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Aiptasia pulchella - Carlgren, 1943

A pestilential nuisance in some marine aquariums. Haplochromis/GNU/WikiCommons


This is a prolific pest that can arrive in marine aquariums, usually on live rock or the base substrate of corals. Inspect all incoming hard substrate and try to keep Aiptasia out of your system.

It thrives on nutrient-rich conditions and can spread with plague-like speed, covering hard substrate and stinging other sessile invertebrates (corals, sea anemones, clams).

Biocontrols do work, with Peppermint Shrimp and several butterflyfishes such as the Tahiti Butterflyfish, Copperband Butterflyfish, Raccoon Butterflyfish, and Auriga Butterflyfish are rated best by many aquarists.

Family: Aiptasiidae

Other common name(s):

  • Glass Anemone
  • Glassrose Anemone
  • Devil's Plague
  • Aiptasia Anemone

Native range:

Maximum height: 10 cm (4 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 3.8 L (1 gal)

Water: Marine 20 °C (68 °F) - 30 °C (86 °F)

Special Care

Known predators on Aiptasia used for bio-control are:

Chemical controls involve the targeted injection or squirting of a strong Kalkwasser (calcium hyroxide solution), or the use of a product such as Stop Aiptasia.


Seven to 10 species of Aiptasia are known and identification is difficult for non-experts.

Image credit: GNU