We received an interesting inquiry a couple of weeks ago from a visitor to our website who raises berghia nudibranches. Berghias are an effective natural control for aiptasia (a nuisance anemone that reproduces at an alarming rate), and this visitor was inquiring as to whether we sold the pesky anemone – he needed a ready supply to feed his berghia. I was somewhat amused by this inquiry, since so many of us work so diligently to remove aiptasia from our systems, and would never think of encouraging their spread, but it reminded me of the fact that, in nature, little is wasted. It seems there’s a use and a place for everything – even the lowly aiptasia.
Sooner or later, almost everyone who keeps a marine aquarium will be forced to deal with unwanted aiptasia. In case you find yourself in that category there are a number of effective means to control this unwanted invader. Among these are natural controls, like the aforementioned berghia, as well peppermint shrimp, some types of hermit crabs, and a few species of fish. Each of these have limited effectiveness, and are typically unable to rein in a wide-spread infestation. There are also chemical products available from your LFS for dealing with aiptasia, but be sure to read the product information carefully before using any of these remedies. For other creative methods of removal, check out some of the videos on YouTube. My personal favorites are those where folks blast them with boiling water or zap them with lasers! If you’re looking for more information, here is an excellent article from Salty Underground: Aiptasia Information and Control.