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FAQs on Bulb, Bubble Tip/Rose Anemone Nutritional Health

Related Articles: Bubble Tip, Rose Anemones, Entacmaea quadricolor, Use in Marine Systems by Bob Fenner, Bubble Tip Anemones by Jim Black, Recent Experiences with BTA's by Marc Quattromani, Anemones, Cnidarians, Colored/Dyed Anemones,

Related FAQs: BTA Disease 1, BTA Disease 2, BTA Disease 3, BTA Disease 4, BTA Health 5, BTA Health 6, BTA Health 7, BTA Health 8, BTA Health 9, BTA Health 10, BTA Health 11, BTA Health 13,
FAQs on BTA Disease by Category: Diagnosing, Environmental (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Social (e.g. Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments
& E. quad. FAQ 1, E. quad FAQ 2, E. quad. FAQ 3, E. quad FAQ 4, E. quad FAQ 5, BTA ID, BTA Compatibility, BTA Selection, BTA Behavior, BTA Systems, BTA Feeding, BTA Reproduction/Propagation,

Best: A healthy, large refugium... A system with many smaller fishes fed often.... Next best: frequent (even daily) washes of small meaty foods; NOT whole silversides, cocktail shrimp...

Anemones HAVE to be fed... can't, won't live on photosynthesis alone.

NEED some (but not too much) Nitrate and soluble Phosphate for photosynthesis (Beware the use of chemical filtrants for same)

New Print and eBook on Amazon:  

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

BTA question.... scarce data, no rdg.       7/13/14
<Katelyn; your files are an order of magnitude too large>
First, I apologize if you have already answered my question on your website. I tried searching through the almost overwhelming amount of information and I did not find anything that seemed to answer my question.
I have a 90 gallon tank whose temperature averages between 77-79F and all the chemistry is at the appropriate levels (0 nitrates,
<Trouble... chemophotosynthates like Anemones NEED measurable NO3, HPO4...
this is gone OVER and OVER on WWM>
nitrites, ammonia; little to no phosphates, slightly lowered carbonate levels but good calcium
and magnesium).
<... data; not subjective statements please>
At the time this problem started, I had a Picasso clownfish, a Carmel Percula, 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 emerald crabs, a large number of various snails, and a BTA (who hosts my Picasso clown). I have
since doubled the amount of live rock in my tank and added a flame angelfish.
I got my BTA about 6 months ago and until ~4 weeks ago it looked great! It doubled-tripled in size and looked beautiful (bubbled tips, nice color, etc). I put it in my tank and it has never moved since. However, ~4 weeks ago I noticed when I was home during the day that my anemone would stretch from it's hole up toward the surface and then every night settle back into its hole (see attached pictures taken a few days ago). I have also noticed more recently that the ends of the tentacles appear twisted and 2 of the
tentacles have shrunk down to almost nothing. Color still looks good though, the mouth is still normal, and it hasn't moved. Nothing had changed in my tank when the weird behavior started (or within 3 weeks of it
persisting)- same lighting (green element evo quad led), same fish, same filtration, etc. I had a few days of temperature swings and fluctuating carbonate levels as we went into summer (my first with this tank) about when this started, but I have since worked it out and the anemone is still acting strangely. Any ideas as to what may be the problem? I think perhaps lighting but why would it suddenly become a problem now and not 6 months ago?
<Lack of chemical (and likely other food); this specimen looks starved to me>

Thank you very much for you help, I greatly appreciate it!
Katie M.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BTANutrDisF.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: BTA question      7/14/14
I apologize in my ignorance in not connecting my anemone's symptoms to that of malnutrition.
<? No apology necessary. And the statements on my part are only guesses>
A quick follow up- WWM is the only place I have seen that states a benefit to nitrates and phosphates for anemones, most other sites state "none" is the preferred state. What is the definition of "measurable"
from your previous response?
<A few ppm for NO3... a few hundredths to a tenth for soluble phosphate.

How to put this; these animals are like plants in your yard... suffer for lack of essential nutrients... N, P, K...>
Is there a certain level I should be aiming for?
<Yes; gone over... higher 300s ppm to mid 400s>
I assume there is a certain threshold at which point the levels are detrimental and it presumably is fairly low.
<Ah yes>
Or if there is an article somewhere I have missed I would be happy to read it for the answers
<Do give the search tool (on every page) and the indices a go>
Thank you
PS: Here are the numerical values or chemicals in my tank that were missing
from the last email.
Mg- ~1605ppm
<A bit high>

dKH- 6.7 (I'm aware this is low and have been using buffer to raise it. I just can't keep the levels high, it seems to fall within 2-3 days. Working on finding the best schedule to sustain appropriate levels.)
Calcium- ~500ppm
<Too high>

phosphate- 0.25ppm (perhaps less, the kit wasn't too clear)
Nitrate/Nitrite/Ammonia- all 0ppm
pH- 8.2
Salinity- 1.026
<Cheers, BobF>

BTA No bubble tips & losing color 3/2/09
I have a 65 gal tank that has been running for 1 year 1/2 with 2 65 watt SunPaq 10k & 6,700.k daylight and 2 dual 65 watt 420nm & 460nm, 50lbs live rock, Fluval filter, protein skimmer, (just added skimmer 3mo ago)
1 small Coral Beauty, 2 Purple Firefish, Neon Dottyback (trying to catch and remove) Pearl Jawfish, Bluespot Jawfish (living in harmony) purple urchin, lots of snails and hermits, 2 Emerald Crabs, Yellowstripe Maroon Clown small.
I have some green Zoas, and a few orange. 3 hairy mushrooms, a bunch of xenia I purchased an Anemone after the 1st 6 months of set up, large with very short tentacles pink tipped overall brownish pinkish color. Very hardy even when my tank had problems.
<Are not a hardy invertebrate.>
I purchase a rose BTA about 6 mo ago, he seemed very healthy and acclimated well, but lost bubble tips. Color seemed to be good for long time but now his color seems faded and his tentacles are thinner.
<Is dying.>
I was told I didn't need to feed them by store as I had sufficient lighting.

<A small weekly feeding is beneficial.>
I have a Yellow Stripe Maroon Clown that goes into both anemones and protects them, feeding them flake food and frozen shrimp etc that I feed to the tank.
My question is DO I have enough lighting?
<I think your present lighting/configuration is borderline in lieu of your tank depth. A standard 65 gallon tank is 24" high.>
The lights have been running for 1 1/2 years, do they lose wattage as they get older even if they don't go out?
<They will lose intensity and the color temperature will shift. These lamps should be replaced, and replace with four 10K lamps. This will get you close to where you need to be in intensity level. To be on the safe side, I'd replace the lamps every 8 months.>
I have them about 3 inches away from the water is this too much?
From reading your forum I gather that my Zoas could be poisoning the water and possibly the 2 anemone's poisoning each other?
<Ensure the anemones are not touching each other or the Zoas.
Anemones and corals should not be kept together as well as fish that are not immune to the anemone's sting, they are at risk here.>

I have also noted that my first anemone is smaller and does not seem as happy.
I am going to move the Zoas out into my nano tank but would have to get rid of one of the anemones if this is the problem.
<I would remove the paling anemone, is highly unlikely it will survive much longer.
It is bleaching due to lack of proper lighting.> <<RMF would NOT remove this/these animals... Change the lights, feed them per the linked article FAQs below... and be patient>>
I have attached a pic of both anemones taken today and the other pic is of my first anemone taken a few months ago when both looked good.
<Best to read/learn here and related articles above. It appears that you are not totally
aware of the care/requirements these anemones need.
<James (Salty Dog)>

More re: BTA no bubble tips & losing color -- 03/02/09 "<I would remove the paling anemone, is highly unlikely it will survive much longer. It is bleaching due to lack of proper lighting.> <<RMF would NOT remove this/these animals... Change the lights, feed them per the linked article FAQs below... and be patient>>" Bob, Thanks for your input. Is just my feelings of the situation. In the past I've had some expensive losses due to trying to save a dying anemone. Funny thing about anemones is that they always die while you are sleeping or at work.<An extension of "James Law">
J <Always feel better tossing in my dos centavos rather than biting my tongue. BobF>

Re: More re: BTA no bubble tips & losing color -- 03/03/09 RMF Thanks ! I just ordered another 2 65watt SunPaq retro kits to add to my lighting system, and 3 10k replacement bulbs this should give me 4x 10K daylight bulbs and 2 duel 420/460. a total of 390 watts minus the lower intense 420/460. Lisa <Outstanding Lisa... Am fairly confident your Entacmaeas will recover in only a few weeks time. You'll see. Bob Fenner>

Re: More re: BTA no bubble tips & losing color 3/20/09
You were right !
<Ooooh, I do so like hearing/reading that>
my bubbly friend is looking so much better.
<Sure looks like it!>
I have been feeding him small chunks of fish and he is under the new lights. His color is much better and his tentacles are thicker not so stringy and thin. Looks like he is growing new tentacles as well. I do hope he starts being bubbly as well.
Thanks for all your help.
Lisa and Bubbly!
<Thank you for this news of your success. Bob Fenner>

sick anemone? BTA rdg.   10/14/08 Hello guys, I was wondering if you could have a look at this rose bubble anemone. I have had it for a couple weeks. It seems to be losing color and getting more spotty looking. Also, the "bubble" tips don't really bubble much. <This last is a clue, but not evidence of diminished health per se> It is open most of the day, but seems to close up into a ball at least a couple times per day. <Mmm> It doesn't move very far from this area. I have fed it small chunks of krill <How small?> a couple times per week. My water parameters are logged, and average at the following: SG: 1.023 <Too low> ph 8.4 Alk 10 dKH ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrates 4.0 (steadily decreasing) <Not an issue> po4 0 <Might be an issue... how, why is soluble phosphate zero? IS a necessary component of this (and other) animal's health/nutrition> calcium 420 temp 80 I dose with iodide (half recommended dose) daily. <... I would not do this... Maybe full dose... on days/occasions when you change out water> water changes 15% every other week Any ideas as to why this guy looks so sad? Any input would be appreciated. Thank you. <All the speculations above. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/bubbletipanemones.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: sick anemone? reading... BTA  10/14/08 Perhaps I am incorrect about the po4 level. I just started testing for it with the Salifert test. It is the first time I have used their products. I will retest in case of an error. What is the best result for po4 that I should shoot for? <Mmm... a "trace"... actually, as I vaguely hinted at "IF" you're not doing something to absolutely exclude HPO4, then you're likely fine here... That is, enough will be supplied "incidentally" through all foods, cycling of same...> In the test kit it says that .1 is critically high. <Mmm, I disagree> As for the krill feeding, I cut the frozen krill into pieces about the size of a match stick head. Thanks so much for your help. Jason <Please do read where you were referred. BobF>

BTA Health Issue? Failing Anemone, Lack of Lighting, Use of Copper in Reef Tank -- 2/20/08 Hey Crew, Steve here. <Hello Steve, Brenda here today!> This is my first time posting a questions so hopefully it goes through all right. <It sure has!> I have a BTA problem. I have a 55 gallon tank that has been set up for 2+ years. About 3 weeks ago I thought I'd change to stronger lighting and try out some inverts and soft corals. Here are the specs of the tank: 55 gal All-Glass aquarium, Satellite 48 inch with lunar lights and two SmartTag 65 Watt 10,000K/460nm actinic bulbs, <130 watts of PC lighting is not enough to support an anemone in a 55 gallon tank.> 80 lbs live rock (in there for at least a year, crushed coral substrate, Top Fin 60 tank mounted filter (media changed one month ago), Protein skimmer that moves 295 gph, <What protein skimmer is this?> heater and glass hoods. It should also be noted that the tank is in the sun for about 6 hours a day. Fish included are one Ocellaris (currently changing to female I believe, started eating like crazy and getting territorial, she head butts my hand every time I put it in the water), and a snowflake moray (currently 12" long). So now to my question, I bought a Condylactis gigantea about 2.5 weeks ago that seemed to be doing well. I had 1.5 watts per gal when I got him then upgraded about a week later. I then bought a healthy BTA with a 3.5" diameter from the LFS. <I don't recommend keeping mixed anemone species in a tank less than a few hundred gallons.> I bought the rock that he was attached to in the store to reduce the chance of injury in the move. I got it into my tank and it opened up well. I then got a green mandarin that I lost after 2 days (despite copepod supplement). I then lost the Condy a few days later. The water levels after losing them were great except the nitrates were a bit high and pH was a bit low; so I did a 10% water change then did a 5% water change the next day and added marine pH buffer. The next day (yesterday) the BTA was shrunken a bit so I tested the water these were my results: pH 8.35, Salinity 1.023, <The Salinity is much too low for an anemone. Slowly increase it to 1.026.> Ammonia 0 ppm, Nitrite 0 ppm, Nitrate 0 ppm, Temperature 79.5 degrees. I was confused to say the least. He is expunging more waste than I thought he had in his body. <What are you feeding and what sized portions. It may be regurgitating.> Right when I got him the waste was the milky photosynthetic waste but this waste is the fluffy balled variety with white dots in it. The mouth seems to be wide open all the time, expelling waste almost constantly. <This anemone is failing quickly.> I put in Reef Solution yesterday to give him some filterable food but I only feed him twice a week (a nice ball of Mysis). The Moray is such a messy eater that the BTA picks up brine shrimp scraps all the time. <Anemones eat meaty foods. The Reef Solution will not benefit the anemone. Brine shrimp his little or no nutrition and is also not recommended for an anemone.> The tentacles on the BTA are getting shorter and stubbier, as well as getting very pointy at the ends, sort of like a Christmas light shape. He has lost all sorts of body mass but has darkened in color. <The short, stubby tentacles may be sign of starvation. Can you send me a picture of the anemone?> I was told that the "plant" part of the animal was starting to take over now that the lights were strong and that he was developing a sort of "sun-tan." <I assume you mean zooxanthellae, which is the algae that lives inside them. Anemones do not get suntans. Was the anemone bleached when you got it?> They also told me that the pointed tentacles were a way of minimizing direct light to them because it was causing sunburn. <This is not true. Healthy anemones will find a new location when they are unhappy with the light. > The neon green he is turning seems to support this because I assume that it is reflective algae that he is growing. <Zooxanthellae. > He hasn't really moved at all and is still shrinking. <It sounds like it is starving, and my not have enough energy to move. > He is still spitting out fluff-balls of waste and only has one or two tentacles truly open at a time. I got up today and two of the tentacles that were open really big all day yesterday were clear looking and seemed dead. It is also probably pertinent that I treated icky 1 year ago with straight copper (when the tank was still fish only) but I would assume that that is not the cause of any problems because of the small dose I administered and the water changes I have done since then. <Yikes! Did you have live rock in there at the time? If so, your rock may be leaching copper into the tank. Copper should never be used in the main display. It needs to be used in a quarantine tank only. The anemone will not survive long with copper. > The clown and moray are eating and acting as healthy as ever. What is wrong with my BTA? <You have a few things going on here. I would start by testing your water for copper.> Sincerely, Steve B. <Brenda>

Rose Anemone Color variation, Possible Shipping Stress -- 4/13/07 Hi Team <Hello Christyna, Brenda here> I thought I was buying a rose anemone but when I received it from Aquacon- (it was tank raised) it looked very irritated.   <Rose Bubble Tip Anemone?  I'm going to have to assume here that when you say 'received' you mean it was shipped.  This is not uncommon for any anemone to be stressed from shipment.> It has a burgundy colored stump (foot) but the tentacles are looking really green?  (It is still scrunched up)   Is this truly a rose anemone? I paid 140.00 for a small guy and want to make sure it is a true rose. <Rose Bubble Tip anemones come in many different color variations.  Some of those variations include some green.  On the other hand $140.00 for a 'small guy' seems expensive to me, however if shipping was included in that cost, that may be the correct ball park.> Also, understand that this was out of light for a full day- but last night it looked not so good- its mouth was open huge and lips were very loose on it- also, the tentacles are not extended- is there something I can do to help it out?   <Pictures would help me out a lot here.  A mouth wide open is never good, but 'if' the anemone was shipped, and placed in a healthy environment, I wouldn't worry yet.  Give it some time.  Your anemone may need a week or so to over come the shipping and its new environment.  Do check your water parameters.  Anemones need pristine water conditions.> Also, aqua con has said to NOT feed the anemone- that it only needs light and by feeding it will kill my tanks water- any thoughts to that?   <Ouch!!!!  Yes, some not so pleasant thoughts.  Your anemone needs to be fed meaty foods.  Silversides, krill, lance fish, are all good choices.  I'm not familiar with the company you are dealing with, but I can tell you they are giving you some very bad advice.  I can't tell you how many people have been told the exact same thing.  I usually hear about it when the anemone is starving.> BTW- your website is great, is there a membership? <Thank you!  No, there is no membership.  This is a free service provided by Bob Fenner and several volunteers that are dedicated to helping people like you and the livestock you keep.> Thanks so much! Christyna <You're welcome.  Christyna if you need more help with your anemone, please provide me with your lighting information, age of set up, water parameters, other equipment, tank mates and pictures if you can.  Good luck with your new anemone!  Brenda>

Bubble Tip Bleaching...Not Enough Info...Not Enough Light   8/24/06 Hi, <Hello> I have had a BTA for 1 year now. When I purchased it it was a maroon color, I was told it was from the Red Sea region, and that the color would not change. After about 5 months it had significantly changed in color. It was a cream color, now it is completely white. I went back to my LFS and explained the problem. He promptly told me that that was no problem and all I had to do was add phytoplankton every other day. <<Dismal>> So I purchased some and have administered it properly and kept it refrigerated. The outer portion has regained some of its color but the part that fans out and has the bubbles is still white. The bubbles are so small they are almost non-existent. The BTA is housed in a 29 gal. with a PowerGlo light approximately 7 inches from the BTA. <You are very lucky to have kept the BTA that long under those conditions.  Your tank is too small to house anemones and the lighting you are using is no where near enough.  Water parameters can change too fast in a small tank, something anemones do not take well.  Lighting on your tank should have been somewhere near 4 to 5 watts per gallon.> I put an Iodine supplement in the water once per week. This has not seemed to help at all. I feed the BTA weekly with fresh shrimp.  Should I purchase a different light, different plankton supplement, different food or anything else? <Yes, larger tank (minimum of 55 gallon), better lighting, but unlikely your present anemone is going to reverse it's condition.  Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/bubbletipanemones.htm> Thank you so much for your help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Anemone... health, beh.  06/14/2006 Hello Sir/Ma'am Once again I am calling upon your wisdom to help me along. The problem is with my anemone. I moved him from an established 40 gallon running 2x175 MH about a week ago. His new tank is a 200 gallon reef tank. The parameters for this tank are as follows: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5 (all with Salifert), Calcium 400, DKH 10.6, PH 8.1 all day and night (running a RDP fuge with Chaeto and DSB) and specific gravity of 1.024. The lights on the tank are 3x250 MH. The anemone was doing fine for 2 days. I proceeded to feed him a chunk of Silverside and he regurgitated it a day after. Since then he has been small (not closed) with a bright green color and stringy tentacles. He grows to his normal size closer to the end of the photo period and returns small once the lights go on. Please help with some idea. I have ruled out water quality and chemical warfare because of running the Chemi-Pure. I can only deduce that maybe he suffering from some light shock and may need to adjust to the increased lighting??? Thanks so much, Matthew McGhee <<Matthew:  Do you know what type of anemone it is?  How long have you kept it?  Assuming you have kept it for awhile (at least several months) and know how to take care of it, then it is probably just going through a transition from one tank to the other.  I would suggest to keep trying to feed it small pieces.  Hopefully, in a few days, it will be happy again.  Best of luck, Roy>
Re: Anemone... health  06/14/2006
Roy, It is a rose tip bulb anemone. He has been kept for about 6 months in a 40 gallon tank. He has been in the new tank for a total of 5 days. The first two he was out fully. I think that maybe he is getting used to the new light cycle. I forgot to mention that in the last tank the lights were on between 2pm and 10pm and in the new tank they are on at 8am to 5pm. Do you think that is the issue? Thanks so much, Matthew McGhee <<Matthew:  RBTA anemones are pretty hardy and can go through some dramatic looking changes from time to time.  Since you have been successful at keeping it for awhile, I think it is just getting used to the new tank and you don't have anything to worry about.  As far as the lighting change, it will adapt.  Best of luck, Roy>>

BTA Mystery  1/16/06
Dear WW Crew
Thank you for all your hard work and support. Being sensitive to the thousands of emails you must receive I have scoured WWM and still feel I still have questions.  
1.5 Years ago I started with a 50G and without proper knowledge about BTAs I of course bought one. It did not fair well and continually shrank to almost nothing. After about 6 months I installed a 90G overflow tank with skimmer, proper lighting etc. I wasn't going to even add the BTA however my wife convinced me not to give up on it. Apparently there was something about the new environment it liked. It has gained back its diameter 4X and tentacles have grown the same. Tentacles have yet to get bulbous however color was good. During this growth phase I was feeding Mysis (3-4) daily.
2 Months ago I purchased a Rose based on the apparent success of the revived BTA. It is fairing quite well. Maintaining its bulbs and color and appears
to be growing and feeds well. Until the last 2 weeks the G BTA was continuing fine. I have changed my feeding for both to shrimp for human consumption soaked in Selcon. Also about two months ago I added a refugium.
<Likely related events>
Problem - G BTA is losing its color in the last 2 weeks. It feeds lethargically and portions of tentacles are now white. I have never seen the
BTA lose color even when I tortured it as a neophyte aquarist (maybe I still am!). I know this means loss of its zooxanthellae
Tanks Stats
90G 15G sump
150 lbs LR
120 Aqua C Skimmer
RODI  Water
10G Refugium
with Gracilaria. (my Chaetomorpha died off)
Recirculates at 350G /Hr with clean (return) side of sump
1 65W 10,000K
5 in DSB
Chemistry OK but not great. Nitrates 5pp, dKh 7, Ca 250 ppm,
<These last two need raising>
0 PO4, sp gv
<I would raise to 1.025>
Recirculation 750 G/Hr
Tunze power head cycling between low and mid rang appox (600-1300 G/Hr)
8 X 65W Dual PC. 4 Dual Actinic (420nm/460nm) and 4 Dual Daylight (6,700K/10,000K). This lighting is included in 2 X 48 inch Current
Satellites. One is 6 months old. The other 1 year.
14 Hrs light per day offset with 12 Hrs offset light in refugium
5-10 G / week water exchange
2 Clarkii (They love both Cnidarians)
2 damsels
1 Yellow tang
1 Coral Beauty
1 Royal Gramma
1 Anthias
Few hermits snails etc.
1)       I know I can't mix Cnidarians but I presume that isn't my issue since both are theoretically  E quadricolor. Are other species passed off as
E quad?
<Not that I've encountered, no>
2)       A couple of weeks ago I decided to try to get my chemistry back to classic conditions dKh 8-12 Ca 400. I am always working at Nitrates. Could I
have shocked it?.
<Possible, yes>
There was no effect on the RTA and as previously stated even when near death for the last 1.5 years BTA never lost its color.
3)       Both are about midway up the 24 inch high aquarium including 5inch DSB. The RTA is in open light. The ailing BTA is in a crevasse that is
slightly shadowed.  It has room to move if it wants to. Could this be due to degraded lighting? Would more  or new light help.?
<Likely yes... along with the other three changes noted above>
4)       During the summer I had trouble keeping temperature 80 or below. I used 2 4 inch computer fans in the sump which seems to hold the temperature
down however I had to make up huge amounts of water. Most all my make up water was Calc water.
<Ahh... another possibility... that this chronic use has changed the proportion of magnesium too much...>
Now i the winter I don't need to do this and use very little make up. Will Klc water help? Was this creating some super saturated condition?
<... not necessarily. Kalkwasser has its uses/place, but is inferior for doing what good it can do... relative to other means>
5)       Should I go back to the Mysis shrimp? The RTA seem to do so well on the larger pieces.
<I would stick with "larger pieces">
6)       Any other thoughts or recommendations.
<Consider the four items mentioned and testing for magnesium, restoring its proportionality... about 3:1... Bob Fenner>
Re: BTA Mystery, Kalk expl.    1/19/06
Bob - Thanks for your consideration. I will refresh my lighting, adjust my dKh and Ca gradually, and test my magnesium and adjust 3:1 and stick with
the larger shrimp pieces.
<Very good>
I was a bit surprised about your comment regarding Kalkwasser. I got the impression from WWM that it was the superior method despite the
inconvenience and the concerns over pH when added to fast. I will use CaCl to improve the situation.
Thanks again.
<Mmm, not to be mysterious or misunderstood here. There are a few dozen of us "here", with quite divergent opinions on some subjects. With diligence, Kalk/wasser can be used to advantage (IMO of course), but in actual practice it is too easy to fall into lazy habits with it... in actuality poisoning ones systems to a degree... As opposed to superior results to be had with calcium reactors (for folks with large enough systems/organism collections, money enough... or home-made units... many clubs have get-togethers to fashion) or simple commercial or home-made/DIY "two-part" solutions. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

SICK ANEMONE? Please Help! 8/29/05
Hi Guys,
Thank you for your wonderful site, it appears to be the only really useful one on the web. Unfortunately I've looked for hours and can't find the answer to my question so i thought I'd just ask...
Again, like many others I'm new to the game have a small tank- I'm an Aussie so i have no idea how many gallons
<There's approximately 231 cubic inches to a gallon...>
but i have live rock and two false clowns which were tiny when i bought them and have now almost doubled in size over the past 5-6 months. I also have a little royal Dottyback that i recently introduced. All well and happy. Not to your surprise the problem is with my anemone i assume it's a bubble tip
and I've had it for about 4 months. first 3 it was thriving, i feed it once a week with some liquid feed out of a bottle that the pet shop recommended,
<Mmm, no... Please read here:
seemed to be doing great always full and open. it's really beautiful when it's open right up and my clowns have been madly in love with it from day one. unfortunately over the past couple of weeks it's decided to go walk abouts all over the entire tank- don't know why because he seemed so happy but it squished between the back rock and the glass and slowly started shrinking,
<Something amiss with its environment... water quality, light quality/intensity...>
i tried to move the rock so i could see him again and so he would open up -maybe a bad move?

but he didn't appreciate it and went straight back behind. now he is completely shriveled up and is just clinging on the rock with his big orange-brown foot which is getting darker in colour each week. He inflates and deflates small parts of his 'body' but never is full and open. He looks very unhappy and has tried just about every position in every spot of the tank. He's been like this for 3-4 weeks and I'm getting really worried? From looking at your web site they are dying if they turn white, go on their side or loosen off the rock. He's not doing any of these but he is not happy. All my level's I've tested and they appear fine. My pH went up from 8.2 to 8.6 so i did a 30% water change and it now seems fine.  
<... what was the cause of this pH swing?>
Please help... Thank you for your time, it is very appreciated, all the way from Aus! Kind regards, Jodi.
Ps. here is a pic when he was happy...he's now about a quarter of the size with a floppy gapping hole and no 'full' tentacle arm thingy's they're flat and shriveled.
<Do read through WWM re all the anemone articles, FAQs files... I would be looking at the age of your lighting/lamps, and doing some very large water change-outs... Also do switch to larger, meaty foods. Bob Fenner>

Sick Anemone? BTA 10/17/03 Hi, I have a very small (3in across at most) bubble tip anemone.  I've had it for about 1 month now (tank has been established for about 6 months). <FWIW... its kind of a young tank to have purchased an anemone for. Little natural plankton available no doubt unless you also have a large refugium inline. I also hope you have resisted a mix with other stinging anemones or corals. It will be your best bet for success with keeping any motile anemone. Read more in the WWM archives about mixing cnidarians> Basically, when I first got it, it seemed fine and healthy and (I think) colored up a bit.  I originally fed it every day with some formula one, about an eight of a cube (fighting the cleaner shrimp off was quite the chore!).  And he seemed to be doing fine.   <agreed... a good habit here> Pictures of it, more or less chronologically are found here http://www-personal.umich.edu/~skotzaba/anemone.htm  I did some more reading, and as always, I came across a lot of opinions on how often anemones should be fed.   <does vary by species (and tank-- depending on incidental feeding opportunities with heavy fish populations)> The general consensus was that you should feed them, at most, twice a week--any more might harm them.    <I disagree... I would suggest 3-5 times weekly for most at minimum. The "harm" in feeding anemones is with chunks of food that are too large... not fine matter "too often"> Well, I did that, which  seems to be when the decline started.  It would spend a great deal of its time contorted and releasing mucus.  It did this for a while and then its mouth began to gape and it would spend a while looking as if he would puke out his internals (white squiggly intestinal things, which I think are the mesenterial filaments).   <correct... and commonly occurs with feeding large chunks of food. Yikes> I thought the outlook was grim, but I didn't have the heart to toss him out yet.  He spend a while continuing on that course, until one day he decided to move under a rock, then within a day he moved  back out and attached his foot at the base of the rock, near the bottom of the tank; so he is now horizontally oriented to the substrate.  He still looked horrid.  I took a mucus sample and looked at it under a microscope.  Obviously I'm no scientist, so what I saw didn't reveal much.  A lot of dark brown, various thin worms jerking about and one of what looked like those small calcareous tube worms one gets all over the glass.  I posted on a few boards asking for help.  Basically, one individual, who seemed to know what he was talking about, said that the anemone is exhibiting signs of malnutrition and that an anemone should be fed as often as it will eat.  So I embarked on the task of feeding it.  It, of course, didn't really respond to food like the majano anemones <<! RMF>> in the sump do (reaching for an grabbing, although his tentacles are so stubby, he never really reached in the first place).  I have to gently place the piece near its mouth.  In its glory days it would then close up and eat it.  Now it takes about 20 minutes before it coordinates itself enough to eat.  Its much like spoon-feeding a crippled patient.  Anyhow, the good news is that he started looking better, at least comparatively, so I've continued daily feedings and I'm hoping he might improve.  Is there any advice you can offer, based on what I've told you?   <I believe you are truly o the right track... feeding several times weekly if not daily will be optimal. Nothing larger than fine plankton/mysids (1/4" or smaller)> Tank is a 50 gallon with a 20gal sump.  pH: 8.3 Am:0 Ni:0 Na:2ppm Salin: 1.024 Alk:3 Ca:400 Regardless, thank you for taking the time to read my long story. <best of luck! Anthony>

Grr.. Sick BTA <Did these anemones feed regularly in the first month?> However for the past 5 days or so one of them has never inflated beyond half way, and the tentacles have remained all straggly.  It will open a bit more at night, but the tentacles never inflate.  It will not accept food, either.  The second BTA is doing great, eating, growing, etc. <Many possibilities here... not the least of which (no worries) is if it came form a tank with much lower light. Its not an issue of light shock, per se... but under aged lamps, weaker lamps, dirty/dusty lights and canopies/lenses... anemones and corals will swell up and pan for light (giving the appearance of being healthy ironically). Then when they get into better light, they do not need to pan so severely. It is that simple at times.> I did find a small Aiptasia anemone (the bastards) near the BTA.  I'm not sure if it was close enough to have stung it or not, but the possibility is definitely there.  If it was stung, would it be behaving like this? <Nope... they are much tougher than that.> Any way to get it eating and healthy again if so? <Try feeding small amounts of meaty "juice" to the tank at the same time every night. You can condition a feeding response in just a week or two this way. Do it at the end of the day or after the lights go out for zooplankton feeders like this.> My water quality is excellent as of yesterday (0 ammonia, nitrites, less than 5 ppm nitrates, pH 8.3, temp 80F, SG 1.025). <You may want to double check the accuracy of your hydrometer. If this is a plastic job (or handheld refractometer... crap), then I definitely would consider keeping at least one other meter (glass hydrometers are excellent... sparing the need for tabletop refractometers) for periodic calibration.> Lighting is a 150w metal halide and 2 55w PCs (10,000k and actinic).  Water changes are performed at least twice weekly of about 4 gallons <Hmmm... great that you're doing twice weekly water changes but the amount is rather modest/tiny... this will not adequately dilute the undesirables. It would be better to do much larger exchanges.> Also in the tank is a yellow headed Jawfish, ~2" maroon clown, a few xenia bunches, a few patches of green star polyps, a Ricordea (partially shadowed by the LR), and a few gorgonians. <Likely not the issue, but star polyp and gorgonians are very noxious... two of the worst (re: allelopathy) > Anyone have any ideas?  The BTA still has a firm grip on the rock it came on, hasn't move more than an inch, but it's looked half dead for about 5 days now.  It's stressing ME out. <Be patient my friend... and above all - DO NOT move this anemone. A surefire way to kill it :( > Anthony

Shriveling and ballooning Bubble Anemone in a tiny tank
Hi there--
I've been in the fishkeeping hobby for about 15 years, and finally jumped into salt a year ago. I now have a 20 gallon tank with about 20 lbs of live rock, a cleaner shrimp, fire shrimp, and camel shrimp, a black/white damsel, and a blue damsel. I also have a bit of pumping xenia, star polyps, and green mushrooms. Recently, I acquired a rose bubble anemone from a pet store. it had just recently divided, and seemed to be healthy (albeit ratty-looking). It's been in the tank for about 2 days now, and just keeps shifting shapes. It moved about 6 inches, and is now at mid-tank height. It goes from a loose, spread-out look to being almost folded on itself, but most recently has been looking terrifyingly desiccated. It shrivels down to almost nothing, and the bubbles deflate into little raisins. I called the pet store and asked for some advice, and I have turned off my powerheads (already done), but also turned off the 10,000k daylight because I was told it might be irritating it. (I also have a 50/50 light on the aquarium--65watt actinic, 65 watt daylight). It's been about 2 hours since I turned off the light and the bubbles have re-inflated and the anemone looks fuller and less death-like, but is still sloppy looking, and I worry if it's being stressed by something.
<It is... from just being moved... being in a very small, variable system (due to volume)... though this is about the best of large anemone species for aquarium use, AND it's great to have a cultured individual to start with... Most all the behavior you so well describe is to be expected... but these animals are exceedingly hard to keep in little tanks... as you will learn>

I fed the tank with Marine Snow the other day, but I don't know if I should be feeding the anemone shrimp right now or not...
<This product... is a sham... it's the "Emperor's new fish food"... of exceedingly little to no nutritive value>

any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, because I really don't know what I should do! Thanks for the help--you guys are really great.
<I do: read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm  scroll down to the area re Anemones... go over their systems, feeding... Bob Fenner>>
My water composition is pretty good too-- 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, 10ppm nitrate, specific gravity of 1.021, pH of about 8.2.  Thanks!  Bryan R

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