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Deluxe247 View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 10 2010 at 1:21pm
I'm considering getting a butterfly to help eliminate the last few remaining aptasia in my 55G reef.  I know they're not considered "reef safe" but I've heard of lots of people using these fish to eradicate pest anemones.  Any suggestions or advice on butterflies?  The tank has mostly softies (xenia, mushrooms, zoos, GSP and kenya tree) and a couple of LPS (frogspawn and candy) and a LTA.  Other fish include 2 occeleris, 2 small blue damsels, 1 yellow tang and 1 pajama cardinal.  I have lots of LR and LS, a skimmer, 10G fuge and good cleanup crew for filtration.  I'm concerned about overstocking if I add the butterfly.


Edited by Deluxe247 - May 10 2010 at 1:25pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2010 at 2:04pm
I would never use a Butterflyfish without first trying manual eradication and Peppermint Shrimp. have you tried those? P. shrimp do so many more things for a reef and have no bad habits.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote downhill_biker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2010 at 3:21pm
Originally posted by Mark Peterson Mark Peterson wrote:

I would never use a Butterflyfish without first trying manual eradication and Peppermint Shrimp. have you tried those? P. shrimp do so many more things for a reef and have no bad habits.


Other than stealing food from corals...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Deluxe247 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2010 at 4:27pm
I have tried peppermints on 2 occasions before, and both times I believe they have fallen victim to my brittle star.  I have also used Aptasia X with quite good results.  The problem is just a few remaining aptasia that I can't reach with the syringe, or they're too quick at retreating into their holes.  I guess another alternative would be to remove the rock they're on and use kalk paste (or can you put that on underwater?)  I'd prefer not to remove any rocks for fear of killing other goodies on them. Not to mention, they're structurally integral to the reef.  Anyway, I guess if I have to I have to.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tycallsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2010 at 5:41pm
Try using a Peppermint. if that doesn't work use Aptasia X or inject them with lemon juice. (I personally have not had luck with any of the above methods.) If that doesn't work, or if you would rather skip ahead to something that does work, use a Copperband Butterfly. They will make short work of your aptasia for sure. You don't have to worry about overstocking your tank. Trust me on that one. I do 15% water change every week, have a great skimmer, use a carbon bag, and have a 2inch substrate and modest LR. I currently keep 9 fish and 25 corals in my 28 gallon. I have not had problems with fish death or coral death. I had a problem with cyano but that was very short (because I got some crabs that eat it.) and my ammonia and nitrites test at 0 and my nitrate level is always 20< on the day of my water change. I personally believe that a Copperband would be lovely.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tycallsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2010 at 5:43pm
that is 20< pre-change not post-change.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Deluxe247 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2010 at 5:55pm
A copperband is the kind I was thinking of.  I'll give it some thought.  I think my problem is that I can only get the aptasia I can see and there are likely many more that are currently too small or hidden that are not only growing but reproducing.  I was told the peppies would at least control the spread of aptasia since they mainly feed on the babies, but instead they became brittle star food.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tycallsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2010 at 5:59pm
Yeah. Peps aren't very good. I have had three die because they would not eat the aptasia or any food I gave them. *shrugs* I'm sure other people have had success, but Mine died within a week. *i know it's not the water quality because I added a peppermint and a spotted mandarin at the same time and the mandarin lived.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2010 at 1:25pm
Congrats tycallsky on making post number 100.Clap
 
I would suggest we talk more about Peppermint Shrimp before all of you dismiss them. Peppermint shrimp are great. Butterflyfish are a headache. I may be a little gruff sometimes but I know what I'm doing. I have been at this hobby intensely for 17 years. Are you ready to learn? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tycallsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2010 at 1:46pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Deluxe247 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2010 at 4:46pm
Mark, I appreciate your willingness to help.  I am interested in any ideas you can provide regarding peppermints since I would much rather avoid risking the survival of my other corals to a hungry butterfly.  I definitely haven't made any decisions yet, so please fire away.  My main concern with the peppermints is that both times I've had them they have fallen prey (I think) to my brittle star.  Unless there's some other factor contributing to their speedy demise, I can easily throw the star into my sump so it can't get to the peppermints. Let me know what your thoughts are.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2010 at 12:06am
Well first off, it wouldn't be a bad idea to remove the suspect Brittle Star, though I would guess a <50% chance that it was the culprit.
 
There are several aspects to note.
1- Some shrimp sold as Peppermint are not and don't do much for Aiptasia. At certain seasons the most reliable Aiptasia eating P.Shrimp are available from Florida.
 
2- If the P.Shrimp is not hungry and the owner feeds too well, the P.Shrimp will not touch the Aiptasia. The most reliable way of getting P.Shrimp to like and go after Aiptasia is to first place the shrimp in a tank where Aiptasia are the only food available. MSM in Centerville keeps theirs in a separate tank where rocks with Aiptasia are periodically offered. You can do the same in a bucket for a day with a rock of Aiptasia. Definitely feed the tank well prior to adding the P.Shrimp and starve it for a few days after.
 
3 All Shrimp are especially susceptible to improper acclimation procedures. FYI, acclimation is not for temperature, it's mainly for adjusting them to salinity and pH and their exoskeleton creates a need for extra special care both in physical handling and acclimation. For some reason they are more sensitive than another familiar organism with an exoskeleton, the crab. Shrimp are best acclimated slowly in an opaque container. Take at least 30 minutes to change 1/2-3/4 of the water in the waiting container before adding them to the tank, but do not leave them in the container for more than ~45 minutes. Drip acclimation is not necessary. Slow transfer of water a half cup at a time works well. Do not float them in a bag in the tank. They are hiders. Floating in open water is extremely stressful to them. When ready, set their waiting container slowly down into the water letting it fill slowly and move the container near the rocks so the Shrimp can quickly run over to the rock in the protection of the container without having to swim through open water.  
 
4- Shrimp are very prone to heart attack. The stress which causes heart attack can be brought on just by being alone. It can also be caused by moving to a place where they do not know the hiding places. Introducing them to the tank in the dark or moonlight has definite advantages. I suggest buying three, even if you only need one. The chances are one will die, which leaves you with two and they really do best in groups, though one surviving Shrimp can live a long time in a Nano. I would definitely consider keeping at least two P.Shrimp per 50 gallons and that means buying three or four. (FYI, I suggest the same for Clownfish who also seem to have a similar mortality rate.)
 
5- Ideal living conditions are slightly different for shrimp than for fish. Shrimp are, after all, invertebrates. This means they are more susceptible to N compounds. Additionally, their exoskeleton creates unique needs and problems, like the need for protection after molting and the need for proper Alk, Ca, Mg, Strontium and other trace elements in the water to provide the abundance of minerals to grow new exoskeleton every 2-6 months. 
 
I'm sure there is more, but that's all that would come out of my head this late at night. Embarrassed
As an interesting side note, Peppermint shrimp are in a group of animals that are simultaneous hermaphrodites, meaning that they can be male on one day and female on the other. The details are in an article in an old WMAS Sea Star Newsletter. Here is the link to that newsletter: http://www.utahreefs.com/SeaStar/wmasSeaStarOc00.pdf
Enjoy and good night.


Edited by Mark Peterson - May 13 2010 at 12:29am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 25 2016 at 5:12pm

Here is something else really cool and useful about Peppermint Shrimp(PS). It's kind of an addendum to item #2 above. They can be enticed to eat Aiptasia by killing some aiptasia.

I had acquired ~100 lbs. of LR that was covered with Aiptasia. There were literally hundreds of Aiptasia. Even though the rock was placed in a bare aquarium with no other animals, no feeding, just a pump for circulation, the PS seemed to ignore the Aiptasia. After two weeks I had to try something. I killed about 5 Aiptasia with Kalkwasser paste, my preferred manual treatment method. Then I waited and watched. Just 7 days later the Aiptasia were no more. I guess the PS just needed to get an idea of how good the Aiptasia tasted by eating some dead ones. Then they feasted for a week of nights. Big smile

Aloha,

Mark  Hug



Edited by Mark Peterson - April 25 2016 at 5:16pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 25 2016 at 6:22pm
I love butterflies.  I'd still go that route.  I'm thinking of adding more to my tank.

As for Aiptasia... filefish have sure become popular.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shane H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 26 2016 at 9:47pm
Of the things you've listed in your tank, my guess is aiptasia will be the last thing a butterfly would eat. I love them, but they are not reef safe. Unless you have a huge tank with so much coral that you won't notice what the butterflies eat!

I'm also a fan of peppermint shrimp BTW.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeremyw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2016 at 8:30am
I would do peppermint shrimp, molly miller blenny or butterfly. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote catchoftheday Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2016 at 10:01am
Originally posted by Jeremyw Jeremyw wrote:

I would do peppermint shrimp, molly miller blenny or butterfly. 

Agree with what Jeremy has said I have both a Molly Miller and peppermint shrimp And I have no pest anemones at all
I got mine from a reef oasis Shaun knows his stuff when it comes to the peppermint just an FYI
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeremyw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2016 at 11:59am
I have a few molly millers and peppermints and they cleaned up my issue with Aiptasia! Only took about a week once I got all of them in. Got mine from Shaun as well! 
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