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FAQs on Anemones and Lighting, Design & Fixtures

Related Articles: Anemones Bubble Tip Anemones, LTAs, Cnidarians, Colored/Dyed AnemonesAcclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting, Coldwater AnemonesMarine Light, & Lighting

Related FAQs: Anemone Lighting 1, Anemone Lighting 2, Anemone Lighting 3, Anemone Lighting 4, & FAQs on Anemone Lighting: Science/Application, Lamps/Bulbs, Duration, Quality and Intensity, Trouble/Fixing, Makes/Models/Manufacturers, & FAQs on: Anemone Systems 1, Anemone Systems 2, Anemone Systems 3, & Anemones, Anemones 2, Caribbean Anemones, LTAs, Condylactis, Aiptasia Anemones, Anemones and Clownfishes, Anemone Reproduction, Anemone Identification, Anemone Compatibility, Anemone Selection, Anemone Health, Anemone Behavior, Anemone Placement, Anemone Feeding

Mmm, the usual choices... el sol, all sorts of flavours of fluorescents... metal halides/HQIs if your system is deep enough, the anemone species in question can use this much light... There is also photo-adaptation and auxiliary feeding to take into account

Lighting Replacement BTA's    2/26/17
It's been several years since I've had to write for some advice. I just can't seem to find a concise answer for my situation. Lighting is always one of those topics which gives me paralysis by analysis.
<Easy to understand w/ a bit of study... nowayears there are simple testing devices for PAR, PUR... The deal is you want to deliver oh so much photonic energy to the area of the livestock for so many hours per day...>
My current system is a 90 gal Acrylic tank (48 x 24 x 18) which is home to 4 Rose BTA's and 3 fish. It bought one BTA back in 2008 and it split, and then one of those split again.
<Oh! Or there's the good ole bio-assay... As your BTAs are living; there IS enough>
My current lighting consists of two Hang-on-Tank 150-watt Metal Halide fixtures (300 total) with 10,000K bulbs.
I also have two 55 watt power compact actinics that I use for morning and evening just for the color and effect.
<I like your description re the actinics>
My tank resides in a cabinet I built with a flip up sliding door to access the top of the tank. I had the Coral Life Hang-on-Tank fixtures on a glass tank prior to designing the cabinet for the 90 gal system. These Metal Halide fixtures are mounted to a bracket on the wall behind the tank because they did not fit the acrylic tank.
<A note for browsers to take great care w/ MHs due to their high heat production. NEED to be vented, often actively (fans) and insulated from the acrylic, wood... which they can catch on fire>
So, due to the cabinet design and flip up sliding door, I cannot hang pendants from above. One of the fixtures has broken due to age and deterioration of the plastic housing. The fixture still works so I have it "propped up". The other issue I have is with the power compacts. I bought DIY retrofit kits and have been using them for years. The company I purchased kits from also sold the bulbs and they have gone out of business. I cannot find replacement 55 watt actinics with the 4 straight pin connection anywhere.
<Mmm; call/contact Perry Tishgart at Champion re:
All of that just to ask for a recommendation. I like the shimmer that the Metal halides provide.
<Are really neat>
I like the "look" of the actinics in the morning and evening. The most important issue is obviously providing the correct
amount of lighting for the BTA's.
I must buy something that sits on the tank since I cannot hang it from above and they do not make the same hang-on-back fixtures any more. I've been looking at LED's but really do not have any confidence that I know what I need to replace 300 watts of 10,000K Metal Halides.
<I am going to cc friend, fellow petfish type, WWM Crewmember and rep. for Orphek, James Gasta and ask for his input. He answers these sorts of queries all the time. James?>
I probably do not need as much light as I have, but the BTA's are doing very well so I'm very hesitant to change things. I fear that I'm on borrowed time with these fixtures and it is time to replace the bulbs. My choices seem to be LED and T5. The Metal Halides seem to be all pendant style mounts now and I can't use those.
Thanks for providing this service. I have gained much knowledge from Wet Web Media.
<Thank you for your kind words, and writing so clearly and completely Mark. Bob Fenner>
Re: Lighting Replacement BTA's       4/8/17

Hello Mark,
I've read your email and I will put my two cents in. LEDs have come a long way in the last five years, and now to a point where there are fixtures that rival 1,000 watt metal halide lamps in terms of PAR/PUR (photosynthetic usable radiation). Most aquarium LED manufacturers offer individual control of channels both in terms of intensity and programming.
Your desire to have blue lighting early morning and late evening would be no problem with most LED lighting fixtures with the added bonus of ramping up and down with the intensity.
BTA's prefer a lighting spectrum similar to what LPS/SPS coral require. A PAR/PUR of 90-120 is more than enough lighting to maintain healthy BTA's providing an ideal spectrum is provided.
There are many companies that produce LED strip lighting in the blue spectrum that were designed to supplement metal halide/HQI lighting. I would look for something in the 410-430nm range which would target the
420nm area where actinic lighting peaks. This should solve your problem with the actinic four pin tubes if you cannot locate a supplier for them.
Another option is to replace your existing fixture(s) with a single LED fixture that will give you all the features you desire and result in lowering your energy use, reducing heat, and the cost of periodic replacement of new lamps.
Have a great day Mark.
James G
Sales Consultant
Orphek LED Lighting

Anemone and new LED lighting 4/18/12
<Hello Mark>
I have an established 180 gal tank with a 40 gal sump and another 40 gal along side, it is over 7 years and has been very stable, The water parameters are Calc-400,DKH-10,SAL-1.24.  I have a large Bubble Tip Anemone that is about 5 years old.  She has recently receded into a lower portion of the tank and is showing signs of stress.  Shriveled tentacles and appears to be turning inside out.  I recently changed my lighting from three 175 MH's to three Aquarium Illumination SOL Blues LEDs located 6" above the water line.  I was running them at 45% but after about 4 days the anemone started showing stress.  I have adjusted the lighting down to 35% but I am not sure if It is too much or too little light.
<A PAR meter would indicate if this is so but I would guess 35% would be too low.  When you stated 35%, did you mean you turned the blue down to 35% or the entire system?  I'm not familiar with what their controller is capable of.>
The tank seems less lit than it did before but this may be a function of the blue and royal blue LEDs.
<The Lumens and/or PAR may be high in this wavelength but does not appear intense to human eyes.  Our eyes are most sensitive to light intensities in higher wavelengths.  I would adjust to 85% and gradually increase by one percent daily.>
I also have a Bubble Coral towards the top of the tank that also may be showing signs of stress but it is not as obvious.
<Some Cnidarians will likely need to adjust to this "new light" and it may take some time to do so.  Have you asked Aqua Illumination for their input?>
Thank you in advance for your advice.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Mark Benko

Anemone Lighting 11/4/11
<Hello Ken>
I have a Biocube 29 with stock lighting and had a question about the light required for a Long Tentacle or Sebae Anemone.
<Your tank is a bit small for keeping this anemone alive long term.>
I don't want to take off the hood and have a metal halide lamp because of heat and evaporation issues. I was looking into LEDs and found the Panorama Pro LEDs. I was wondering if these would be sufficient for an anemone in my tank and if so, how many I would need.
<You would need at least six of these and the anemone would have to be placed in the upper third of the tank. See Ecoxotic's Coral Placement Guide here.
http://www.ecoxotic.com/community/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/CoralPlanningMap.pdf . This anemone would require the same light intensity as a Crocea or Maxima Clam.>
Each one has 12 bulbs for a total of 19w. This seems low but I have read that they have very high PAR values. If these would work would you suggest adding one (or more) to my existing 72w of pc light or replacing my stock lights completely with the LEDs.
<I would rather see you go with a Bubble Tip Anemone which can survive on less light and is much more hardy than the Long Tentacle Anemone. Adding two of the Panorama Pro LEDs to your existing lighting, preferably the 12K or the combo 12K/455nm.>
How many of these fixtures would I need and would I also need to add reflectors, stunner strips, etc.
<The reflectors/optics are built in to the LED fixture. Stunner strips won't do much for photosynthesis, generally just used for color pop.>
Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
<May want to read here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Your recent query on BTA lighting
Marineland PAR Chart  10/16/11

Hi Simon,
I read your response on this query regarding the Marineland LED Strip.
Lighting: Marineland LED Reef Capable- 18- White 1 watt LED's, 3- Blue 1 watt LED's. Rated 130/12700 PAR/LUX at 12'
<Really? This seems high, is certainly enough>
I'd just like to inform you that the 130 PAR at 12" can be a little misleading. If the Apogee
meter were moved just three inches off center of the fixture, the PAR level drops dramatically, down to
61. As long as the BTA was no more than 12" deep and dead center with the lighting, it likely would be enough.
Marineland does print the chart on their packaging. See attached Word document.


Re Your recent query on BTA lighting 10/16/11
Hi Simon,
<Hi James>
I read your response on this query regarding the Marineland LED Strip.
Lighting: Marineland LED Reef Capable- 18- White 1 watt LED's, 3- Blue 1 watt LED's. Rated 130/12700 PAR/LUX at 12'
<Really? This seems high, is certainly enough>
I'd just like to inform you that the 130 PAR at 12" can be a little misleading. If the Apogee
meter were moved just three inches off center of the fixture, the PAR level drops dramatically, down to
<Ahhh, one of these 'blade-type' LED's - I am not a fan>
As long as the BTA was no more than 12" deep and dead center with the lighting, it likely would be enough.
Marineland does print the chart on their packaging. See attached Word document.
<Mmm, do we have the posters email address still handy? Perhaps we should forward this on to her>
<Thank you James, Simon>
Your recent query on BTA lighting
Hi Simon,
I'm sure the query has been deleted by now.
Re Your recent query on BTA lighting 10/16/11
Actually, I generally save about two day's back queries... You can search by the name, title, date, size. B
Re: Your recent query on BTA lighting    10/18/11

Have tried this... no Joy..
<Ahh, lost. B>

Planned lighting, Stichodactyla sys.   4/14/10
Good evening,
<Now AM...>
er... morning here. I am planning a 58 gallon aquarium that is 21 inches deep and I plan to put 6 39 watt T-5 bulbs above it. Would I be able to keep most SPS and anemones under this lighting?
<Not together...>
Mainly wondering about a Haddoni Carpet anemone as far as anemones go. I've only ever had tanks that are less
than 30 gallons before and I'm unsure abut lighting a larger aquarium.
Thanks for everything! The website is amazing.
<The T-5's should be fine if the carpet is placed on an elevated rock... I would not mix Scleractinians in with it in this size, shape system. Bob Fenner, who should have referred the querior to the sect.s on...>

Lighting for Anemone   2/7/10
I have a 48 gallon bowfront tank that's currently set up as FOWLR with just a basic Coralife, 2x65 watt fixture. I'd like to look at adding an anemone, but clearly don't have the light for one with this setup.
<Mmm, unless you're shooting for a species that relies more on feeding, less on photosynthesis outright>
So, I've been looking at upgrading. I'm having difficulty in finding a fixture that meets all of my constraints though and hoped you could provide some suggestions. My depth ranges from 12-16" at the top of my highest live rock
<And, it should not go w/o mention that there are Actinarian species that don't "live on rocks", but in sandy to muddy bottoms>
to about 20" to the top of the sand.
The first constraint I'm facing is the width of the tank. It's a 36" long tank, but at the narrowest dimension it's just 12" wide. It seems like you need to go to at least a 6 bulb T5 fixture to get remotely close to what I'd need and most of those are too wide. The Nova Extreme Pro *might* fit, but I'd also like to keep my canopy and those aren't compatible. The ATI Powermodule in a 36" 4x39 watt would fit and it claims it can supply a mixed reef tank up to 65 gallons or an SPS dominated up to 40, which seems close. I'm just skeptical given the wattage.
<The intensity stated for the applied use is on the low side>
MH seems like a more promising route. However, my tank also has a brace that runs front-to-back right in the center. That argues against going with a single bulb due to the inevitable shadow.
<Mmm, not such a "biggie" as far as I'm concerned... In such set-ups I encourage placing the fixture off-center. I like there being a side that is less bright>
Something like the 36", 2x150 watt Sunpod seemed like the right direction, but the canopy issue comes into play again.
<You may well have to fashion or purchase a different top/canopy here...>
Do you have any suggestions?
<Oh yes. Let's start with you reading through what we have archived re canopies: http://wetwebmedia.com/marcanopies.htm
and the linked files above>
Thanks in advance!
<We'll be chatting John. Bob Fenner>

Anemone lighting 8/23/09
Hi everybody,
I've got a quick question, I'm starting a 55 gallon salt tank and I wanted to know if MH or 4 t5 bulbs ( in a light fixture) would be better for a bubble tip anemone. I only ask because I keep getting conflicting info.
<Either could work, though I would opt for a 6-8 bulb fixture going with T5s if a BTA is what you are set on keeping.>
If I go t5 what should the bulb ratio be? (white to blue)
<Personally I like three 10000K bulbs to one actinic. Some run 2 to 1 for a bluer look.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Lighting for Anemone 8/6/09
Sure like this place as you all have been a great help.
<Hello Jeff, thank you.>
I am working on a new 120 gal reef aquarium (48x24x24). I would very much like to keep an Entacmaea quadricolor (bubble tip) or Stichodactyla haddoni (green carpet). I know there are a lot of factors that go into keeping these wonderful animals healthy. I was planning on the following lighting system: (2) XM 250 watt metal halide 10000K SE bulbs with an Icecap 250W electronic ballast.
<My personal fave. MH bulb.>
According to Sanjay Joshi each of these bulbs will produce 115 PPFD and 11543 CCT with Icecap ballast. I also plan on putting each bulb within a Lumenarc III Mini Reflector. Do you think this would take care of the lighting needs for either of these anemones?
<Oh yes.>
I like both of these anemones. I have to say the green carpet is my favorite but will not attempt to keep if my lighting is not adequate.
<Your lighting will be fine, but I would still stick to the BTA. It is a far better choice for many a reason. See:
and the linked files above.>
Thanks for the help.
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: lighting for anemone 8/15/09
Thanks Scott for the help.
<Welcome, sorry for the extremely slow reply here.>
Will follow your advice and go with the BTA. It is not my favorite, like the green carpet best, but the BTA is still a very nice anemone.
<And a far better choice.>
I do have a question about my lighting. I will not be using a chiller (wife veto) but will be using six 120mm Syth-S-Flex SFF21D cooling fans. The air movement from each fan is 33.5CFM with a noise level of only 8.7 dBa per
<Wow, quiet for the air moved.>
Two of these fans will be placed on the left side of the canopy blowing air across the reflector. Two more fans will be in the middle of the
canopy blowing air in the same direction. The final two fans will be in the line with the other fans on the right side of the canopy blowing air out of the tank. I am thinking the noise level should be low and with six fans the air movement should be enough to keep everything cool. This is my hope.
Do you agree?
<I think it is as good a shot as you can have with fans.>
Also with using the six fans, and (2) 250 watt MH bulbs within the LumenArc III Mini reflector, how many inches above the water should the bulbs be?
<You can raise these quite a bit and have a good spread. I would aim for 9-12" above the water myself. This too will aid in keeping the water cooler.>
Want to be close enough to get the max out of the bulbs but high enough not to make everything too hot.
Thanks so much for the great help.
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: lighting for anemone 8/17/09
Thanks again Scott,
<Happy to assist.>
I have been doing some research on the Lumenmax Elite. They are about the same size as the LumenArc III Mini but seem to do a better job. Do you know about these reflectors?
<Yes, have recently seen a few in action, nice reflectors.>
My tank will be 24 inches high and 24 inches tall. Can I raise them even higher than the Mini as the light reaches a deeper depth with the Elites? If so how much higher?
<You could in theory, but the 9-12" mentioned before will be plenty high enough to keep heat transfer to a minimum.>
Thanks again,
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Lighting & Anemones Hey Bob, Sweet site. Couple questions: have a 20 long fine filtration-circulation-water quality etc. Have in it two Ocellaris and one flame hawk, live rock/sand, and two sebae (I think) anemones. These were given to me free. I only have a fluorescent light on the tank, have had the anemones for approximately a month and feed them silversides once-twice a week. This is too little lighting everyone says, I know it is, but they seem to be flourishing. Any theories on why and what I should do or what kind of light I should get, and if so where is the cheapest I can get it. Poor college student here :) Thank you for your time Jamie >> <Don't know that I would agree with the "too little lighting" for your and other species of anemones commonly kept statement... Have seen MANY situations in the wild where actinarians were in low light settings... and, um, doing fine. So you can understand why photosynthesis may not be such a large or consistent food/source requirement for these "flower animals"... instead, maybe frozen silversides are a preferred input.... But, I would save up and add another fluorescent strip light to your array... or look around in the larger "hardware" stores for a compact fluorescent retrofit that you could/can easily supplant your current regular output with... Bob Fenner

Re: Lighting & Anemones One more thing...when you say another strip light, you mean a normal fluorescent?? Would that make a difference? Again thanks for your time, Jamie  >> At the very least, one more normal output fluorescent... something with a CRI of 92 or higher and a temperature of 5,000 K or higher... and mark the inception date on your lamps to remind you when to switch them out/replace them... every six months or so on a 12h daylight cycle. Bob Fenner

Anemone   <<Greetings from JasonC, giving Bob time to prepare his turkey>> > Hi, bob. The pet sore here is offering me a maroon anemone. Can I keep these with my lighting?? 2 x 20 W Trichromatic. Thanks, Bernd > <<off the cuff and without knowing anything else about your tank, I would say no, that is not enough light to keep an anemone. If you are intent on keeping anemones, you will want to look into a power-compact [PC] form of lighting and try to step it up a notch. There is a step beyond this [metal-halide], but the price, heat, and power consumption are considerably more than PC lighting. > As an aside to the anemone itself, I am not familiar with a "maroon anemone" although there is of course the Maroon clown [anemone fish] - is this truly an anemone that is maroon colored or do the folks at the store have a more scientific name for it? There is a problem with some stores/suppliers that will sell anemones that have been dyed so that they are all kinds of fun  colors. These colors don't last and they're not really good for the anemone either. If this is the path you want to head down, do take the time and educate yourself - it will enhance your experience in the long run. If you haven't already, give this URL a read: > http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemones.htm > Cheers - J -->>

Re: anemone Hi and thanks for the quick reply. Happy Thanksgiving to everybody! I don't know what the maroon anemone looks like. I will find out more when the owner of the pet store comes. Thanks. Bernd <<JasonC again, saying: fair enough - a good place to start. Cheers - J-->>

Lighting Anemones Thank you so much for your help!! <I am not sure to who you are referring, but I will definitely forward the compliment. Bob is out of days for the next few days and Anthony Calfo and I, Steven Pro, are pitching in and helping to answer the daily questions.> I have one more question... in your opinion, do you think for a 55 gallon that two 30 watt 10000k lights and one 30 watt actinic light would be enough for a bubble tip anemone and our other two anemones (don't know what kind they are, not bubbles, small one is lavender and larger is white with bluish/purplish rouged tips, also two greenish/sorta brownish sand anemones)? <Probably not> All we have is a 36 in long hood and we added the one light... yep I didn't read about how important lots of lighting is before we got the anemones. We have room to add one more light to our current hood. I've seen what I would really like to get: a set up for two metal halides and two florescent (well one would be actinic the other regular daylight 10000 k 40 watt type) but don't have $350 for it :(. I have no corals and don't plan to get any until we upgrade to a larger system... with better lighting) <Actually, most people find host anemones to be far more difficult than most corals.> I want to add a rose bubble tip anemone for the pair of maroon clowns I want to get someday. Yes btw I do feed the anemones... usually a piece or two of shrimp that has been soaked in Zoe vitamin supplement every other day or so. And a piece for the purple spotted anemone shrimp! Another question on the lighting, is there a way to buy something from Loews or Home Depot to be able to mount metal halides in the middle (one on each side of the middle) of our existing hood instead of buying another fluorescent light mounting system? <I have seen people do this sort of thing, but these are not designed for high humidity environments. It would be best to buy something specifically built for the aquarium trade.> Would I need to install a fan as well? Thank you SO much!!! Again!! <Take a look at this page, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bubbletipanemones.htm>

Condy anemone <Anthony Calfo, in your service> What are the lighting requirements for a Condy anemone? <depends on where it was collected, but can be categorized as moderate to high light> I bought one yesterday and currently have a 50 watt bulb on my 125....  <indeed... it would shrivel and die within months> BUT, I have 4 Coralife ballasts to put on my tank if that will help it.  <if they are standard fluorescent bulbs (40watt?) it will still be too weak for the depth of a 125 gallon tank. Such lights do not penetrate deep enough. The necessary lights to keep this anemone will cost 100X the price of the anemone...hehe. Do need to research before you buy animals, my friend> He found a spot near a rock not long after I introduced him into the tank. Would the Custom Sea Life PC's work, too?  <now we are talking, goombah!> I also bought some live phytoplankton for him to eat as well........  <fine zooplankton as much or more please> Any info would be great, as I am having a hard time finding info on this anemone. <not the hardiest in captivity but popular because they are inexpensive. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks, Kim

BTA and MH I wrote about my BTA going to the back of my tank. You suggested too little light. I currently have 3 watts per gallon in my 120 by compacts. I want to upgrade. I was reading about MH giving off UV rays. Is this a significant hazard to me? <No, not really with any commercial model and proper installation.> What is the difference between MH grow lights (fixture) and one I would but from a fish store. <Some are very similar, but many industrial units cannot light the aquarium lamps.> Doesn't the spectrum come from the bulb? <Yes> What do I need to look for when buying a fixture? <Sanjay Joshi has done some comparative studies on fixtures. He has some of his older works on his webpage. There is a link from WWM. Also, if you have not already read it, there are some excellent works from hobbyists on the WWM page, too.> Thanks again! -Becky <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Anemone needs for lighting (and vice versa) Hello, I have a FOWLR 55 gal tank that has been set up for about 8 weeks now.  All of its inhabitants are doing great (one yellow tang, one Chromis, one striped damsel, one flame angel a chocolate chip star and assorted hermit crabs and emerald crabs. Since I do not have corals I do not have fancy lighting; there are only three 15 watt fluorescent tubes, one of which is actinic blue. Do you think that's enough light to have an anemone? <I am sorry to say, you are not even close, more like 220 watts for a 55.> If so, which kinds of anemones have the most modest lighting needs? <E. quadricolor has the lowest light requirements, but even they need significantly more light than you currently have. Plus your chocolate chip starfish is a potential predator of anemones.> Thanks! Ana M. Saavedra <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

A Good Friend To His Anemone! Hi, You were correct in your comments about real sunlight. I thought the  anemone was responding positively to attention from the clownfish, but actually it is the sunlight that makes it happy. I know this because the clownfish are now in this anemone full time, but it is when the sun shines on the anemone that it expands and looks it's best. <Yep- light is extremely important in anemone husbandry! That Bob Fenner is one smart guy, huh?> On days when there is no sun, it does not look as good.  My question is this, I know that most home aquariums are not the ideal environment for a Heteractis anemone, so I am doing the best I can for my one including feeding supplements, I just want to check if I am doing the right thing. Every few feedings I soak its food in Reef Plus to give it some extra nutrients. Is this a good idea? <Not a bad idea to enrich foods for most captive animals> Also, are there any other supplements that could benefit it? <Just the "supplementation" that you will get by engaging in regular water changes...> Also, as it responds to sunlight, I am assuming that my normal lighting may not be enough. If this is the case, are there any supplements that could help make up for this? <Just good feeding and clean water conditions> Having asked  all this, I should just say that the anemone is currently looking good and has a good rich color, and has actually improved since I bought it, but I just want to do the best I can.  Cheers <Sounds like you already are! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F>

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