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 FAQs on Anemone Use in Marine Aquariums 2

Related Articles: Anemones, Bubble Tip Anemones, LTAs, Cnidarians, Coldwater Anemones, Dyed Anemones

Related FAQs: Anemones 1, Anemones 3, Anemones 4, Anemones 5, Anemones 6, LTAs, Bubble Tip Anemones, Caribbean Anemones, Condylactis, Aiptasia Anemones, Other Pest Anemones, Anemones and Clownfishes, Anemone Reproduction, Anemone Systems, Anemone Lighting, Anemone Feeding, Anemone Identification, Anemone Compatibility, Anemone Selection, Anemone Health, Anemone Behavior, Anemone Placement

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Bubble Tip Anemone with sunglasses - 8/10/03 Hi, <howdy> I have just discovered your website and want to  tell you how great it is. <thanks kindly... do tell friends :) > My system is small (30 g) with a 30g sump and refugium.  It is plumbed and ready for testing and  if all goes well live rock and curing.  Protein skimming and 250 pendant metal halide (10000k) lighting.   <good heavens! That's a lot of light...> My biotope will be Indo-Pacific relatively shallow water species. <fair enough then... truly an exception> My question concerns timing of anemone and clownfish occupation of the tank.  Because of the territorial nature of clownfish and the migratory nature of the BTA, it concerned me if I should inhabit these critters at the beginning or later.  Other critters will be a few SPS, clam,  possible goby, and wrasse. <The tank is too small for any anemone (or other motile cnidarians) with sessile species. It is a recipe for disaster if/when they move in the future (no doubt, while you are on vacation). Anemones are generally unnatural tankmates in reef aquaria at any rate and do best even when in species tanks only. Skip the anemone... save its life (and perhaps a tank full of livestock too) and just enjoy the shallow SPS corals and clams in this tank properly> Thanks for your help in advance Sam <best of luck! Anthony>

Moving a carpet anemone Hey guys, I was wondering if you could tell me if it would be alright to place my carpet anemone in a cradle of live rock.  I have him placed closer to the light and it looks better to have him in the rock.  I was just wondering if it might be bad for him to stay in/on the rocks instead of the crushed coral. <Carpets are usually found attached to rocks. It's fine to move the anemone if the spot will have better lighting and/or water flow, but if the anemone is not happy where it is, it will move until it's happy. Careful with it though, those nematocysts pack a serious punch (read: wear gloves!) -Kevin>

More Anemones...Ughhh Hello I've been surfing the web for two days and I'm still in the dark. I just bought a 46 gallon bow front and have no clue really what I'm doing.  <all kidding aside... if the above statement means that you are a new aquarist (less than a year or two in the hobby, then let me first welcome you to the gang :) And let me ask you to seriously consider not keeping any anemones for quite some time, if ever at all. Most anemones need large stable tanks, do not fare well with any other anemones or corals in the same tank (silent chemical warfare), and need the highest quality reef style lights (typically metal halides) for long-term success. The reality in the hobby, however, is that most anemones are bought by new aquarists, kept in small aquaria under fluorescent or weak light, forced to live with other anemone or coral species and most die within a year if they even live a few months> I want to have a couple anemones if I can and I already have three pieces of live rock. One big piece and two smaller pieces. Maybe ten pounds in all. I know the light that is one the tank is a 50/50 light. 50% natural daylight 6000k and 50%actinic is this enough light to have anemones?  <the color combination of light is very fine... even with PC or VHO though, it may not be enough light for the popular anemone species that will host clownfish. If you prefer or must have fluorescents, do consider a minimum of 2-4 VHO bulbs> Or what should I do to correct this if not.  <I suspect as per above that anemones are not suited for this display at this time> Also, I would like to get a couple of feather dusters if possible.  <another beautiful but very difficult species to keep long term. If you are a new aquarist, my friend, please do keep reading here and through our archives... and especially look for a good local aquarium society and some good books to get more info about the desired animals before you buy them. It is too easy to get enticed to buy inappropriate beauties. Do consider Bob Fenner's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist"... a great book. Also, Mike Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium" is a nice beginner book> Any advice is appreciated. Thanks, Taran <best regards, Anthony>

Compatibility You guys have a very good website. I enjoy it everyday. Just a quick question that I think I already know the answer. Is it possible to keep a dog face puffer, red emperor snapper, and a lion fish in the same tank as an anemone <No> if you buy the fish when they are little and they grow up with the anemones in the tank. <That would not make a difference. Anemones require very specific dedicated care that could not be accomplished properly with these fish in the tank, too many large, messy eating fish.> Thanks again for answering one of my just wondering questions. <No sweat. -Steven Pro>

Anemone-sucking clown Hi there... <cheers> I was wondering if you could shed some light into this activity my clarkii has been doing to my carpet. Yesterday I was surprised to see that my smaller clarkii was "sucking" on my anemone's tentacles.  <very common behavior with some species... especially Premnas (Maroon) clowns> I have never really noticed this before, but I saw him do this it repeatedly throughout the day, and I thought it was interesting.  <Very> He wasn't closing his mouth onto the tentacle itself, but opening his mouth sucking them in and blowing them out. It seemed to be only occurring on one side of the carpet, but I am going to try to see if he is continuing this today in other areas or at all. Any ideas??? <there are many theories about it... do look into the authoritative works of Daphne Fautin and Joyce Wilkerson (separately) on the subject of Anemonefish. They are who I turn to> Thanks, Kim PS--if need be, I can try to send you a clip of him doing it. <no worries, but thank you. We have plenty of tentacle sucking videos on hand. Heehee... kind regards, Anthony>

Long tentacle anemone problem I have a 55g reef tank with a long tentacle anemone that I have had for about 8 months and a green carpet anemone that I have had for about 6 months.  <mixing any anemone species in the same tank in the long run is always a bad idea (severe chemical warfare that builds in time). Mixing with a carpet species is just plain a recipe for disaster (they are extremely noxious... and will poison most other cnidarians in time)> Until recently (the last week or so) both have looked extremely well and eat extremely well. Now the long tentacle anemone has changed colors from a purple to a pale red and his tentacles have gotten shorter, thinner and seem to be a little grainy (he is still eating twice a week). He also has flattened out over the sand bed and rocks instead of standing upright like he used to.  <an extremely common and expected response... it may very well be succumbing to the allelopathy of the carpet anemone. It takes 6-12 months for most in aquaria> My tank specifications are : 220W VHO fluorescent lighting AMiracle - Maxi-reef wet/dry filtration system Seaclone protein skimmer <yowsa...this skimmer has a very bad reputation. If yours too hasn't been producing a full dark cup of skimmate at least once daily, then this has mitigated the chemical warfare of the stinging anemones by allowing the noxious silent toxins to accumulate and concentrate> Any help you can give me is much appreciated. Thank you Mike Bouvier <water changes and a better skimmer are necessary for starters. The anemones really need to be separated my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

Anemone Sting Help me, all knowing ones.... I can't seem to find an answer, but how do I treat a sting from a carpet anemone? <I am going to have to refer you to your doctor.> Your help would appreciated. Stung in Texas! <If your doctor needs some idea of what he could be dealing with, please see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm, and the linked FAQ file. -Steven Pro>

LTA Hi Bob, was wondering if you can help me out....I placed a long tentacle anemone in my 120g tank about 2 months ago..... At the same time, I added a Clarki Clown which took the anemone immediately. GREAT interaction between the two. It took the anemone about 3 weeks to find place that he seemed content at. <Yes/understood. It takes about this amount of time for these animals (anemones) to "react", adjust to new environs> He basically attached himself to the side of the tank ( under live rock in a dimly lit part of the tank ) and slowly buried his boot beneath the 3 inch sand bed. 3 weeks later he unattached himself from the side and the boot began to go through some REAL strange looking shapes (sometimes, it looks as if there is a small rubber-band around the boot constricting its size, and the point of constriction moves from the top of the boot where the tentacles are to the bottom of the boot. I noticed at the base of the boot, some kind of white substance attached, or, protruding. This has been going on for two weeks now with the anemone expanding and contracting very often ( once or twice a day ) and continues to be unattached. <These are natural processes, parts of the specimen... used for adventitious/seeking behavior> 120g tank, 30 inches deep, 2 400w MH 10k temp 79 salinity 1.0215 PH 8.23 Alkalinity shows normal Ammonia 0 Nitrate 0 Nitrite 0 I feed the anemone small shredded pieces of shrimp twice a week - which the clown fish grabs immediately when dropped in the tank and swims franticly back to the anemone - thank God because its tough to reach down to the bottom of the tank to hand feed. During this two week period, the anemone does not seem to interested in eating. The white substance on the boot is my main concern, I cant seem to find anyone who can even guess what that could be . Any insight would be appreciated ! Thanks ! <Do what testing you have... I suspect something is off with your alkalinity... but might be calcium, its proportion with magnesium... Likely all related to your dosing (Kalk) habit... take care to not allow new chemical mixes to sweep over this specimen directly... mix them in your sump/s slowly... And do look into other foodstuffs, supplementing them with vitamin, HUFA products. Bob Fenner>

Sebae Anemone Bob, I have poured through your FAQ's regarding anemones and your responses and hoped to already find a potentially similar situation to the one I am encountering but did not. So...here goes my Sebae question. I am a rookie aquarist, but have done a tremendous amount of research and have entered this hobby slowly and with guarded caution except for my purchase of the subject form of life. I have a 72 gallon tank with about 30 pounds of live rock, a trickle filter and protein skimmer in the sump. Additional power head in the tank for very good water movement, but not controlled by any wave maker or such.  <better off for it. Max flow without a wave timer is preferable IMO> I have PC lighting at about 4 watts/gallon (50% full spectrum, 50% actinic).  <hmmm... nice lights but moderately effective at best on a tank this deep. Symbiotic invertebrates near the bottom will suffer in time (all should be within the top 10-12 inches of water under such fluorescents. Also, the PCs need to be no more than 3inches off the water surface. Dreadful if placed higher> The tank has been up and running for 4 months. I have been doing small (5 gal) water changes frequently (2 - 3 times per month) and test the water faithfully. All parameters have been good with the exception of Nitrate (NO3) which rose after my last water change to 20ppm. <not a crime> In the tank I have the following. 1 red serpent star 1 chocolate chip star 24 turbo snails 1 Mexican (jumbo) snail 30 blue leg crabs 1 cleaner shrimp 1 peppermint shrimp 2 false percula clowns 1 eiblii angel 1 Sailfin tang 1 sixline wrasse 2 cabbage leather coral 5 polyps hair mushroom 1 sebae anemone <know that the chocolate chip is a long-term risk to invertebrates. Perhaps the dwarf angel as well> All are doing well with the exception of the anemone in question. The one life form that I bought before doing research was the Sebae. I bought what I thought was the best looking (yes...pure white, purple tips)  <arghhh...:)> from my local fish store. After acclimating the anemone and getting it into the tank I dove online to do the research I should have done before my purchase. Through multiple web sites, articles and trying to draw a consensus on all the information (good and bad) that is out there. I came to the conclusion that I had bought the most unhealthy specimen and was probably doomed.  <agreed> I spoke with the local fish store and they said they had never heard of the stuff I found on the web  <call the LFS back and tell them that their village just called: their idiots are missing> (should be brown, white is unhealthy, sure to die in several months) so I decided that I would do everything I could to try to keep this one alive. <excellent> I added the anemone to the tank 2 months ago. I month after adding the anemone to the tank it began to get color (brown) and seemed to have grown slightly.  <all good> He found a spot in the bottom substrate between live rock and hasn't moved.  <bad under these lights/depth in the long run> I have been feeding him DT's live once a week (direct through turkey baster)  <wow... do a Google search of our WWM site of the best/correct way to dose DTs and like bottled phyto. Straight from the baster is a complete waste of time and product despite mfg rec's (Toonen research).> and chopped up "Prime Reef Plus" once a week (again via turkey baster).  <very fine ocean meats are a great idea for this animal> I add Kent's essential elements and Aragamilk at regular (2/month) intervals.  <save your money on both IMO. > I have been extremely excited with the fact that most of what I have read indicate that my attention to the anemone had been paying off and I just might be one of the successful Sebae keepers. However...two days ago I noticed (the day after a chopped Prime Reef meal) a large majority of the anemone's tentacles had deflated and turned a vivid NEON GREEN!  <just a concentration of pigments on deflation> I immediately jumped on line to research such a phenomena and found nothing. This morning I awoke to my anemone all closed up. I was afraid that it had reached the point of no return and did not want to risk the rest of my tank. I removed the anemone (with heavy sorrow) but thought I might as well place it in my quarantine tank (no live rock, 1 damsel (long story), <very fine> basic fluorescent light,  <which may be brighter for it in fact because of shallow water> sponge filter, excellent water quality). By the way, when I removed it from my show tank he was still firmly attached bottom of the tank.  <a good sign> When I got home from work the anemone had no green tentacles, was open and firmly attached to the bottom and side of the glass. Now I had a huge dilemma. I had expected to come home from work, scoop the anemone from the water of my quarantine tank and bury him! Now I had to decide whether or not I had made a huge mistake by removing him from the show tank and put him to sure death in the underlit quarantine tank or done the right thing and he was on his slow way out.  <neither... it is likely getting better light in the shallow water, again> I decided to put him back in his spot in the show tank and let him have the best chance at survival even though his keeper may have made some dumb moves.  <arghhhh, my friend!!! This could prove to be fatal!!! Moving photosynthetic animals several times within days is EXTREMELY stressful as they manipulate their resident zooxanthellae to compensate for the changes in light. Please read the following article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm> When I removed him from the quarantine tank his tentacles retracted (good I have read) and sticky (another good thing). He was well attached to the glass (good I presume). I placed him back in the show tank in his original position and he seems to have already re-attached his foot to the glass bottom. Again, no signs of green. <indeed... put any coral or anemone in a good place the first time and leave it be. Your mistake (unintentional) was assuming it would get enough light from the PCs to service long term at its present depth in the display> WHAT IS GOING ON? What have I done and what do you think I should do? I am attaching a picture of what I thought was a healthy creature taken just weeks ago. My anemone and I would greatly appreciate your advice and the chance to keep this creature alive. Regards, Alan Henderson <best regards, Anthony>

More dumb questions (Anemone) Hey crew dudes, <is that code for meaning that we have to film a GAP commercial?> Had a curlicue anemone that was quite successful, had grown considerably, ate everything I fed it (including black worms) and was generally thriving. Then, a few nights ago, it "blew its head off", or perhaps more accurately "lost its head." The top of it was decapitated, writhing weakly in Medusa-like death throws on the bottom of the tank while the bottom of it was still attached to the rocks, headless (it is still there, withdrawn, but seemingly alive).  <actually a form of reproduction. Very successful too as both clones are imparted with zooxanthellae and replete with defensive mechanisms. The pedal base will grow a new capitulum (head) and the "head" will attach soon likely. Don't change anything about water chemistry or habits. Carry on as usual, take pictures to document please! And share them with us and others. Perhaps I could convince you to write a report or article about the history of the animal and the event? I will help you edit or write it if you like. Either way we will post it here on WWM and our upcoming e-zine... you will get another 15 minutes of fame (and better fame than that whole college dare drinking in a tutu fiasco for you)> I had done a water change and fed it that afternoon, but neither event differed whatsoever from my routine. Meanwhile, all other fish and invert inhabitants (except one, see below) are showing no signs of stress at all, so it seems unlikely that it could be systemic. I even fed the same thing I had fed the anemone (aforementioned black worms) to my bubble coral (in another tank) at the same time and it too, showed no effects (sans the usual following-day pleasure and ample-bosomed polyp extension resulting from its worm consumption). <yep... just natural fission... asexual reproduction: don't knock it.. they just had sex with someone they loved> I'm completely in the dark here. The anemone could be reproducing for all I know. (doubting this, I removed the severed head, fearing water contamination, however). Although my water parameters all test out to be normal, there are several other possible perpetrators of this presently senseless possible murder: 1) the day before I had moved a piece of live rock from another tank. It had macroalgae on it (and was getting "munched by an angel" in the other tank, so I took it out). This was placed behind the anemone. <setting the table> 2) a long-spined sea urchin, though I had never seen him near the anemone and he wasn't near it after it was found headless, either. <exotic company> 3) a camel shrimp (though he has been a co-resident of the tank with the anemone for quite a long time, with no problems and no evidence or exhibition of corallimorph tendencies sometimes present in this species). <fine seafood in need of wine> 4) A mushroom group--also in the same tank some distance away. The whole tank had to be moved the week before and while the anemone was kept separate from the other inverts during this move, the mushroom was in a plastic bucket with several others for a few hours. It had seemed withdrawn and upset by the experience. Perhaps it shot off some killer chemical that finished off the anemone? <recreational drugs> I'm stretching for an explanation here, but can't think of anything else. Any ideas of what's going on?  <and an act of reproduction to cap the whole evening off. Sounds like a good date for the anemone> The anemone was dirt cheap, but had thrived for quite a while and I had grown attached to the venomous little bastard. Fearing water contamination from its demise, I executed a one-third water change, though nothing else looked the worse for its wear (the mushrooms still are withdrawn, however).  <indeed a wise move: the solution to pollution is dilution> Another one-third change was done yesterday and everybody is fine (again, except the mushroom). The only other residents are a fire shrimp, a flasher wrasse, a neon goby and a turbo snail (its a 20-gallon live rock system with a skimmer). Appreciate the advice and love your site and the honest information it offers. Best, Derek Milne <with kind regards, Anthony>

Starfish & Anemones I am fairly new to the saltwater tank hobby and have a very simple 29 gallon tank with a few pieces of live rock, 3 turbo snails, half a dozen bumble bee snails and small hermit crabs, 3 baby horseshoe crabs, <You should read up of the horseshoe crabs here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crustfaq.htm> and 3 chocolate chip stars which get fed clam bits about once a week. Would any of these have problems if I also introduced a small anemone and a small clown fish. <The starfish are not to be trusted with the anemones.> So far everything in the tank seems to be leaving everything else alone, and are all happy. Your help on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Shelly <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Anemones in Reefs:  BAD Ok I will do as u told me to , but one last thing  what if I place the anemone first until he settle in and stop moving ? <that is impossible my friend. They move at will. As your light bulbs age, salt or debris gets on them, the power hears age or become clogged, etc... all such changes in water movement and light cause a move. As you add creatures and the anemone senses their "chemicals" in the water it will move away or towards and inevitably cause a disaster. I must be clear... anemones are never to be mixed in aquaria with other stinging animals for long term success> Thanks expert
<best of luck, my friend. Anthony>

Marc's Promised Pix, E. quadricolor f', Hood picture Hi, guys, <whassup> Sometime ago I promised Anthony a picture of my 45G hood with 2 VHOs and a pair of 150W MHs. It is a corner tank setup. So here it is with a few tank shots.  <dude... the hood is built with a nicely open structure, but the tank is crammed into a corner and the side mounted fan is mere inches from the wall. This really could work better (top mounted fan for starters... assuming you don't want to drag the tank further out from the wall... heehee> The anemone is the center piece of the tank with some soft corals as well. The H. crispa is about a foot across, started out as your normal 4 inch LFS fare. Had a rough start with him but eventually nursed him to good health. <the anemone has nice color and fantastic polyp extension...very fine> It was a choice between this fellow and a bright orange BTA. But after what I've been through with the crispa, I couldn't part with it. The BTA on the other hand is extremely hardy. It also has longer tentacles and packs quite a sting. The H. crispa is much better behaved, especially in a small tank. (I had originally had both in a 210G tank.) The crispa does seem to prefer stronger light than the BTAs, though. <in the second photo I think I noticed a Rainford goby... wow, if so we might need to talk. This fish needs a TREMENDOUS amount of food and hair algae to survive (picking crustacea from the algae). Most service on prepared food for 6-12 months and then die. Do consider setting up an inline refugium for him. What a beautiful fish. Lets talk if necessary> I had both in the tank for a short while; wanted to make sure one or the other would survive the move. Both did but the BTA was stinging the crispa. You might be able to see a few crinkled tentacles on the back left. Should heal up in a few days but the BTA had to go to a new home (a local aquarist who is already having good luck keeping anemones.) Anyway, enjoy the pics and thanks for all the advice along the way. Marc <thank you my friend, best regards, Anthony>

Re: Hood picture Rainford goby Hi, Anthony, The tank is six inches from the wall and the back of the hood (which is mostly open anyway) is 4 inches. Seems to stay pretty cool with the fan going.  <fair enough> I don't think I'll be dragging it anywhere ;-) <heehee> On the Rainford, you are correct he is in the tank. Doesn't seem to be any skinnier than when I acquired him about a year ago but he has only been in the new, smaller tank for about 4 weeks. He eats prepared food quite well; think I really need to worry on this guy? <ahh...yes, my friend. This "challenging" fish like many others is not a problem to feed as legend has it. Most will definitely eat prepared foods... but they simply die of a dietary deficiency without the right kinds of prey. Without a tremendous amount of natural plankton in the tank, I sadly will not be surprised if this specimen goes the way of so many others. Help him and yourself by culturing fresh hatched and Selcon soaked brine shrimp (the only time brine is useful... fresh hatched hours old), feed frozen mysids and Gammarus shrimp... and definitely set up a fishless course media refugium for pod culture. Few aquarists keep this fish through a second year let alone a first. The move to a smaller tank will not help your cause either. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks, Marc

Anemone ID Hi, Sorry to bother you guys again (I have asked several questions before). I recently bought an anemone-carrying hermit crab, very similar to the one in this picture: http://www.coralreefnetwork.com/stender/marine/arthropods/hermit%20crabs/ped2.jpg , my question is, do you know what type of anemones it has on it (or what are the most common anemones does it carry)? I know they are closed up in the picture, but mine look the same when they are closed. The crab has the two anemones, and also has some weird black "worms" that come out of some "shells" on his back...do you know what these are? Also, he has some small orange/yellowish worms near the opening of his shell that come out periodically during feeding. They have two long "feelers" at the end of their bodies, can you identify these as well? I really appreciate it, as I cannot find any information on your website or the net (yahoo) on the anemone-carrying hermit crab. Also, is a power-compact fixture (72watts total) with one actinic and one 10k white bulb sufficient for these two anemones in a 20gallon tank? Thanks so much! Rob Lewis <Please see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitfaqs.htm, regarding the anemone on your hermit crab. The seven and eighth questions down from the top are very similar. As far as the worms go, they sound like what are referred to as spaghetti worms. -Steven Pro>

Anemone Identification Recently purchased a used 125 gal setup to set up my first reef tank. The guy I purchased it from had it as a reef at one time but pretty much let it go, although it was still up and running. There is some very small anemones (I think) on some of the live rock. They range from 1/4" to 1" across and are not adjacent to each other. They are supported by a trunk/tube with tentacles extending from the perimeter of the top of the trunk. They are all translucent with bulbous tips. I cannot find out what they are and was wondering if you had any idea. I do not believe they are Aiptasia and do not want to remove them if they are non-threatening. <<Well... typically an anemone that would live with no care would be Aiptasia. From your description though, it's kind of hard to tell what they might be. Any chance you could take a picture and forward it on? It would be much easier to identify. If you haven't checked this page yet, please do - there are many anemone pictures here, perhaps yours will be here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm >> Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you, Sheila Schneider <<Cheers, J -- >>

Anemone Hello to you all, <Cheers, my friend... Anthony Calfo in your service> First of all we got Anthony's book for the father around here for father's day and he loves it......really likes it a lot and we are of course learning all sorts of new things to get us in trouble.... <it is a pleasure and an honor to hear. thank you... and do pass along what you learn in kind :)> Now for the problem, a long time ago I was given what I understand is probably a Condylactis anemone. You may remember me. He came with a clean up crew from a live rock dealer. Anyway, he is very happy. We also think that there is a distinct possibility that he ate our clown fish.... <it has happened before> now, it may not have been him, we also have been trapping crabs like crazy now that they are so big and they might have done it.  <yes... agreed, most crabs are opportunistic and would not pass on a sleeping or sick fish given the chance> Oh yeah, there is also an occasional 'click' in that tank and who knows maybe an old mantis has managed to allude us.  <or a pistol shrimp, but both are overrated as predators. Crabs hands down win as bullies/predators> I have never seen him and I managed to lure the others out pretty easily with some scrumptious food that I put into a glass flower vase with a narrow top....works pretty well... <yes :) very good idea!> The tank is very happy and the stuff in it seems to be growing like mad....therefore little crabs got big etc etc etc. The fish was very healthy and one day...gone....not a trace. We think that all crabs have been removed. We are working on the possibility of a mantis by setting traps and we are left with the anemone. What do you think? Think that anemone ate the clown?  <has happened, yes... but usually with new, sick/dying or otherwise impaired fishes. Not established and familiar ones. Crabs are still very strong candidates> Think that he will do in our new Blue Atlantic Tang that is in isolation awaiting the go ahead to go into the main tank? He is big!  <likely quite safe from any of the above> I mean when he stretches out and is in 'full bloom' he is fully 5" to 6". (By the way, my flame scallop is also fine. 6 months in the tank and seems to be holding his own....although he hides...not exactly a extrovert!) <I'm certainly glad to hear that they appear to be fine, but there really is no way to verify that it isn't slowly starving like most. Indeed some hang on longer than others. Please do keep us updated, especially if it makes it to 18 months... a great feat indeed. Fishless refugiums and phyto reactors will help it along> We were told at the LFS not to trust him and of course we are now quite fond of him....Is this how you end up with 3 or 4 tanks?  <heehee... I suppose yes> Do we need to put him in another tank? <if they are referring to the anemone I agree whole heartedly! They do not belong in reef tanks... some stay settled for weeks or many months before moving across the reef and stinging and killing corals in their path. Other get up to move and end up clogging an overflow, etc. A separate tank is best for anemones> We also have a brain coral that we think he chased all over the tank until he lighted on a spot that made him feel superior and now we have a few mushrooms and a pearl coral.....all have been together for a month or so (the brain for 3 months) and all are eating and appear happy.  <wonderful!> The anemone has not moved in over 2 months and seems content.... <agreed a good sign> (he ought to be, he ate my favorite clown) We only have one other fish in the tank now....a blue damsel and I am afraid to add anything until I am sure about this. And so, I once again ask for your advise. I miss the crabs and I will miss him in the main tank. He is beautiful and the thought of creating a whole new tank for him is a little daunting......I'm just getting over the last tank and a winter of curing live rock and that whole wonderful adventure. <I wish I had a more pleasing answer... but there are so many horror stories about anemones in reef tanks. I just cannot say that he is likely to be safe in this mixed reef tank in good faith. A small species tank would be best. Natural sunlight too please:)> Thank you and hope you are all having a great summer.....Helene <With kind regards, Anthony>

Sick Anemone Hi Crew, I have a long tentacle anemone (sebae I believe) which has shrunk down in size to a noticeable extent. This behavior has continued for 1 week. Today I checked my water quality and came up with : ph 8.4 SG 1.022 temp 26 degrees Celsius Amm 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 It doesn't seem to be an environmental problem then. I have a 500ltr tank with a clarkii clown and one black molly, plus a few live rocks (its illegal to import live rock in NZ). Today I carried out a 15% water change and intend on doing another one tomorrow. Occasionally I feed the anemone some blended shellfish that I have kept frozen. May you please suggest anything I could do to improve the condition of my anemone ? <Could be insufficient lighting or too infrequent feedings. Please begin your search here for additional information http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm> I have just dosed some Seachem reef complete, as I have trouble keeping reasonable calcium levels. Any help would be truly appreciated. Andrew <Please investigate further the needs of these creatures. -Steven Pro>

Reef Cookbook (set-up) Hi all, Been browsing the WWM FAQs, reading Fenner, Shimek, Tullock, Paletta and everything I can find on the www (it's worldwide, you know) for three months now. Last month, on a trip "outside" to San Francisco from Juneau, Alaska, I flew home with an AquaC Remora, 28W each of PC 7100K & 6700K, powerheads, LaMotte and 50lbs Fiji Rock. I have husbanded goldfish bowls to a 300 gal Malawi Cichlid tank; had a 55 FO SW tank for several years--several years ago. I want to set up a 20gal species tank for E. Quadricolor and Premnas biaculeatus (symbiotic envy, I suppose). The rock has cured in my Rubbermaid, and algae is starting. I get my filtered seawater from the NOAA aquarium down the road, and I am ready to aquascape and bring in the "cleaning/sand" crew. I will also setup a 10gal QT with the Live Rock. Since the Anemone needs to be introduced to a stable tank, I am wondering about the selection/progression of stocking in creating such an environment. Some good choices now, and some patience should have the tank ready for the BTA in 6-12 months. I understand I want to avoid potential coral/Anemone chemical warfare. Any & all invert/fish advice for getting a suitable material/energy flow going would be appreciated... <Your tank selection is a bit small, but it sounds like you have a good start. I would just caution you about the use of powerheads. These need to be prefiltered to stop the anemone from wandering into the intakes.> Great site, BTW! Bill Childers Juneau, Alaska <Good luck and let us know how it goes.>

LTA (Macrodactyla doreensis) I have a 75 gal reef tank with lots snails, hermits, soft corals (Xenias and Ricordea mushrooms) and a couple of cleaner/fire shrimp. I also have a tomatoe clown, clown goby & a purple tang (in quarantine). I was thinking adding a long tentacle anemone with a saddleback clown fish. I realize the anemone and saddleback are reef safe but are they compatible with what I already have? <Anemones can cause problems with other corals. Both stinging and getting stung and allelopathy (chemical warfare).> or am I making a mistake? Thanks Ron <Do research anemones further. I can give you a few suggestions. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm http://fins.actwin.com/species/anemone.html http://www.reefs.org/library/article/r_toonen8.html Shimek's "Host Sea Anemone Secrets" Allen & Fautin's "Field Guide to Anemonefishes and Their Host Anemones" Good luck. -Steven Pro>

Anemones I'm thinking that Condy's and Bubble Tips can live together in harmony without waging war on each other.  <incorrect... essentially all cnidarians will issue competitive and noxious compounds to inhibit neighbors. These two are no different> Am I wrong? They seem to be doing fine so far.  <it is not something that you can see in weeks or even months. If the natural lifespan of such anemones is measured in decades and you succeed in making it to two years with both... the answer is still clear. I would not recommend to motile anemone species in the same tank> Thanks. <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Anemones
Has it hurt any of the fish by having the anemones together this far? Will it potentially hurt the fish?  <unlikely with good water quality (water changes, carbon, PolyFilter/Chemi-pure, etc)> My problem is the anemone that I want to take out is on a rock that is too big for the smaller tank that I would transfer it to. The foot is wedged very well in the rock. Any suggestions as to how to get it to release from the rock so I could move it? <yep... have some smaller rock/rubble nearby where you would like it to crawl to... then place a small obstruction above the water (like a teacup on top of the glass canopy or anything you can imagine in like purpose, safely under the lights) to have/create a small shaded spot just above the anemone. This will often prompt an anemone to let go and drift, or crawl towards better light. A very gentle and usually effective method. Takes some days. If more than a week, lets try something else... like playing elevator music to the tank. (Oh... wait, we only want it to move... not regurgitate. Forget the last suggestion)> Thanks! <always welcome... Anthony>

Anemone Question Hi there, I have a question for you about my new anemone. I have a relatively new 65 gallon "fish only" tank with the following fish: 2 Yellowtailed Damsels, 2 Percula Clowns, 1 Sailfin Tang, 1 Twin Spot Wrasse My local supplier suggested that I should add an anemone for my clowns. <Nice sales pitch. Completely false that you need an anemone for your clownfish, but a nice sales pitch none the less. Unethical too. I would start looking around for other stores.> I was sure that my lighting wasn't adequate for anemones, but he assured me that my setup was fine, <Oh, this guy is killing me.> so yesterday I bought this beautiful anemone that I've been watching for the past month. <Could his suggestion have anything to do with him sitting on this animal for one month and not wanting it to die in his tanks? Hmmm...> It looks like the supplier are not 100% sure what type of anemone it is, the only name they could give was Heteractis. I've looked at many of your pictures on the site and I'm still not 100% sure, but I don't want to bother you with that right now. <Ok> My question is about the behavior of the anemone: When I first put it in the water it came alive immediately, opened beautifully and attached itself to a nearby rock, it was a bright pink color with the tips of the tentacles a bright yellow. The clowns move into the anemone like lightning, which was great to see. Over the next couple of hours it slowly moved onto the glass and higher up in the tank, until it was just below the water surface. <Probably looking for more light. Many require metal halide to survive.> Soon after this it started "shrinking" and "closing", the pink color also started getting darker and the tentacles appeared to just "hang". This happened at about 7pm, so I hoped that it was just "going to sleep" for the night and will probably come alive again in the morning. Today it opened up a little bit, but nothing close to how it was before, its still very dark and much smaller than yesterday. Its still attached to the glass in mid air (same spot as last night), which is a good thing I hope, the clowns are still clowning around in its tentacles very happily and this afternoon I fed it a piece of calamari, which it consumed quickly. So hopefully there are still hope! My supplier tells me not worry and that this is normal behavior, but I'm just worried at the moment because it kind of looks dead in the water right now compared to what it looked like yesterday. <Not dead, but definitely showing its dissatisfaction with your system.> If my lights are not adequate, can it affect the anemone that quickly, in the same day even? <Not to the point of dying, but will not look to be in perfect health.> Is it more likely something wrong with the water itself or is this just an anemone getting used to its new environment? <Could be both.> I only have about 120 watts of lighting in at the moment. <Not enough. For your 65, two 175 watt metal halides would be nice.> My water: Ammonia=0, Nitrites=0, PH about 8.3, SG=1.023 <The few parameters you listed are in order.> Any ideas will be very welcome and my apologies for the long email. <Please type anemone into the Google search engine at the bottom of the WWM page for more info.> Thanks, Chris <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Hermit crab anemones Hello, how is everyone tonight, well I hope. <thank you, with the same wishes in kind to you. Anthony Calfo in your service> I will be doing so so much better if you can help me with some info.  <I'll tell you what I know and make up the rest to sound very convincing <smile>> I have a fairly large hermit crab in my 30gal. long aquarium with an anemone on it's shell. From Dr's Foster and Smith's website, I figured out that it's a Calliactis polypus.  <ughhh... fascinating but tenuous life for the anemone in captivity. I rather wish these animals were not made available for random impulse purchases. This is definitely one for the "I should have looked before I leaped" file. Please do research all animals, especially the unfamiliar before you acquire them, my friend>> But that's all the info I can find on it anywhere on the web. I was wondering if you could tell me what it's lighting requirements are.  <actually a heavily feeding dependant cnidarian (organismal as absorption)> It seems to be doing well so far, I've had it a few weeks, and it's still fully extended all the time.  <which means little or nothing to tell the truth. Most all anemones can hang in there for several months starving to death while they execute normal polyp/tentacle cycles> When I feed it, twice a week, it grabs the piece of food out of my fingers and immediately curls around it to swallow it.  <very good to hear it! Please do continue to deed a wide variety of meaty foods (4 or more of marine origin) with the hope of keeping this animal for more than a year... hopefully years!> It also picks up little bits of "stuff" off the substrate as the crab moves around the tank,  <indeed... lighting is secondary to their feeding strategy for deriving sustenance> and every time the crab changes shells, it takes the anemone along. MY biggest worry though, is that it's not getting enough light because usually during the day, the crab goes under a ledge and digs into the substrate leaving only the anemone on top of his shell exposed.  <natural again for this heavily food dependant. Still, quality full spectrum reef lighting is attractive if not necessary for other live rock and invertebrates you might have. Bulbs favoring the 6500 to 10,000 K rating would be ideal. Several bulbs are most likely necessary> As I said, I can't find any info anywhere on this little guy. Any information you could give me would be sooo greatly appreciated!!!!  <explore the links to FAQ's from this site... perhaps info inside. Photos of a couple of hermits with their guests on this page too...http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm > Thank you, Kristen:) <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Hermit Crab Anemone
Hello again, <Hello! Steven pro with the follow-up.> I wrote before about the hermit crab anemone. I do take full responsibility for not finding out about it's care before I bought it, but as I said, I could find no info on it anywhere on the web other than what it was. <If no info was available, it would have been better to not purchase.> This little guy seems to fall under the same category as the mandarin fish and the sea horse, the pet stores are more concerned with selling them than keeping them alive. <Yes, unfortunately true. Mostly profit/market driven. If no one purchased them, no store would stock them. A vicious circle.> I wish I could have found some info on this thing, I figured it's like a curlicue-- low light and lots of feeding. I don't want to return it to the petstore and have someone else buy it and starve it to death. I'll just try to keep it alive as long as I can. <Agreed. Try your best and document your attempts and hopeful success.> Should I be feeding it more than twice a week? <Maybe every other day.> What I feed is : thawed of course, <An important note, please defrost with tank water, not hot tapwater.> Ocean Nutrition Very High Protein Formula, Sally's marine cuisine, tetra freeze dried shrimp, and very small crumbs of frozen krill and little bits of silversides. <All sounds good.> I also have about fifteen pounds of live rock and the glass, gravel, and rocks are crawling with those little Copepod things. How am I doing? <Sounds pretty good.> What else if anything should I be feeding? Thanks, again, Kristen:) <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Anemones How we doing boys? <So far, so good> In my last e-mail I was discussing my tank which is a 3 month cycled 10gal marine tank with about 7lb of live rock in it and 3 hermits and 3 snails. I was originally wanting to place a small to medium Entacmaea quadricolor (what is the size difference in them when you are ordering them from say ffexpress?) <Ask them... most are "squeezed down" for shipping... and can be one, two, three hand size on initial expansion... in the wild, much larger.> in with a symbiotic Maroon Clown. My lighting is a 10,000K day tube and a Actinic 03 tube which I was told is enough for this shallow tank but however is was mentioned to me that a Heteractis crispa would be a better choice with a TR perc. clown. From articles I read I though the Sebae is kinda hard to keep? <Harder on average than Entacmaea> Like if they don't replenish the zooxanthellae in them then they are doomed to perish. From all articles I read the Entacmaea quadricolor is a much hardier species. Am I being misinformed? Any help is great. The sight I went to on WWM had a Aprils fools about a Betta. The pic had been changed so I couldn't understand the joke (I'm thinking Betta in a anemone?) <A joke, yes> Any who, so there wasn't the info I was looking for . Any input would be marvelous. Oh, one more question. Why is the Amphiprion bicinctus clown so hard to find and when it is found it is thought the roof expensive. <Simply because of its origin... all come out of the Red Sea... a long way, expensive to ship to the West> They are one of the most beautiful clown I have ever seen I would love to have one. Thanks for the help, you guys have a great weekend. John (Fin) <You as well my friend. Bob Fenner>

Subject: Help ID and Thanks

I have been reading your responses to folks on WetWebMedia website about anemones and you have become my hero. The advise you have given others has helped me a lot. I wrote to Dr. F who I found via one of your responses and she has been giving me advice and help as well (even though she is not an aquarist... she is an admitted field biologist. I don't know if you know her? <Yes; gave a pitch at a hobby conference at the same time... and have corresponded with Dr. F.> I gave her your info and told her she should look you up... I think she has been asked to write and article for an aquarium magazine... <Indeed; she and Gerald Allen have a very nice book on Clownfishes and Anemones... I refer to it often> anyway... by copy of my e-mail to her (and you as noted in e-mail) I could sure use your advice. I have also attached some photos for possible ID? I am sorry about the quality and understand if you can't help... however, from what I have seen on the web your are a magician... Thanks again and my anemones are doing good thanks to your and Dr. Fautin. Any help or advice would be great. Kent Dr. F could not ID the purple anemone, however, she said she though it looked bleached (she is used to seeing these in the wild natural environment. From what I have seen it looks like what everyone sales as a sebae around here and from what I have read from you probably dyed? am I on track? Thanks, Kent <I do suspect these images all show Entacmaea quadricolor, the "Bubble Tip"... and yes to the pink tipped one being badly bleached out... a very common occurrence. The "Sebae" Anemone (Heteractis crispa) has tentacles that are much longer, more tapered toward the ends, and generally displays prominent pink at the very tips> Here is message to you and Dr. F.... if you use for website please remove Dr. F's name or reference to her. I would want to get her permission before I went public with her responses. She has been great. P.S. I stole your joke as you will see good sense of humor as well. <I see.> Dear Dr. F, Thanks for all your help! I traded my Tomato anemone (whatever that was...kind of neat looking fellow it had bright green (almost florescent) markings on it's foot (which was kind of cream color) and was mostly brown tentacles with green and tan tips with green slashes around the mouth (sorry for the poor photo earlier) My maroon clown treated it like a bad date... I traded it (only want one anemone per tank) for a true quadricolor beautiful (Pinkish) bubble anemone that is moving, feeding, opening big and looks great (I think???).. I attached a photo for you (I know... my camera stinks). My medium size Maroon clown dove right in within minutes and is deeply in love (big smile)... Anyway, my two Percula clowns (small) (that took so long to fall in love with the sebae in the micro reef tank (well three weeks for someone that has no patience like me is a long time) in love with my Sebae (if that is what it is?) are now harassing the heck out of my Sebae and from what Bob Fenner says about Sebaes (not a big fan)... he says most of them die in captivity (see his articles) and he thrashes people who collect and especially dye them or any wild anemone... I think he agrees with you about tank propagated anemone sales of wild caught anemones and not a fan of wild capture sales... I think from his responses to people... Good for him and if I had known this I never would have bought a sebae (due to poor tank survival or especially any dyed anemone. I like the fact that Bob notes not to move them and let them move.... Which has been my experience (even though I am new to Salt tanks)... and I seem to be doing good for a micro reef (15 gallon) and (30 gallon) Hex... No deaths (well other than the bubble that guy sold me and told me to put into a "two week old tank and poorly cycled tank" it died within a week (I hated that)... I should have listened to the other shop owners that told me to wait at least two months to condition the tank well... my patience strikes once again and I took bad advice from a pet store sales man... never again! I have been going now over four months and no other deaths!... Self brag half scandal as my Dad would say! Anyway... I want to do my best to keep this sebae alive and get it back to itself (get his algae up as you have helped me understand so well)... being a nurse I take it personally... It was doing great and had been coming out of it's little cave at the bottom of my 15 gallon "micro" reef tank and was opening up big and feeding very well (he seemed to like the lower like and stayed in the shadows mostly even when doing well.. Maybe too much light (18inch 24watt X 2 (48 Watts total) JBJ Power compact with cooling fans actinic and daylight light 10,000k"... well as noted in my earlier messages. However, now that the two small clowns are in it's face every second... it has moved way back into the cave and does not open up much and when it does the clowns act like Bill Clinton in a secretarial pool (I think I stole that one from one of Bob's comments to someone on his websites... I Liked it). I think I have plenty of light (looks like the sun in the tanks at times) "power compacts" and I switched my smaller JBJ (32 watt single 18 inch smart light (actinic and daylight 10,000k) retro kit used for eclipse hoods that I place in my hex hood (this is a model of light... I am including this tech stuff since I am going to ask theses questions of Bob as well) power compact from my 30 gallon tank to my 15 gallon tank and they are very well lit (put the smaller 32 watt light on the 15 gallon tank and the 48 watt light on the 30 gallon hex... lots of rock stacked to the top of both if the anemones want to move up... lots of ledges)... I also moved my two Percula clowns to my hospital tank (10 gallon) for a little rest from their honeymoon with the sebae (if that is what it is?)... My hope is that the lower light combined with not being harassed will bring it out and then in a week or so I can put the clowns back... I hate having them in the hospital and moving them... Any thoughts about this plan? I know you are not a aquarist but would love to hear your thoughts. I plan to e-mail Bob this lengthy message as well and if you don't know him? I would suggest you contact him at the website URLs listed above... especially if you want advice or help with your aquarium magazine article or if your graduate student wants what appears to be an excellent person at identification with commonly known names of anemones. (I hope to get a copy of your article for the magazine when you are published?). I am so glad you are helping me and I hope I am not wearing out my welcome. What a small world we live in about the river blindness / Africa connection we share... or shared... How did or who did your ex husband work with on this this disease and can you share his name (Ok if you don't want to share this... I will understand)? My girlfriend was interested in knowing if she might know him (before he retired) She is still very involved with the World Health Organizations and her program here in Atlanta is looking for a director (Emory/Merck if he is interested?) as well. Anyway, Thanks again and I hope to meet you some day. I look forward to your response as always. Thanks, Kent Kent B. Kennicutt, RN, BSN <Thank you for this. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help ID and Thanks
Thanks... you rock! I guess since it is not a sebae my odds of saving it are better?  <Yes> and that is why the perculas warmed up to what I thought was a sebae? <Likely> I was told iodine (can you recommend the best product or method of iodine delivery?) <Potassium iodide solution. Please read re this on WetWebMedia.com. There is a search tool at the bottom of the homepage> is one way to get algae level up in the anemone to help it un-bleach (I also use Reef Solution, strontium, Kent A&B calcium buffer and feed wide variety of foods including blue zooplankton invert gel food) do you have any other advice? Can you shed some light :-) on my lighting issues I mentioned in my e-mail to you and Dr. F does this seem sufficient for these tanks? WOW you do work fast... great advice...and thanks for all your help and website! <Again, please review what is posted on these issues on WWM... there is much (too much for here) to be mentioned to get more of a "complete picture" of these animals husbandry than directly answering questions> P.S. I moved the rock he had attached too (did not want to detach it he was stuck good) when he crawled way back under my micro reef structure (I was afraid he was going to die from lack of light... never has come out fully into light and when clowns started all over it the anemone just kept going further under the structure out of the light) I then rearranged my rock to put him out front but under a ledge and at the bottom of the tank. I sequestered the 2 little loving small (1 inch) perculas in the hospital tank... and the anemone has opened back up (however) is still staying just under a ledge in the shade. <Leave it where it is... the Anemone will "come out" if/when it wants to> He looks fine and is opening and feeding (just badly bleached I guess). I know he can move, however he seems to just move further out of the light. Do have a anemone that does not have the will to live and is suicidal or does this just happen and I should be patient (not my virtue as you can see)... how long should I wait to put the clowns back or do you think they will still pester it back under or have anything to do with this? Any thoughts? (see letter to you and Dr. F) <No need to wait. I would place them. Bob Fenner>  

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