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FAQs on Magnificent/Ritteri Anemone Environmental Health/Disease (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...)

FAQs on: Magnificent Anemone Disease 1,
FAQs on Magnificent Anemone Disease by Category: Diagnosing,   Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 

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Related FAQs: Magnificent Anemones, Magnificent Anemone Identification, Magnificent Anemone Behavior, Magnificent Anemone Compatibility, Magnificent Anemone Selection, Magnificent Anemone Systems, Magnificent Anemone Feeding, Magnificent Anemone Reproduction/Propagation,

... Need: NO3, HPO4... bright light, vigorous circulation, lack of DOC, and a dearth of other Cnidarian presence

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Magnificent Anemones. Using WWM - 1/25/13
Hi Crew,
I recently purchased an anemone which is creamy coloured with whiter tips.
<Very badly bleached... complete loss of Zooxanthellae... can reincorporate>
It is not that large about 12-14cms across. My two Ocellaris clowns which have been without an anemone for seven months ignored it for the first day but on the second day were both in it and never really leave it, only for food. I wondered if they need to secrete more mucus over their bodies before they can go inside one having been without an anemone for so long.
<Sometimes communication takes a while. Sometimes it never occurs>
This is great as it give me so much pleasure to see them rubbing their bellies on the tentacles. This leads me to believe that clownfish should only really be kept with the appropriate anemone as I don't think they will be complete without one. I have dived all over the worked and never seen a clownfish in the sea without an anemone.
<They (Amphiprionines) always live in mutual symbiosis w/ one of a few species of Actinarians>
I have a couple of questions, all may water params are good except......my phosphates were about 0.3 so I have added Seachem's Phosguard in a pouch which I hope will reduce the phosphate to negligible levels within 2-3 days.
<I wouldn't do this... see WWM re>
How sensitive are they to Phosphates?
<Not very... and do need soluble HPO4>

Also my temperature is a little high, I live in the tropics and my chiller is set for 30C Why 30C well with the aircon on during the day it hardly has to reduce the temperature, lower temps and it is on much more often and makes a noise and uses about 1amp. The anemone looks in good order, but when I drop New Life Spectrum small pellets on it it does not seem to respond.
<Needs meatier fare>

 I noticed the anemone is sticky but looking at your site where I saw "There are no naturally white-colored Magnificent Anemones... 
<This is correct. Do occur in quite a few other colors though>

    and it's rare for ones that are badly bleached to recover" do you think it could be another species or is it doomed?
<Most likely the latter, but is also likely Heteractis magnifica... see WWM re ID... the petechia on the column, its color>
Should I try another food?
<... yes>

I placed it about 15 cm.s below the water level between two rocks and it has not moved in four days so I hope it is happy. It looks great. Please find a picture attached. It is very close to a Goniopora, if they touch will either be hurt?
<Oh yes. Bob Fenner, out diving in the Philippines>

 Thank you in advance, Adam.

Re: Magnificent Anemones.
Bob, Wow enjoy the diving, so you think it can regenerate Zooxanthellae and should live?
<Yes; didn't I already state this? Can, not should. B>
 Re: Magnificent Anemones.

Yes but opposite to what I captioned and sent to you from your site, perhaps new info. Please update to avoid confusion. So the purple base will return with green tentacles?
<... not necessarily these colours and not w/o good care... Please read where you've been referred to... B>
Re: Magnificent Anemones. - 1/25/13

Hi Crew, I have a system with some delicate fish, Majestic Angel etc two pieces of Goniopora and I added the Magnificent anemone
<? Angels eat anemones>

only a week ago and it died today.
<... very typical>
My params are all good, slight phosphate 0.05, Nitrate a little high at 10, the fish and the Goniopora are all fine. The temperature could be a problem running between 30 and 31. The anemone was bleached but as previously discussed this should not be an issue.
<? Of course it is>
 Do you think it is possible it was already "dead" but did not show signs or are they that sensitive to temp. I am upset as my Nemos loved it. Any advice would be great I have read they are very difficult to keep. Regards,
<Am done telling you to read on WWM. Go elsewhere. B>
Re: Magnificent Anemones. - 1/25/13

How rude as clearly mentioned previously I had read part of your site and it conflicts what you now say in regards to bleaching. Also in regards to your suggestion that the Magnificent Anemone needs Phosphates that are detectable I find that hard to believe as I live by the Indian Ocean where the Phosphate reading is Zero.

Heteractis Magnifica Anemone - Care and Medication Question    11/5/12
Hello! And thank you for your time.
<Welcome Brad>
First, some background. My tank is a 210g with a 40g sump. It has been running and healthy for just over 14 months. I myself have been in the hobby for almost 4 years. In that time I have taken a strong liking to anemones, and have had a great amount of success with them as a result of learning from sites like yours. In my current setup I have many corals, fish, and anemones that are all living peacefully due to careful placement and purchasing.
<Okay! Am sure you know of the dangers of mixing Actinarians, and doing so w/ other Cnidarian groups>
Five months ago I purchased a Magnifica anemone at a LFS. It did not immediately take to my system due to a low alkalinity, but was recovered and settled after about 2 weeks once I fixed that. About four months ago, I added a second Magnifica from the same LFS. This one never had any trouble, but for a few weeks fought with the old one for his spot and finally won. The first one moved to a different spot and settled a little higher, closer to the lights. Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. I sold the first Magnifica to a fellow reefer, and it is doing well. I did this to make room for a new Magnifica of a more preferred color, which I purchased from a reputable online seller. My question is in regard to this "third" magnifica.
<All right>
For the first 2 weeks it did well, and ate every other day with no issue.
About a week ago it suddenly spit out it's meal after dark on feeding day, and ever since then it has deflated and inflated repeatedly in a cycle of about every 8-12 hours.
<Mmm, doesn't like something here>
It does not appear to be timed to the light cycle at all. When it is inflated, the mouth does not completely close, and when it deflates, it has a badly gaped mouth.
<Also "bad signs">

I have heard some people suggest that it may be trying to fight a bacterial infection. What are your thoughts on my situation?
<Far more likely something, someone else in this system it doesn't "like">
The first Magnifica is still well, as is the second one, which is in the same tank, under the same light and flow as the new one. I have also done 3 water changes this week, as well as change out the carbon. All of my parameters are good (SG is 1.025, no PO4 or NO3,
<Mmm, photosynthates need some (measurable) phosphate and nitrate... sigh>

Alk is 11, pH is 8.0). I am considering transferring the sick anemone to a QT and treating it,
<Just moving it will likely help>
but I would like to know what you can share regarding treating these anemones. I have heard suggestions of using Tetracycline, Doxycycline, and Cyprofloxacin, with Cipro supposedly showing the best results, but no studies have been done that I know of. Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks again!
<I don't suggest exposing this anemone to an anti-microbial. Not of much probable value, and considerable potential downside. Bob Fenner>

Sick Ritteri... many issues... A jokester?  12/27/08 Hello, We have had a Ritteri for about 15yrs. We had him in a 50 gallon tank for many of those years, along with the rest of our reef inhabitants. At one point several years ago we remodeled our room and we changed to a 75 gal. tank. For a year or so all was fine and then we had a water problem of some sort and he started shriveling up so we tried to fix the water problem and put in Nitrate sponges and phosphate sponges, we made sure our sump was working properly, and that our protein skimmer was working properly...Everyone else in the tank was very happy except him... In an last ditch effort to save him we put him in our 15 gallon show tank [taller than most 15 gal tanks]. We have mushrooms and polyps on rocks <Not likely compatible with the Magnificent anemone> in there and they are doing beautifully. He attached himself and for the last several years along with "Coral and Marlin" the two clown fish that have been with him since we got them, They have been happy. About a month or two ago we started having a green water problem and the Ritteri is shriveling up and closing up, and spitting out his stomach, and is almost flat.... we have taken every test available to us. Salinity is 23, <Mmm, better to be near seawater strength/concentration: 1.025> Nitrate was 0, <Is an essential nutrient> Phosphate was less than 0.05 , Hardness [which is too hard] 14... the Calcium is 540 <... Way too high... and your Magnesium?> .....We did an almost 90 % water change. We used the Reef water since it has no issues...about 60% of the tank, 10 gals or so. and the rest, new salt water from our barrel. but the Ritteri wouldn't perk up. Our little tank is green again, and we have ordered Algone for the tank but it hasn't arrived yet. <I would not use an Algicide...> So we put the Ritteri in the reef on the bottom...... We are watching him , he is stuck to the bottom , but he's spitting up all this fluffy looking stuff and all his tentacles are laying like a flat mum (the flower)... <Bad> but he does not smell and none of the cleaning crew are trying to eat him...What do we do? Thank you so much, Susan and Bobert Arnett <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/hetmagnifica.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner.

Failing Ritteri Anemone, Heteractis magnifica -- 1/18/08 Crew, <Hello Craig, Brenda here!> Some background info about my situation: I have a 92 corner bow front and a 40G sump that was moved in October, originally set up last July. I moved 30 miles and switched from using tap water to RO water at that time, since my local water didn't want to mix with salt or Kalk very easily. The 92 that was set up back in July was filled with sand, rock, and livestock from a 54 corner bow front that had been set up for 2 years. The 54 and 92 housed the same mix of corals and fish until recently, when I sold my Ritteri and pair of perculas. <Anemones should never be kept in a system using tap water.> The tank has the following mix of species, and this mix has remained relatively unchanged for about 12 months, other than switching out one Ritteri for two new ones and two Perculas for three Ocellaris. <How long ago were the new anemones added? Why is the water cloudy looking? Did you replace the sand bed, or rinse it?> It is important to remember these animals have always been in the tank with my old Ritteri and now with my new Ritteri as well. <The old anemone made the move with the tank?> I know how Bob expounds without end the risks of keeping a mixed reef, but all my animals are no less than 6" away from one another and I have not had problems with chemical aggression. <Unfortunately, chemical warfare is not always visible until late stages. I agree with Bob on this. Do you run fresh carbon in your reef tank? How often are you replacing it?> * Two Ritteri anemones * LPS - 10 head green branching hammer, 2 head yellow frogspawn * SPS - 6 4-6" Acro, Monti, and Staghorn * Clavularia - Daisy, Star polyps, and 2-3 other types I can't ID......prolific on my rock, covering all told 30-40 square inches * Pipe organ - 6" * Various Ricordea - 10-12 Actinodiscus, which are not "hairy" or "knobby" * Juvenile Emperor (3") when he gets bigger so will his accommodations * Black Ocellaris - three that are 2-3" * Longnose Hawkfish - 3" * Snails, crabs, what not cleaners The salinity was usually kept around 1.028-29 with the old Ritteri, which was high, but the old Ritteri definitely preferred these higher salinity ranges by demonstrating positive behavior (not moving, remaining inflated) so I let the livestock dictate the parameters and not the books and instruments. Now I have two new Ritteri, an additional one was given to me since an extra one was shipped in my order. <Shipping anemones is also very stressful on anemones. This is no doubt adding to the poor health of the anemone.> For the first month I only had the first anemone, but after the LFS couldn't sell and couldn't provide enough light, it came home with me. Given these anemones are often found in huge associations in the wild, is it a problem to keep more than one in my tank for now (yes, a fraction of the water volume...but they are only about 6-8" inflated)? <It can cause problems.> The LFS kept the anemones at 1.025 and the anemones seemed more inflated there than in my tank, but that would be a very imprecise appraisal. It is worth noting the LFS had dozens of 20G tanks plumbed together with zooanthids, tons of Ricordea, polyps, and all manner of actinarians: BTAs, LTAs, Condys, Sebaes, etc. <Ouch! This is definitely not the best environment.> Here is the issue: as you can see, both anemones don't seem to want to fully inflate. 1/4 of the tentacles somewhere on the anemones are deflated at seemingly all times. So I know that all animals within a species are individuals and behave uniquely, and also these new Ritteri are likely from a different location, since they have a purple mesentery and my old Ritteri had a yellow body and thus they could be from the Red Sea and prefer higher SG (like my old Ritteri). Even when I had only the one newer anemone I noted this behavior, so the presence of the second anemone is out of the question (they are also about 3 feet apart). The deflated areas change throughout the day, so tissue damage is out of the question. Both anemones have eaten under my care (they both prefer only tilapia...same as my old Ritteri) so failure to feed is out. They are under 400W of halides at 14000K, and do not move around (which of course is atypical for this species). I have a Hydor 3 circulation pump (1200gph), two Rio 1200 with rotating deflectors (600gph) and a Mag 24 return pump with central diffuser (~1800gph) so I don't think a lack of circulation is an issue. <It doesn't sound like it. However, if you don't protect the intakes of those pumps soon, you may have a bigger problem if your anemone decides to roam.> I have even tried turning down/off some of the pumps in case too much circulation was an issue (though I have heard Bob admonish this is almost never possible with non-laminar currents). I do run an Octopus NW200 skimmer for tanks up to 200G. Nitrate is around 5-10ppm. <It needs to be zero.><<No!>> Nitrite is 0, ammonia is 0, and phosphate is 0. Salinity is 1.027. Temperature is 80F. pH is 8.2. Basically, all the parameters are the same as they were with the old anemone, but these anemones do not seem to be altogether comfortable. <The anemones are also a bit bleached.> I have experienced in the past when an anemone remains less than fully inflated for extended periods of time, it is not long for this world. I know reef animals need stability more than anything else, so if I am going to change one thing (other than livestock, which is the last resort) it is going to be the specific gravity of the tank. Being osmotic conformers, can anyone verify my hunches regarding the osmoregulation feedback loop of anemones? So if the SG in the surrounding water is lower than what the anemone wants, would it deflate to attempt to raise the concentration of salts within its tissues? Or is it the opposite? Do anemones have some sort of mechanical automatic response when SG is changed? <Anemones don't do well with abrupt changes. Anemones do deflate to exchange water, and to expel waste. However, I do not believe the anemone is deflating because of a salinity issue.> I have observed changes in inflation whether increasing or decreasing SG by .001 over the course of an hour (always keeping it between 1.025-1.029). <A range of 1.025 -- 1.029 is much too large. When you increase or decrease by .001 over an hour, what you are seeing is the anemone acclimate it self to the change in chemistry.> Then they seem to go back to their initial state of inflation. I don't want to play guessing games with the SG of the tank and end up killing the anemone, so before I take the step of removing all other inverts, could you give me some perspective on how to feel about this lack of inflation? I understand it's a common problem people experience when new to keeping anemones, but I have been at this a while and the answer evades me. I have attached three photos (glass is a little foggy...water is clear). <Good!> There is one of each anemone and one photo of the setup as whole, for you to see the spacing of the animals. Sorry for the marathon email, you guys <and Gals> are the ONLY reason I have had ANY success in this hobby. <Glad you find us helpful.> You are also the ONLY reason I have such an appreciation for these animals and their natural environs. <Craig, I believe you have a couple of things going on that are causing the poor health of the anemones. First, the tank was moved in October, this is too new of a set up for anemones. I'm a bit confused on how this transfer was done. Did you replace the sand bed, or rinse? Anemones need established environments. I'm not seeing an established sand bed. Second, both of your anemones have likely recently been shipped, and likely both recently collected before they were shipped. Wild collection and shipping is incredibly stressful and many times deadly to anemones. Your fluctuating of salinity is also not doing the anemones any favors. I typically recommend 1.026 for anemones. This species is known to do well in captivity at this level. However, I would not say that 1.027 is necessarily bad for this creature. Stability plays an important role here. The mix of corals you have could also be harming the anemone. Running fresh carbon may help this issue.> Regards,
<Hope this helps! Brenda>

Anemone problem I have looked at a very large amount of anemone websites on the internet and I believe that you site is ranked as one of the most informative in my opinion.  <thank you... as it is intended. I for one feel that most anemones should not be collected and that most aquarists should not buy/keep them. We could talk for hours about the reasons why. Simply know that for starters that they are likely doomed to fail (assuming you can even get a healthy undamaged one) if they are not kept in a species tank: no other cnidarians! No coral and no other anemones> I have kept many anemones with not much luck. They just all seem to slowly die. I hate that.  <don't keep buying them my friend> I currently had a big beautiful ritteri anemone.  <perhaps the most difficult of them all. They need full reef lighting... more than most coral. How many aquarists are willing to spend $1000 on a hefty halide lighting system just to keep a single anemone. This... most climb the walls starving for light and die without it or get torn/killed in a pump or overflow intake in their search. Tragic> It seems to be big in the morning but as the day progresses it just seems to get much smaller and tentacles begin to deflate. It has plenty of light  <250-400 watt metal halides?> and a moderate amount of water movement.  <very strong water movement needed here too> The thing with all my anemones is when the begin to die, they look like they begin to expel some sort of a smoky substance. Can you tell me what that is?  <one possibility is the expulsion of zooxanthellae under duress> And is there anything I can do to help my anemone? <natural sunlight supplemented with big halides, no unguarded pump intakes, heavy feedings of micro sized ocean meats, weekly water changes... essentially a species tank> thanks, Chris <best regards, Anthony>

Ritteri Anemone 5/21/04 Hello Anthony <cheers Drew> Recently bought a nice Ritteri Anemone from my LFS and was wondering about some strange things its does, <this is such a beautiful anemone, but one of the most challenging cnidarians (among all corals and anemones) to keep in captivity. They require an extraordinary amount of light (halides ideally over 5 watts per gallon) and powerful water flow with target feedings several times weekly (finely minced meats only... no nig chunks) in a species specific tank (no other cnidarians). Most become a statistic within a year, sad to say. Please do take this advice to heart. I hope this works out for you!> every night and hour before the lights go out it will lean almost lay down into the current? seems odd to me but I can not find anything on habits of an anemone other then they will wander. <yikes... there is lots of info abroad (mostly negative) on the keeping of this anemone. Dig deeper my friend> tonight he was leaning over and just fell off the rock? SPG is 1.0235 ph is 8.3 - 8.4 temp is 78 water flow is approx 1300 GPH 90 Gallon aquarium. for lighting I just installed prior to buying him, 4 VHO bulbs all are 110 watts 2 Super actinic 2 Aquasun. <the water flow is good.... but the lighting is not even close to par. The actinics are just for aesthetics and offer little to no help here (I still like them too though <G>). In essence, you have 220 watts (just over 2 watts per gallon) to keep this anemone with only two white bulbs... and worse still.... its VHO which is very attractive in my opinion, but only penetrates weakly into the water column. Unless the anemone sits in the top 8-10" of the surface, It is not getting enough light to even survive the next couple of months. My advice is to switch to four 7k - 10k K bulbs and force the anemone to stay near the surface (top 10"), unless a halide fixture is a possibility> also like to mention that two True Perculas have taken to him only a few days after he was put in the tank. During the day he seems fine he is on a high point where he will receive lots of light and current but on a separate pile from the main rock work to deter wandering. sorry for the lengthy email just thought to pass on info I thought that may help. Thanks. Drew <no worries... you are on the right track. I wish you the best of luck!> ps. plan on buying your book I found an autographed copy at my LFS and will be picking it up shortly. <ah, thanks kindly :) Anthony> 
Ritteri shock?
Hello Crew, <Graham at your service.> Sent an email about my ritteri falling off his rock, but received no response. one thing i did notice though is its every night when i shut off the lights it falls off and rolls across the bottom of the tank, I have left it and it looks most unhappy so i always put it back on its rock where it seems fine till the next night. <It's completely normal.> Guess my question is, will the sudden change in light cause my ritteri to release from his rock thus being blown off from the current? <No. As you probably know, anemones have no central brain -- thus why they cannot adapt to a certain environment. If your aquarium isn't fitting the exact needs the anemone would encounter in the wild, the anemone will move to find a suitable location. This move is commonly done during the night. With that said, leave your anemone and let it roam around the tank where it wants -- just make sure it cannot be sucked into a powerhead or filter.> if so what can i do to prevent this with having to spend extra money for a dimmer. <See above.> am running a icecap 660 with 4 110 Watt VHO lights 2 super actinic to Aquasun. Thanks as always <Good luck! The Ritteri is a very difficult anemone to successfully keep. It's important to maintain excellent water quality and give the anemone ample amounts of lighting. You may also want to feed the anemone foods such as krill, squid, silversides, lancefish, etc. 3x weekly to give the anemone added nutrition. Take Care, Graham!> Drew 

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