Eliminating Aiptasia in Saltwater Aquariums

Upon initial observance, many novice aquarists would view Aiptasia as a plant sprouting from rocks along the floor of the tank. Unbeknown to the observer, this seemingly harmful species of sea flora will quickly fill up the entire tank and become a danger to the survival of the other marine plants and animals. The aiptasia, also known as rock anemones, will compete for life supporting nutrients, oxygen and any other life supporting substances. They reproduce and spread so rapidly that they will disturb the natural flow of life in the tank. It is important to eliminate them.

As soon as one realizes that the aiptasia is filling up the whole tank, he or she would naturally be tempted to pull it out of the rock. It is important not to do this since this will increase the rate of reproduction. This occurs because the disturbance of the Aiptasia causes microscopic pieces to be released into the tank. These unseen remnants sprout into more Aiptasia anemones.

Chemical methods of eliminating aiptasia are not recommended, as they can have negative side effects on the other tank inhabitants. The chemicals can be toxic and would thereby eliminate other plants or fish that you intend to spare.

One option is to introduce some natural predators that will consume the Aiptasia anemones. This can prove successful, but with potential consequences. Once the anemones are deceased, the predators may continue eating other marine inhabitants including corals. For this reason, introducing predators into a reef tank is not the most ideal way to eliminate the troublesome anemones.

One very effective, simple and harmless way to eliminate aiptasia has been discovered. By injecting inexpensive lemon juice into the Aiptasia, you can eliminate them. This unique solution may be as much of a surprise to you, as it was to the aquarists who discovered it!

Using Lemon Juice to Eliminate Aiptasia

  • Obtain a bottle of lemon juice or alternatively obtain lemon juice from concentrate by squeezing it out of lemons.
  • Also obtain a 3ml latex-free syringe with a 0.5mm X 16mm needle from your local pharmacist.
  • Fill the syringe with lemon juice.
  • Then go ahead and inject about 5ml of lemon juice into the base of the anemone.

By performing this simple routine to the anemones, they will be eliminated without causing any harm to the other marine inhabitants. The amount of lemon juice being used is so minimal that it should not disturb the pH level of the water in the tank. However, if you are concerned about potential negative pH interactions due to the excessive number of Aiptasia, you may prefer eliminating a few every day until they are all treated.