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FAQs on Anemone Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 2

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

Related FAQs: Anemone Feeding 1, Cnidarian Feeding, Food/Feeding/Nutrition, Anemones, Anemones 2, Caribbean Anemones, LTAs, Condylactis, Aiptasia Anemones, Anemones and Clownfishes, Anemone Reproduction, Anemone Lighting, Anemone Compatibility, Anemone Health, Anemone Placement, Anemone SystemsAnemone LightingAnemone Identification

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Feeding My Anemone/Anemones/Systems/Feeding 12/6/11
<Hello Trina>
I have a Fluval 6 gal. salt water tank. I have my water checked weekly and adjust it as needed, if needed. I purchased a "Blue Anemone". I have tried now for 1.5 weeks to feed it and it keeps releasing the minnow I was told to feed it.
<Would not feed minnows.>

It holds onto it for a while then releases it. I put the minnow on the end of a bamboo skewer and it holds on but after a while releases it. I get the minnow in what I believe is the mouth of the anemone and it
disappears but then resurfaces for the anemone to only hold for a while then releases it. What am I doing wrong? What do I do to keep it alive?
<I have no idea what your "Blue Anemone" may be, but a six gallon tank is much too small for any commonly sold anemone.  Do read here and related articles/FAQs found in the header.  Here you will find information on keeping anemones.
Thank you for any assistance.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Trina Drummond

Fdg. H. crispa...  8/24/11
Hi I bought a purple tip anemone <Heteractis crispa likely> and I have looked online for info on how I feed it!
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sebaefdgfaqs.htm
I have bought some shrimp and am wondering how I feed it. I tried once and he didn't wrap around it! Any info would be great.. Thanks Tiffany
<W. Bob Fenner>

FEEDING 2/23/11
Hi, I would like to get your opinion about feeding anenomies .Some people say do some say not. I have 2 wave makers in my tank so the food gets moved around well . I feed blood worms, brine shrimp, brine shrimp pellets, I seaweed & flakes each day but I do not put ant of it directly onto anenomies. Please could you help me to do the right thing
<Mary, there are lots of different anemones, and some are greedy predators that must be regularly fed meaty foods while others (can, at least,) rely almost entirely on symbiotic algae. In extreme cases, you have things like Aiptasia and Beadlet Anemones that feed so greedily on detritus and fish food that they can multiply so rapidly they become a pest. So you first need to identify the anemone you have. Do read what Bob's written about anemones generally, and on feeding them in particular.
Bear in mind most anemone deaths -- at least with the big, colourful ones -- come down to poor lighting and/or poor water quality. In fact it's probably fair to say most anemones are *killed* by their owners through ignorance of these requirements. Feeding anemones is only rarely the "make or break" issue. Cheers, Neale.>

Anemone/Feeding/No Useful Environmental/Equipment Info 6/15/10
<Hello Samantha>
I just bought an anemone.
<There are several species, do tell us which one you have.>
It has been about 5 days since I've introduced it into my tank. I have tried feeding it with krill. It holds on to the krill but after a few minutes it lets go of the krill. Is there anyway to make the anemone eat,
<Mmm, there is always the no eat, no dessert trick.:))>
like feeding it at a certain time or placing it in a certain spot. I've been trying to place the krill towards the center but like I've said it just lets go of the food after 5 minutes.
<There is no way to make an anemone eat, but I would not attempt my first feeding for at least a week or until that time when he has found a place to his liking and blooms. Size of your tank, water parameters, water flow, lighting, tank mates, etc., can all have some impact on it's overall health. You provided no useful information
that would help me give you useful information.>
Thanks for your help!!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

my anemone, unknown sp., fdg.  10/27/09
We bought an anemone at PetCo about 3 months ago and has been eating frozen silversides twice a week very well.. The last 4 weeks he has spit it back out, and I cant figure out why he wont eat anymore. He hasn't moved from his rock but he has shrunk a little or just not getting big like he used too..
<Do you chop up the fish first? If not... do that... and try some variety (like Rod's food or get some brine shrimp, etc.)>
Our lights and our tank is well balanced. My husband keeps up with the quality of the water daily.
We have 4 Perculas, 1 yellow tang, 1 powder blue tang, and 5 small hermit crabs.
<In how big a tank?>
Could our anemone be surviving on the flakes and pellets that we feed our other fish? I will say that his eating habits changed when we added the hermit crabs.
<Hmm... hermit crabs can be trouble, but I would suspect at this point that it's either a water quality or food issue.>
Thank you
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Anemones/Feeding 11/21/08
<Hello Linda>
I frequent several forums, my main area of interest is the Entacmaea quadcolor <quadricolor> anemone and Stichodactyla tapetum (mini carpet). I find this both educational and entertaining for I could talk/read on the subject endlessly and never lose interest. <Agreed, especially when kept with clownfish, a unique relationship.>
WetWebMedia has taught me much over the years, it is wonderful to have your site with it's wealth of knowledge at my fingertips.
<Thank you.>
Here is the question-
Do Entacmaea quadricolor anemones require feeding of meaty food? What would you say to the recommendation "An anemone gets 90% of its food from the light and trace elements in your water. Supplemental feedings will not hurt, but neither will not feeding them either." I have read your thread on bta requirements and feeding. I get irritated when people will give bad recommendations to new anemone keepers. They may begin with "first off, stop feeding your anemone etc..." If you could advise me how to handle these situations. I am just trying to be responsible and offer a little help to those who are obviously concerned and confused, I just want to be sure I am correct, and anemones do need feedings a couple times a week.
<Healthy anemones do produce much of their own nutrition by way of photosynthesis, and is why proper lighting is very important in keeping these animals in good health. Anemones seem to do better when fed occasionally, and small feedings twice weekly would be in order, but not absolutely necessary. Excellent water quality and proper lighting would be at the top of my list.>
Thank you in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Anemone Feeding Tools 3-31-2008 I want to start off by saying thank you and this site is the best. <<Thank you sir.>> I kind of have a almost silly question but I was told the only silly question is the question not asked. <<I used to think that too until I started working in law-enforcement.>> I have a brand new anemone and I was reading up on feeding it but how do you feed it without placing your hands or arms in an aquarium. <<Gloves, Tongs, Chopsticks, Turkey Basters, Straws.to name a few.>> I have a 30 inch deep tank so its a long ways down to feed the anemone at the bottom. I hope you are not laughing at the simplicity of this question but if you could help me out I would be greatly appreciated. <<Good luck and see above my friend.>> Thanks Again <<Quite welcome.>> Brad <<Adam J.>>

Starving Anemone, BTA, E. Quadricolor 12/17/07 I have a long tip bulb anemone in a 250 gallon reef tank with 7 surgeonfish, 1 fox face, 3 clowns, and 1 mandarin. I have 3 175 watt Metal Halides over tank. <How deep is the tank?> I also have several cleaner shrimp too. I have been having a problem with my anemone. It used to be like 7 inches in diameter and now it has shrunk to 3 inches in diameter. <Yikes! How long have you had this anemone?> I have never directly fed it because I thought the Perculas were feeding it. <You cant rely on clownfish to feed anemones. Some actually take food away from anemones.> I do add Liquid Life BioPlankton and Cyclopeeze once a week. <This is not adequate for an anemone.> I do this mainly for my Derasa clam. I have tried to feed it frozen chunks of Mysis and he refuses it or my fish take it away from him. <Is the anemone still able to hold onto the food? What does the color look like? What are your water parameters? What size portion are you trying to feed? Try 1/8 sized portions of Mysis shrimp, silversides, krill, or lance shrimp. You may have to protect the anemone while it eats. A plastic strawberry basket that you get when you buy strawberries at the grocery store will work for this.> The tentacles have shortened up quite a bit too. <This is a sign of starvation.> How do I go about feeding this poor guy so that I can get him big and healthy again? <Correct feeding and proper environment is the only way.> Please respond back soon. Thank you Christopher <Youre Welcome! Brenda>

Can't get my anemone to eat. Anemone Trouble...  2/1/07 Hello. <Hi.> I've had an anemone for about a month and a half.  I can't remember what the retailer I bought it from called it, but I bought it under his recommendation and I trust him with that.   It has a white base with white tentacles that are less than an inch long with purple tips. <Maybe an H. crispa....maybe a little bleached, common for this animal in captivity....unfortunately.> It ate about two to three times a week for the first two weeks and since then it's only eaten about once and I can't seem to get it to eat anything.  I've been feeding it freeze dried krill that I let sit in some tank water for about ten minutes before I attempt to feed it.  As I said, it hasn't eaten in almost three weeks and I'm a bit concerned. <What is the animals condition? By that I mean has it moved at all, is it "planted" well into rock/substrate? Lighting and tank parameters?> Any tips? <Perhaps you should try a smaller food, like mysids or even frozen rotifers. Usually when anemones reject (throw-up basically) or refuse to ingest foods, they are being overfed or fed to large of items.> Dustin <Adam_J.> <<I'd send this person to the Sebae files... RMF>>

No to feeding dead Clown to Anemone  10/27/06 Hi there guy's < Heya, Emerson with you today. > Hmmm tricky one, this may or may not be the first on WWM . I came home this afternoon and as per .. I made a b-line for the tank only to find one of my percula's MISSING . He (since he was the smaller of the pair) didn't appear at feeding time and I couldn't see him any where in the tank when I noticed that the filter cap on my 300l/h power head was not on the pump. Yep you've guessed it,  power head 1  percula 0. Now although Am really gutted and I promise I am, can I feed my anemone the percula. < Bag it and trash it. Although you did not mention what type of anemone you have I can bet it will not consume a dead clown without puking out a half digested clown mass that will do your tank no good. > Yours sheepishly < No worries buddy :) Give your departed clown a proper burial and keep an eye on those powerheads!> dray

New Anemone Woes - 10/9/06 Hi there <Hi Dray - Tim answering your question today!> My names dray and I'm a reef tank newbie. (I bet that's a breath of fresh air, hey!) Iv had my tank (trogon 190) for a little over two months now and yesterday I proudly bought an anemone hoping that my tank bred percula's would host (dream on?) <Not necessary for your clownfish - particularly if they are tank bred.> Today I got back from work and the anemone is a purple mass of string where it settled yesterday kind of how it seemed to go when the lights went out. I've done a water change and I hope that might remedy the problem. Can you possibly give me some advice and also some on feeding, coz after reading what you guys do to feed your anomie's, and if that's the way to do it. Then I'm gonna go back to my LFS and slap some body  "All they need to eat they get from the food the fish leave", is what I was told. <This is not the case - the clownfish may help. You will need to supplement your anemone diet. Please do a search on the WetWebMedia website for relevant information - I assure you there is much of it! Unfortunately you do not give enough details regarding your system for me to offer assistance. I would suggest you read the online archives particularly focusing on the issues of lighting and water quality! Best of luck! Tim>

Re: sea anemone.. Carpet..., just read   10/8/06 Thank you for your fast reply.  I will have to find another interesting invertebrate.  One more quick question.  Why do anemones need so much light?  Because if you feed them meaty foods why would they need the light.  They do not do photosynthesis.   Thanks <Most do/can derive a significant portion of their nutrition through photosynthesis... Please, keep reading. BobF>

Feeding an anemone    8/29/06 I recently purchased a red tipped anemone. <Mmm, maybe Heteractis crispa... a Sebae... you will want to know the species you're dealing with. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm> I have read many questions about anemones not wanting to eat, but mine is doing just the opposite. Yesterday I fed it a piece of shrimp about the size of the anemones mouth, which it quickly consumed and re-opened fully. Today <Whoa... slow down...> I fed it another piece which it consumed as if it were starving, so about 5 hours later I fed it again, and had the same result. I have read that anything that it doesn't need it will expel, but this particular anemone isn't expelling anything, only consuming. <... have slow metabolisms... will egest wastes, unwanted food in time> So, on to my question - is it possible to over-feed an anemone, and what could be the possible cause of this voracious appetite? <Is possible to over-feed... don't have much of a "food-refusal" response... food is scarce in the wild for the most part... Please read the linked files to the citation above. Bob Fenner>

Anemone feeding/lighting and Tank Upgrade - 5/11/2006 Lisa (or whomever the aquarist guru/happy helper of the day is), <<Ha! This is Lisa again.>> Thanks for getting back to me sooooo quickly. <<You're welcome.>> In response to your question regarding my lighting for the anemone-this is what I've got on the (still 30 gallon) tank: Current Dual Satellite Lamp- 65 watt 2-lamp with lunar light (Dual Daylight 6,700/10,000 K and Dual Actinic 420 Nm/460 Nm). <<I have never used this myself.>> I was told at my LFS that the lighting is sufficient for the corals and anemones, but I've seen many examples of disastrous consequences of poor advice while reading your FAQ's.  Was I misinformed? <<Not entirely.  Certainly not enough light for SPS, or an anemone, in my opinion.  Proper supplemental feeding of the anemone will surely help.  Is this the lighting that will go on the 72-gallon you are moving to?  If so, I would look into upgrading.>> Everything still seems to be perky in there, but one never knows.  I am feeding the anemone every 4-5 days with a small piece of raw shrimp or a small ball of formula one frozen food. <<Not still frozen, I hope?  Small meaty foods are the way to go. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemonefdgfaqs.htm, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemonelightngfaqs.htm.>> I guard him from the sneaky thieving shrimp or put a strawberry basket over him for awhile so he has a chance to decide if he wants to eat the food, or spit it out.  I AM somewhat unsure of the feeding technique- do I gently shove the food into his mouth or just put it on his "lips" waiting for his response?  I don't want to gag the poor guy, but I don't want to starve him either. <<Do read the linked files. Is he no longer sticky?>> As for my new setup- here is what I'm planning.  I've spent the last three days reading FAQ's (and subsequently eating nothing but beer and Cheetos) <<Diet of champions, to be sure!>> but I'm still a little unclear, so if you would humor me with some constructive criticism: 72 gallon display with 1 inch oolitic sand (and an area of deeper sand-about 3 inches as my firefish likes to burrow) Filtration: 15-gallon sump/refugium with 6" sand bed of coarse- medium grade sand (taken from my current tank with a 2-21/2 inch sand bed.  Bad idea?) <<Not a bad idea to use it from the other tank, no.  My preference for DSBs is oolitic sand.>> and some "spaghetti" algae. Aqua C Remora Pro with Mag-3 pump (hanging on sump) <<Good skimmer.>> Rena XP3 canister filter (trying to decide if I should filter/return directly from tank or in sump after skimming) with charcoal, nitrate sponge. <<I do not employ canisters on my reef tanks.>> Water movement: SEIO M820 Powerhead the 1200 Powerhead off the cheapie SeaClone skimmer couple of airstones (necessary?) <<No.>> Visi-Therm Stealth 250 watt heater I'd like to move my existing fish but add a beefier cleanup crew... but many of the packages I see for sale seem excessive.  Do I really need 18 Scarlet Hermit Crabs, 15 Astrea Snails, 15 Cerith Snails, and 45 Red-or Blue-Leg Hermits? <<You dont NEED any of them.  It is a personal choice. I add clean-up crews for interest/bio-diversity.  Ultimately its our job to feed properly/deal with organics.>> I was planning to add a couple of Bumble Bee snails, a sifting type star or two, and another tiny hermit crab. <<I would pass on both the BumbleBee snails and the sand sifting stars.  These stars quickly eat up all available organisms in DSBs, and perish.>> My poor abused fairy wrasse actually seems... happy... in the tiny 10-gallon quarantine as of right now. <<She is finally getting a break!>> She is not hiding all day anymore and will actually eat Formula One from my fingers.  I hate to put her back into the tank with the other nasty wrasse.  He's prettier, but I think he will go if I need to make a choice. <<I think fairy wrasses are much more attractive than 6-lines.>> Again, thanks for the assistance - Stephanie D. <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>
Re: Anemone feeding/lighting and Tank Upgrade - 5/13/2006
Hi Lisa- <<Hey Stephanie.>> Thanks for the links to all the anemone information.  I truly appreciate the patience and the lack of flaming at my stupid questions! <<Not stupid at all!>> All those hours I was browsing on WWM- how did I miss that (could it have been the beer)? <<Haha, maybe!>> I'd been looking at all the local stores in my area for a book on anemones but couldn't find one.  My poor anemone was never "sticky" from day one.  I will read some more of the FAQ's, and if I can't provide a suitable environment for him I will return him rather than have him slowly die. <<A wise choice if you cant care for the animal. Do try though!>> We are planning on upgrading the lighting but not sure what we're doing beyond that. I've spent time looking over the site regarding specifics on lighting.  Since I can't seem to find anywhere that sells bowfront hoods (and only the hoods) it looks like we will be building our own (maybe this weekend!). <<Do you mean a lighting hood?  A normal fixture is fine to use on a bowfront tank.  If you mean a cover, All Glass has a few different types.>> Do you have a recommendation- lighting type or wattage that I should be looking for in order to sustain my corals and anemone? <<In the 72, I would really recommend metal halides.  2- 150 or 175 watt lamps.> I couldn't seem to find a standard formula for this, and many of the different postings in the FAQ's give different recommendations.  I am once again thoroughly confused but I truly want to provide the correct environment for the marine life I have, rather than return them to the LFS. <<I understand. It can be confusing.  Do look for a unit/bulbs of 6,500K-10,000K >> Again, thanks for your patience and for helping to "get the word out" about proper fish care.  It helps us ignorant but well-intentioned fish lovers immensely. <<If only everyone was so well-intentioned!>> Stephanie D. <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Anemone Feeding, Food Types And Frequency - 03/15/2006 Hi. <Hello.> I have been searching yours and other websites and am having a hard time getting a straight answer on this question. I have a Condy who seems healthy and happy. Just got him, is accepting food right away. Gets natural sunlight, will be upgrading our lighting system to 250 watt metal halide. The question: How much and how often do I feed our Condy? Twice a day? Twice a week? <Once to twice weekly.> We are feeding him minced, thawed shrimp...he seems to like it very much. Should I vary it or is just the fresh minced shrimp enough. <Best to offer variety. Meaty marine foods (fish flesh, crab, shrimp) only.> Again, How much and how often? Thanks...Melissa and Micah <Read up here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/condyfdgfaq.htm and on through the related links. Hope that helps. - Josh>

Finding a Reliable Source to Answer my Anemone Questions Regarding my Reef  11/7/05 Hi, I have 90 gallon reef aquarium. Although I have had freshwater fish since I was 7, and have poured over many books, many of my questions about my reef tank remained unanswered.  I am fascinated with anemones, however, they do not seem to be a resident of the coral reef. Surely not a preferred neighbor. Is this correct? <Symbiotic anemones do live in, on, near coral reefs... just not necessarily amongst other cnidarians, some in the mud...> They are an opportunistic predator. <Mmm, semi-so... most are to a degree photosynthetic... some are less than opportunistic, non-predators... many large species consume a great deal of detritus, fecal material... filter feeding...> Some are more docile than others, but do they really belong in a reef tank? <Some... specialized ones...> One of the first residents in my tank was a Curly que anemone. He was happy until I started adding other corals such as button polyps. <Bingo> It was chemical warfare. The little guy wouldn't give up. Even though they were on opposite sides of the tank the curly que continued to spew mucus on his new neighbors. His efforts ended only when the stress overcame him. <Well stated> All that was left of my tank were my 2 fish, an ocellaris clownfish and my blue mandarin goby, one lonely hairy mushroom, and a dwarf blue hermit crab. The curly que was beautiful, but I have since been to the Caribbean where they originate from. In the reefs there I saw no sign of the curly que or any anemone for that matter. Tons of fish, sea urchins the size of basket balls, and many other unique species... but no anemones. <<Odd, have observed many, many anemone species in the areas of the Caribbean I have visited (admittedly limited to Puerto Rico, most often around the area of La Bahia Fosforescente - there are several phosphorescent bays/lagoons in Puerto Rico and surrounding islands - and other areas around La Parguera, Bahia Salinas, Borinquen beach) in very shallow waters, including the beautiful Stoichactis helianthus, as well as your Bartholomea annulata.  Marina>> I just set up a 45 gallon aquarium specifically for the 3 new curly ques that I have purchased. To keep form having another war, but is there anything else I could have done?  <Run your spell, grammar checker> <...? They may not "get along" with each other> I don't think any amount of filtration systems could have keep the anemone from sensing it's surroundings. I have a Eheim profession 2, and a few other systems hooked up to my 90 gallon. I have the outer Orbit lighting with 560 watts for lighting. What would have caused the little guy to have such an upset over a few neighbors? <... vital programmed potential... to exclude competitors for food, space, light...> especially if they're across the tank. I hope you have some ideas. I don't want to repeat this mishap. Thank you, Rykna Olson <Keep reading, seeking to understand... facts, their interrelationships, your relation to them. Bob Fenner>   

Bubble Tip Feeding vs. Condy Feeding - The Problem Child Hi WWM Crew, <<Hello Thuy. Marina this morning.>> I love your site. I literally spend hours reading through problems and advice to find the right mix of answers to solve my problem. I have a 20G, with LR/LS, 1 yellow tail damsel, who gets along fine with my Nemo Ocellaris, which I acquired from a friend that wanted a gold maroon he saw at an LFS that responded to nearly any anemone it encountered. It was pretty cool. (I wanted a blue tang instead of the damsel but I know it gets big and my tank is way too small for it). I also have A bicolor blenny that hides a lot, but is cute when he comes out; a cleaner shrimp; tiny hermit crab with plenty of empty shells, some snails, and a colony of button polyps. <<Sounds like a nice mix you have there.>> Anyways, I just recently acquired a BTA and a small Condy from an LFS that had to move out of the building. (these will be my last tank mates for this tank, I hope to take over a 55 Gallon soon =D to upgrade).  <<I sure do hope so, too. 20 gallons is too little territory for the two anemones together. The Condylactis, ok, but the BTA.. questionable.>> The Condy is so simple to feed, because it sits upright and eats anything I drop on its tentacles, and food seems to stick to it better.  <<Slightly stronger nematocysts. Plus, some animals are like weeds, it seems that the stuff you don't REALLY want is the stuff that does the best in a given environment. Take Aiptasia for instance.. or don't. ;-)>> But the Bubble is so much harder, since it likes to sit sideways on my rock. 

<<Well, it takes a little more attention, but should accept small bits of food blown into its tentacles.>> I looked at your site and found awesome advice like the ones below. Food seems to fly away from the BTA when I try to feed it. I think I need to mash up the meat more to blow towards the BTA like you guys have said. This really isnt a question, just liked your advice and wanted to make a distinction that my Condy is like the easy child, and my BTA requires more attention, but both are well worth it =D. <<Ah, yes indeed!>> The "Nemo" seems to like my button polyps... but is now curious of the Condy, noticeably acclimating to it, (seems painful to watch too). <<Not at all. It seems that clowns "know" that rules were made to be broken, don't they?>> The mouth is not to be fed, but rather the tentacles. Stimulate receptiveness by putting a very small amount of food or thawed pack juice (literally just a quarter or half teaspoon) into the aquarium about 15-30 minutes prior to feeding. Also, be sure to thaw frozen food in the fridge or cold water to retain nutritive quality... but strain and discard this liquid just prior to feeding (scrubbing excess nutrients from pack juice to avoid feeding a nuisance algae bloom in the aquarium). Once thawed, ameliorate the mysids/meats in a slurry of aquarium water and gently squirt this in a stream towards the anemones tentacles Try using a length of tubing connected to a turkey baster to gently direct thawed, frozen Mysis shrimp or plankton into the tentacles. <<I believe you're quoting here, yes? Another method that allows much greater control is to get, if you CAN, a large volume syringe, such as those used for equine/bovine care. Turkey basters and bulb syringes (a.k.a. snot suckers) require a really finely tuned hand to control well. I ALWAYS end up making a mess of things using those.>> Thanks for all the advise and hard work on this website. TT <<You and all others are most welcome. It seems our intended purpose do hit the mark. Marina>> 

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