Reef nutrition

Anyone breeding Berghia?

JVU

BOD
Staff member
I have a chronic issue with Aiptasia, never gets crazy but never really gets under control either. Over the years I’ve tried Berghia nudibranchs, peppermint shrimp (the right kind), Aiptasia-X, F-Aiptasia, high powered laser, Majano Wand. Among those, the Berghia have so far been the best, but I’ve tried it twice and each time they have just kind of died out after a few months after making some headway. Each time it’s expensive, and hard to track since I generally don’t see them after introduction, I only see Aiptasia decreasing over a few months and later rebounding.

I don’t have any of the top known Berghia predators, but I do have tons of bristle worms and pods, both of which are thought to eat their eggs, and the worms can supposedly also attack the nudi’s, defending their hole. Because of these or some other unknown factor, I think when I add a bunch of the nudi’s they get off to a good start but then can’t sustain their population breeding in the tank. I’ve read that it’s better to have ongoing breeding of them outside the tank and then introduce young adults periodically, and this makes sense to me. I could spend $200 in slugs once or twice a year, but that’s not super appealing.

I was thinking instead of giving Berghia breeding/culture a try. As much out of interest as to address my problem. I’ve read some good but older resources online such as Calfo’s article in Reefkeeping and Credebel’s in Advanced Aquarist. Neither of which really walks a person through the process though. I was wondering if anyone has personal experience with this, or knows of other resources for me to look into.
 

Wlachnit

BOD
Staff member
I realize that this isnt that helpful.....and I can't remember the specifics, but I remember a small ma n pa vendor that I chatted up that bred them out of Florida. Didn't seem too tough.
 

JVU

BOD
Staff member
I realize that this isnt that helpful.....and I can't remember the specifics, but I remember a small ma n pa vendor that I chatted up that bred them out of Florida. Didn't seem too tough.
I have purchased from reeftown.com, they are in Florida and fit the description, so maybe that’s who you talked to? I was happy with my orders, they provided healthy Berghia, sized appropriately, delivered on time and packaged well.

I’m expecting it to not be too difficult, otherwise I wouldn’t even be thinking about it lol. I just was hoping to get it right the first time if possible.
 

ofzakaria

Supporting Member
Following,
Just got 25 from reeftown. They all arrived well and now roaming the tank on the hunt

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bluprntguy

Supporting Member
I think each Berghia will eat like an aiptasia per day. The biggest stumbling block to breeding them ironically seems to be figuring out a way to culture enough aiptasia to feed them continuously.
 

ofzakaria

Supporting Member
They do lay eggs. But they like less turbalance water for the egg to survive. Also I think shrimp and small fish, snail and such end up eating the eggs.
Reeftown sell eggs btw.

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Dan-sf

Guest
I'm quasi-breeding them right now. I recently got an order of 10 small (1/4") bergias from saltyunderground, and put them in a 10 gallon QT tank before going into the DT tank. The goal was to both quaratine them for 14 days and to give breeding/growing them out a shot. The tank only has a heater and airstone with very gentle currents, and I filled it up with 20-30 aiptasias of various sizes I pulled from my DT (I don't have a huge aiptasia problem, but its a 350 gallon tank so there are a lot of them).

It has been 2.5 weeks and there are about ~20 egg spirals in the tank and the nudibranchs have grown from 1/4" to 1/2-3/4". At the larger size they do eat about an aiptasia a day so I need to keep restocking the aiptasia.

It remains to be seen whether those eggs will hatch and the baby nudibranchs will survive/grow, but I can attest that keeping them alive and breeding requires no effort or special setup whatsoever. I didn't cycle the tank and there isn't any filtration. I manually do top off water everyday and I'm doing a 50% water change every week with water from my DT, which seems to be more for the benefit of the aiptasias than the nudis. Other than the initial losses from shipping, none of the nudibranchs have died.
 

NanoCrazed

Supporting Member
hah... this sounds like a perfect project for me! I have a pest tank to that I purposely keep aipatsia and majanos, etc. I can always rotate rocks out to feed those things (...*dusting off a nano tank as I ponder this....* lol)

My bristletail filefish has always done wonders for those tanks of mine where I don't want aiptasia, however. even when my tank is completely covered, all the aiptasia tends to vanish when my filefish are in town (I move them around). Been wanting to breed my filefish for awhile but none have complied... rebels!
 

ofzakaria

Supporting Member
hah... this sounds like a perfect project for me! I have a pest tank to that I purposely keep aipatsia and majanos, etc. I can always rotate rocks out to feed those things (...*dusting off a nano tank as I ponder this....* lol)

My bristletail filefish has always done wonders for those tanks of mine where I don't want aiptasia, however. even when my tank is completely covered, all the aiptasia tends to vanish when my filefish are in town (I move them around). Been wanting to breed my filefish for awhile but none have complied... rebels!
Not to dilute this thread, distantly related queation. Anyone know of a good solution for majanos? I caught couple that are in hard to reach locations for my majano wand..

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ofzakaria

Supporting Member
hah... this sounds like a perfect project for me! I have a pest tank to that I purposely keep aipatsia and majanos, etc. I can always rotate rocks out to feed those things (...*dusting off a nano tank as I ponder this....* lol)

My bristletail filefish has always done wonders for those tanks of mine where I don't want aiptasia, however. even when my tank is completely covered, all the aiptasia tends to vanish when my filefish are in town (I move them around). Been wanting to breed my filefish for awhile but none have complied... rebels!
Are tilefish reef safe? I heared boths sides of the answer, anyone has experience to share?

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JVU

BOD
Staff member
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention in my initial post I’ve also tried an Biota bristletail (aka matted) filefish, kept him "quarantined" in my refugium which has a few aiptasia, just to see if he would get to work before I took the risk of adding him to my display. He didn’t even touch them over a few months. Pretty annoying actually since Biota specifically says they are raised eating aiptasia.
 

JVU

BOD
Staff member
I’m considering a half-full 10g tank for the aiptasia (with no Berghia) and separate grow-out smaller tank or even floating cups for the Berghia. I’d bring over aiptasia from theIr tank to the Berghia containers, then once I have a group of 10-20 young adult Berghia add them to my tank. And keep the cycle going in the grow-out tanks so that I can keep adding new batches. Heater, air stone, water changes with tank water seems like a pretty simple system.
 

ofzakaria

Supporting Member
I’m considering a half-full 10g tank for the aiptasia (with no Berghia) and separate grow-out smaller tank or even floating cups for the Berghia. I’d bring over aiptasia from theIr tank to the Berghia containers, then once I have a group of 10-20 young adult Berghia add them to my tank. And keep the cycle going in the grow-out tanks so that I can keep adding new batches. Heater, air stone, water changes with tank water seems like a pretty simple system.
Man if you pull this off you should consider growing and selling these. I think breeding them must me doable given others are doing it at scale.

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The_Lazy_Reefer

BOD
Staff member
The owner of salty underground regularly buys up old infested systems that nobody would even consider buying so I imagine if your breeding you need a pretty steady supply of infested tanks to sift through. I guess his scale must be larger but I think the same logic applies so keep an eye out for “rundown” systems and buy them for cheap.
 

ofzakaria

Supporting Member
The owner of salty underground regularly buys up old infested systems that nobody would even consider buying so I imagine if your breeding you need a pretty steady supply of infested tanks to sift through. I guess his scale must be larger but I think the same logic applies so keep an eye out for “rundown” systems and buy them for cheap.
Or steady supply of aiptasia. These things grow like weed if you give enough nutrients. Are not they?

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Dan-sf

Guest
Or steady supply of aiptasia. These things grow like weed if you give enough nutrients. Are not they?

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The question is how much time and nutrients does it take to grow one medium sized aiptasia, something that a large bergia nudibranch will eat in one day. My guess is the reason there are only 2 suppliers of nudis is that the math of supplying food to the nudis a lot harder than it seems for large-scale breeding. The whole thing certainly seems very doable for small scale though, something I'll have more experience with in a couple months!
 

JVU

BOD
Staff member
The question is how much time and nutrients does it take to grow one medium sized aiptasia, something that a large bergia nudibranch will eat in one day. My guess is the reason there are only 2 suppliers of nudis is that the math of supplying food to the nudis a lot harder than it seems for large-scale breeding. The whole thing certainly seems very doable for small scale though, something I'll have more experience with in a couple months!
I completely agree. Like a lot of things in this hobby. Not too difficult to do for yourself or friends but much more difficult and time-consuming to scale it up as a business.

That said, if I were going to try to scale up something like this, I’d just have several large tubs like the rubbermaid stock tanks or even sturdy storage containers filled with rubble or tiles growing out aiptasia at all times, moving the tiles/rubble into other much smaller tanks for the Berghia. I wouldn’t go driving around buying aiptasia-riddled tanks/rocks from people. Too much risk for contamination with stuff you don’t want making it into the aiptasia tanks. But I’m not going to be scaling up lol.

I’m actually somewhat surprised that none of the large-scale breeding/culturing companies have gotten into Berghia, maybe not a large enough market. I bet the market would be a lot larger if the price came down to half.
 

rygh

Webmaster
Staff member
Not to dilute this thread, distantly related queation. Anyone know of a good solution for majanos? I caught couple that are in hard to reach locations for my majano wand..

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Bleach. Entire tank.
That is what I finally ended up using for Majanos.
:(

My opinion:
It really depends on the Majanos hitting critical mass, where growth is way out of hand and they are pushing aside corals.
They are then in sump, pipes, and everywhere.
Once that happens, there is little you can do.

But otherwise...
I did try a filefish. They definitely do eat Majanos. I tried it in my sump to check specifically.
But they also eat zoas, which I also tried.
And it seems to ignore the large ones, and just eat the small Majanos.
Unfortunately it died before I could try it in my main tank. Some bad luck with a powerhead.
I have also tried a bicolor angel. Seems a bit more reef safe, but barely eats majanos or aptasia.
And again, really focuses on the babies and ignores the big ones.
 

ofzakaria

Supporting Member
Bleach. Entire tank.
That is what I finally ended up using for Majanos.
:(

My opinion:
It really depends on the Majanos hitting critical mass, where growth is way out of hand and they are pushing aside corals.
They are then in sump, pipes, and everywhere.
Once that happens, there is little you can do.

But otherwise...
I did try a filefish. They definitely do eat Majanos. I tried it in my sump to check specifically.
But they also eat zoas, which I also tried.
And it seems to ignore the large ones, and just eat the small Majanos.
Unfortunately it died before I could try it in my main tank. Some bad luck with a powerhead.
I have also tried a bicolor angel. Seems a bit more reef safe, but barely eats majanos or aptasia.
And again, really focuses on the babies and ignores the big ones.
Damn that's a grim picture ha ha. I use the wand to zap what's accessible but some are hidden areas I cannot access.
Will tey filefish rout

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