As most of you are probably aware, I received a box with water and rocks in it as an early Christmas present. As an unexpected bonus, two of the rocks came with living inhabitants. The first a peacock worm, is a rare and beneficial filter feeder. (Due to some ham-handedness on my part, I actually have three instead of one, but more on that another day.) The other creature was an aiptasia anemone, an aggressive, carnivorous critter that would like nothing more than to eat the peacock worm and everything else I ever put into the tank. The worm is welcome. The anemone had to go.
On Saturday I went to the aquarium store and bought a bottle of aiptasia killer and a syringe with which to administer the lethal dose. I listened as the reef store owner explained their use, as well as the importance of not breaking the anemone in the process (Note to self: do not break malicious creatures with the ability to copy themselves like a Xerox machine on crack.)
I took the deadly implements home. I read the instructions. Twice. I loaded the syringe, stopped the filter and zeroed in on my target. I took careful aim and depressed the plunger.
And nothing happened.
The medicine did not squirt out on the anemone as intended. The plunger stuck. When the anemone wiggled its tentacles as though daring me to go through with the gruesome task, I did what any inexperienced but self-respecting assassin would have done under the circumstances: I forced the plunger.
At which point sea-anemone poison sprayed out with such force that it blew my victim off the rock and bounced it off the glass wall of the tank.
…at which point the anemone disappeared, and I haven’t seen it since.
The leading probability is that it’s lying dead somewhere beneath one of the other rocks, but it could be lying in wait, plotting some horrific destruction as vengeance for my botched assassination attempt. Only time will tell.
In any case, I’ve decided to kill future anemones with the assistance of peppermint shrimp (a natural predator) rather than the syringe. They’re better equipped to handle the job and less likely to mess it up.
Anemonecide isn’t my strong suit. That’s why next time I’m hiring a hit squad.
*Lysmata wurdemanni image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons and used pursuant to posted license terms.