that varies including frozen Mysis Shrimp, Brine Shrimp, Hikari Blood Worms, Rotifers, Phytoplankton, Oyster Feast, etc. except the RBTA which I feed 2-3 times per week with baby clams or raw shrimp. I soak all my food with Selcon, and I recently ordered Vita-Chem and will be including that in my foods as well. I target feed the polyps on my Sun Corals daily. Even thought my parameters are great and my water is clear thanks to the carbon, skimmer, pods, filter feeders and Chaeto, I'm starting to get quite a bit of algae growing on my live rock and equipment, so I'm planning to add a small Zebrasoma tang to a quarantine tank once it's cycled then to the display after 4 weeks to take care of this.
I wrote a book as I want you to have all the information in case I need to destroy these hitchhikers so you can tell me the best plan of attack. I saw the preferred recommendations include injecting vinegar, Joe's juice, buying a Nudibranch that only eats anemones (but I have a RBTA) and Red Sea Aiptasia X.
<The last is my current fave>
I don't want to upset my well balanced setup.
<Mmm, perhaps better/best to just wait then... as you state, the Glass Anemones don't appear to be mal-affecting anything>
Thank You as always for your dedication, passion and information sharing.
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Re: re: Can you ID these hitchhikers growing on my clam shell please? 1/26/12
Thanks Bob,
Do these anemones pose any threat being on my clam like that?
<Can; yes>
I've heard stories that they are ok at first, then become aggressive as they get bigger. I read the reviews on Marine Depot regarding the Red Sea Aiptasia X. Most are positive, but a few say that the Aiptasia came back in droves. Have you found this to be true in your experience?
<... see WWM re>
Also, will this product harm my clam or RBTA at all?
<Could; yes, but not likely if treated in situ>
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly and for all your help both on your site and in questions. You are a very valuable resource and have helped me an avid reefer. L
<Ah good. BobF>

Re: Can you ID these hitchhikers growing on my clam shell please? 1/26/12
I'm going to read about it on your site, but I'm going to try it. I'll let you know how it goes. By the way, I do also test for Magnesium. I use Salifert, and my Magnesium was exactly at 1350. I will keep testing weekly to be sure the Magnesium is about 3 times the calcium. Thanks again Bob.
<Thank you Jen. B>

Aiptasia? 1/23/11
Hello and thanks for having such a wonderful site.
I bought a rock from my LFS that had some nice corals on but over time the originals have started looking poorly and these other ones (main subject in photo) seem to be increasing in number.
Are these Aiptasia?
<Mmm, nope. Zoanthids. See WWM re; as can be dangerous to other livestock and you>
Kind regards,
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Hitchhiker on Coco Worm - Aiptasia? 12/6/11
Hi Crew,
Once again I appeal to your infinite wisdom and thank you for continuing to develop the best site on the web for us aquarists!
<Thank you for being part of it>
I am in the process of adding a Coco Worm (Protula magnifica), to my tank.
It has been sitting in my quarantine tank for almost four weeks now and I am getting ready to move it to the display tank in the next few days. However, she has a hitchhiker on her back (see pic). It came with her from the store and has grown fairly quickly in the quarantine tank Â. I fear this might be AiptasiaÂ. is this so? Or is it a benign type of SPS that doesn't deserve to die?
<I do see this anemone; and it does appear to be of the genus Aiptasia>
I would very much appreciate if you could ID the softie on her back before I kill itÂ. assuming it is Aiptasia, my thoughts were simply to cut it off as close to the tube as possible and then apply a layer of epoxy putty over the place it had to prevent any remains from spreading. I was planning on doing all of this underwater since I've read that Coco Worms should not ever be outside of the water to avoid problems with airÂ. does this sound reasonable?
Or would your recommend something different?
<Is a good plan... I would add scrubbing the attachment area w/ a soft bristle brush... in the hope of removing as much cellular material as practical>
Thank you for your advice,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Pest Anemone/Aiptasia ID 7/31/11
<Hello Adam>
I'm almost positive after browsing your site for several days that the attached pics are of a pest anemone. I'd just like to get a confirmation before I start attempting to rid my tank of it.
<Sure looks like Aiptasia to me.>
The tank is a 28 gallon
Nano Cube LED (89 watts), has been cycled for about 6 weeks now. Water changes of 3-4 gallons biweekly. Lighting cycle and parameters are below:
Actinic: 9:30AM - 7:30PM
Daylight: 10:30AM - 6:30PM
Fuge Light: 7:30PM - 9:30AM
Temp: 78.2
pH: 8.2
Salinity: 1.025
kH: 9
Calcium: 440
Nitrates: 15
Phosphates: .25
<No magnesium? Is one of the major elements in sea water.>
These numbers have stayed constant thru the past 6 weeks with no real fluctuation except in temperature on warmer days. Livestock is:
Snails (Trochus, Cerith, and Nerite)
Crabs (Red Leg and Blue Leg)
Pistol Shrimp
Randall's Goby
Cleaner Shrimp
Emerald Crab
Chaeto has just recently been added to a media basket in the back to hopefully lower the nitrates and phosphates. I have no corals in the tank at this time, but will likely add some later. The pest is at the edge of some calcerous <calcareous> algae (I'm not exactly sure this is Coralline as the surface is textured almost like a mat. Maybe its not algae at all??
<Appears to be a mix of coralline and nuisance algae. Pic isn't resolved enough and a little dark in that area to be of any use. Work on getting your nitrates down. If you do not have a protein skimmer, I suggest getting a good efficient model.
Several are available for small tanks.>
If you could ID that, I would be grateful.) and is about 3/8 of an inch across. It has grown considerably in the past couple of weeks. It is out during the day and loves to catch a small bite of shrimp when Marine Cuisine is fed.
Snails have come close to it and it withdraws (almost behind the edge of the algae it appears). I have had no deaths in the tank.
<I'd zap it.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Unknown Creature - likely Aiptasia 9/28/10
<Hi Marissa, Misty here>
We have a 38 gallon saltwater tank that is only about 3 months old. My dad ordered live rock online about 3 weeks ago and we've had said live rock for about 2 weeks. He ordered this live rock from the Florida coast. Within the last week or so, a new creature popped out of the rock and I've had trouble
identifying it. I believe it might be an Edwardsiidae Anemone but I'm not sure.
<Likely some type of Aiptasia - glass anemones that are common pests in our reef tanks. Check out this page on the WWM site, as well as the related FAQ's...
This link is the comparable creature that it seems similar too:
However, ours doesn't have wriggly tips, it doesn't have two long arms side by side, and it holds its arms erect. But this anemone seemed the closest to ours as compared to all others I've seen. It has long fingers and short ones. And no tentacles around the mouth. And it withdraws inside the live rock when disturbed. It's brown and white striped and the tips of the long fingers are pointed. We've also seen it grab a live brine shrimp and withdraw into the hole with it. The creature never leaves the hole and it seems to twitch
one leg at a time. It doesn't move with the current as some anemones do.
The organism is about an inch or so in diameter and so far it hasn't seemed to bother the other inhabitants of the tank <won't bother these inhabitants really, but Aiptasia can multiply quickly and become a plague in a tank - especially if you want to keep corals, as these anemones will sting their neighbors> which includes a chocolate chip Seastar, coral banded shrimp, a cleaner shrimp, hermit crabs, turbo snails and a few clown fish. This picture is attached, sorry, the macro on my camera is poor quality.
<Cheers, and good luck, Misty>
Thank you,

Anemone ID and Help 8/28/10
Good Morning,
<Hello Garrett>
asking for help ( yet again, thanks for supporting us).
<You're welcome.>
As I get older I wake up earlier. With this extra time and later starting class this morning, I decided to do something I haven't done in ALONG time.
I grabbed a flashlight and spent some time "night diving" with my 3 year old 70 gallon reef tank. I've been down the apistasia <Aiptasia> road before. You might frown upon me but after trying shrimps, and chemicals, I finally got rid of them using Berghia.
<A proven method.>
I tried saving as many as possible by giving them to a friend when they efficiently wiped out my problem. This morning I found 3 small, and one LARGE anemones. These do look a little different than the traditional brownish, long tentacle ones in the past. For one, these have alternating long and short tentacles, it is a much whiter appearance. The kicker is that it "retreats" back to around the rock into the dark when the Halides come on. Only is out at night which is why I haven't seen it. ( I scan my tank every day when I get home from school). The 3 other very small ones I have get pushed back down by my super green Zoos when the lights come on, indicating that they don't sting the coral. I've tried scanning the
archive, emailing you as last resort. Will Berghia eat these, are they capable of over taking my tank, do we know what these could be?
<Berghia are not known to eat anemones other than Aiptasia. Without a pic it would be close to impossible to ID what you have. Bob may have an idea and if so will comment here.>
Thanks for your valuable time.

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