New Reefer and Aiptasia

Discussion in 'New To The Hobby' started by Korrigann, Apr 29, 2014.

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  1. Korrigann

    Korrigann Plankton

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2014
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    Hey there everyone!

    If you want to skip all my chattering, skip down to the TL : DR section.

    I'm a new saltwater tanker/reefer whatever you want to call me. I have lots of experience in freshwater fish of all types, from goldfish and bettas to cichlids and oscars. However, saltwater has been a whole new beast for me, especially since I am doing less bargain hunting and piecing together as I go, and more "let's get this set up right the first time". Since I have the funding at the moment, I decided to go all-out and put the money in up front rather than having to go back and "fix" things later.

    To start, let me give the specs I currently have.

    Mechanical Specs:
    -- 29g Coralife Biocube with a retrofit 24 LED lighting system from rapidLED - I prefer natural light to more of a blue light
    -- inTank media basket: filter floss, purigen, chemipure elite
    -- inTank refugium basket: chaeto algae
    -- no skimmer, I've chosen to do weekly 5% water changes to help remove unwanted impurities and replenish trace elements since it's such a small tank. I use bIonic salt mix to achieve a more regulated mixture of trace elements each time.
    -- mp10w ecosmart pump, heater, the standard 'tank' stuff
    -- The biggie! Apex system, with ph, orp, and salinity probes to monitor. I know orp isn't a big deal, but it came with the package I got. I still check salinity with a refractometer, but I feel the probe provides a peace of mind for when I am not at home.
    -- One portable RO/DI unit

    In the display tank, I have some base rock and caribsea arag-alive "special" grade reef sand in fiji pink. I don't know what makes it "special" grade, but I knew I did not want super fine sand and I certainly did not want crushed coral. This was a nice mix of mostly sand with a few bits of crushed shells to add texture. It's about 1.5"-2" thick.

    Today I was finally able to add some live rock to my tank. The place I got it from had it on sale, and I loved how the pieces looked. I inspected each piece and found that there was no black areas and it smelled healthy (ie, nothing rotting). However, the reason I think it was cheaper was because it was broken down from someone else's old tank, and there were a few polyps of aiptasia growing in various little holes. The man at the store helped me clean off the largest ones via that paste stuff that kills them, but I can still see a few now poking out of their holes and saying, "Oh hey! Look! A new tank to take over!"

    With nothing in the tank aside from just the live rock, I'm ready to do battle and get rid of these guys. I know I can use the paste, but it may be hard to get in some of these little crevices that they are hiding in. Plus I'd like to do a more natural method of controlling these pests if possible.

    Someone suggested to me to use peppermint shrimp, but I have heard they do not always work, especially if food is available. Seeing as I have nothing else in the tank, once my parameters have stabilized, I could add one or two of the shrimp and see if they are going to eat the aiptasia.

    Alternatively, I heard I could also use berghia nudibranches. These little guys supposedly only eat aiptasia, and they die off after about 6-8 months. They will readily spawn and their babies will easily get into the cracks and crevices to eat all the aiptasia that is hiding. There is virtually no chance of them taking over a tank as they stop reproducing and die off once the aiptasia is gone, and since they're so tiny, they don't really impact the tank parameters.

    TL : DR

    Should I use a mixture like Joe's Juice, peppermint shrimp, or berghia nudibranches to kill and control aiptasia that hitchhiked on some live rock in a 29g tank that has no livestock, only live rock/sand and some base rock?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

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    I think I would recommend that you kill them directly with something like joe's juice or aiptasiax I think it's called. You can kalk them as well or use a combination of methods. With your tank being so young, I'd hesitate to suggest that you use a "natural predator" method because your tank may not be able to have livestock for a period of time while it cycles and you want those nasties gone yesterday :)
     
  4. ivanbosk

    ivanbosk Feather Duster

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    Savannah GA
    how long has your tank been running? if you don't cycle it first, you don't really want to put any critters in there...
     
  5. Korrigann

    Korrigann Plankton

    Joined:
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    It's only been up for a week or so, and I've only just put the live rock in today. I know I'll have to wait for a while to put anything in it, but I'm the type that likes to build a game plan well ahead of time. I figure by the time my tank has cycled in a couple weeks (if even that), the aiptasia won't be too far out of control, and it will be safe to add an invert or two.

    I've fought pests before in freshwater tanks, but I feel like aiptasia is like a tiny ninja clan in disguise, and even a day without eradicating them is like inviting the assassins into your house. Is that really true? Do I need to kill them immediately or will I be okay to wait a few weeks once my tank has fully cycled to use natural methods?
     
  6. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

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    It's a great time to go to work on them before you have a lot of livestock to worry about. IMO, you want to kill them as soon as possible. They won't get out of control in a short period but why wait?
     
  7. Korrigann

    Korrigann Plankton

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    True. I'll have to order some aiptasia-b-gone then. For the ones that are hiding deep in the crevices, I just seal the hole over with the paste, right?
     
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  9. Ashevillian

    Ashevillian Pajama Cardinal

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    Fire and brimstone, lemon juice and vinegar, sometimes these things just don't die. Personally, I would invest in a 445nm Blue Laser pointer. These will kill aiptasia and unlike all the other methods, it's so much fun! Just be mindful, with all the ways to kill aiptasia, you need to make sure you get the entire disc or it will just come back.

    Video of laser pen in action:
    Aiptasia: Death by Laser

    Link to purchase exact pen used in video:
    Cyber 445nm Focusable Blue Laser Pointer

    And I would assume any laser with the same specs would work, but they all run about the same price. I have one of these and the price is worth it. They last a long time, use hardly any battery power, can be used for pointing into the sky at stars and planets. Very fun tool but you must be careful... It's a felony to point these at aircraft!

    Good luck with the pest!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  10. zesty

    zesty Sailfin Tang

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    +1

    One of our local reefers has one of these and posted a vid of him taking down an apt with the laser. So cool

    Plus, I like lasers!
     
  11. Korrigann

    Korrigann Plankton

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2014
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    Fire and brimstone? Hahah! I'll call my local devil and see if he has any in stock. Hopefully it only costs an arm and a leg and not a soul!

    I like the idea of the laser, being completely safe in terms of affecting water parameters, but in my home, the chances of someone getting the laser and playing with it worries me. I don't want to end up with a blind cat or angry housemates.
     
  12. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    If you just put the rock in and it's has aiptasia, do yourself a HUGE favor, change out the rock for some aiptasia free rock or recycle the rock in another container after killing the aiptasia by drying or soaking the rock. Consider yourself lucky that the tank is so small and the amount of rock limited and easily dealt with now.

    Welcome to 3reef.