Has aiptasia infested your coral? Well, you are going to be in for a hard time. Aiptasia is notoriously difficult to remove. There is no quick solution. This does lead to a lot of people wondering whether a coral dip will kill aiptasia.
Unfortunately, there is no coral dip that will kill aiptasia. We know that there are some dips that claim that they will kill aiptasia and yes, it is true. However, they will also kill any other invertebrates on the coral, and they may even kill the coral. This is because when you kill aiptasia, you are essentially killing a living animal. There is no way to just dip the aiptasia and not the coral.
Thankfully, there are solutions. Let’s go through them.
How Do I Get Rid of Aiptasia on Coral?
There are a few solutions for removing aiptasia from coral.
One solution that seems to get a lot of use among top aquarium keepers is the use of a hypodermic needle. You can fill this with hot water or lemon juice and inject it straight into the aiptasia. Although, you probably don’t need to use a solution anywhere near as sophisticated as this.
There are some fish that can eat away at the aiptasia for you. We will discuss those more a little bit later on.
You can even pull the coral out of the tank and scrape it off. However, this isn’t really a solution that we suggest. This is, mostly, down to the fact that it can be incredibly tricky to scrape the aiptasia off without actually damaging the coral. It may be fine if you have the aiptasia clinging to rocks in your tank, but it is just too much risk if you try and interact with coral in this way. Plus, this method is going to require you to pull the coral out of your tank, which poses a wealth of risks too.
Can You Scrape Off Aiptasia?
As we said, you can gently scrape off aiptasia with a small knife. However, we cannot stress enough how gentle you must be when you are doing this.
You have to remember that the coral in your tank is going to be incredibly delicate. You want to touch it as little as possible, and you certainly don’t want to be moving a blade around the coral, just in case you damage it.
Honestly, the only time that we would suggest that you use a blade to scrape aiptasia off of something is if the aiptasia has clung to a rock. If it is stuck to coral, then there are far, far better solutions that you can use.ö
What Fish Will Eat Aiptasia?
There are several fish that have been known to have a good munch on aiptasia, and you may want to introduce them to your tank if you believe that the aiptasia is starting to become a problem.
The easiest fish to introduce to your tank would be the butterfly fish. It tends to thrive well in tanks and it is fairly easy to look after. Any of these butterflyfish should be fine for eating aiptasia.
Now, it is worth noting that there are other fish out there that may eat aiptasia. In fact, there are some shrimp that do so too. Bristletail filefish are great for removing aiptasia from a tank, but only if you have rocks. It is not good if you have coral in your tank. The same goes for peppermint shrimp. They love to eat aiptasia, but you do not want them anywhere near a coral reef, because they can damage it rather severely, and they will remove food from it that is required for the other fish in your tank.
Honestly, we would just stick with the butterflyfish. Most species of butterflyfish should be great for removing the aiptasia. They have the side-benefit of looking great too.
How Can Aiptasia Be Prevented?
The only real prevention for aiptasia is to quarantine any living rock or coral for 30-days before you place it in your main tank. You should always have a quarantine tank set up.
30 days is more than enough time to allow the aiptasia to start appearing. If aiptasia start to appear, then you can remove it, or just not introduce that rock or coral into the tank.
If you are not quarantining, then there is no way to prevent aiptasia in the tank. Once it is in the tank, the only way that you can combat the aiptasia is to just hope that the fish that you have selected will munch on it or, as we said, you could inject the aiptasia with hot water or lemon juice.
There are some solutions on the market that claim to remove aiptasia, but do bear in mind that these may pose a risk to your fish if added into the tank.
Do Urchins Eat Aiptasia?
Maybe. Urchins do tend to eat anything that drifts on by, which means that there is a strong chance that they will eat the aiptasia. However, you do have to bear in mind that introducing urchins into a tank is not without its issues. As we said, they can eat anything that drifts on by, which means they may eat your fish or shrimp (although, this is highly unlikely)
A coral dip will not kill aiptasia, unfortunately. The only real way to remove aiptasia is to either scrape it off or buy some fish and shrimp that will eat the aiptasia for you. In some cases, you can also inject the aiptasia with hot water, although this is very much a last resort sort of solution.
Honestly, the best course of action is to prevent the aiptasia in the first place. This means that you should quarantine any rock or coral that you introduce into your tank for at least 30-days. If no aiptasia appear, then you should be good to go.