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FAQs on Anemone Identification 39

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Anemone Success
Doing what it takes to keep Anemones healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Identifying very young anemone (Aiptasia?)   3/21/11
I have something resembling Aiptasia sprouting out of my young live rock.
I read Bob Fenner's excellent article on Aiptasia here, and learned a lot.
But looking at pictures and reading descriptions is not a good way for a person like me, who does not know what to look for, to identify something.
I wonder if there are definitive characteristics of young anemones.
<Mmm, yes... the shape, size of tentacles; if these vary... the mouth, shape/size of column, presence of verrucae, stickiness, colour...>
Actually, if this is an anemone of ANY type I don't want it in my FOWLR tank, right?
<Likely so>
On the other hand, even though I can easily pull the rock and pour boiling water on the thing, I hesitate to indiscriminately kill anything.
It has the characteristic light brown, almost translucent tapered tentacles, about 3/4 inch long right now, growing slowly.
But there are several things about it that don't quite fit:
1) The anemone photos show a large tube with the tentacles surrounding the edge of the tube. But this thing has no such tube. All of the tentacles radiate from a single holdfast on the surface of the rock. Is this how a young anemone looks, or does this rule out an anemone?
<Could be an Anemone... or a Zoanthid... or a single stony coral polyp that has yet to generate much of a skeleton...>
2) There are several of them nearby. One has about a half-dozen tentacles, one is just a single tentacle attached to the rock, and another is just two. Do young anemones start out this way?
<Some can>
3) I read that they have a 'pull back' reaction if touched. But I lightly prodded it with a plastic probe and it has no reaction at all.
<Some species are relatively insensitive to touch>
What do you think? Should I watch and wait? Or just pull the rock and hit it with boiling water?
Thanks! Tim
<I'd wait, observe, enjoy for now. Unless these animals are obviously stinging your fish livestock, they're not likely trouble. Oh, do send along some well-resolved photos when you can. Bob Fenner>

Re: Identifying very young anemone (Aiptasia?)  3/21/11
Bob - Thank you for the reply! This thing is so small that it's hard to get a good picture, but I have attached the best one I could get. The item in question is the tuft of light brown tendrils at the upper-right of the photo.
If you think there is any chance at all that this is Aiptasia, I'd like to get it out now, because as of the moment it is on only one small area of one rock. I'd like to attack before it spreads. But if you think it's
not, or if you think immanent spreading is unlikely, I'll just let it go and keep watch.
<... I'd like to snip a piece off and take a look-see under a scope... to me this looks like some sort of aberrant red(dish) algae more than anything else>
By the way, do you have any idea what that cute little green stalk in the lower-left of the photo might be?
<Yes... a green... Neomeris spp., maybe N. annulata>
Also by the way, I bought and am reading "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and I just ordered your invertebrate book. Excellent!
<Thank you Tim. BobF>


Re: Identifying very young anemone (Aiptasia?)  3/21/11
>> I'd like to snip a piece off and take a look-see under a scope <<
Bob - Well, if you thought it would keep through the mail, I'd be happy to mail you a piece. Let me know.
<Mmm, do take a quick read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/microscopfaqs.htm>
I do have a decent microscope, but I have no idea what to look for.
Unfortunately, it's an old-fashioned scope with no attached digital camera, so I can't send you a photo. I do want to buy one of those some day. More toys!
<As you'll see the "QX" series of scopes is really affordable... I have/use one.>
Anyhow, you seem fairly confident that it's not Aiptasia, so I'll just let it go. When it gets significantly bigger I'll send another photo, and maybe it will be more clear then.
<If it's akin to some things I've seen like this before, it will stay the same size, perhaps laterally multiply. Not detrimental chemically or physically>
My inexperienced gut tells me that it's a plant, even though it's not green. Just the way all of those tendrils converge to a single holdfast point makes it resemble a plant.
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Identifying very young anemone (Aiptasia?)  3/22/11
Bob - Well, you inspired me to buy another toy. :) I did an online search for computer microscopes, and I found one that costs about twice what a QX costs but has much higher digital resolution (the CCD sensor). As my long-suffering wife knows all too well, I tend to solve problems by throwing money at them. Anyhow, when it arrives I'll snip a piece of that mystery thing and try my hand at a photo-micrograph of it, and send it to you.
<Sounds good. Thank you, BobF>

Help with ID of anemone   2/26/11
Dear WWM crew
Could you please help me indentify this polyp, or tell me where to look for information? It is for a class. This picture was taken in the West Coast of Canada.
<Looks to be Metridium senile. Bob Fenner>


Unidentified anemone   1/22/11
Hi to all WWW crew!
Here's, in joined pieces, a pic of a fellow reefer of my area anemone. I did some search and never found what species it is. Any idea?
<Mmm, likely an Actineria, possibly an Actinodendron sp.. Please see my pix here: http://wetwebmedia.com/anempt2.htm
and these genera on the Net>
Thanks for your help and have a nice day!:-)
<And you, Bob Fenner>


Re : Unidentified anemone   1/23/11
Thanks a lot Mr. Fenner! ;o)
<Welcome! BobF>

Anemone ID   12/29/10
Hey Guys
I have been a big fan of your site for long.
I m posting this question on behalf of my friend.
He recently bought a rock full of coral( I think its anemone).
<I think so too>
And the tank is currently FOWLR which at some point is going to be a Reef Tank.
Do you guys think its Majano Anemone ?
<May well be among the genus Anemonia... but as long as they can be kept isolated on the one rock... "One person's trash may well be another's treasure". Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Unknown anemone 12/19/10
Hi, I have an unknown hitchhiker anemone species. My first thought was that it was a less common species of Aiptasia but now I'm wondering (please see attached pictures)
They hitched in on a rock with some Codium algae and there are a dozen or so on a rock 3" square, so likely a pest species. I have them in a separate tub so they don't cause problems in my tank until I can get a definite id.
Thanks for you help.
<I don't know what these are... You might send your pix to Daphne Fautin (at Hexacorallians of the world.com). But if these are not causing troubles... I'd keep them. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Anemone Identification 12/3/10
Hello Crew! Thank you for providing this service for those of us that have hit dead end with every other method of research.
I recently ordered a sebae anemone from a very reputable shop. What I received was a beautiful specimen, but not something I have ever seen or would have identified as a sebae.
<Me neither>
I checked with the shop and they verified it as a sebae,
<Not Heteractis crispa assuredly>
and treated me as if I am stupid, which I know I am not. I went on with my week and have been alarmed a number of times by it's behaviors. It is often full and beautiful in the morning, but in the afternoon will shrivel as if it's dying. It fills back out in the evening and is shriveled again by 9:00 or 10:00pm. I also have yet to see it eat, and it has been 6 days now. I've tried feeding it a variety of meaty foods, and the food sticks to the short tentacle but I see no locomotion moving it toward the mouth.
Even checking 15 and 30 minutes later pieces of krill, shrimp, or squid will remain in the tentacles. At this point my efforts to identify are not in knowing what it is, but in knowing how to care for it, what it needs,
and what to expect in behaviors. It's a truly beautiful creature, and I would like to enjoy it rather than worry about it. Thanks for your help!
<Well... this specimen is aberrant, but my best guess is that it's a Stichodactyla... likely a S. haddoni. Please do see here:
I do hope this specimen rallies for you. Bob Fenner>

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