Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Bulb, Bubble Tip/Rose Anemone Behavior 4

Related Articles: Bubble Tip, Rose Anemones, Entacmaea quadricolor, Use in Marine Systems by Bob Fenner, Bubble Tip Anemones by Jim Black,  Recent Experiences with BTA's by Marc Quattromani, Anemones, Cnidarians, Colored/Dyed Anemones

Related FAQs: BTA Behavior 1, BTA Beh. 2, BTA Beh. 3, & E. quad. FAQ 1, E. quad FAQ 2, E. quad. FAQ 3, E. quad FAQ 4E. quad FAQ 5, BTA ID, BTA Compatibility, BTA Selection, BTA Systems, BTA Feeding, BTA Disease, BTA Reproduction/Propagation, Anemones, Anemones 2Caribbean Anemones, Condylactis, Aiptasia Anemones, Anemones and Clownfishes, Anemone Reproduction, Anemone Lighting, Anemone Identification, Anemone Selection, Anemone Behavior, Anemone Health, Anemone Placement, Anemone Feeding Heteractis malu

New Print and eBook on Amazon:  

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Green BTA; beh., repro. f's        6/8/17
Good Afternoon, I recently ordered a couple of fish and a large BTA from a well-known supplier. The fish were healthy and acclimated well. However, I was very surprised to have found a severely bleached BTA. Upon inspection, it was clear there were two very distinct mouths which I interpreted as the initiation of a stress/starvation induced split. Once introduced into the tank, I was not surprised that the anemone moved to a protected area to acclimate to the lighting and I initiated an enriched feeding regimen to assist in providing nutrients to the organism.
<Good move>
It has been two weeks now and it does not appear that the splitting process has continued. I have searched the internet for anemones with two mouths and all resources encountered address this as part of the splitting process. Will this anemone complete this process at some point?
<Likely so; yes; or perish>
While it is still a whole organism, is it necessary to feed BOTH mouths? (I would suspect not)
<Not necessary>
Are there anemones that start the process of splitting and then simply halt?
<Not that I'm aware of; no>
I have kept BTAs for several years but have not encountered a situation where they will begin a split and not complete the process within several hours to a day.
Thank you so much for your assistance,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Anemone Behaviour     3/1/17
And as we had this conversation yesterday, this evening... my BTA.
Not good?
<? Looking better. When in doubt, READ WWM FAQs, articles on Anemones. B>

Anemone Behaviour... Cause?      2/28/17
Good morning,
<Hey Dave>
I have a 60g tank with 3" aragonite bottom, 55lbs flat live rock for eventual coral placement, protein skimmer, 2 x Kessil 360's on 9.5hrs (1.5hrs are 5% intensity blue lights, that ramp up to 60% intensity), 78F, 1.025 salinity. I have two pumps circulating my filtration chamber at 10X/hr, and I have an MP40 on 40% power a variable Nutrient Export setting
that switches up the flow every 45mins (this adds another 27X/hr flow rate). The tank is 3months old, and my store had a rose bubble tip anemone that had recently split and was selling the new addition at $40 which I thought was a steal so I bought it two weeks ago.
<Mmm; a comment here for all would-be anemone keepers: Better to have "more seasoned" (older, established settings) than newer>
My water parameters have always shown ammonia/nitrite/nitrate at 0; however,
<Oh! DO need some (measurable NO3, AND P and K....); anemones are chemosynthetic to a large degree>

given my hair algae I perceive I have a little nitrate/phosphate that's feeding the hair algae but still shows untraceable amounts. I've read through your two main articles on BTAs, and I'm curious about the 7-14 day feeding regimen recommended there. How much for a small BTA?
<Twice a week... let's say, meaty food equivalent (bits) of half your last pinky segment in volume>

I have purposely let thawed mysis or brine fall on the BTA's tentacles and it doesn't seem to draw the pieces in. I've seen my Percula Clown bring the BTA food. Not sure what the BTA is supposed to look like feeding. I should
point out the BTA moved about 5" over night from my original placement and seems to have secured itself under a ledge in a lowlight area.
<Good; don't move it>
If the BTA were to move above the ledge it would be in a very will lit area, and I'm assuming that given it hasn't moved since day #1 that it is happy where it currently resides - otherwise it would move?
<Needs chemical nutrients; remove your chemical filter media (if using) and turn your skimmer down or off for half the day>
Three days ago, my BTA looked like this (picture attached), about 45mins later it looked normal. First thing this morning, my BTA looked like this again. Someone on a forum indicated this was normal behavior, but I wanted to ensure this was the case.
<They (Actinarians) do expand, contract to degrees>
Given my clown is over half the size of the BTA, I was curious if the clown might be harassing the BTA too much? Thoughts?
<Mmm; not this species.... the smaller clownfish are generally not trouble in this regard. IF you see, expect otherwise, place the clown/s in a floating plastic colander for a few days... see if this helps. IF it continues, fashion a plastic mesh over the anemone (straw- et al. berry baskets work well here)>
In particular, I'd like to know how much food is appropriate on a one or two week direct feed schedule. I also feed my tank Oyster Feast and PhytoFeast (one of them) twice a week for the feather duster, colt coral, star polyps, and Zoas.
<Oohhhhh; the soft coral, Clavulariid and/or Zoanthids... may well be winning a/the chemical allelopathy war here. Do you have another established system you can move the Entacmaea to? I would. Bob Fenner>

Re: Anemone Behaviour     2/28/17
I should add, the star polyps are upper tank range and a good 18" or more away.
I have three small heads on my Zoa frag that is nearly two feet away. The colt coral is at the opposite end of the tank almost 3' away.
<Uh huh... notice I wrote "chemical", not physical... they don't have to be anywhere near; just in the same water. Have you read my piece, ppt on avoiding Cnidarian warfare? My bit on "Boris Karloff-ing" by mixing water to/fro...? See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/CorlCompArt.htm
I would say the coloration of the BTA has, if anything, improved since my acquisition showing deeper red and greens. Aside from this 'enclosing the tentacles' behavior that I am unfamiliar with, I'd say the BTA appears to be in great shape. I guess my question was regarding feeding, and if the 'enclosing the tentacles' was normal. Am I correct in saying the 'enclosing of the tentacles' occurs for either feeding or protection perhaps while sleeping?
<Seems to be all unrelated... Night dives find them mostly open.... just when the current or too brisk, or something is physically bugging them do they close in the wild>
Yes, I had read 6months or more in an established tank for anemones; however, my soft corals have been doing excellent and I'm a fanatic over water changes and keeping my tank as pristine as possible.
<Do you attend the MACNA do's? My pitch (okay presentation; better connotation) this year (August, in New Orleans) will be on Anemone Use in Captive Settings... I have a short book w/ about the same title as well.
See Amazon re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Anemone Behaviour

I will for sure have a read and add your book to my "Fenner collection".
<Heeee! Yours is likely larger than mine!>
Chemical warfare, right... but yet I hear of so many people that successfully keep both and in smaller tanks.
<Yes; just need to be "properly introduced">
On your BTA anemone section of the website, you also have two articles from other writers who were guiding me to the every 7 to 14 days for feeding.
<This really is... "enough"; better by far to underfeed than over... Bob Fenner>

RBTA dropping tentacles     7/4/14
Good Evening and Thank you for answering my question,
165 reef tank

30 gallon sump
AquaC EV 240 skimmer
LifeReef Calcium Reactor
20 gallon refugium
2 Orphek 156 LEDs
2 Orphek moon light spots
1 Orphek 72 spot
4 t5's along perimeter to aid with color
VorTech mp40
Temp 78 in winter 81 in summer
established 3 years (most inhabitants moved from 5 year old tank)

live sand
live rock
(2 clowns hosting in derasa clam, 2 Banggai's from babies I raised, 1 Red Sea Sail fin tang 6", blue hermits, red hermits, snails, serpent star, 1 "Grandpa" PJ Cardinal, 1 cleaner shrimp-only touches tang, 2 very large RBTA-not dropping tentacles)
Calcium 430-440
Alkalinity 8.6-9.6
Magnesium 1440
Specific Gravity 1.025-1.026
pH 8-8.2
20% gulf of Mexico (obtained 2 miles out) weekly
<Water I take it you're referring to above>
I have 2 established Rose Bubble Tip anemones that have split, full, huge, eat well. They are located in the upper zone to the side of my tank. Here they get a lot of light and medium flow. I have been having such good luck with the RBTAs that I bought a Rainbow BTA with plans to trade in my splitting Roses, to only have 1 Rose and 1 Rainbow. Anyhow, the new comer anemone is located in the center of the tank on the sand situated on a good sized single clump of barnacles (So it can hide its base in a holes and move around the shapes of the barnacles to find where it wants to be. It is situated and not moved.) The Rainbow is inflated with bubble tips 90% of the day, great color, eats krill and grouper 2x a week. I feed the rest of the tank sinking pellets, algae on clip, brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, Cyclop-eeze, and live salt water minnows.) Had the Rainbow 1 month.
Tonight I see 3 tentacles floating around the tank. The clowns don't host in this nem and I haven't seen anything picking on it.
Should I move it up? Should I feed less? Should I feed more? Can't find any real answers on the internet.
<Mmm, I would leave all as it is for now... lest more disturbance cause greater harm. At times Actinarians do cast off tentacles... for unknown reasons. Nothing in your stated system "jumps out" as being a probable issue... Other than the introduction of the new Entacmaea>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

wandering bta     4/6/14
Hi crew,
I have read through the faq's on bta reproduction, from what i've read it seems to be the case (mostly) that bta clones do not usually fight. I have a bta that split about 2 months ago, i've enclosed a picture of the clone (the smaller half of the original bta). Before it split the bta was about
the size of a very large dinner plate, really, it was huge. I'd had it for about a year and a half and it had grown from being about the diameter of a coffee mug. Since the split the two clones wandered a fair bit, before the one pictured settled into the spot it's in now (more or less).
The second one is still wandering, but when it wanders too close to it's clone both bta's move, with the incoming clone being ousted and the second clone moving back into it's spot. I am wondering if this spot is prime reef real estate for some reason or if this is them fighting. The second bta wandered into a shielded inlet a few weeks ago, i turned it off and the anemone removed itself with no damage. Sure enough it wandered in there again today. Twice. Now it looks like it's splitting (probably due to damage). Am i likely to have trouble with the third clone in the same way i'm currently having with clone 1 and 2?
<Maybe; but not likely... they'll continue to move... till find their own site>
Are clone 1 (and clone 3) doomed to wander around the tank homeless or am i just being impatient? My other question is (kind of stupid) but is this definitely a bta?
<Can't tell from the pic; but likely so>
I have read mixed reviews on the max size of bta's and before the first split it was absolutely huge i have also seen the clone cross the sand (on
it's way to the intake it seems to love so much). It has never been bubbly although i know that some bta's just don't bubble.
<This is so>
I was under the belief that bta's only move if they are unhappy (water quality, lighting food, current etc).
<Plus other Cnidarian presence, competition>
My tank is 2 years old, 450L ammonia and nitrite both 0, i usually get the very slightest measure of nitrates right before a water change.
<... do need some NO3 and HPO4>
PH 8.3, dkh within the normal parameters. Lighting is 10 x T5, 5 of which are actinic.
<Not functional>
Stocking - 2x clarkii clowns, Foxface Rabbitfish, Vlamingii tang, 3 x Allen's damsels (never again.. ), scooter dragonet, coral beauty, mandarin
dragonet, hippo tang, scarlet cleaner shrimp, 2 x dartfish, several peppermint shrimp and assorted snails and one linckia star which has become
about 4 linckia stars.
<Wow; Linckia spp. are not easily kept generally>
i also have an assortment of SPS, morphs and LPS. i might add that the SPS have been extremely happy of late, i did read in one of the faqs that
happy corals could mean chemical warfare, is this likely to be contributing to the bta's wandering?
Thanks so much.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

rose bubble tip anemone; beh.     12/5/13
hi, my names Colin. i have a rose bubble tip anemone witch looks very good nice and colourful. i have noticed though that its mouth bulges out, it stays closed just looks like a fat lip, i was wondering if that was normal or something to be concerned with.
Thanks in advance.
<Entacmaea's mouths do bulge out at times... so not necessarily an indication of trouble. Have you read on WWM re the species? Bob Fenner>
Re: rose bubble tip anemone     12/6/13

<Don't write; read
not on wet web. i just found it odd since the other bubble tips i have never did that.

Bubble tip anemone... beh., rdg.   9/3/13
Hi I purchased a bubble tip anemone 4 days ago to go into my 30 gallon tank
<Mmm, large anemone species need more room than this. See WWM re Entacmaea>
 which has been set up for about 2 years. It has currently been it its current position for about 3 days. The first day it went into the rocks and then popped out when it currently stayed now. One the second and third day I fed it some small pieces of shrimp and it took it and ate it. Today however it didn't seem to open up as big as it normally has. Why could this be?
<... see WWM re BTA beh...>
The other livestock in the tank are: 2 Ocellaris clowns, rusty angel,
<... also needs more room...>

 cleaner shrimp, snails hermit crabs and corals.
My water parameters are: pH 8.0, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 10, kH 7.2, Calcium 470ppm,
<... Mg?>

phosphate 0.25, temp 25.7 C (
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bubble tip anemone... speaking; not listening      9/4/13

I think mg is about 1400.
<About the right ratio>
I'm worried as it parked itself right next to my devils hand coral which I can't move as its on a large rock. I'm worried the coral is realising toxins which is stopping it from opening
<Could well be. I'd be moving it. BobF>
Re: Bubble tip anemone     9/4/13

I have tried multiple times to move the devils hand but I just can't as it bottom is I'm a large rock
<... see WWM are Cnidarian Allelopathy>

Bubble tip anemone tank move      7/2/13
Good afternoon,
2 weeks ago I moved and with that being said had to break down my 125 gallon reef and set it back up.  Never a fun job but things are starting to perk back up except for my bubble tip anemone's.  Over the years 1 ended up becoming 7 and they take up about 1/3 of my tank.  To date only 3 have made there way out to the front of the tank.  The other 4 are still hiding out
in the shade in the back of the tank.  I know they are an animal and will move to where they are most comfortable but I am starting to get concerned that they will end up dying due to the lack of light.
<Mmm; no... they can/will move if circumstances require>
 Will the anemones move when they are ready or should I start rearranging rock. 
<I'd leave all as is>
Today has been two weeks since the new tank has been up and running.
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Bubble Tip Anemone Discharge 2/21/13
<... eight megs of pix... what do our instructions say John?>
I have a question about a bubble tip anemone I recently purchased.
<... badly bleached>
I currently have a 72g bowfront reef that's one year old. Two Marineland LED reef lights, wet/dry system, skimmer, about 80 pounds of LR and a 4" sandbed. Water parameters are virtually ideal for a reef system and do not vary much. I have recently purchased a green bubble tip anemone, drip acclimated it, and put it in my tank. It quickly found a happy home and has not moved since,
<Too close to other stinging-celled life here... See WWM re this, the species nearby and the term "allelopathy">
 aside from hiding for a short period of time once a day or so. I tried to feed it a frozen piece of Rods Food which it slowly grabbed and pulled to its mouth. After about a half hour or so, I looked at the BTA again and noticed that what I fed it was now hanging from its mouth area, and appeared to be in some kind of mucous sac or something.
<Yes; eviscerating something it already had in its coelom...
Coelenterata... see the Net re the term>
It has not floated away, as by now it would have thawed and broken apart.
<S/b removed... is a waste product>
 Its color is still vibrant and it appears to be in its normal state, aside from this sac. Does anyone know what this sac is, and is it something normal? Is it rejecting the food? I'm not sure how to interpret what I am seeing after it sucked it in and closed up around it. I have attached a couple pictures so you can see what I am talking about. Thanks for your help!
<Read on. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bubble Tip Anemone Discharge 2/21/13
So that's all that is, just a sac if undigested food it did not need to eat? Is there anything I need to be concerned about?
<Reading, and removal. B>

Anemone behaviour.  6/27/12
Hey guys.  i don`t have any immediate questions but i thought i would contribute something by giving an account of how well my new BTA is faring and a brief story on how i obtained it.
 After about four years i have finally obtained a Green bubble tip anemone for one of my tanks.
I upgraded the lighting from the old 35watt Power compact to the Ecoxotic Panorama Pro Module LEDs.
The Tank size is 30 Gallons.  I have tested for a number of different parameters though i am
still not quite finished.  salinity 1.024   Ammonia , nitrite and nitrate all read as being close to zero, or at least low
enough that i cannot easily read it.
<... need some NO3>

 pH looks to be about 8.3 and the temperature is set to 26+ degrees Celsius.
their are still other things i want to test for though.
 When i first saw this anemone at the LFS it was not attached to anything which gave me pause.
this was of course until i noticed how pristine the condition of the pedal disk was and the overall appearance of the anemone. Its mouth was not gaping and the tentacles were noticeably "bubble tipped"
Its body was Orange with pale tentacles and green tips.  It was not terribly expensive so decided to see how it would fare.
I am pleased to report that it quickly Attached itself in less then an hour. It soon began venturing to the back of the tank and under the rockwork. On day two it seemed to establish itself behind some rocks at the rear left hand side of aquarium.
It is now day four since its introduction and it has not moved away from where it established itself on day two.
I have noticed that it has started a daily routine of expansion and contraction. When the lights turn on in the morning the anemone is not visible and less then one quarter its original size.
During the course of the day it gradually expands to a size that is greater then what it had when i originally obtained it.
Another point of interest is its change in colouration.
Over the course of the last few days its body column has changed from Orange to a vibrant pink color.
Its tentacles have changed from a predominantly pale whitish colouration with green tips to a more Tan, slightly pinkish colouration with deeper green tips which cover more of the tentacle. i have also noticed upon closer inspection that their is another colour developing at the very end of the tentacles which is darker then the Green but i cannot currently identify it clearly.
I have been paying close attention to the state of its mouth, so far i have witnessed no gaping or obviously
sickly behaviour that i can discern.  When should i consider offering it food items?
i think at this juncture it is probably to early for that, but then i am certainly no expert.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/bubbletipanemones.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Anemone behaviour.  6/27/12

Hey again.
Thanks for the quick reply.
Sorry about the improper spelling. sometimes i wonder if I'm dyslexic or just plain daft.
<No worries... use a spell/grammar checker (is what I do); a good way to improve>
So you believe now would be the appropriate time to try and offer it some food?
<? as stated; yes>
I have several different types i could try offering including Krill, Silverside, Mysis and Cyclop Eeze.
I have the link you gave me book marked for good measure.
<... read please>
Oh, and i just noticed that the coloration is starting to resemble the anenome in the fourth image down on the BTA page you linked. 
<Ahh! BobF>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: