- This topic has 4 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 14 years, 8 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
March 28, 2009 at 4:26 am #1647Judy58Member
Hi – can you please tell me if beadlet anemone\’s are safe with seahorses as it appears that I have some growing on my live rock – damn hitch-hikers !! and unless they are safe I am going to have to strip my tank to get them out unless you know of any other way to get rid of them – I am hoping that they may be ok as they are lovely colours but if they aren\’t I need to get them out asap – thanks in advance JudyMarch 28, 2009 at 11:32 pm #4742Pete GiwojnaGuest
Unfortunately, the beadlet anemone (Actinia equina) is not safe for seahorses. Like all anemones, Actinia equina is equipped with stinging nematocysts that can injure seahorses. It would be unusual for Beadlet Anemones to enter a tropical aquarium as a hitchhiker on live rock, Judy. It is very common for anemones to hitch hike on live rock, but they are almost always Aiptasia anemones rather than Actinia species, so I’m thinking that you may actually be dealing with an outbreak of Aiptasia rock anemones.
A few isolated Aiptasia rock anemones won’t pose a serious threat to any of the larger seahorses such as Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus). In most cases, the seahorses be careful to avoid them.
However, Aiptasia rock anemones can rapidly increase in number and become a threat to seahorses when they are so numerous it is difficult for the seahorses to avoid coming in contact with them. The danger is not that the Aiptasia will capture and consume a small seahorse, but rather that their stinging cells or nematocysts can penetrate the integument of the seahorse and leave it vulnerable to secondary infections. So the bad news is that I would strongly suggest that you take measures to eliminate the rock anemones before their numbers increase any further. The good news is that user they shouldn’t have to strip down your tank in order to get rid of the, Judy.
Aiptasia rock anemones can easily be killed by injecting them with a number of solutions — Kalkwasser, boiling water, lemon juice, a number of commercial products such as Joe’s Juice — and I suggest using a combination of such injections and biological control to eradicate them.
Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) will do a fine job of controlling Aiptasia rock anemones and they do great with seahorses. They are popular additions to a seahorse tank because hobbyists like to use them to augment their cleanup crews and add a splash of color and activity to their tanks. Aside from their utility as attractive scavengers, they often perform a useful service by grooming the seahorses, which is fascinating to watch, and regularly reproduce, releasing swarms of nauplii many seahorses love to eat. Peppermint Shrimp are especially popular because they are natural predators of Aiptasia rock anemones and do a wonderful job of eradicating these pests from the aquarium.
One rule to keep in mind when buying your Peppermints is to select the largest possible cleaner shrimp for your seahorse tank(s). Seahorses will actively hunt small cleaner shrimp and they are quite capable of killing shrimp that are far too big to swallow whole, so the cleaners need to be large enough that they are not regarded as potential prey. Add a few good-sized peppermint shrimp to the seahorse enclosure and they will happily clean up all of the smaller Aiptasia rock anemones.
If you pitch in by periodically injecting the largest Aiptasia, you will soon whittle down that forest of rock anemones. As the number of Aiptasia are reduced, they will become easier and easier to eliminate. There will be fewer of the large anemones for you to inject and the peppermint shrimp will eventually work their way through all of the smaller ones.
I must also warn you that attacking the Aiptasia rock anemones with sharp, pointed instruments or the like will not be enough to kill them. Aiptasia anemones can reproduce by budding and by fragmentation of their pedal disc or foot. So it isn’t enough to destroy the head (oral disc) of the anemone, you must eliminate the entire foot or it will simply regrow from the pedal disc and even spread if the pedal disc was fragmented during such assaults. In other words, it’s always better to try injecting them rather than skewering them or attempting to physically destroy these pesky little anemones.
Best of luck eliminating the Aiptasia rock anemones before they get out of hand, Judy! (Would you be interested in participating in Ocean Rider’s free training course of the carrot keeping of seahorses, Judy? What the tighter messages devoted to a discussion of the compatible and incompatible tank mates for seahorses.)
Pete Giwojna, Ocean Rider Tech SupportMarch 28, 2009 at 11:45 pm #4743Judy58Guest
Hi Pete – sorry to say but they are [u]defiantely beadlets [/u]as I also have some in my main marine tank and I also know what and how to get rid of aptasia as I am always looking for it and zap it as soon as I see it but luckily haven’t had any now for ages – I can only assume that there were some baby beadlets hiding in the rock when I got it and they have since grown and spread – they range from approx 0.25" to 1.5" across and are lovely blue/red/green and grey colours so it looks like I am going to have to get them out somehow and put them in my main tank as I don’t want to risk my ponies – I just thought and was hoping that with them only being small anemones I might have just got away with it – looks like I’m going to get wet :laugh: thanks again for the help – ATB JudyMarch 28, 2009 at 11:50 pm #4744Judy58Guest
Hi Pete – Forgot to mention that the guy who we bought the rock off used to ‘breed’ and sell beadlets so thats where they probably originated from – what does joining that training club entail – thanks JudyMarch 29, 2009 at 2:22 am #4745Pete GiwojnaGuest
Ahhh, that explains it, then! If you obtained the live rock from a fellow who cultivates the beadlet anemones, no doubt that’s where the Actinia equina hitchhikers came from. That’s really cool, in a way, since the Actinia anemones are certainly much more colorful and attractive than the pesky Aiptasia rock anemones. You’ll see them in various shades of green, blue, red, and brown.
How big is your aquarium with the Beadlet Anemones, Judy? If the aquarium is large enough and the beadlets are that small, then that might be doable. As I said, the seahorses will quickly learn to avoid them, and if the Beadlet Anemones are not as prolific as the Aiptasia and don’t become too numerous or two large, it’s possible they could coexist with large seahorses like Mustangs or Sunburst (Hippocampus erectus).
Or maybe you can transplant the Actinia anemones to another aquarium where they would be an asset rather than a potential risk. If they are clustered on one of the live rocks, perhaps you could just relocate that entire piece of live rock to another aquarium (hopefully, it’s in a fairly accessible position so you won’t have to go swimming to retrieve it).
Enrolling in the training course is very simple, Judy — just send me a short e-mail off list ([email protected]) with your full name and some additional details about your seahorse tank (dimensions, equipment and filtration, aquarium inhabitants, how long the aquarium has been up and running), which we need for our records, and I will get you started on the first lesson right away.
This basic training is very informal and completely free of charge, Judy. Ocean Rider provides the free training as a service to their customers and any other hobbyists who are interested in learning more about the care and keeping of seahorses. It’s a crash course on seahorse keeping consisting of 10 separate lessons covering the following subjects, and is conducted entirely via e-mail. There is no homework or examinations or anything of that nature — just a lot of good, solid information (well over 160 pages plus some useful illustrations in the later lessons) on seahorses for you to read through and absorb as best you can, at your own speed:
Aquarium care and requirements of seahorses;
Selecting a suitable aquarium for seahorses;
size (tank height and water volume)
aquarium test kits
Optimizing your aquarium for seahorses;
water movement and circulation
hitching posts (real and artificial)
Cycling a new marine aquarium;
The cleanup crew (aquarium janitors & sanitation engineers);
water quality & water changes
aquarium maintenance schedule
Compatible tank mates for seahorses;
Courtship and breeding;
Rearing the young;
Disease prevention and control;
professional rearing protocols
Acclimating Ocean Rider seahorses.
If you are interested, Judy, I will be providing you with detailed information on these subjects and answering any questions you may have about the material I present. I will also be recommending seahorse-related articles for you to read and absorb online.
In short, the training course will explain everything you need to know to keep your seahorses happy and healthy in the aquarium.
Best of luck with the Beadlet Anemones, Judy!
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