Sea Anemones: A How to Guide for Selection, Care, and Feeding

We’re going to learn about anemones today and go through the basics of keeping one. Every pastime has a starting point. Keeping a clown fish and their often partner in crime, the anemone. Is the entry point for most reef tank hobbyists. Anemones can live happily and healthy lives without their symbiotic partners. Despite the fact that most people pair them with clowns.

The majority of what we’ll discuss today applies to the vast majority of anemones. However, the focus of this post will be on the most popular anemone on the market, the rose bubble tip anemone. Sea anemones are find in over 1,000 different kinds in the wild, and they can find in all of the world’s oceans. Cnidaria is the phylum in which they categorized. They also have stinging cells called nematocytes, which are similar to those seen in jellyfish.

Despite feeding on small fish and crustaceans, anemones are frequently see in the environment alongside symbiotic partners. The most common of which being the clown fish.

Most of the time, these coupled species give the anemone with a steady food supply while the anemone protects them from predators. The most important thing to remember when keeping an anemone is that consistency is the key to success. When new tanks are first formed, they go through a number of cycles. They don’t really start to settle in until about the six-month mark. To avoid overstressing an anemone, wait until your tank has reached this stage before attempting to add them to your tank.

Anemones’ optimal characteristics are similar to those of normal reef tanks. Thus adding one to an existing reef tank should be fine. The larger your system, just like with reef tanks, the easier it is to maintain stability. Although it’s not impossible, keeping anemones in tanks smaller than 20 gallons can be challenging because your parameters are more likely to fluctuate. Maintaining a frequent water change schedule using RODI water and a high-quality marine salt mix is the best way to ensure your water is where it needs to be. Maintaining your salinity levels and keeping your anemones happy and healthy requires connecting an ATO system to your tank.

One of the most crucial things to remember when setting up an anemone-friendly aquarium is that anemones move a lot. It’s not uncommon to put an anemone in your tank and then have it vanish. Just to reappearance at a new location in your tank. In our Innovative Marine 50 gallon Lagoon, we have two large bubble tip anemones. And, while one appears to be content where he is, the other never seems to satisfied and tends to change his mind on a weekly basis.

Anemones can migrate due to a multitude of variables, including illumination and flow.

Unfortunately, keeping things where you want them isn’t always possible. Because some anemones wander, you may need to take steps to nem-proof your tank to prevent them from injuring themselves. If the heater is in your main display tank rather than a sump or bag chamber. The anemone may get too close to the heater and burn itself. Place your heater in a corrugated plastic tube to maintain proper water flow while also shielding it from the anemone, which is a simple option.

One of our employees had the terrible experience of having his anemone creep into his powerhead.

Long, sweeping tentacles of some anemones can become entangled in powerheads, even if they’re merely passing by. An anemone pump guard featured on some powerheads, such as the EcoTech VorTech. This guard can positioned around the pump to keep fish and other animals from becoming trapped inside. It could worth looking into some form of security like this simply to make sure your anemone doesn’t get catch as well. When buying an anemone, there are a handful of things to bear in mind.

Keep in mind that these creatures are predators by nature. Although some fish, such as clown fish, thrive when partnered with anemones. Many more fish would simply serve as food for the anemones.

Small fish and crustaceans, especially in smaller tanks, are particularly vulnerable to being caught. They might not be a good match. Anemones with long, sweeping tentacles, including some LPS species like hammer and flame corals, are capable of stinging corals that surround them.

Anemones, unlike these corals, have a lot of freedom of movement. This means they might decide to camp out right next to your most valuable coral and harass it.

It’s crucial to do your research before buying any animals for your tank, as well as comprehend the potential ramifications of adding them to your system. When you’ve decided you’re ready for an anemone, there are a few things to keep an eye out for. Examining their oral disc and foot is the easiest method to tell if you’re looking at a healthy anemone.

Their oral disc is centered on their mouth. It should be kept closed at all times save for feeding and excrement.

If the mouth of the anemone is gaping, it is likely that it is unhealthy. In terms of the foot, make sure it’s firmly attached to whatever it’s on. It’s possible that the anemone is ill or stressed if it isn’t well-rooted.


The process of acclimating anemones is rather straightforward. If you have the room, quarantine your anemone for several weeks before introducing it to your main tank to ensure that it is free of any illnesses or parasites. To equalize the temperature, float the anemone’s container inside your tank for about 30 minutes. Then, using airline tubing and a pinch valve, create a drip application. Set up the line so that one drip of water from your tank has added to the anemone’s water per second.

Remove half of the anemone’s water when the water has doubled in volume and let it double again.

You can now place the anemone in your aquarium. It’s advisable to lower your lights and flow down when you first add it, gradually increasing them back to regular levels over two weeks or so. This will allow the anemone to gradually acclimate to the regular conditions in your aquarium. It will also help them to relax.

Acclimatation can be more difficult if your tank contains other creatures with stinging cells. Other organisms may detect the anemone once it is first introduced to the aquarium.

And, because they are seen as competitors, they may use chemical warfare to eradicate them. Bob Fenner discussed a way of acclimation to assist avoid these concerns in his 2017 Reef-A-Palooza presentation on anemones. Take around a cup of water from each tank and change them once you’ve established a new anemone in a quarantine tank and made sure it’s clear of parasites and hitchhikers.

As a result, the stinging creatures and the anemone will gradually become acquainted, reducing the possibility of them attempting to kill each other. If you want to see the whole of Bob’s presentation, we’ve included a link to it in the video’s cards. Anemones, like coral, are photosynthetic. In terms of lighting, you’ll want to give the anemone full spectrum light between 100 and 200 PAR, which you can get from most brighter LEDs, as well as T5s and metal halides.
Even if the light becomes too strong for anemones at times, they will shift to a more shady location if necessary.

Simply ensure that they have a somewhere to go. Anemones, in addition to lights, require solid nourishment. Although they may survive in your tank by feeding during normal broadcast feeding, it is best to spot feed them as well if you want to ensure that your anemone thrives. Once or twice every two weeks, feed the anemone small pieces of meaty stuff. It could be easier to do this after you’ve fed the rest of your tank to keep your other fish from stealing the anemone’s food.

It’s likely that the anemone will start reproducing after it’s established in your aquarium. The larger anemone will gradually divide and eventually split into two smaller anemones, which will be visible.

It’s not uncommon for someone to start with only one anemone and end up with a tank full of them after the anemone begins to divide. After a split, it’s not uncommon for new anemones to be distributed around to the personnel at our office. Most people want to see the final phase. Which is to develop a relationship between their anemone and their clown fish.

Most anemones will spontaneously begin to harbour clown fish. I sincerely hope you found this information useful and not overwhelming, as anemones are fantastic additions to aquariums when properly planned for.

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