Sat, 04/30/2005 - 11:32
Yesterday, I received two Aiptasia eating nudibranch Berghia verrucicornis and they were tiny. A club member did a group buy for six of these from someone on Reef Central, I believe. I've got a lot of aiptasia (btw, I've always spelled it 'aptasia' but noticed in Google that the 'i' was left out.) in my reef, and I've tried a few of the typical solutions but they continue to pop up out of everything including within corals themselves.
Thus, I decided to use my Frag Tank that I made for our Next Wave conference to house these little guys, and I'll put LR and corals in there for the nudibranchs to comb over and erradicate these pests. Plus, since Nibbles won't stop chewing on my zoanthids, I figured this might be a good way to salvage those. I'm not 100% decided, but this might be a good way to propagate corals if I can set it up in a way that works well.
So first of all, here are the little guys. They are really tiny, less than 1/8" wide, and maybe 1/2" long.
They arrived yesterday in a bag, and I got them home and in to the frag tank by 1am after being out all day. Btw, they also remind me of a nudibranch that eat zoanthids, from the images I've seen posted online.
So here's the tank set up. Dimensions are 34 x 24.5 x 8, with a 6" water depth. Lighting is a 250w 14,000K SE MH. A Mag 5 connected to a spray bar creates the current in the tank, and the corner overflow box keeps the surface clean. I had to put a couple of spare heaters in the unit as the tank temperature did drop overnight - something I didn't anticipate to be honest. I figured the Mag pump would generate enough heat but apparently not.
Here are a number of images of the nudibranchs on the LR.
Note the size of the aiptasia compared to these little guys.
When I introduced these to the tank, I turned off the pump and tried to pour them over the rock once I realized I could not pick one up out of the water. They are so light that as I tried to gently get one, it would wash through my finger tips and around my fingers, never permitting me to even touch it. So the first one landed as planned. The second one landed in an aiptasia! The aiptasia closed up around it, and I thought: "That's justgreat. I wonder who'll survive this battle...." but about a minute later I saw the nudibranch was alive and released. Watching closely, it was almost like the aiptasia was frightened as the nudibranch bared its fangs (my interpretation) since the aiptasia would retract a little bit at a time.
In these images, you can see how small it is in relation to the hitchhiker asterina starfish.
Here are a few of the zoos in that tank, as well as a frag of SPS. My thinking about the separate frag tank with MH lighting is that I can move rock and coral to this tank as needed, and the coral should have plenty of light to survive its stay for a short duration.