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FAQs on Anemones of the Caribbean/West Atlantic Identification 1

Related Articles: Anemones, Anemones of the Tropical West Atlantic, Colored/Dyed Anemones

Related FAQs: Atlantic Anemones 1, Atlantic Anemones 2, Condylactis, TWA Anemone Behavior, TWA Anemone Compatibility, TWA Anemone Selection, TWA Anemone Systems, TWA Anemone Feeding, TWA Anemone Disease, TWA Anemone Reproduction, Anemones, Anemones 2, Clownfishes & Anemones, Anemone Lighting, Anemone Reproduction, Anemone Identification, Anemone Selection, Anemone Behavior, Anemone Health, Anemone Placement, Anemone Feeding
FAQs by Genus: Actinoporus, Arachnanthus, Bartholomea,
Condylactis (see below), Epicystis, Lebrunia, Sticholdactyla helianthus, Viatrix, Others/Unknowns,

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Please help identify   11/13/11
Recently I acquired some live rock that I'm guessing an anemone came in.
It retreats into the hole in the rock when I tried to remove it. I have searched every search engine I can think of. Black/steel grey with short white tentacles. From the east Florida coast.
<Mmm, interesting>
I have been slowly building a 50g tall tank. 60lbs live rock. 1 1/2" combo sand live crushed coral bed. All parameters test ok. 3 (mean) yellow tail damsels, 3 turbo snails, 2 peppermint shrimp, a few unwanted crabs, 1 Kenya tree, a few mushrooms, some tiny crazy unexciting worms.
<From the behavior I am guessing this is a somewhat aberrant Telmatactis americana... sans the club-like tips at the end of its tentacles. Do take a look on WWM over the next few days... where Anemone ID's are archived (the last FAQs file in number) as I'm hopeful some other/s will chime in w/ further information. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

ID help request - possibly a rock flower anemone?   9/3/11
I bought some live rock from the Gulf, (Florida) and despite having spent almost a year reading tons of books, articles and forum postings, thinking I was ready to handle whatever hitchhiker that I may acquire, I got a hitchhiker I can't ID. I've asked for help on some forums and the feeling is either a Mushroom or a Rock Flower Anemone. I was thinking if it were a mushroom, it'd be a Ricordea but I'm thinking it's more likely it's an anemone.
<Mmm, appears to be a Lebrunia species... Read here:
I wish to provide it the best environment I can and feed it what it needs, but haven't been able to find much on if it requires light, how much, what to feed it (it's really small).
I've attached a few pictures of the little guy to help in IDing it. It's in a hole in the rock and if something upsets/startles it, it retracts entirely from view within the rock. The edges can fold up and seem to be tipped with tiny stubby tentacles. It also has bumps/tentacles in the middle part of the disk. It's about the size of a dime or maybe a penny at best. Originally I didn't notice him and had that part of the rock towards the side of the tank, but after I saw him, I turned the rock around so it faces into the tank and gets light. I didn't face it up towards the light, as I figured it would possibly shock the critter. I also thought it might give me a clue as to its needs given how it reacted, shying away into or stretching out towards the light to see if I needed to move the rock again.
I tried cutting up a piece of shrimp and offering a teeny piece to it, but that turned out to be problematic. It shied away from the offering, but I'm not sure if that's because the piece stuck too firmly onto the stick or because it didn't care for it. I'm hoping it's been eating some of the many pods in the tank, because occasionally I see it curl up parts of itself.
The rest of the critter I've seen briefly when it stretched out a bit for a moment, it seems to be a long brownish stalk inside its rock cave. It tends to be smaller/deflated at night and more open during the day. From the pictures, you can see it's a yellow center and yellowish tan edges and tan-ish in the middle. The early pictures I had of it seemed more colorful, but I'm not sure if that's a trick of light when I photographed or if its actually becoming more brownish.
There's a little red crab in the rock I've not seen much of, but the critter doesn't seem to mind the crab. In fact, a couple of times I've seen the crab peeking out from underneath it, looking almost like the crab was wearing a frilly hat.
Could you please help?
- Barb
<See the linked files above as well. Bob Fenner>

Re: ID help request - possibly a rock flower anemone?   9/3/11
Thank you so much for the quick reply. I'd looked at that page before and would have never guessed Lebrunia from the pictures I've seen, especially since its tentacles are so short and stubby!
Thank you very much for your help and especial thanks for all the information you've provided for the hobby. I love reading your work, it's very inspiring!
- Barb
<Ahh, thank you. BobF>

anemone ID, FLA, washed-up... and Centropyge eye issue     8/31/11
<Hi there>
Nick here.
<Bob here>
Have a couple of questions. First off, your site is stellar and it's a great service you're doing for fish everywhere.
<Glad to help>
Recently 'rescued' an established aquarium and in the process of getting it re-set up. It had been a little neglected - it came with plenty of live rock and live sand, but It had very little crab, shrimp, snail or other 'cleaning crew' life. Plus, trucking it 50 miles mixed things up a bit. I kept all the water I could and worked backwards in setting it up, wet live sand first then about 1 week later the live rock which had been in giant aquarium water plastic tubs. It's been cycling for 2-3 weeks now and Nitrite, Nitrate, Ammonia are all virtually nil....
I was at the beach this weekend here in Florida, and Hurricane Irene had whipped up a pretty wild swell which left flotsam mats scattered up and down St. Augustine beach. In looking through them, I came across a bunch of white legged hermit crabs, sally lightfoot crabs, sea Cukes and some weird white/tan balls which turned out to be anemones. Figured I would bring them home as they were just dying on the beach there.
<An experiment!>
The anemones are chillin' in a shallow 10g until I know if they're safe to go in the big 95 gallon. Can you help me ID these and determine if they're safe for the tank? The big tank is stable now and there's 2 damsels and a scarlet hawkfish. I also have a yellow and regal tang and a coral beauty in a 10 gallon quarantine tank waiting to go in to the big tank one at a time.
Thanks! Pictures attached.
<Look to be "rock anemones" from there... Aiptasia pallida, perhaps Epicystis crucifer; a bit strung out (understandably)>
Finally, the Coral Beauty has developed pretty severe pop-eye in one eye.
Not sure if this happened at the old place, during transit, or in the quarantine tank, or if it is related to water quality since they're all jammed in the small tank while the big one cycles (even though they're getting at least 1 water change a week). Been reading a lot that isn't too helpful, a la "just wait, it'll go away on its own"
<Often the best approach>
It seems to have been getting worse and I'd hate to see him lose an eye.
I've been feeding the quarantine tank antibacteria medicated food (by Jungle) but not sure if that stuff is really helpful or not.
<Most antibiotic use in/w marines is of limited to no value>
Suggestions? If all goes well with the hawkfish, I'll probably move the Tangs over later this week and early next and then would be able to add whatever to the water to help the Beauty.
<Read on WWM re marine fish eye issues.
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

anemone identification    9/17/10
<...15 megs in pix...>
I came across an anemone I have never seen before. Found it under a rock 7 miles off shore. Anyone have any idea what it may be?
<... offshore from where?>
It seams to like shrimp pieces (like most anemones) It reacts to a flashlight being shown on it. (shrinks up) It has small patches of fork shaped arms all over it and also has long curled arms everywhere. I cant find a pattern to the way its arms are laid out. I'm very confused. lol!
Ed Johnston
<Oh! I take it from your addy that you're in Key West... I think this is an "aberrant" Lebrunia danae. Bob Fenner>

Re: anemone identification   9/18/10
You are correct! I researched the name and came up with some great pics that match. Thanks a lot!
<Welcome Ed. BobF>

Anemone ID   2/7/10
<Hi there Zoe>
I bought some live rock yesterday - had quite a deep hollow in one side - I thought there were some mushrooms in there but couldn't really see as they were all shriveled when out of the water. I put the lr into a holding tank and this morning have found 4 anemones?
<Mmm, yes... appear to be Stichodactyla helianthus, the Sun Anemone.>
have moved out of the hollow onto the front. They are all at least 1inch x 1 inch - the tentacles extend less than 1cm - they are quite flat, almost like a mushroom. I have had a look at the ID pages and couldn't see much resembling them. I wondered whether you could ID them for me and suggest whether its a good idea to keep them or not. I have a 500l tank with a 100l sump, 3 x 54w T5s with reflectors (soon to be 4). Lots of soft corals.
<These are very "sting-y"...>
I have attached a picture and hope I have given you enough information.
Thanks for your time
<Please see here on WWM:
and on the Net re their husbandry. Bob Fenner>

Re: Anemone ID, Helianthus  2/13/10
Thank you for time and your reply. I have tried to do some research about the Sun Anemone and can't find too much.
<Not much about as far as I'm aware. This is not a "traded species" of any volume, and is entirely "too stingy" for common use>
Am a little concerned as the information I found states that they will eat small fish (I have a couple of very small fish such as a yellow goby, neon goby, clowns) - does this mean they aren't safe to keep in the tank?
Also some of the other information says that they have a very powerful sting - this has confused me a little because my shrimps often walk over them / stand on them and don't react as if they have been stung.
<These animals are indeed almost immune>
I suppose I just really want some reassurance that my fish will be safe with them rather than me needing to give them away - what are your thoughts?
<I would trade them to someone with a biotopic TWA shallow water habitat.
Thanks again for your time 

Anemone ID, Epicystis crucifer -- 1/18/08 Hi there! <Hello, Brenda here!> I was wondering if you could help me identify this anemone. <Sure can!> I've searched and searched, on your website to, which is really awesome and helpful. Thanks guys! <You're welcome!> I just can't seem to find this one. <It is an Epicystis crucifer. It is commonly referred to as a Rock Anemone, and/or a Flower Anemone. More information found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/atl_anemfaqs.htm > I've had him for little over a year now and everything was going great, until he started moving. I don't know why or if he could harm any of the others. <Do you mean other anemones? Mixed species of anemones do not do well together long term.> For now everything has gone fine, but I want to be sure. Help please. <You're welcome! Brenda>

Unidentified Anemone Hi, I recently bought 100 lbs. of live rock from Harbor Aquatics for my 125 gallon. (Previously cycled with live sand) In one of the caves lives a strange anemone that nobody can seem to identify. (attached) <not a bad picture but a bit dark. Still...> I was under the impression that anemones like strong light,  <not all by any stretch of the imagination... many nearly or clearly aposymbiotic (require organismal and absorptive feeding for life)> but this guy only came out of the cave once at night, and when the lights came on in the morning, it went back into the cave. Can you tell me what kind of anemone it is, and what is the best way to care for it? Thanks <Not clear to me what species it is but definitely resembles many of the tiny Atlantic cave dwellers known to be weakly photosynthetic or not at all. Do feed at least weekly with finely shredded meats of marine origin. Enjoy! Anthony> Jonathan Steere
DomRep Sea Anemone Identification  10/5/05 Hi! <Hello Uli> I found you website http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/twaanemones.htm looking for help. I need to identify an anemone. Please find jpgs attached. I could not yet find it anywhere! By the way: I was not the photographer, "it" was not touched to see a reaction, all we have is the photo shot in the Dominican Republic. Any idea? <Appears to be an Actinodendron species.  Mr. Fenner may have some input here.  James (Salty Dog)> <<I concur. RMF>> Thanks a lot!  <You're welcome> Uli

Can you ID this anemone (Found in the Florida Keys)  10/21/05 Hi, I found this anemone in the Florida Keys about six months ago. I brought it with a tiny that inhabited in it. The shrimp has disappeared and I was wondering if any clown would go into an Atlantic anemone <Some learn to get along with Condylactis species... but not likely this one... appears to be a Stichodactyla helianthus... Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/twaanemones.htm> anyway I would still like to know what I have. It is about 8" in dia. yellow in color 1/2" tentacles that are very sticky. Please help. I have attached a picture. <Bob Fenner>

Atlantic Carpet Anemone Possibly? Hello Robert, I purchased what I thought was a Stichodactyla gigantea. I now believe it is a Stichodactyla helianthus.  <Mmm, an Atlantic Carpet Anemone...> It is yellow in color and the 'base' is very light yellowish tan to white... a real pretty specimen. If I did purchase the helianthus variety, how should I care for it? Placement? Lighting requirements? How can I know for sure it is a helianthus and not a gigantea. <These are very different animals... S. helianthus is pictured, described here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/twaanemones.htm Their tentacles are green, brown... never seen one with a yellow/white base... and this species is much smaller... 4-6 inches in diameter max.> I've read a lot about the care of the carpet anemones but I have never seen any info. about this particular anemone. Any response would be great. <S. gigantea is found here on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemones.htm Its "face is deeply folded, tentacles much longer... Care for both about the same. Bob Fenner> Terry Teutsch

Anemone ID Hi Steve  <Anthony with the follow up> I wrote to you about the black spot on my deceased yellow tangs . Well since their demise I purchased a Fireball Angel , half orange and half blue horizontally . I had the fish for three days and it died . The pet shop had the fish for a month prior with no problems . I will give you a run down of my tested parameters after the death . PH - 8.31 at 7:00 PM Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - < 10ppm CA - 480 ppm "a little high" Temp - 78 Salinity - 1.024 Alkalinity - 3.5 meg/L Borate - 1.5 meg/L Carbonate - 2.0 meg/l Magnesium - 1300 ppm The tank has no other fish inhabitants other than two blue Chromis . I also have 110 lbs of live rock . The rock has many mushroom corals and feather dusters , I also noticed a small anemone , not a aphasia , the base is red and the tentacles are white . Any idea on I.D.?  <it reminds me of some Atlantic/Gulf species... is your rock aquacultured Atlantic in origin?> Also I have about a dozen large snails and a dozen large blue leg hermits . I refuse to purchase any more fish, because soon I will be known as Dr. Death . Any help would be appreciated . Richard <do keep and medicate all new fish in a quarantine tank for 4 weeks before adding them to your display. Even though the pet store had the fish for a month... was it in a system that never had a new fish added to it? Or cold there have been a new shipment of fish that were added to that system within two weeks prior and could have carried a disease that didn't express itself yet. No exceptions to the quarantine rule! All new fish QT in your home regardless before adding to the display. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Antler Anemone? ID - 2/23/03 Hi Anthony, Been out of the country on a dive vacation or would have gotten back to you sooner :) <no worries... I'm still out of my mind> They came with a green tree from friend a local university that works with fish breeding and coral propagation.  There's probably a variety of stuff in their holding tanks but as far as I know don't import anything. <and they probably QT strictly (seriously) as educated academics/scientists... something we all need to do without fail as aquarists> After being away, the critters that are visible have noticeably grown but are still in the bottom third of the tank.  In the past 2 weeks, some others from the local reefer group and RC have suggested Lebrunia which I guess gives me more concern for my stupid clowns.   <Lebrunia/Antler anemones seems very hard to believe for a number of reasons like (Atlantic distribution, Pacific vehicle you've cited, its proclivity for sitting in the open on the reef, etc). Very doubtful... but possible. See our WWM pics of this species here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/twaanemones.htm > I don't know if these pictures are any better... <much better .... its just hard to be certain when they are this small> Right now, the stalks are thicker and the polyps are much more fully extended (all slightly larger than quarter now).  I can send you the full size images for future use if you want.   <that would be wonderful... please do! If high-res, perhaps we can sneak them into the next book <G>. In the meantime, do try to notice if there is a very dramatic change with this anemone at night. A Lebrunia will not retract like a typical anemone but put out large and exaggerated feeding tentacles. Please let us know :) Do feed these little buggers well at any rate. They are cute whatever they are (at least until we ID them <VBG>)> Anyways any advice on keeping both these and livestock (2 clowns and 1 cherub angel) healthy would be great.  Thanks again. Aven
<best regards,

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