FAQ about clown hosting anemones

Discussion in 'Invertebrates' started by salt_for_brains, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. salt_for_brains

    salt_for_brains Alabama Reefer VIP Member

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    I am not an expert nor do I pretend to be one on clown hosting anemones. What I do have is years of research and experience keeping various species of these inverts. I have read a lot of questions on forums including this forum about anemones and I wanted to try and provide a resource for someone to get a lot of their questions answered in one place without having to search different threads.

    Which anemone is easiest to keep? All hosting anemones range from difficult, to more difficult, to most difficult to keep. There are easier species like the E. quadricolor (bubble tip anemone) but they are still difficult. So don’t let the term “Easier” fool you.

    Why do anemones need a mature tank? Mature tanks bring stability. Stability in water parameters is a must to creating a healthy environment for anemones. Remember, anemones are made up of mostly water so rapid swings in PH, temperature and salinity have deadly impacts for anemones. Mature tanks usually means more experienced aquarists which know “slow is good” in this hobby.

    What are the lighting requirements for anemones? In my opinion, clown hosting anemones are one of the most light demanding creatures we can put in our tanks. A lot of factors dictate what light will be good for your anemone and your tank. The depth of the tank, where the anemone will dwell (sand, middle of rocks on top of the rocks) and the species need to be considered before purchasing one. LED’s, T5’s or metal halides would be the least I would use trying to house an anemone. Yes, I know some people have bubble tip anemones under power compacts and they are doing well. My thing is give yourself and the anemone every opportunity to be successful in your aquarium by providing it with plenty of light. Yes you can also have too much light to begin with but if you light acclimate it properly and give it time the anemone will adjust.

    Why is my anemone moving around so much? This is usually a sign of an unhappy/stressed anemone. Something is bothering the anemone (i.e. water flow, lighting, predator, water parameters, coral) and it isn’t comfortable. Happy anemones will stay settled for a long time, years even as long as its requirements are met.

    How much flow do anemones need? Anemones like moderate to strong flow but this doesn’t mean they want to be blasted directly. Indirect flow by bouncing it off the top of the water or off the glass does well. Anemones breathe by absorbing oxygen from the water. So flow helps to bring new water in and also flush away any wastes the anemone may expel.

    If the anemone dies will it release toxins and kill the contents of my tank? This is one I cringe at every time I see it asked or stated. The anemone WILL NOT release toxins into the water when it dies and nuke your tank. The closest you could even get to this would be if unfired nematocysts (stinging cells) got ripped out of the anemone by a power head or something and scattered in the water column even then it wouldn’t kill your tank. What most likely happens is because the anemone is made up mostly of our tank water when something goes wrong with parameters it is the first to show signs and possibly death. Then this fish dies and that coral dies so the anemone gets the blame for nuking the tank. Another possibility is the anemone dies for whatever reason and starts to rot in the tank causing an ammonia spike which could kill other live stock. No research I have ever read has led me to believe toxins are released in fact everything always pointed against it.

    What is this dark brown stringy stuff coming out of my anemones mouth? This is usually a bad sign as the anemone is most likely expelling zooxanthellae (symbiotic algae) from stress or injury. It will expel parts of food that it cannot digest but it won’t be the dark brown color like zooxanthellae.

    What and how much should I feed my anemone? Anemones need variety but will readily accept most meaty seafood (squid, mysis, scallops, krill, shrimp) and is an added bonus if you enrich it with some reef vitamins. They will also eat some flake foods or mixed food like Roger’s Reef. Less is more when it comes to feeding. Smaller pieces more often are much healthier than larger pieces less often. If your lighting is adequate feeding is more like a treat from time to time. If your lighting isn’t what it should be then feeding more often may be in order because the lighting needs are not met. Remember, feeding it makes it grow quicker. I rarely feed mine but they do catch some food at times when I feed the tank.

    Is my white anemone healthy? NO! There is no such thing as a healthy white clown hosting anemone. White anemones are bleached meaning they have expelled some or all their zooxanthellae because of stress or injury. The anemones can recover from this condition in a tank with proper lighting, water parameters and feedings but it will take months to complete this process. If you are a beginner don’t take on this project look for a healthy specimen. Anemones can also be dyed another color like yellow which really stresses out the anemone as well but like bleaching they can recover from being dyed. I wish LFS wouldn’t purchase dyed anemones and then maybe the collectors would quit doing it.

    How do I know if my anemone is stressed? The anemone may move around a lot and not settle. A gaping mouth or inverted mouth is a sign. It is expelling zooxanthella or bleaching out. It is staying deflated or deflated more than inflated. It is hiding from the light. It won’t stay attached to the rock or substrate. All these are signs of a stressed and/or unhealthy anemone.

    Will the anemone eat my other fish? It is always a possibility especially with some of the more aggressive carpet anemones. Anemones are opportunistic feeders and most fish realize there is danger there.

    Will the anemone host my clowns? Your guess is as good as mine. You can increase your odds by getting a species of anemone that are natural hosts for your species of clowns or vice versa depending which you purchase first. Some will host quickly, others take time and others will never host. Tank bred clowns will host it is just a matter if they do it.

    What can I do to help my anemone once in the tank? Whenever I place a new anemone inside the aquarium I shut off all the power heads. If it is a rock dwelling species I place it in the rocks in the general area I hope it will stay and attach. Same goes for the sand dwelling species but I dig a little hole for it in the area I hope it will stay and lay its foot in that hole. When it attaches then I push some of the sand back around the foot. Then I cut the power heads back on once attached and monitor. If all goes well it stays put if it decides it doesn’t like something then it will methodically march to a new spot. You may have to move corals out of its way during this process.

    Do anemones need clownfish to survive in our tanks? No, they do just fine in our tanks without clownfish.

    Why is my anemone splitting? Bubble tip anemones seem to do this in home aquariums a lot. One thought process is the anemone is stressed and is in fear of dying out so it splits and creates a clone in hopes it and/or the clone would live. Another thought it is reproducing asexually under no stressing circumstances it is just fat and happy. Either way if you have a bubble tip anemone you could end up with two, three, four or 12 over time. They can be good trade-ins at your local LFS.

    This is not every question out there but these are some of the repeated ones that I have read over the years. As I said in the beginning I don’t claim to be an expert but I hope some of my experience helps you if you have questions about your anemone or decide you want to try your hand with one. Awesome creatures!!:D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2013
    salt_for_brains, Mar 13, 2013
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  2. salt_for_brains

    grozier something smells fishy

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    Thanks for the info, as far as feeding goes silver sides wasn't mentioned are they okay to feed to them?
     
    grozier, Mar 13, 2013
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  3. salt_for_brains

    salt_for_brains Alabama Reefer VIP Member

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    Yes pieces of fish works too.
     
    salt_for_brains, Mar 13, 2013
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  4. salt_for_brains

    BL1 ............. Moderator

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    Silversides are a poor choice for feeding anemones. It's been linked on other sites in many cases to having killed anemones, especially more sensitive ones like mags and sebaes.
     
    BL1, Mar 13, 2013
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  5. salt_for_brains

    grozier something smells fishy

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    Well thats good to know!
     
    grozier, Mar 13, 2013
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  6. salt_for_brains

    2XAl Salt Addict VIP Member

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    great write up, glad to see someone else trying to dispel the anenomes 'nuke tanks when they die' myth
     
    2XAl, Mar 13, 2013
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  7. salt_for_brains

    salt_for_brains Alabama Reefer VIP Member

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    I would really like to know more about this as I am never to experienced to learn. I have never used silversides but use other types of fish at times. I do have numerous contacts that almost exclusively feed their nems with silversides and have been for years. I will also contact them for their personal experiences.
     
    salt_for_brains, Mar 13, 2013
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  8. salt_for_brains

    grozier something smells fishy

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    Now im confused
     
    grozier, Mar 14, 2013
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  9. salt_for_brains

    ccCapt Reef Hacker Moderator

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    Silversides, or any large piece of fish is not a natural food for any anemone. Any larger size piece of food will be eaten by the other fish on the reef way before it can drift into an anemone.

    Here is my sebae which has been in my tank for almost 10 years. It's about the size of a large dinner plate. I never once directly fed it, although the mated pair of clowns it hosts have occasionally brought it small pieces of food.
    [​IMG]
     
    ccCapt, Mar 14, 2013
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  10. salt_for_brains

    salt_for_brains Alabama Reefer VIP Member

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    And an awesome specimen it is!!
     
    salt_for_brains, Mar 14, 2013
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  11. salt_for_brains

    grozier something smells fishy

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    I never gave it a whole piece.
     
    grozier, Mar 15, 2013
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  12. salt_for_brains

    Marinne13 Northern Reefer

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    wow good write up Salt For Brains!!
     
    Marinne13, Mar 20, 2013
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  13. salt_for_brains

    Sakura2282 Reef lover!!!

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    Thanks for the info, very useful. :)
     
    Sakura2282, Jan 17, 2014
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  14. salt_for_brains

    finestbeast

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    Dumb question but will it sting you when cleaning the tank and if so how much does it actually hurt?
     
    finestbeast, Apr 29, 2014
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  15. salt_for_brains

    Aquarian

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    It hurts just enough to make you believe peeing on it feels better:D
     
    Aquarian, Apr 29, 2014
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  16. salt_for_brains

    Aquarian

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    Honestly it depends on the nem, some sting more than others
     
    Aquarian, Apr 29, 2014
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  17. salt_for_brains

    finestbeast

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    I watched a co-worker add one to the tank by hand...no gloves...said the sting was slight...but again..it was out of water for a few seconds and looked like seaweed at this point...just reddish pink
     
    finestbeast, Apr 29, 2014
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  18. salt_for_brains

    salt_for_brains Alabama Reefer VIP Member

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    Everyone reacts differently to them. Frogspawn actually hurts me more than any anemone I have ever kept.
     
    salt_for_brains, Apr 29, 2014
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