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Old 01/04/2018, 03:27 PM   #1
DeepBlueSea
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My Berghia Nudibranch Experience

So I'm getting back into the hobby. April 2017, I broke our of storage, a whole slew of equipment. Included in that 'stuff' was about what was 100# of what was "live" rock, that's been in storage, behind the shed, inside a BRUTE garbage can, for over 10 years. Obviously, now very dead rock. No worries, plumbed together a garbage can cycling system and let that rock cycle through. After all the crud 'burned' off, I basically had 'cycled rock' but not much really 'growing' other then beneficial bacteria.

So I purchased 3 small pieces of 'live rock' from the LFS. Just grabbed them from the bottom of the tank, as they seemed to have a good amount of small red feather dusters and I'm sure plenty of other critters to really start bringing back my dead rock to 'live rock'.

needless to say.. that rock sure did seed my tank. I was lucky enough {{JOKING}} to get 'bubble algae', coepods, plenty of flat snails, and of course our nemesis, the Aptasia.

So now my previously dead rock is now 'live again' and boy did I have an Aptasia explosion.

Anyhow, this is all in an interim system before the main display and filtration is pulled together at some point in time of the future.

Figure now is the time to try to get this under control and with any luck eradicate my rock of aptaisa before the larger system is built.

With that said, I ordered 10 medium Berghia Nudibranch from Reeftown. They were delivered on Thursday 12/28/17 and almost immediately acclimated to two separate systems containing rock covered with Aptasia.

1. A 10 Gallon system, with a heater, air bubble and a few pieces of rock with easily 15 (dime sized) aptasia growing on them (and that's what I could easily see).

2. My 29 gallon system with 29 gallon sump with a slew of rock stuck in there. This is an operating system, return pump, protein skimmer, appropriate lighting, etc, etc.

I acclimated 5 Berghia in the 10 gallon tank and 5 Berghia in the 29'r.

After 1 week, all but 1 of the 'visiable' aptaisa have been devoured in the 10gal tank. I can still see a few 'baby aptasia', but concerned that these 5 medium berghia could starve, I placed two more aptasia covered rocks in the 10 gallon and will report back next week on 1/11 what's happening.

I'm hoping, that the initial 5 berghia placed in this 10g tank will lay their eggs and in another week or so, I'll experience a 'hatching'. I may need to do a water change out of the 10 gal to the 29 to provide ample food for these newly hatched free floating nudibranch.

I also acclimated 5 berghia in the 29 gallon. 1st thing I'll mention on this is.. after acclimating the container water with my tanks water, i submerged the container that they were delivered in, against the wall of the tank and an aptaisia covered rock. In the morning, when I can down to remove the container, I was pleasantly surprised to see 2, egg circles inside the container, so these little buggers are already laying eggs. I just hope these eggs can survive and flourish in a system that's running a full filtration system.

1 week after adding 5 berghia to a 29 gallon, the rock that I placed them next to is now absent of aptasia. I've witnessed, on a number of occasions, the feeding and elimination of aptasia right before my eyes.

So right now I'm thrilled with what I've seen in a weeks time. I'm hoping to see at least 1 full breeding cycle complete itself and with it the elimination of aptaisa from my rock.

I'll keep updating with my progress.



Last edited by DeepBlueSea; 01/04/2018 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 01/12/2018, 03:52 PM   #2
DeepBlueSea
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Week 2 -

Have to say.. .Aiptasia continue to disappear.

10gal, added a few more pieces of rock with visible aiptasia and over a two day period, they are all gone.

29 gal system, having a hard time finding aiptasia, but if you look long enough, you'll spot them here and their.

I found one Berhia in the sump yesterday, transported him back into the main display. Watched it immediately zero in on an aiptasia and then it was gone.

Found an aiptasia growing in the sump, scraped it off the glass and placed it in the 10gal system. Fell to the bottom. Few hours later, berghia eating it.

So maybe purchasing 10 of these little buggers were overkill, maybe it was the way to do it as the aiptasia continue to be eaten. I just don't think a hatching and breeding another generation will occur. Just don't have enough food for these things.

So, I'm hoping over the long term, that they all the Berghia die, but the aiptasia come back and I just have this never ending cycle.

Time will tell...


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Old 01/17/2018, 02:12 PM   #3
DeepBlueSea
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Week 3 -

Aiptasia few and far between to the naked eye. Can't say I can even find one in the 29 gal system. Haven't even seen a berghia in a few days in there.

I move rock that was in the 29'r sump to the 10gal. The 10 gal is now almost filled with rock. Again, very little aiptasia remain.

Today I witnessed 2 berghia intertwined and mating, and another slugging along the glass. All of them were a dark grey/white in color, which I believe suggests they are well fed as I read that if they are stark white, they haven't been eating enough. (not sure if that's true or not... it is the internet you know)

Overall, I continue to be pleased with my purchase. As I said above... purchasing 10 of these may have been overkill for my small system OR maybe it was the right way of doing it.

Time will be tell-all... Eventually, with little or no food left in the system, these suckers are going to die. When they do... Will I or Won't I have an aiptasia explosion again? That will be the final verdict.

However, right now I'm enjoying looking in this relatively new system and not seeing aiptasia growing.


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Old 01/17/2018, 02:20 PM   #4
DeepBlueSea
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I'm also going to mention... it's plausible that in the 10gal system, I have 1000's of newly hatched berhia. It's been 3 weeks since I placed 5 berhia in into this system.

I don't own a microscope or a high power magnifying glass but there are many many white specs over the glass and rocks. This might just be small coepods, and in-turn the coepods maybe feasting on the egg sacks of the berghia, resulting in no hatch...

Regardless, if I do have a hatch, these hatch-lings, will more then likely eliminate an aiptasia food source before any of them grow to a size that I can see.


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Old 01/26/2018, 02:02 PM   #5
DeepBlueSea
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Week 4 -

Well... Haven't seen a berhia in a 5 days. This morning, I spotted a single aiptasia embedded on a heater and in between the rubber protective cover. I'll just remove the heater and scrap that off.

Other than that I have not seen any other aiptasia.

If the Berghia are eating, it's not very much, so I assume they will soon die if not already.

So my $215 purchase did exactly what I wanted... all the aiptasia I had are now gone and I had a lot of them. My rocks are now aiptasia free to the naked eye.

The question now.. as the Berghia die of starvation, do the aiptasia make their return.

Did I have a hatch, and are there 1000's of baby berghia eating any trace of aiptasia that maybe left, eradicating the system?

Only time and patience will tell... Most likely won't report back for a few weeks.


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Old 02/19/2018, 07:42 AM   #6
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Week 7 -

I have not seen a Berghia in the main DT in quite some time. This weekend, saw two new small aiptasia growing in the mean DT one on rock work, one on the glass.. Disappointing...

I figure, let me check the 10gal system, and 7 weeks after receiving my Berghia, I find one crawling on the glass of the 10gal system. I blow it off the glass, suck it up, turn off all power to the main display, and place the Berghia right next to the aiptasia I see on the rock. Within a minute that Berghia is going to town, munching that aiptasia clean.

Watching this Berghia eat, i noticed the second aiptasia on the glass.

Next day, I look into the aquarium and low and behold, Berhia eating the aiptasia on the glass. Nice!!!!


Interesting, that I have not seen a Berghia in the main display in some 'time'. I have not seen any aiptasia either, until this week. I add a still living Berghia in the main DT and see one the next day too... Can't say it was the same Berghia or not.

However, later in the day, after the sighting, I looked into the aquarium and something is flying all over the place. Like I just fed frozen mysis shrimp. (I didn't), I try to get a good look at what's floating around the tank, but I'm not sure... It's plausible that the VorTech, sliced and diced the Berghia and sent it flying around the tank.

Again, not sure... I'll continue to update. Either I still have Berghia in the main display or maybe they have all have been through a VorTech. Again, time will be the determination.

Right now, I'm thinking the VorTech's have shredded my Berghia. Allowing aiptasia to start to multiply again. However, the Berhia that I had in the 10g system, with only a heater and air pump, have allowed Berghia to survive for 7+ weeks in my care. Won't be enough food in that tank to have a breeding survive...

Again, time will only provide the long term outcome I'm looking for and the value of purchasing Berghia for the main display.


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Old 03/25/2018, 12:14 PM   #7
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3 Month update - I have not seen a Berghia in either system since Week 7 and the above post.

I have 2 new aiptasia growing in the main display. I have not seen any aiptasia growing in the 10gal system, which is still just rock, heater and I sometimes run a airpump on.


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Old 03/25/2018, 06:05 PM   #8
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Following. Thank you for posting this!


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Old 04/16/2018, 04:25 PM   #9
DeepBlueSea
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April 16th, 2018

Just shy of 4 months since introduction of the beghia. I have not seen one since the last one that I place into the main display from the 10g. I'm pretty sure the power heads kill these little buggers. I also think they can't reproduce in the main display do to amphipods feasting on the egg sacks or lack of aiptasia for them to feed upon.

I have not added anything new to the aquarium in the past 2 months.

Aiptasia is starting to pop up again. I see 4. I'm not trying to remove them as I think by disturbing them, they just release more eggs quicker.


The 10g system is still sitting with just a heater. Occasionally I put the light on to see if anything is growing in there. I don't see any aiptasia growing in there but I also am not running a light on a constant timer.

I'll probably buy another batch of berghia because they definitely did the job that I needed them to do, but obviously, didn't eradicate them completely.

The main question I have and have yet to fully answer myself... The rock in the 10g system. Is that fully eradicated? Is it possilbe that a 10g system with no filtration system, allowed the berghia to eradicate completely aiptasia? I'll find that out in a few months time as I put that rock in a new system which I'll allow to cycle for a long time to see.


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Old 04/16/2018, 04:31 PM   #10
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Do you think you'll buy a few less berghia and let them munch for a longer amount of time? Maybe fewer berghis can be sustained for long enough that the last aptasia can get eaten and the last berghia die after that. Just curious. Or would a huge wave (larger amount) be better to eradicate the aptasia in one swoop. Then the stragglers could get picked off before all the berghia die off.

Maggie


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Old 04/17/2018, 10:46 AM   #11
DeepBlueSea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggie321 View Post
Do you think you'll buy a few less berghia and let them munch for a longer amount of time? Maybe fewer berghis can be sustained for long enough that the last aptasia can get eaten and the last berghia die after that. Just curious. Or would a huge wave (larger amount) be better to eradicate the aptasia in one swoop. Then the stragglers could get picked off before all the berghia die off.

Maggie
Based on REEFTOWN's Estimating, I think I overestimated my initial purchase. Purchased 10 berghia for a 29 gal system. But after doing some research on 'breeding' thought it better to start a 10g with just rock and the heater and air stone (impossible to be processed through a powerhead, return pump or just caught up in the mechanical filtration overall.) However, a little bit of research, I also found that the amphipods love to eat the berghia eggs, and it's better to have a amphipod free aquarium filled with aiptasia to raise berghia. (I didn't have that scenario)

I know egg's were laid in both tanks, but neither tank produced a generation, at least that I can see with the naked eye. It's plausible eggs hatched in the 10g system and those babies found every last bit of aiptasia and then starved to death. Once I get those rocks in a more visible/viable system with a normal lighting schedule, I'll be able to assess if that batch of rocks are truly aiptasia free.

I added 5 berghia into the 29 system originally. I'd would have considered my aiptasia problem 'babies' i.e. dime size no bigger, but lots and lots of them. (Too many to count) Within a few weeks of adding 5 berghia, I could no longer see any more aiptasia. ( happy reef-town customer, did what they were supposed to do).

In the 10g system, 5 berghia, aiptasia were being eradicated overnight, so I would take aiptasia covered rocks out of the main DT and place them in the 10g system. Next night those aiptasia would be eaten. Just didn't have enough aiptasia to feed, so when I saw them crawling on the glass, I would transfer them to the main display. Hoping that colony would breed the next generation. Considering, I'm seeing a return of aiptasia, and I have not added any new corals or rock, that initial colony didn't eradicate them in the main DT.

I'm on a mission to eradicate them in my system and considering I'm just starting again, this is the time to get my base rock aiptasia free. I was in the hobby 20 years ago, I had an aiptasia free system for years. Not sure how that happened, but I never had to deal with them. I've tried getting back into the hobby twice since then and both times, they have infested my new systems. The big difference right now... I'm in no rush whatsoever, I'm patient and will not introduce them into the 120 i'm currently planning.


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Old 04/17/2018, 10:52 AM   #12
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This setup running since 11/7/2017. Quite satisfied allowing $10-15 frags grow out while Iím planning the 120.


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Old 06/25/2018, 08:03 AM   #13
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June 25, 2018

Aiptasia started coming back into the 29g system. Albeit slowly. No new additions added to the tank, so I know it was residual aiptasia from the first infestation that the berghia did not erradicate.

All the rock in the 10 tank, that was sitting there for 6 months, is aiptasia free.

I have to assume it's because there was no filtration on the 10g tank. Only a air line creating large bubbles for circulation and a heater. It's plausible, the original berghia added to that 10g tank, laid enough eggs to experience a 'hatching' which found every nook and cranny of aiptasia flesh, though not enough aiptasia to allow them to grow and mature.

I now have a 120g system, that right now has 3-4 visible aiptasia. Since it's a new system, i'm going to remove those rocks and attempt to eradicate outside the tank. Though I expect to purchase more aiptasia at some point in time for the 120.


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Old 06/26/2018, 12:12 PM   #14
DeepBlueSea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepBlueSea View Post
June 25, 2018

Aiptasia started coming back into the 29g system. Albeit slowly. No new additions added to the tank, so I know it was residual aiptasia from the first infestation that the berghia did not erradicate.

All the rock in the 10 tank, that was sitting there for 6 months, is aiptasia free.

I have to assume it's because there was no filtration on the 10g tank. Only a air line creating large bubbles for circulation and a heater. It's plausible, the original berghia added to that 10g tank, laid enough eggs to experience a 'hatching' which found every nook and cranny of aiptasia flesh, though not enough aiptasia to allow them to grow and mature.

I now have a 120g system, that right now has 3-4 visible aiptasia. Since it's a new system, i'm going to remove those rocks and attempt to eradicate outside the tank. Though I expect to purchase more aiptasia at some point in time for the 120.
Meant to say, I expect to purchase more berghia for the 120... I'll try not to purchase more aiptasia


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Old 11/20/2018, 07:32 AM   #15
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Round 2 -

The 120g system is fully infested with Aiptasia.

About 5 months ago, I started raising Aiptasia in a 10 gallon system, no lights, feeding freshly hatched brine shrimp. Iíve got a good colony of bleached out, small Aiptasia, that is easily accessible.

The main display has 100ís if not 1000ís of Aiptasia. So much so, I use a turkey baster to suck barely visible babies off the sand bed and transfer them to the dark Aiptasia grow out tank.

Iíve just purchased 16 medium Berghia from Reeftown. They are not going into the main display. Power heads, overflow, main pump, amphipods, I believe create an environment not suitable for sustained longevity or reproduction.

Converted QT into my Ďbreedingí system.



Going to attempt to have egg strings laid in the Pyrex containers, hatch and then Ďmatureí in a 29g tank, with no power heads or pumps to shred them. Question will be, do I have enough Aiptasia to truly feed them to maturation. If successful, Iíll hopefully begin my own colony and able to place 100ís /1000ís of baby Berghia into the main display to fully eradicate.

This is my last attempt at using Berghia. If this effort doesnít work to get Aiptasia under control, to the point I can start adding peppermint shrimp without worry of them feasting on $15 meals, chloroquine phosphate nuking might be next.

Updates to follow.





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Old 11/20/2018, 09:04 PM   #16
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I tried the berghias in my 180. I probably didn't get enough, because they were pricey and I am cheap. They did not succeed. I had another aiptasia infestation in a 26 gallon tank. I put one peppermint shrimp in there. After a month or so, I noticed the aiptasias were disappearing. Hard to believe one shrimp could eat all of them, but he did. Im restarting the 180 and I'll be keeping a peppermint shrimp in it.

One good difference between the shrimp and the berghias is that they can eat lots of other stuff once the aiptasias are gone. Not so with the berghias.


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Old 12/23/2018, 02:53 PM   #17
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Breeding success... in less then a month

I placed a Pyrex dish that had a few egg swirls into the 10 gallon system that I had been growing bleached out Aiptasia in. I looked in that system today and low and behold, itís almost complete Aiptasia free and I see 1/4Ē Berghia all over the place. At least 3 dozen ďseenĒ.

Removed Aiptasia covered rocks from main display into 10g. Those rocks will be free of Aiptasia in a few days time


With that said.... I still donít think Berghia in the main display is very cost efficient. Since I know I have two smaller tanks that have a generation of Berghia, I placed 3 adult Berghia into the main display. Only a few hours later, I look into the main and sure enough a Berghia was just sliced and diced by a vortech even with the sponge sleeve attached.

Therefore, Iím just going to keep up the routine of removing rocks from main display and rotate them through to keep my Berghia colony alive.

Iíve also purchased 6 peppermint shrimp and a filefish for the main.

3 prong approach and Iím sure Iím going to get this Aiptasia plague under control.





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Old 12/23/2018, 03:59 PM   #18
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Great job with the Berghias!

Three prongs ought to do it. Good luck!


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Old 12/27/2018, 07:17 AM   #19
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4 days after adding aiptasia covered rock from the main display into the 10g system with the baby berghia, those rocks are visibly aiptasia free.

After counting at least 12 berghia crawling around the tank looking for their next meal, I've placed those rocks back into the main display with however many berghia still attached. Those can do whatever aiptasia harvesting and reproducing they can in the main display without fear of loss due to filtration or peppermint shrimp. I have my next generation of breeders.

THE ORIGINAL PURCHASE -

After I had at least 12 egg swirls in the pyrex dishes the original 16 berghia purchased went into a 29g tank with sponge filter and heater. I was placing aiptasia covered rock in that system for them to feed on.

Two pyrex dishes with egg swirls went into the main display.
One pyrex dish with egg swirls went into the 10g bleach out aiptasia grow out system
One pyrex dish went into the 29 system with the other berghia.


At about the 3 1/2 week mark, all the 29'r rocks were stripped clean of aiptasia. It was about this time, that I made decision to place those rocks back into the main display. I visibly saw 4 berghia crawling around the glass for their next meal. Figure I was introducing adult berghia (didn't see them) to the main display as the rest of the adults must be hiding somewhere in the rock work. Still holding 4 'breeders' back. Eventually those 4 breeders laid another 4 egg swirls in the 29'r. Those 4 adults were added to the main display.

A HATCHING AND GROWTH

After I realized I had a hatching in the 10g system, I looked into the 29 and did find one (1) baby berghia. About 1/8"+ long, so I know I had a hatching in the 29'r also, however, I figure most of that baby generation ended up in the main display when I transferred the rock. However, I have 4 fresh egg swirls still in that tank. So I placed some aiptasia covered loc-line tubing and a piece of aiptasia live rock and we wait for what will be hopefully, another tank breeding to occur.


NEXT STEPS -

I'm running out of aiptasia to feed "easily". Going to setup two - 5 gallon tanks, with about 2" of glass marbles on the bottom of each. Scrap a few large clean aiptasia out of my fuge, feed with freshly hatched artemia (baby brine shrimp) and allow those aiptasia to grow out in the dark. ( I found the glass marbles that I had placed in my 10g system was awesome growing surface for aiptasia and the marbles were easily picked up and placed into the pyrex dishes or other systems to feed berghia.)

Hopefully, I'll be able to continue breeding generation after generation of berghia and have my supply for future aiptasia outbreaks without having to purchase them again. At least that's the plan.


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Old 01/02/2019, 08:56 AM   #20
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Main Display - Confirmed next generation in main display.

While I have not seen any berghia in the main display since adding adults or egg swirls, I did find one (1) 1/4" baby berghia crawling around the sump Aiptasia have been slowly disappearing from the main display. I know they're in there and believe in a few weeksí time, the system will 'look' Aiptasia free and a Berghia 'die' off will occur the main DT.

The idea now is to keep some alive for the next aiptasia 'outbreak' and/or trading/selling with local reefers. With any luck, I could get my original investment back in frags/cash.

To do this though I need to focus on growing aiptasia. I'm using 4 - 5gal buckets, half full, to grow 'clean' aiptasia. 2 of these buckets will be grown in the dark, and two with some spare T5 bulb lighting.

The idea is to have 2 buckets that have bleached out, small aiptasia for freshly hatched berghia to feed on and grow (I'll add egg swirls to these buckets and let them sit for a month or so. Once I can see them with the naked eye, I'll start scraping the sides of the grown aiptasia bucket for easy feeding. Idea is to attempt to keep these aiptasia grow out systems free from amphipods.


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Old 01/05/2019, 06:46 AM   #21
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Smile

Placed what was two 'aiptasia covered rocks' from the 10g berghia breeding system to main display. Watched at least 10 berghia float off those rocks into the main display.

Still have at least a dozen berghia in the 10g breeding system, which I think I will attempt to bring down to the LFS and trade for a couple frags.

Have my 3rd tank, which most likely will have a 3rd generation breeding in the next couple of weeks.

Slowly running out of aiptasia to feed.


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Old Yesterday, 07:27 AM   #22
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Attmped trade berghia for frags at LFS didn't pan out. $30 frag offered for 16 berghia. At that point still had visable aiptasia in the main display. Brought home those 16 berghia and placed them directly into the main display. Some might have made it, at least two were gormet meal for peppermint shrimp and 1 was a snack for the filefish.

Anyhow, 10 days later, I'm having a hard time finding any aiptasia in the main display. I can see a few small aiptasia in the fuge. However a slew of aiptasia have disappeared from the fuge, which means that berghia have made it through a pump to land into the fuge. My fuge is not flow through and is pump fed).

Still attempting to raise a seperate batch of 'clean' aiptasia in 5 gallon buckets as I'm running out of aiptasia to feed. Running out of aiptasia to feed might be my failure in keeping my 'breeders' alive long term.

Will attempt to capture egg spirals this weekend, which will buy me about 10-12 days of aiptasia cultivation before placings egg sprils into that bucket and waiting a month to see if I've had enough aipatsia to cultivate another generation.


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