Common Name: Aiptasia, Glass Anemone
Scientific Name: Aiptasia pallida
Aiptasia are small light brown anemones. They are semi-transparent, hence the common name of Glass Anemone. The adult anemones have a relatively long slender stock that grows to 5 cm in length with tentacles that can reach the same size. in the aquarium aiptasia reproduce through the process known as pedal or basal laceration which occurs when baby anemones develop from small bits of tissue left behind as the parent anemone wanders around. When trying to get rid of the creatures some aquarists scrape or cut the anemones off. This in turn releases several small anemone particles that in turn grow to several more new creatures. These traits allow the Aiptasia anemone to reproduce very quickly and grow to a plague proportions if not treated. Aptasia as all anemone can sting corals and livestock making it an unwanted inhabitant on the aquarium and luckily there are several useful treatments. The following is good way to check if the critter you are looking at is in fact Aiptasia and not some kind of polyp – Poke the thing and if it sucks into the rock, it is likely aiptasia. If it just folds up, it is probably a harmless polyp.
Common Opinion: BAD
As noted above, aiptasia reproduce in the reef tank by basal laceration. If you take your frustrations out by trying to maim, chop, cut, scrap or otherwise mechanically torture, kill or remove them, you are basically just propagating them as the tiny left over pieces can grow into new anemones. therefore, DO NOT do the above. Several useful treatments for this problem are available. The most common one is introducing animals into the tank that will eat the aiptasia. Filefish and peppermint shrimp are the most common ones used but Berghia verrucicornis Nudibranch, Raccoon Butterflyfish and Copperband Butterflyfish are reported to eat aptasia as well. Commercial chemical solutions are also available in most fish stores, be sure to follow the directions on the box. If all the above is not available, boiling aquarium water in the microwave and squirting the hot water into and around the creature to boil it completely sometimes helps aswell.