Zapping aptasia, what I've learned "so far"

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by screebo, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. screebo

    screebo Supporting Member

    I first heard about zapping aptasia from Reefbuilders forum and a pioneer in the field of building "zappers", Paul Baldassano. Here's the link to his original post on RC You may wish to take the time to read the whole thing. It's very interesting and discusses early versions that experimented with a variety of power sources. DO exercise EXTREME care and caution when marrying electrical devices to your tank!!!!!!!!!!!! There's a LOT to consider!

    Here's what I gather: DIY zappers are pretty easy to build. Paul's final designs use a 24 volt DC "wall wart" power supply, a 24 volt light bulb to provide some resistance, a momentary switch to turn it on, a stainless steel needle attached to the negative lead (very important about polarity) for the "business end" potted in the end of a poly tube with the second contact being a carbon or graphite rod (carpenter's pencil lead) attached to the second conductor via a stainless steel spring. The second conductor (positive) may be as close as 1" from the stainless needle. The needle is covered with heat shrink tubing with about 1/4" exposed on the end. When activated and submerged in salt water, hydrogen bubbles form on the exposed needle tip (negative) and oxygen bubble form on the carbon conductor(positive). Yes, it's simple electrolysis, middle school science stuff. Neither gas seem to cause an issue with the fish or the coral in the tank BUT the aptasia react to the hydrogen gas and become gum balls after a short period of contact. The electricity itself is not a factor in the elimination.

    Summary: I think I'll build one and see how it goes. Lot's of units being built/tested now and talk of copy cat and inferior units being produced as well. Hmmmm. Anyone else walking down this path?
  2. melly mel

    melly mel Supporting Member

    I've read that thread and actually considered buying one of the ones I seen on reefbuilders but always thought if the little bastards would just regenerate. Wanted to see someones tankafter using it to see if they came back. I would try it first but i really hate spending money on something that I think might not be 100% effective.
  3. screebo

    screebo Supporting Member

    Since it's the hydrogen that actually does the dirty work, maybe one could eliminate a larger group of them if one concentrated the H and dispensed it over a broader area. Using electrolysis and a simple middle school DIY hydrogen generator, one could easily gather up a test tube full of H and transfer it to a syringe. Hmmm
  4. 99sf

    99sf Guest

    Sounds like an interesting experiment, but maybe it's not necessary. I love my peppermint shrimp! Zero aiptasia (from dozens when I inherited the live rock) within weeks, none remaining over a year later.
  5. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I think this is a "wait and see" kind of project.

  6. Matt_Wandell

    Matt_Wandell Honorary Member

    I'm extremely skeptical that hydrogen gas is doing the dirty work.

    I'm also skeptical that these do anything more than kalkwasser or lye does--any word if the anemones pop right back up in a couple weeks?
  7. bondolo

    bondolo Supporting Member

    I have a peppermint shrimp and it seems to show no interest in aiptasia at all. Is the love to munch aiptasia a breed or species or specimen variability?
  8. screebo

    screebo Supporting Member

    Paul voiced other theories including that it was the chlorine gas that did the job. The only thing that he seemed firm on was that it was not the 24 volts that was doing it. I can't wait to dabble! :)
    I'd much rather plug in a natural predator but that hasn't worked out. I do, however, have about a pound of kalk that I regularly mix into elixir for the aptasia. There's gotta be a better way............. :|
  9. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    The chlorine gas idea makes a LOT more sense to me.
    I was wondering two things about the original hydrogen idea:
    1) How would hydrogen kill Aptasia? It is not poisonous.
    2) How is so much hydrogen gas created so fast off such a little probe/voltage?
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    +1 to this.

    I've seen kalwasser "kill" anemones, Joe's Juice (Kalkwasser with a kick :D), Aiptasia-X, copperbands, peppermint shrimp, blow torches, chopping of rock and throwing it away... regardless of any testimonials others have given (that everyone I'm sure has seen) it'll be a hard sell on this...

    Now if I had my old anemone tank up (that was getting a major aiptasia outbreak), I would probably toss the money into this (for $75 I'd just buy one rather than going through the effort of building it), if anything it might make "killing" them a bit easier, in which case it'd be money well spent.
  11. xcaret

    xcaret Supporting Member

    When I had the infestation in the office tank, Kalk did a great job; few at a time so not to spike the pH; John's tank has hard to reach places so I'd get a zapper.
    No aiptasia grew back where it was kalk-nuked. Majanos too were an issue in the same tank.
    Although majanos still live in the little tank, don't seem to be a plague (yet?) nor an eye sore.

    GL John on the quest !!
  12. screebo

    screebo Supporting Member

    Thanks, Mario. My tank is always a work in progress.... :D
  13. GDawson

    GDawson Guest

    I was thinking about this in reference to zoas, palys, and mushrooms. Could this technology be used to control the spread of these? Kinda like using a weed-whacker to keep them in line and not spread to other areas.

    Whadda ya think?

  14. screebo

    screebo Supporting Member

    I've had no time to build the DIY zapper although it is still on my list. I've recently kalked so many aptasia in my tank that the Ph rose from 8.1 to about 8.45. Man..........I may get back on the trail of a monster CBB to place into the tank but I'm already very fish heavy. I recently added 3 barred dartfish and a couple purple fire fish.
  15. bmhair03

    bmhair03 Guest

    Hey John,
    Just finished a DIY. Works great for the kill . Sucked off the guts after.
    I went with a 12v power supply . Actually used a pencil for the ground side sharpened both ends and attach the wire to one end in a groove I cut into pencil . Used a big Stainless Fabric needle on the other .Solder, heat shrink, and Aquarium sealant . Talk about MacGyver(MacGyvHAIR)!
    Momentary switch .95 cents at Jameco. The rest was left over stuff. Ill take some Pictures tomorrow .
    When I'm done Zapping, You or any BAR member are welcome to Zap away
  16. screebo

    screebo Supporting Member

    Whoa............Brian.........way to go. I've still not taken the time to build one. Did you make it a straight probe or curved to allow better access to nooks and crannies? I'd love to try yours when you make it through your forest. Some of my aptasia are getting pretty big now. I need to go after the big guys but everytime I do it triggers a spontaneous spawn 8-(. I did add about 7 chubby berghia nudibranchs and saw them make their way into the nooks of my reef. I'm hoping that will be the long term solution. The breeder is a fellow named "Matt" who works at Ultimate and breeds berghia at home. $15 a pop so it's not an inexpensive method but should be sustainable.

    Please send me a PM when I can test drive your zapper! :)
  17. bmhair03

    bmhair03 Guest

    Ill post some pictures a little later . Yes the tip is bendable. There is pleasure in watching them melt! The big ones take a second or 2 but they melt.
    Yeah I didn't have too many but couldn't really get to them with Kalk paste .Seems like more Majanos than Aptasia. Works good on both. Doing a few at a time .Going to try to put some more length adjustment so it will be easy to use on all depths. Do you think the nudi's would starve after a while in my small tank? I know get a bigger tank. Once I'm back to work upgrade to soon follow.
    I will PM you when the war is over! :)
  18. GDawson

    GDawson Guest

    Brian - If you have an "expendable" paly and/or zoa would give your toy a try? If it works it would be a nice control method for them as well. Kinda like using a weed wacker for a nice edge on a ledge.

  19. bmhair03

    bmhair03 Guest

    I can tell you that it works a lot better on aptasia than the majano.
    I'm getting the feeling its Lethality is second to its ease and entertainment value.
    I am on my way back to Jameco for a 24v supply. That might change my previous statement. :)
    My agressive Maroon clown might find out what it will do to fish if it doesnt stop attacking it while Im working!

    Gregory-Call me a wuss but I try not to kill(melt) paly/zoa . When Im done you can experiment. My feeling is it would work.
  20. GDawson

    GDawson Guest

    No not a wuss......when they take over you may change your mind :)

    I like palys and zoas but they can become an issue with other corals as they have a powerful sting. I'm just looking for a method of control to keep them restricted to specific areas.....a type of pruning if you will.


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