Mystery Anemone

The Lost Tapes

New Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Location
USA
I found this anemone growing on my live rock, can someone identify it
Thank you
20220908_221253.jpg
 

Lynnzer

Fish Addict
Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
825
Reaction score
485
Location
sr8
I'm actually thinking or starting a marine tank and looked at the availbility and cost of anemones just yesterday. There are so many and a lot are so similar that a single image might not be sufficient to aid in identification. However I did find a forum dedicated to these things.
I've just taken a quick look at my browser history for yesterday but I'm extremely active online so there's a thousand pages, or at least it seems like it. I think it may have been here: https://reefbuilders.com/
 

Donya

Crazy Crab Lady
Staff member
Global Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
4,173
Reaction score
341
Location
Northeastern USA
This is Aiptasia - a pest anemone that easily reproduces out of control and can carpet the rock and stress/burn any corals it comes into contact with. Yours already has some new ones that have formed near the base. Aipasia-X and Joe's Juice are two fairly safe things you can use to get rid of them but repeated applications over time are required.
 

Donya

Crazy Crab Lady
Staff member
Global Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
4,173
Reaction score
341
Location
Northeastern USA
There are so many and a lot are so similar that a single image might not be sufficient to aid in identificatio
Relatively few appear in the hobby compared to what you might find in exhaustive lists of anemone species around the world, and within that some are much more common than others. This is a classic-looking Aiptasia.
 
OP
OP
The Lost Tapes

The Lost Tapes

New Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Location
USA
This is Aiptasia - a pest anemone that easily reproduces out of control and can carpet the rock and stress/burn any corals it comes into contact with. Yours already has some new ones that have formed near the base. Aipasia-X and Joe's Juice are two fairly safe things you can use to get rid of them but repeated applications over time are required.
Thank you, I assume pest anemones are a good sign though due to how sensitive they are so I'm pretty sure its a good indicator of my water quality being good. But can it harm fish is the question, I want to keep anemones so I would rather not kill it since its doing well and is well a free anemone without cost.
 

Donya

Crazy Crab Lady
Staff member
Global Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
4,173
Reaction score
341
Location
Northeastern USA
I assume pest anemones are a good sign though due to how sensitive they
Sorry to be the bearer or bad news here, but pest anemones aren't an indicator of anything good and can live in very extreme conditions. They can even sometimes survive freshwater drips and injections and bad water quality conditions that would kill most other things in a tank except for bristleworms. If anything they indicate too many particulates in the water which often goes along with waste problems. They may have already been on the rock as-is when you got it if you bought it as wet live rock, but they very, very easily spread when there is nothing competing for particulates and nutrients in the water.

EDIT: I should add that this bizarre hardiness that pest anemones like aiptasia and mojano exhibit does NOT apply to the ornamental species. Pest anemones are a big outlier in the anemone world in that regard.

I want to keep anemones so I would rather not kill it since its doing well and is well a free anemone without cost.
That's the problem: you won't have one pest anemone, you'll more likely end up with your rock being carpeted in them over time unless you are running a super low-nutrient system and can somehow starve them out (very hard to do; frankly impossible in most tanks). Their sting is frustratingly potent against many ornamental things kept in reef aquariums. If you plan on ever keeping corals or even just fish that like to sit on rock, then they need to be controlled and are best eliminated when first spotted and well before the rock becomes hairy with anemone tentacles in every crevice. Some large ornamental anemones like BTAs can control aiptasia populations, but if you toss a new BTA onto rock covered in Aiptasia, the BTA will still likely get too stressed and die even though they can toast Aiptasia when the situation is reversed and the BTA has become established in the system first.

To be clear, I'm not just parroting standard saltwater pest paranoia here. I've had many saltwater tanks ranging from species crab tanks to community reefs over 14 years. I had a few non-reef tanks where I figured the aiptasia couldn't hurt much and so I genuinely tried to be "at peace" with them as free filtration, which is about the only good thing they do. However, it never went well, and in every case I ultimately had to pull the rock out, scrub it all, run a lot of chemical media for water cleanup, and either break out the Aiptasia-X or put in some peppermint shrimp to provide biological control (but you can't add those to a brand new tank).
 
Last edited:

Alice B

Fishaholic
Joined
Feb 20, 2022
Messages
468
Reaction score
350
Location
Fort Worth, TX
Cheap treatment for Aiptasia - Joe's juice. When you run out, mix kalkwasser with water in the Joe's bottle. a squirt in the center will take out anemones but only increase calcium levels in your tank.
 
OP
OP
The Lost Tapes

The Lost Tapes

New Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Location
USA
Sorry to be the bearer or bad news here, but pest anemones aren't an indicator of anything good and can live in very extreme conditions. They can even sometimes survive freshwater drips and injections and bad water quality conditions that would kill most other things in a tank except for bristleworms. If anything they indicate too many particulates in the water which often goes along with waste problems. They may have already been on the rock as-is when you got it if you bought it as wet live rock, but they very, very easily spread when there is nothing competing for particulates and nutrients in the water.

EDIT: I should add that this bizarre hardiness that pest anemones like aiptasia and mojano exhibit does NOT apply to the ornamental species. Pest anemones are a big outlier in the anemone world in that regard.


That's the problem: you won't have one pest anemone, you'll more likely end up with your rock being carpeted in them over time unless you are running a super low-nutrient system and can somehow starve them out (very hard to do; frankly impossible in most tanks). Their sting is frustratingly potent against many ornamental things kept in reef aquariums. If you plan on ever keeping corals or even just fish that like to sit on rock, then they need to be controlled and are best eliminated when first spotted and well before the rock becomes hairy with anemone tentacles in every crevice. Some large ornamental anemones like BTAs can control aiptasia populations, but if you toss a new BTA onto rock covered in Aiptasia, the BTA will still likely get too stressed and die even though they can toast Aiptasia when the situation is reversed and the BTA has become established in the system first.

To be clear, I'm not just parroting standard saltwater pest paranoia here. I've had many saltwater tanks ranging from species crab tanks to community reefs over 14 years. I had a few non-reef tanks where I figured the aiptasia couldn't hurt much and so I genuinely tried to be "at peace" with them as free filtration, which is about the only good thing they do. However, it never went well, and in every case I ultimately had to pull the rock out, scrub it all, run a lot of chemical media for water cleanup, and either break out the Aiptasia-X or put in some peppermint shrimp to provide biological control (but you can't add those to a brand new tank).
Alright, thank you. If I hard wipe out just 1 rock with the anemone on it as I do not see any others and I got that rock about 3 weeks ago. Would that make the water unstable, there is a lot of live rock in the tank as is plus it has 2 filters and has been well cycled since about 3-4 months ago. I am thinking of just baking the rock in the oven as to ensure it all dies and that does not mess up the water in any real way I think. I would prefer not dumping chemicals into the water if avoidable. Alternatively if I just submerge the rock in question in freshwater for several hours would that kill it or not? And would fish like Bichirs eat the anemone?
 

Colin_T

Fish Guru
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
36,131
Reaction score
19,711
Location
Perth, WA
Removing one rock should not make any difference to the filter bacteria unless you only have a few rocks in the tank.

Birchirs don't eat them.

Soaking the rock in freshwater for an hour should kill it. The anemone will take in a heap of water and the cells should rupture, thus killing it.
 

Donya

Crazy Crab Lady
Staff member
Global Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
4,173
Reaction score
341
Location
Northeastern USA
I would prefer not dumping chemicals into the water if avoidable.
The two treatments I recommended aren't something you pour in - they're syringe administered and you target to the anemone itself with a small amount. Aiptasia-X and Joes Juice are two of the safest options in that regard, Aiptasia-X being the absolute safest as far as I've seen (I've even wiped it off of corals with no harm when I've missed an anemone in the middle of them).

You can always nuke a bad rock, but it is a more drastic action really unless the whole rock is infested or if it has other bad things in/on it. The main downsides to removing the rock to either freshwater dip or bake at a low temp (both work) is that you will lose potentially a lot of beneficial critters depending on what lives in/on it and you would have a nutrient spike if you re-add the rock even with the baking method since the dried organic films would start decaying as they rehydrate.
 
OP
OP
The Lost Tapes

The Lost Tapes

New Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Location
USA
Removing one rock should not make any difference to the filter bacteria unless you only have a few rocks in the tank.

Birchirs don't eat them.

Soaking the rock in freshwater for an hour should kill it. The anemone will take in a heap of water and the cells should rupture, thus killing it.
Alright, the rest of the rocks do not seem to have anemones yet.
The two treatments I recommended aren't something you pour in - they're syringe administered and you target to the anemone itself with a small amount. Aiptasia-X and Joes Juice are two of the safest options in that regard, Aiptasia-X being the absolute safest as far as I've seen (I've even wiped it off of corals with no harm when I've missed an anemone in the middle of them).

You can always nuke a bad rock, but it is a more drastic action really unless the whole rock is infested or if it has other bad things in/on it. The main downsides to removing the rock to either freshwater dip or bake at a low temp (both work) is that you will lose potentially a lot of beneficial critters depending on what lives in/on it and you would have a nutrient spike if you re-add the rock even with the baking method since the dried organic films would start decaying as they rehydrate.
The rock its on has a lot of other unwanted stuff, I do not know how badly it would go if I just nuked it, but I cannot imagine it would be that bad.
 

Most reactions

Top