Fighting Aiptasia – Success through Joe’s Juice & animal helpers

This post falls into the multitude of reports, questions and summaries to one of the most annoying topics in seawater aquariums: How to deal with an existing Aiptasia infestation and how to prevent that these animals do not appear in my saltwater aquarium.

After a Aiptasia outbreak and after trying lots of advices, it oftentimes feels to be no real solution. They spread more and more, corals begin to die and they are in fact not really pretty. Not least Aiptasia are also responsible for many tanks which are no longer started with live rock but either dry reef rock or reef ceramics. In my view, this way to start a tank couldn’t give a full protection, because each purchased coral could bring Aiptasia in your tank, even if it’s not visible.

It has already been a lot written about it, so I want you to give my personal solution, how I made my main tank free from Aiptasia. Looking back, for me there is only one type of solution: Manual removal in combination with animal helpers.

Meanwhile, there are various products against Aiptasia and there are always fish, snails and invertebrates recommended that supposedly eat Aiptasia. They do. Or not. Depending on the nature of the animal you have more or less success with these animal helpers.

My starting point:

The tank was about half a year old and the Aiptasia increased wide. I bought on the recommendation and by researching a file-fish (Acreichthys tomentosus).  2 months went by – no result. The Aiptasia became even more.

I bought my dream fish – Chelmon rostratus, also known as a Aiptasia killer. However, the reason was not only functional (which you should never do anyway – I have to admit, the file-fish was a functional buy)- it’s just a great fish which I’m loving each day more.

Weeks passed, and the Aiptasia increased. I never saw both fish eating any Aiptasia. Finally, I bought a product called Joe’s Juice. It is a thick white liquid that is injected directly onto the Aiptasia which then pulls together and dissolves. And I made the interesting discovery that my Chelmon rostratus eats the injured and dying Aiptasia  (See video below)

I continued the treatment and destroyed all visible Aiptasia with Joe’s Juice. Some of them were back a few weeks later, which required a second treatment.

The interesting thing was that my sump is full with them, but I never could find a single Aiptasia in the main display. I infer from this that the Aiptasia would have definetly come back, but the file-fish and my C. rostratus are now killing them preemptively.

This treatment was around 1 year ago an I never saw any Aiptasia in my display tank. 

My conclusion:

  • Animal helpers will have not have an initial effect on a already increasing Aiptasia oubreaks.
  • They need to be decimated manually first (for example, Joe’s Juice, hot water, Kalkwasser etc.).
  • Animal helpers usually act only preventative – but then reliably by eating small mini Aiptasia directly.

Known Aiptasia eaters are:

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