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FAQs on Sebae, Heteractis crispa Anemone Environmental Disease
(Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...)

FAQs on Sebae Anemone Disease: Sebae Disease 1, Sebae Anemone Health 2, Sebae Anemone Disease 3
FAQs on Sebae Anemone Disease by Category: Diagnosing,  , Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 

Related Articles: Heteractis crispa/Sebae Anemones, Bubble Tip Anemones, Anemones, Cnidarians, Colored/Dyed Anemones,

Related FAQs: Sebae Anemones 1, Sebae Anemones 2, Sebae Anemones 3, Sebae Identification, Sebae Behavior, Sebae Compatibility, Sebae Selection, Sebae Systems, Sebae Feeding, Sebae Reproduction,

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

New Sebae Anemone, Inadequate Environment, More Research Needed  3/19/08 Dear WWM Crew, Good day to all. <Hello Shanon, Brenda here!> I am in a bit of a dilemma. I set up my system, through a local dealer, with the intentions of having a bubble tip anemone, a clownfish and other soft (possibly hard) corals. My system was set up with cured LR a 2 in. sand bed (some live sand) and left to cycle, after 1 week 2 blue damsels were placed in the system and my water tested regularly by the LFS. <Get in the habit of testing water parameters yourself.> After 6 weeks I began to add some mushrooms, zoo's and a maroon gl clown. When the system was 4 months old the bubble tip was added which continually wandered the tank. I discussed this with the salesman and he said this is common, that it hasn't found a spot where it is happy, but this should improve. <A 4 month old tank is much too young for an anemone.> It didn't, and I lost the bubble tip after about a month. I had been doing some research on the web, but I figured that it was a problem with that particular specimen. <The E. quadricolor (BTA), is the easiest to keep out of all the hosting anemones. > Several days ago I purchased a Sebae anemone (which seemed, to me, in excellent health), it also is faring poorly, shriveled with mouth gaping open. <Based on the pictures, I do not consider the mouth to be gaping open. Shriveling up is common with acclimation and expelling waste. What are you feeding? > I was told this was an African Sebae Anemone, does this exist?. <No. However, I have seen this term used. It is best to use the scientific name. > I began doing some intense research and have quickly realized that a salt water system is MUCH more complex than I realized. I have gone through each likely problem with the Anemone (through research on your site) and have corrected minor problems. The most significant problem I found is the lighting (and possibly protein skimmer), which I think is extremely low. This dealer is the only local dealer. I traveled to Indianapolis and visited several dealers, <Have you visited Premium Aquatics? See here: http://www.premiumaquatics.com > only to be blessed with more confusion (I was told that actinic lighting is the lighting source I need. <Actinic alone is not adequate.> Another said that PC is the best lighting. <Yikes! > All seemed confused when I mentioned metal halides. <Metal Halide or T-5 with individual reflectors is the best way to go with this anemone. However, a 16 gallon is much too small for an anemone. It will not do well in its current environment.> I have spent much time researching the lighting, it is very complex and time consuming. <Yes. > I fear the Sebae Anemone does not have the time. <I agree. > My system, as I understand it. Please excuse my lack of proper terminology and my ignorance of relevant information.....it is rapidly improving. 16 gallon, <Much too small for an anemone.> 7 months old 15 lb LR 2 in. sand bed Salinity 1.22 <Do you mean 1.022? It needs to be brought up slowly to 1.026. How are you testing this?> Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrates 0 Calcium 540 <High> pH ? <Knowing your pH is very important. > alkalinity ? phosphates .7 <This is too high, see here: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2002/chem.htm > Temp 78 Lighting Current-USA model #1136-18" Nova Extreme 1 18watt T5 HO 10K/ 1 18 watt T5 HO 460nm actinic (no timer, not sure of proper cycle) <This is not enough light for this anemone. Typical light cycle is 10-12 hours (assuming you have appropriate lighting).> Marineland Maxi-Jet 900 power head for water flow <Powerheads do not belong in tanks with anemones.> I have no protein skimmer, I was told with this size tank I could use a standard, hang on filtration (came with tank) .....(please advise if you differ in opinion and what brand, model you recommend). <I personally do not recommend any tank that is an all in one for anemones. A protein skimmer is a very beneficial piece of equipment. > Stock: 1 maroon clownfish, 1 Sebae anemone, 1 Ricordea mushroom, 1 pulsing xenia, 2 zoos, 1 flaming scallop (am now aware of the issues) and some snails and crabs. <Crabs can be predators. If you must keep them, keep no more than 1 per 10 gallons. > All is well (though possibly not exceptional) except the anemone. Please advise on crowding/incompatibility issues. I hope to establish this tank and eventually upgrade to a larger system (possibly turning this tank into a breed specific (seahorse) tank. I would appreciate an answer as to how I can rectify the lighting issue (including brand, model) (as well as other issues I may not be aware of). Are larger wattage bulbs available for this model? <No.> If not, what are my other alternatives? <Returning the anemone until you can provide it with an adequate environment, and lots of research.> Unfortunately, though I absolutely love this hobby, money is an issue. <This is an expensive hobby. > I have already invested much more than originally anticipated, very possibly, on equipment useless to my cause. <Research before you purchase.> I want to pursue this hobby, but possibly with other alternatives. The beauty of the symbiotic relationship between a clown and its host is unsurpassable. <Yes. However, they are considered difficult to keep. Many rush into keeping an anemone, resulting in the death of the anemone. > My maroon clown is doing well. I have seen clowns host in a (what I was told was) toad stool. Would the toad stool flourish with my current lighting? <Yes.> Would my maroon gl clown accept it as a host? <Possibly. There is never a guarantee that a clownfish will host in captivity. > Thanks in advance, Shanon <Youre Welcome! > p.s. I do believe the information from the dealer was presented with the absolute best of intentions. <Very possible! I have found that most sales people are not knowledgeable enough in anemone care. > In comparison to the other dealers I visited, I would rank my local dealer the highest. I think this is an industry with less than specific standards. I am still left, at this moment, with this unsettling issue. <Return the anemone and continue researching. Brenda>

Re: New Sebae Anemone, Inadequate Environment, More Research Needed  3/20/08 Hi Brenda, <Hello Shanon!> Thank you for your response! <Youre welcome!> I'm sad to hear my tank is too small for the anemone. My LFS has a tank that is yet smaller (maybe 10-12 gallon) which has a large bubble tip and a maroon clown. <Minimum tank size recommendation for this fish is 30 gallons.> The bubble tip appears healthy. <It wont stay healthy long term and this is a poor representation of how to care for these animals.> Will you please tell me the reasons why the anemone requires a larger tank (not to question your knowledge, but for my understanding) and what size tank would be suitable? <Anemones need pristine water conditions. The chances of this happening in a 16 gallon tank are slim. With a larger volume of water, the water quality decreases at a slower rate. Add the fact that you dont have a protein skimmer, the chances of survival have decreased even more. Ammonia is extremely toxic to anemones. When an anemone dies in a tank, it pollutes the water quickly. A dead anemone can wipe out even a much larger system. In a 16 gallon system, you will likely end up with nothing. Anemones also grow quickly. They can reach 18 or more. When they have outgrown their space, they move to find a more suitable place. There isnt going to be any space available to move to in your current system. This will cause stress on the anemone. Stress causes death. I recommend 40  50 gallons of water volume, or more, for anyone new to keeping anemones. I also recommend the tank be an established environment.> I am feeding krill to the anemone twice weekly, though he rejects it about an hour later. <Try smaller pieces until you can find the anemone a new home (1/8 sized portions).> I also feed Marine Snow twice weekly and Mysis shrimp every other day for the clown fish. <Mysis shrimp is also a good choice for the anemone. Marine Snow is useless for anemones. Anemones need raw meaty foods, no exceptions here.> I did mean salinity 1.022. <This is much too low for anemones; 1.026 is best.> I test it with a hydrometer (is this adequate?). <I dont recommend using hydrometers. A refractometer is more accurate.> The hydrometer says that 1.026 is out of the safe range. <1.026 is closer to normal salinity of the ocean.> I guess I need a lot more information to understand how the system works. <Keep researching. You will find many answers to your questions here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm also read through all the Related FAQs at the top of the above link.> If not power heads then what should be used for water flow? <Pumps need to be outside of the main display. I recommend a sump/refugium. Either will add more water volume. A refugium will allow you to grow macro algae. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm > I thought I needed the hermit crabs to clean the tank and keep nitrates down, is that wrong? <It is not wrong. However it is not the best option in such a small tank. I do keep hermit crabs. However mine are kept in the refugium. crabs are opportunistic feeders. They are known to kill small sleeping fish, eat polyps, snails, and bother anemones. > I believe the toad stool is the way to go for now. I would still like optimum lighting. I have not been able to find better lighting to fit my 18 inch tank width. Do you have a suggestion? <Check with the manufacturer or the place you purchased the set up to see if they offer a lighting upgrade. However, be careful that you dont add too much that you have heat issues.> Thank you for the info on the chemistry. <Youre welcome!> I will start doing my own tests immediately. <Great!> I will be sad to see the anemone go but I think the toad stool is a good solution until I get a better understanding of my system and upgrade to a larger tank. <Indeed.> Best regards, Shanon
<Good luck to you Shanon! Brenda>

Sebae Anemone Failing Quickly, Inadequate Environment... Brenda... refer  1/5/08 Hi, <Hello, Brenda here!> I really need your help. My tank has been running for three months. I have a 55 gal. w/approx 60 lbs live rock, 1 blue tang, 1 clown, 3 damsels, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 coral banded shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimps, 7 Ricordea, mushrooms, and 1 hammer. We do weekly water changes of 7 gallons at a time. My problem is my Sebae who is deflated and has a white liquid coming from the bottom and what appears to be a fleshy tissue that almost looks like cotton. <Yikes! Your tank is not ready for an anemone. Anemones need an established environment, 6 months to one year minimum. How long has this anemone been in your tank? What are your exact water parameters, including temperature, salinity, pH, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, calcium, and alkalinity? I need to know what equipment you have on the tank, including your lighting, skimmer, amount of flow, etc.> He had been eating fine up to 2 days ago when he began to not take the food in. He has been eating krill because that is what they were feeding him at the store that we purchased him from and since he didn't accept that we tried brine and Mysis shrimp and also plankton. <Brine shrimp is not an appropriate food for anemones, unless it is newly hatched brine shrimp.> Nothing worked until last night when he did take in 2 pieces of krill. <This is too much food for one feeding. With unhealthy anemones, I recommend food portions to be about 1/8 in size (or less). Over feeding can cause regurgitation, leaving the anemone with no food.> Today he looks awful almost a grayish color. I have sent a few pics of before and after and I just don't know what to do with the little guy. If you could help me I would be eternally grateful. We are new to this and your web site has been a huge help in problem solving. <Unfortunately, your anemone is in very poor health. It is best to return it to the place you got it, or find someone with an adequate environment, that is experienced in the recovery of anemones. I also suggest you research all of your livestock before you purchase. More information on anemones can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm I also recommend reading through the FAQs.> I appreciate all that you do for us out here! Keep up the knowledge because we need you! Thank you again! <You're welcome! Brenda>

Sick Sebae Anemone, Not enough lighting. 12/2/07 Dear Crew, <Hello Sami, Brenda here> I read a lot of your answers regarding anemones and the Sebae anemone in particular, but still have 2 questions regarding my Sebae that I got 2 days ago. It would be great if you could comment. The first is whether or not I can touch the anemone and turn it around (it has been upside down since noon today). I read somewhere that this was a very bad position, as its tentacles cannot breathe this way. But I also read that one should leave the anemone alone as much as possible. So, should I turn it around (if so, with my hands and gloves??). By the way, it is white (and I know I have to get it brown and healthy now). I fed it mysis shrimp which were sticking on its tentacles and it did eat. I intend to get Selcon also. <It sounds like you have a very sick anemone. How was it acclimated? You can try turning it over, but it is likely it will just turn it self over again. I would definitely wear gloves.> The second question concerns my lights: I have a 40 gallon breeder tank, so it's not too deep (< 18"). I have the Coralife Lunar Aqualights (2x96 watts I think). I have the white ones on from 12:00 to 6pm and the actinic on from 7AM to 8PM, the lunar lights from 8PM to 7AM. Is this ok? <2x96 watts of PC lighting is not enough for this creature.> FYI, I have 70lbs LR, a wet-dry trickle filter, an Aqua C protein skimmer. I have two false clowns, a royal Gramma, a lawnmower blenny and snails/hermit crabs/1 emerald crab, 2 conch snails. I have 2 mushrooms. The tank is 4 months old. <A 4 month old tank is not old enough. Anemones need established environments, 6 months to one year.> Salinity: 1.025 <1.026 is better.> temp: 78 Calcium: 420 Alkalinity: 4 <Im not sure what method you are using for testing. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alkalinity.htm  > Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate: 0 Magnesium: 1200. <I would aim for the 1300 1500 range.> Thank you guys so much! Regards, Sami <Youre welcome! Brenda>
Re: Sick Sebae Anemone, Not enough lighting. 12/4/07
Thank you for your comments below, Brenda. <Youre Welcome!> I turned the anemone around and fed it (it did eat, at least)... I will try and nurture it back to health. Hopefully it works.. How much lighting would be needed in your view? (I read that 4 watt per gallon, so in my case 160 watt should be sufficient, and thus thought that 2x96 watt was all right)...? <This is only a rule of thumb, and not a good one in my opinion. You also have to consider that 96 of the watts that you have are actinic which are more cosmetic than beneficial compared to the daylight bulb. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/actinicfaqs.htm  and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/heteraccrispa.htm  If it were me, I would go with a 2x175W watt metal halide or a 6x39W T-5 setup with individual reflectors.> Kind regards, Samira <Good luck to you! Brenda>
Re: Sick Sebae Anemone, Not enough lighting, Coral Recommendation 12/13/07
Dear Brenda (or other crew members), <Hello Sam, Brenda here> Unfortunately my anemone died. I was sad about this but mainly angry about myself. <I share your sadness.> The shop should not have sold this already sick anemone to me but I should have done more research and believed the more conservative sources (there is so much conflicting information out there). <It is not unusual for a LFS to have an unhealthy anemone on display. It is sad, but not unusual. I have found very few shops that impressed me with their anemones. Collection and shipping is very harsh on these animals. In many cases, by the time they have reached the LFS, they are on their way out. Many places do not have the knowledge, space or the equipment need to assist the anemone in regaining its health. Captive reared anemones are best. I would rely on information from those that have successfully kept these animals (or any other marine life) long term when researching their care.> I don't think I will get another one for a long time. <I dont recommend anemones in a 40 gallon system unless you are experienced with keeping anemones. Your lighting would also need to be upgraded.> But I am wondering what you would recommend for me. As I said, my 40 Gallon breeder tank is approximately 4 months old, I have 2 clowns, a royal Gramma and a lawnmower blenny and 2 mushrooms (also some snails and hermit crabs). I would like to add some corals slowly and ideally something that my clowns could host (the little one sleeps on the powerhead now). <Protect the intake of the powerhead. Smaller sleeping fish have been known to be get too close to the intake.> My water parameters are all in line with suggested levels; I have a protein skimmer, wet-dry trickle filter and compact fluorescent lights (2x96). What type of corals (if at all) would you recommend to me? <There are plenty of soft corals that you can get. The mushrooms like you already have, some Xenia, green star polyps, yellow star polyps, Kenya Tree, and leather corals are all good choices.> Thank you, Sam <Youre Welcome! Brenda>
Re: Sick Sebae Anemone, Not enough lighting, Coral Recommendation 12/17/07
Thanks a lot Brenda, <Youre welcome Sam!> As always, your response was very useful. <Thank you! I am glad you found it useful.> I wish you and your team happy holidays and a great new year already! Kind regards, Sam <Happy Holidays to you and your family also!>

Bleached Sebae Anemone - 01/07/07 Hey guys! <<Hello Michael>> Would first just like to say what a great job you all do to help us out with answers we should already know if we had just done our homework ourselves! <<Hmm, much truth to that...but folks also wish/need to call on other's opinions/greater experience in the trade...and many merely want to validate their own thoughts/findings.  But as you state, much of the information is already available for the reading...and even if one doesn't find the answers their looking for, reading beforehand can often make it easier to ask/bring to light the right questions>> Here are my tank parameters - 75-gallon 48x18x20 H.O.T. Refugium with skimmer - Razor Caulerpa 2 Fluval 404 with modified spray bars Prizm Skimmer Coralife PC 260W, 2 actinic and 2 10000K placed @ surface of tank 9 watt U.V. Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 20 <<Mmm, edging up there...>> pH - 8.4 - 8.6 Temp. - 78 Calcium - 380 Alk - (don't really know - The 5 in 1 strips I use say over 300ppm) <<The dip-strips are worthless in my opinion...much better to invest in a titration test kit (Salifert, Seachem, etc.)>> Mushrooms, Zoos, Star polyps, small frag of Monti, Condy.  All flourishing!  My concern is with a Sebae anemone I have bought within the last week (first mistake). <<Indeed, not a good addition...I do hope you have read our information on anemone care/systems>> I saw a gorgeous white Sebae with yellow tips at a LFS (second mistake) and I had to have it. <<No such creature/color...bleached>> Well, of course, it doesn't seem to want to attach to anything or eat. <<This animal is possibly stressed beyond recovery>> I have tried mysis, krill, and silversides.  The only way I have gotten him to eat is by gently sticking a piece of silverside literally in his mouth and gently force him to take it down. <<But does it stay down?  Likely the food is too large (minced meaty foods are best), and you are also probably causing more stress/possible physical injury>> He has very minimal stickiness, which worries me a lot.  I am really curious about his behavior however.  When the lights are off he seems to attach to something for the night and has decent polyp extension, and when the lights go on, he loses his foothold and shrinks up. <<Hmm, sounds like a reaction to the lighting due to the absence of UV filtering pigmentation in the bleached anemone's tissue...though I wouldn't have though your specified PC lighting to be that strong>> At night looks like a bleached Sebae but during the day he shrinks up and almost looks like a bubble coral. <<Well Michael, the coral is likely instinctively opening at night to feed as this is when the water column would normally be full of plankton (you might try feeding after lights-out with a slurry of Sweetwater Plankton, Mysis, and Cyclop-Eeze...or similar.  With no symbiotic algae in its tissue to foster photosynthesis the "daytime" reaction may simply be a way to conserve energy for the nighttime feedings...or perhaps it is truly irritated by the light (hopefully there are no clownfish present exacerbating the problem)>> His tentacles are half the size and very round almost egg shaped.  Any idea as to why he is doing this? <<Tentacle size/shape can be variable due to environmental conditions or the mood/health of the anemone.  This animal was probably on the decline when purchased...should have done your homework beforehand my friend>> Will the Condylactis help or hurt in his survival? (help with zoox or hurt with chemical warfare?) <<As stated in much of our data re, it is never good to mix anemones with sessile inverts, and usually worse with other anemones.  Not only due to the potential for disaster if the motile anemone decides to go walkabout, but these organisms detect one another's presence and yes, chemical warfare becomes a factor.  Couple this with the Sebae anemone's weakened state, the very noxious nature of the Zoanthids and Corallimorphs, and the Condylactis' ability to release nematocysts to physically attack the Sebae...well...you do the math...>> I hope this is enough information, please let me know if you would like a picture or more info. <<This is enough information to know the Sebae is likely doomed I'm afraid.  It's not unheard of for the odd specimen to recover from such bleaching events...but under the current circumstances I hold out little hope>> Much Appreciated! Michael <<Regards, EricR>>

Sebae Anemone/Health/Systems  - 06/07/2006 Hi there, I'd just like to start by saying your site is very useful, and has certainly saved me from inadvertently given LFS misinformation. I have a question about what I believe may be an ailing Sebae Anemone. I have a ten gallon nano with about 12lbs of live rock and 20lbs of live sand, Nano-skimmer, carbon/bio filtration, and I change the water 10% every other week. I monitor the levels very closely, but only with test strips. According to the strips the levels are all optimal. It's a fairly well established (4 months) system with several blue hermit crabs and turbo snails, 2 Ocellaris clowns, and a Royal Gramma. I got the Sebae about four days ago, and it immediately moved to a part of the tank with pretty constant but light water flow, and dug its foot in to the sand. Since I got it I have realized (thanks to your site) that the white coloration of the anemone is actually a sign of bleaching (doh!). But at the LFS it was all inflated and actually had a clarkii nesting in it. I went on the fact that the guy at the store said an Ocellaris would probably like a Sebae. I since also found out that there are probably more suitable choices of anemone. <Believe the LFS gave you more misinformation.  Your tank is too small just for the fish you have in there.> (lesson learned. Always do research) however, I put the Sebae in. I invested in some invert supplements for the water to give the thing better chances. I have noticed over the last few days that the anemone has a habit of inflating and deflating during the course of the day. It will plume out for about an hour to two hours, then deflate for the same time. I didn't really think much of this at first because I heard they do this to get used to new water. However, I got up today, and its lying sideways on the sand, deflated, with its foot exposed. There's no sign of it breaking up at all, the foot looks like its not torn or anything like that. There was a problem in the oral area, it looked almost like it had hemorrhoids in its mouth. Today that's gone, and the oral disk is rather smooth. Although on its side the disk is opening and closing slowly, and the foot does seem to me moving somewhat (but extremely slowly. Is this thing doing its swan song? Or is there a way I can save it? <I'd see if you can take it back to the store, won't live in your tank.> I couldn't really find this specific situation in any of the articles. <You probably won't.  The situation shouldn't exist.> I appreciate your help, and apologize for writing you a book here. Thanks in advance, <Chris, you should have researched the Sebae before buying.  You have nowhere near the requirements for keeping one alive.  You do not mention lighting, so I'm assuming you do not meet the needs there either.  Enough light for this anemone would probably heat up that 10 gallon to 100 degrees.  I will post a link for you, too much info on keeping anemones to pen here.  Do read along with related topics above and you will see how far off you are. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm James (Salty Dog)> Chris H.

Mail  9/20/05 Bob, <James> Hope you had fun at MACNA.  I'm to a point now where I wish the larger anemones were banned from the market.  <And sharks.... and?> A query today disturbed me.  The gent has a Heteractis crispa with about three watts per gallon of light, wants to know why it is upside down etc.  Tank is too small for it to start with. As you well know they can grow to almost two feet in diameter although I doubt very few aquarists have ever grown one to that size.  I'm guessing average life span/average aquarist, about two to three months max.  <I'd say less> Just venting Bob, know you're busy.  My input.  If I were to keep one....220 minimum tank, refugium equipped, 2000gph water flow, at least seven watts per gallon, preferably MH/HQI, trace elements, strontium etc, feedings once weekly with food soaked in vitamins, and a family of five blue striped clown and no other fish inhabitants, just some usual clean up guys.  I'm thinking this would give one a half a chance at keeping one for any length of time.  What's your opinion Bob? Regards, Salty <'Bout the same my friend. Cheers, BobF>

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