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FAQs on Bulb, Bubble Tip/Rose Anemone Environmental Disease

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, Nutritional, 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,

The best species of Anemone; esp. if tank produced... But still need "reef system conditions"... High, steady pH, spg., alkalinity, alkaline earths.

Put another way: Established, optimized, stable conditions suitable for touchy corals.

Entacmaea live on rocks... sans other Cnidarians nearby

A healthy, large refugium IS EXTREMELY helpful (esp. run on RDP macro-algal culture)

New Print and eBook on Amazon:  

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sick RBTA; using WWM      7/26/15
<WHY not follow our instructions re file size? Am in Curacao; it's taken min.s to download your non-cropped image of more than two Megs>
Sigh. I know my tank is too small (only 28 gal.
<And obviously too polluted>
I wish I had been told this prior to purchasing & making creature miserable, if not outright murdering it). I have a JBJ PRO model with LED lighting: daytime, dusk/dawn & moonlighting Specs list daylight as 25x3 watt 14 k; dawn/dusk: 4x3 watt 466nm; moonlight: 2x1 watt 456nm, so although my star polyp has grown 5 times original size in 4 months, my RBTA looks terrible: has not moved since finding its place on a live rock; bubble tips have shrunk & are dark looking, although lately they seem to be on the mend, or at least are not black! I have included a pic. Don't mind the hair algae as I have replaced my skimmer to an AquaMaxx HOB which does a brilliant job!
<Not yet>
Actually, the hair algae has been 90% reduced! So you can imagine the poor skimmer quality (was a JBJ that fir into the back compartment...but it was rubbish!)
<It seems you know the answer to your issue here>
Do you think I can save this little, miserable guy, or should I give him back to the store from whom I purchased it & perhaps they can help it mend.
Mea culpa. :((
Jennifer Rossi
New Orleans
<Just read on WWM re Entacmaea. Your answers are further gone over and over there. Bob Fenner>

Sick BTA; allelopathy, chemical starvation, reading   12/31/12
Dear WWM Crew:
First off, Happy New Year!! Secondly, I have a sickly BTA that I bought about 2 months ago from Liveaquaria.com . The anemone originally found a rock crevice where it seemed to do well for the first few weeks. I did not do a very good job target feeding it. The BTA then moved further into a hole in the rock & has been "on the move" since then. It is deflated, very small, with mouth open & tentacles retracted. It keeps moving slowly from rock to rock and has not opened up or inflated for about a month.
<Not atypical behavior for a new Entacmaea; reacting to "something" undesirable" here... conditions, tank-mate wise. Let's see...>
The system is a 90g with a 40g refugium. Circulation pump is Rio 3200.
There are 3-600 gph powerheads - 1 directed from back to front in the center, 2 directed toward each other  from each side, all about 4 inches below water line. Filtration is with a Turboflotor Blue skimmer, filer sock, and carbon in a reactor.
Lighting is provided by 4 x 48" T5s: two white, 1 purple, 1 actinic. Most of the rock work is about 12-16 inches from the lights at the highest point of the rocks.
The BTA is currently located toward the lower part of the tank, which would be about 8" from the tank bottom & about 20" from the T5 bulbs in the canopy. The BTA  does not seem to move up toward the light. At night with the lights off (except for moon lights) the BTA reaches upward, tentacles still retracted & mouth open. When feeding it Mysis or small pieces of shrimp the BTA will not "grab" the food (no tentacles) and the food floats away.
Tank-mates are: 2 yellow tail damsels, 1 yellow sailfin, 1 Ocellaris about 3" long, 1 pajama cardinal, a few Mexican turbo snails & red-legged hermits. As for cnidarians: several very large green encrusting Montiporas, literally hundreds of green Corallimorphs located on most all of the rocks, 2 species of Rhodactis, a few Ricordeas, 2 Zoanthid colonies.
<Might well be the Shrooms and/or Zoanthids are combating the anemone chemically here. All new Cnidarians need to be acclimated over weeks time via a separate system, mixing water. Read here:
and the linked files above for the groups involved here>
Right now, the BTA is wedged into a rock  crevice near some mushrooms.
<Ahh... really, needs to be moved; for you to start the acclimation/introduction process anew>
As far as water parameters, Temp. is 77F, Salinity 1.025, CA 430, Alk 3.2, Nitrites=0, Nitrates=0, Phos=0,
<... sigh... all chemo-photo/synthates need some of both of the last two... See WWM re this as well>
Ammonia=0. I use Salifert tests for all but Phosphate which is tested with a Hanna photometer, and nitrate which is tested with LaMotte high sensitivity reagents.
Any ideas about how I can help my little BTA?
<As stated, allelopathy and nutrients... Bob Fenner>
 Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Re: Sick BTA  1/1/13

I see a lot re: how to reduce nitrates, but not increasing them. Is this as simple as feeding more & reducing skimmer production?
<Ahh, can be; yes. More the former>
In attempting to move the BTA it floated behind the rocks & I am trying to find it again. When I do, you recommend removing from the tank & re-acclimating if I read your response correctly?
Thanks, Doug
<Yes; if possible/practical, take out whatever it's attached to, place in a container underwater and move all to the separate system. BobF>

E. Quadricolor, New Tank Issues -- 11/14/07 Hello once again! <Hello Ryan, Brenda here> I have yet another question for you. <Not a problem!> It never ends, does it? <No, but this is how we all learn, and why we are here.> Thanks for all your great help so far and hopefully you can help me out with this interesting situation? <I'll try!> I recently moved my bubble tip anemone and its clone to a new tank. The new tank was setup with existing live rock and water, as well as some Chaetomorpha algae. <This is not an instant cycle. This creature needs an established environment, including the sand bed. This takes a minimum of 6 months, one year is best.> Everything has been going well, except the endless walking around the tank. <It is not happy.> Different flow and lights will cause that. <The new tank is likely the cause.> Yesterday I came home from work and found something interesting. The anemones had been fed the day before and looked a little unhappy. <What are you feeding it?> I took a look and found something interesting? I've posted this on three forums and no one has responded, which, in my opinion means no one has an answer? Today the anemones look much happier and the "egg sac" in the attached picture is gone. After I took the picture last night I noticed the tentacle started to tear open but I did not stay up late enough to see if anything was released? I added some carbon and did a water change just in case something in the tank was off. <You need to keep a close eye on your water parameters.> Thanks for looking, Ryan. http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s7/RyanSc_photos/IMG_1496.jpg  It is just to the right of the mouth. <Yes, I see this.> Any ideas? <Well, I can tell you, it is not an egg sac. Here is a link to a thread that shows eggs inside of an anemone. The pictures in this thread are amazing. http://forum.marinedepot.com/Topic74210-9-1.aspx This is also a good article to read: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/nov2002/feature.htm As far as what is going on; it could be a number of things. It looks to me like one of its tentacles has become injured or irritated. What are the tank mates, including fish, corals and invertebrates? Have you noticed anything bothering it? Are there any possibilities that salt accumulated somewhere and dropped into the tank, landing on the anemone? What are your water parameters? How long has this tank been up and running? Did you transfer the sand bed over also? If so, how long did you leave it cycle before adding the livestock? Thanks again. <You're welcome! Brenda>
Re: E. Quadricolor, New Tank Issues -- 11/15/07
Hi Brenda, thanks for the reply. <Hello Ryan, and you're welcome!> You are not going to like this? <Yikes!> I did the entire change over in one day! <Ouch!> After asking many people if it would be OK if I used existing live rock and water as well as some Chaeto, they all said yes. <No, it is not ok, especially with anemones.> So if this was not OK what can I do now? Water parameters were fine until I fed the anemones, I fed them shrimp, same shrimp I've fed for over a year. My ammonia was a little high the day after and I'm assuming that one or both of the anemones did not eat their "dinner", causing the higher ammonia. <The ammonia spike is caused by the cycle. This is extremely toxic to anemones.> I did a water change to fix the problem, a rather large water change and after that they both looked fine. Here are the water parameters, ammonia 0, nitrite 0 (yes I'm sure), nitrate 0, calcium 400, Alk 10 DKH, salinity 1.025, temp. 79....I think that's it. <I do recommend a salinity of 1.026 for anemones.> The tank has a couple of frags that were attached to the live rock, Montipora and that is it, no other corals or fish....oh other than the one Palythoa hijacker. Please let me know if there is a way I can fix this situation? <I suggest getting the anemones out of there for a while. See if you can find someone local to take it in. If you are starting with a new sand bed, you need to wait a minimum of 6 months. If you transferred the old sand bed, it will take less time, but I can't give you an exact time frame. It could take a few weeks, or even a few months. There are too many variables. You will need to keep checking your water parameters. Once everything has been stable for a while, you can put the anemones back in.> I assure you I did a lot of questioning before I went ahead with this move and everyone said it was fine. Now I need your help, please. I did not check the links yet because I'm in a bit of a rush and trying to catch you today rather than tomorrow. Thanks for your help, Ryan. <You're welcome! Brenda>
Re: E. Quadricolor, New Tank Issues -- 11/16/07
Thank you Brenda! <You're Welcome!> Sorry to keep this going back and forth with you. <No need to be sorry!> The sand is new, I thought I was saving myself cycling issues by doing this rather than using old "dirty" sand, apparently I was wrong. <Even when using old sand, there will still be a cycle.> I have little trust in others in my area, I work at a LFS but don't want my anemones there because they cram them all in one little tank. <Ouch! I know what you mean! When visiting a LFS, I first look at how they treat their anemones. I can't count how many times I've left feeling sick! I have found very few LFS that provide an adequate environment for this creature.> I don't know anyone else (local) with a tank that would be suited to keep anemones. <Wish I could help, I would gladly take the anemones in for a while if you were local.> So that being said I would prefer to try and fix the problem by myself. I watch things very carefully and hopefully I can pull this off? I have a SPS reef tank that has been doing great for over a year (started it before that). Here's what I've been doing. I'm making 5 gallons of new saltwater per day, letting it rest (with a pump) for a day, adding that to my reef tank, then I take 5 gallons out of my reef tank and change 5 gallons on my anemone tank. <This is a waste of effort in my opinion. You simply can not create an instant cycle. Your new tank needs time to cycle. Dirty water is not the solution. Once your tank has cycled it will still not be an adequate environment for anemones.> Not the best method but hopefully this will get me through this 6 month period? I know you are not going to be all that fond of this idea. <No, I'm not fond at all, neither are the anemones. They need an established environment, no less than 6 months, no short cuts here.> Do you think it is possible to keep my anemones if I continue to do this? <It is a possibility, but not a probability, also not fair to the anemones to be kept in such an environment.> My other option would be to somehow get them back in my reef tank. <This would be my choice, with a slow drip acclimation to reduce added stress.> I would prefer not to lose my corals. That is an option that I would rather not go for. <Were the anemones in the SPS tank previously? Were there problems that made you decide to move them, roaming, etc.? I keep anemones with SPS, and have had no issues. My anemones do not roam, and I keep the SPS away from the anemones. Granted, this is not a guarantee that they won't roam someday. Can you tell me more about your SPS tank? Size, equipment, livestock, water parameters, amount of flow, RO or RO/DI water, is there room for the anemones? I appreciate your help a lot. Please try and see things from my point of view on this. <I do, (and the anemones view) we've all made mistakes.> I am doing my best to keep them happy. I guess I should have emailed you first, before I made the transfer. By the way both anemones look very healthy and happy! <This may not be long term.> Thanks so much, Ryan. <You're welcome! Brenda>
Re: E. Quadricolor, New Tank Issues... Brenda! Refer Ryan!  -- 11/16/07
Hi Brenda, <Hello Ryan!> Thanks again! <You're welcome!> The anemones were in the SPS tank before but the two used to be one, it split and then both started roaming. <Both are a sign of stress.> They are also very large so their tentacles swaying in the current (lots of flow) were causing problems with my corals and clam. <Yes, that is a problem!> I use RO/DI water, have 4000 gph of flow (90 gallon tank), <That is a lot of flow, likely too much for anemones.> a EuroReef skimmer, Kalk reactor, refugium with a DSB and Chaeto, 500 watts of metal halide lighting (10K), 100+ pounds of live rock, 30 gallon sump, etc. <Nice equipment!!!> My water parameters in the SPS tank are ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 1.5, calcium 400, DKH 11, Ph 8.3, temp. 79, SG 1.025-1.026.....I think I got all of those? My SPS tank is packed full of corals and my main concern is the anemones wandering or letting loose of the live rock and floating into a Tunze powerhead. <I don't recommend the use of powerheads with anemones. If you must use them, they need to be covered with something to protect the anemone.> I can provide you a link to a picture to show you my tank so you get a feel for how packed it is. My other thought was putting them in the refugium but then I would have to buy an additional light and most likely keep that light on at the same time my tank lights are on (not sure why I think that?). <I don't know why you think that either. I recommend the refugium light to be on at opposite times of the main tank. Placing the anemones in the sump (with proper lighting) is an option as long as you can be sure the anemones are protected from all pumps. Anemones going through a pump can wipe out an entire system. Without seeing your set up or knowing how much flow is going through it, I really can't recommend it.> I certainly want to keep the anemones happy so I'll do what I need to. I'm also wondering if there would be a safe way to connect the two tanks for a period of 6 months. I cannot drill the tank, it's brand new acrylic and cost enough that I would not feel comfortable putting a temporary hole in it. <I don't blame you. What size/type tank is your new one? How close is it to the old one? What lighting do you have on it? Do you have any old tanks around that you could temporarily connect to the established tank, a 20 gallon or so? I do suggest running carbon, and frequent water changes when mixing coral and anemones. The initial problems you experienced may have been caused by chemical warfare, along with too much flow.> I really appreciate all your help. Here's a picture so you can see what I'm dealing with. http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s7/RyanSc_photos/IMG_1508.jpg <Yes, a bit crowded for anemones.> I guess the other option would be to cage them in with some egg crate until they are attached and happy? <There are no guarantees that creating a cage will create happiness. I believe there is simply too much flow in your main tank, and possibly chemical warfare. In the mean time, take a cup or two of sand out of your established tank, and start seeding your new tank.> Thanks once again, Ryan. <You're welcome! Brenda>
Re: E. Quadricolor, New Tank Issues -- 11/17/07
Thanks Brenda! <You're welcome> Wow the longest running WWM FAQ ever....I'm joking. I do have extra tanks but connecting them safely would be an issue. The only way I could do that is to have a pump in the main tank and a pump in the connected tank, both pumping water back and forth, we both know you should not do that. The refugium may work. I have no pumps in the Fuge, just a feed pump from a different area of the sump which supplies clean water and lower flow. I would need to upgrade the lighting but other than that I think that may work. Here's what I'm going to do today. Take some sand out of the refugium, add it to the anemone tank, take a large amount of Chaeto and add that to the anemone tank as well. I am also going to try and add some flow without having a pump directly in the tank with the anemones. I think they miss the flow. Both settled in a very high flow location in my reef tank so maybe that's what they're looking for. <They are suffering from being placed in a non-cycled/non-established tank. It is important that you get them out of there. This is not only very stressful on anemones, but also one of the leading causes of death in captivity.> I'll assume this will be the last email about this, so once again thanks so much for all your help. I'll give you an update in a month or so. Thanks, Ryan. <Good luck to you! Brenda>

Re: Rose Bubble Anemone hlth.   9/7/07 I've not changed the set up in any way. The only thing introduced in the last 2 weeks is a small colony of mushroom corals which are usually the other side of the tank. The lighting I have is 2x24" Acadia blue fluorescents and 2x24" white. The tank size is 25 gallons (U.K gallon that is). <Ah, anemones rarely do well in small tanks.> Water parameters are S.G 1.023, <salinity should be closer to 1.025sg> No3 10mg, <doesn't help> Nitrite Nil, Ammonia Nil, Phosphates Nil, Ph 8.2, Calcium 360mg and KH 7-10, temperature is a constant 77.25. <closer to 80 would be better> I do a 25% water change weekly but this is mostly to try and starve the annoying patches of hair algae before they get a grip in the whole tank. I have an Aquaclear 4000 power head directing the flow of water across the tank. The only other inhabitants in the tank are 2 clowns (male & female) and a Banded Coral Shrimp, so the tank is hardly overstocked. <Sure, but I wouldn't add anymore fish.> on the forum suggested that my lighting was incorrect and not powerful enough for a BTA. <That's quite possible. However, even if you had ideal lighting, the tank is still too small for a BTA.> Any suggestions would be grateful as the BTA is truly beautiful when at full health. (If you have any ideas to kill the hair algae that would be appreciated too.) <About all I can suggest at this point is that you get a bigger tank. For the time being, running activated carbon might help. Best,
Sara M.>

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)>

BTA  12/26/05
Your site is fabulous. <Thank you.> Great (needed) information.
Can you help.  I have 30 gal eclipse system that I have removed the fluorescent fixture and now use a CoralLife 130w fixture.  I have about 75lbs LR, 3" sand, 1 powerhead with undergravel filter and use the eclipse filtration system.  As for as fish, I have 1 clown, 1 lawnmower blenny, angel (don't know what kind), 1 blue damsel.  I also have a cleaner shrimp.  
My system is about 1 1/2 yr old.  I do not have a skimmer.  I change 5 gal water with distilled water every 2 weeks.  I have been rotating between phytoplankton and ZooPlex (Kent) every 3 days.  I feed the fish formula 1 & brine shrimp.  Feeding small amounts twice daily.  I have been supplementing with coral Accel (Kent).  I only test Ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, & PH.  
All are excellent, with PH being 8.0.
My question involves my BTA which is about 8 mo.s old.  It used to open large to about 4 inches.  It hasn't done this for quite some time.  It now spends more time as you see in attached photos.  It used to respond quickly to hand feeding (small pieces raw shrimp), and was also "sticky".  Now it won't take food.  It has done so well for so long that it's condition now has got me baffled.  I'm hoping the attached photos will give you some clue to help me.
<Gary, your email doesn't surprise me.  Anemones are not easy to keep for an extended period of time. Larger tanks with good circulation, (10X tank volume) addition of trace elements along with an iodine supplement increases your chances for success with anemones.  Larger tanks offer more stability with much less swings in temp, ph, etc.  Weekly 10% water changes are more in order than twice a month.  In looking at your pics, I'd say the anemone is on its way out.  I would remove the rock that it is on and scrub the anemone off.  If it is allowed to die in the tank, and especially in a small tank, you will more than likely experience a complete wipe out.  James (Salty Dog)>
Thanks for any help you can give. <You're welcome>

E. quadricolor concerns 7/17/04 Hey there, I have recently added a bubble tip anemone to my tank 3 weeks ago, and it's habits seem strange compared to the information I have read over the internet.  It seems to thrive in the evening to early morning, but within a couple hours of the lights coming on it shrinks up and its oral disk opens right up and eventually turns inside out (some days).  This has been a constant since about 4or 5 days after it was added to the tank.  I have been feeding it Mysis soaked in Selcon and live phytoplankton every second day, although the poachers get a lot of it. <What you are describing is definitely some kind of stress.  The lighting you list below is probably not enough to maintain this animal, let alone light shock it, so I would suspect a water quality issue.> The first couple of days it moved around the tank, but since then it has been in the same spot about halfway to the surface under an overhang. It is however in a more turbulent area since it is directly behind where the two powerhead flows come together. <Too much current is often an issue, but if the anemone wandered and settled in this spot, I doubt that this is the problem.  Do  keep an eye on it to go on the move again.> Tank Specs: 32 Gallon, 130watt PC 50/50, 2 Powerheads @270GPH/each on opposite sides of the tank, Protein skimmer running 24/7 Temp:81, pH:8.2, nitrite 0, ammonia 0-0.6, salinity: 1.026, 35lbs live rock + 20lbs base rock. <All sounds fine, but your light is a bit low to be keeping anemones.  Also, any detectible ammonia is a problem, I would verify your results on another test kit (preferably another brand).> In the hopes of finding a solution it there is a problem, I'll tell you now the tank is probably overstocked, but since my levels have stayed consistent I have not been overly concerned.  The tank is about 4 months old. Tank Inhabitants: 2 cleaner shrimp 1 fire cleaner shrimp 2 peppermint shrimp 25 various hermits +/ - 25 various snails +/ - 2 ocellaris clownfish (medium) 1 regal tang (small) 1 clarkii clownfish (medium) 1 tube anemone 1 Hawaiian feather duster Blue mushrooms Button polyps Finger leather Plate coral <Waaaayyy too many hermits and snails for such a small tank.  Also, peppermint shrimp can pester desirable anemones.  Button polyps and mushrooms may produce chemicals that will adversely affect the anemone.> The clarkii is only a week new to the tank and has yet to go into the anemone, I added the clarkii hoping that it would keep the poachers away since the 2 ocellaris did not seem to care much for the anemone.  All corals are located well away from the anemone. <Clownfish often take a while to move into an anemone in captivity, particularly if the species don't normally associate in the wild and/or the clowns are captive raised.> Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Thank you, Steve <I would suggest observing the peppermints for irritating behavior or removing them regardless.  I would also consider adding more light.  Using small amounts of carbon occasionally will help reduce the chemical competition from other animals.  Although it doesn't have anything to do with your anemone problem, I would also reduce the numbers of hermits and snails to 1/3 of what you have now and maybe considering giving up the hermits all together (too destructive with minimal benefit, IME).  Best regards.  Adam>  

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