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FAQs on Anemones and Clownfishes 1

Related Articles: Anemones, Clownfish & Anemone Compatibility By James Gasta, Bubble Tip Anemones, LTAs, ClownfishesBreeding Clowns, Diseases of Clownfishes, Maroon Clowns, Colored/Dyed Anemones

Related FAQs: Anemones & Clowns 2, Clownfish/Anemones 1, Clownfish/Anemones 2, Clownfish/Anemones 3, Anemones, Anemones 2, LTAs, Caribbean Anemones, Condylactis, Anemone Systems, Anemone Lighting, Anemone Reproduction, Anemone Compatibility, Anemone Selection, Anemone Health, Anemone Behavior, Anemone Placement, Carpet AnemonesAnemone Feeding

Amphiprion leucokranos in a very large Heteractis crispa at the Birch Aquarium.

Rose bubble tip and a Sebae anemonefish Hello again--I just sent you a few questions about my rose BTA staying in the dark, but overlooked something that may have affected it....when I first put the anemone in tank, my large Sebae clown went ballistic, and very aggressively plunked itself and wriggled itself into the BTA.  Even after it fled to the top of the dark, rear corner, the clown would hang vertically from within the tentacles....however, after a few days of this, and since then, the clown totally ignores and won't go near the BTA.  Why the sudden divorce??  << Maybe he doesn't feel the anemone is healthy enough to offer him protection. It is also possible that the anemonefish just isn't in need of protection. >> Could the aggressiveness of the clown the first few days have driven the BTA away to the darkest part of the tank?? << It could have caused it to move around.  But I still wouldn't worry about it. >> Will they reconcile, in your opinion? << No.  I don't know why I said that, I just don't see them pairing up.  But no worries, they can certainly do well in the tank without pairing up. >> This sounds like a soap opera!  Thanks......again......Barry <<  Blundell  >>  

Anemone ID 6/17/04 Hi WWM Crew, Would you please identity this anemone for me and what kind of algae bloom is going on in my tank? (Pics zipped) <in the future, please send pics (unzipped) and sized to be web/mail friendly as jpegs of just a few tens or couple hundred Mb in size please. For your anemone identification, please browse the pages and links with pics here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm> My clownfish is trying to chill' in the anemone but every time it swim in the tentacles it gets stung. I got my anemone about a day ago, its doing great! How long will it take for the anemone to become used to the clownfish? <days to weeks... perhaps never> Thank for all the help you've giving me!!! Would it be possibly to add hard corals e.g. plate corals, brain corals to my tank with out having serious chemical warfare? <mixing anemones and corals is never to be recommended in my opinion. The reasons are mentioned at great length in our archives>

Anemone/Clown Problem 06/02/04 Hi Bob, My name is Jorge and I have an anemone/clown problem. I bought a brown carpet anemone from my LFS. I bought it about a week ago nice and healthy. When I first put the anemone in the tank it was just moving around trying to find a place to settle. Then after the third day it stayed in the front left corner of the tank. Now, I have three false percula clown fish and at first they didn't notice the anemone, but last night I saw one of the clowns swim down and make contact with the anemone. It stung him and he swam up quick, but he went back down. Started swimming on it and around it with the anemone not stinging him. Soon another clown fish swam down and joined in. Later on that night I thought they were placing food in the mouth of the anemone, but they were eating the inside of the anemone. << Odd, and disappointing I'm sure.>>The carpet just opened up its mouth and the inside of it looked like white noodles. The clown fish were just picking at it. It stung them a couple of times but they kept coming back. I took it out for now, but what should I do? << I would place the anemone in another tank and let it heal up.  It should be in a well settled aquarium with much light and water flow.  However, you will eventually have to risk it again with the Anemonefish.>>Is there anything I can do? << Do your best to provide it with a secluded location.  One idea that has worked for others before is to place a basket over the anemone.  Depending on the size of your anemone this may or may not work.  What I would suggest is using a strawberry basket from the super market.  You know those flimsy green plastic baskets?  If you can use something like that cover the anemone, then the fish can't get to it, while it heals. >>I know my fish aren't hungry. I feed my fish (tang's) seaweed or frozen foods every other day, but I feed the clown fish flakes every day. << You may have to feed the anemone as well, but more important to keep it safe.>> Please let me know. Thank You!! Jorge Elizondo << Adam Blundell >>

Anemone-Anemonefish Relationship I just purchased a rose bulb anemone, and am trying to decide on the most appropriate clown as it's host. I really like the anemone itself, but am not too keen an many of the natural symbiotic clowns. In the opinion of the experts at WWM, is there a chance that a tank raised true percula would accept a bulb anemone, even if they aren't associated with them in the wild? <Yep, but it may take a few months. I've seen clownfish associate themselves with all sorts of anemones, whether they occur naturally in their habitat or not. It's not guaranteed, but it could happen> Finally, do clownfish actually have a preference for certain anemones in the wild, or is it simply a matter of take what's available in that part of the world? <Any clownfish is going to have several species available to it, and they're going to have preferences among those species, yes> Thanks, <anytime> Clownin' Around <M. Maddox> 

Anemone In Peril? Hi! <Hi there! Scott F. here today> I have included a picture which came out at least clear enough for you guys to see our problem. We've had out BTA for about 5 weeks now and just a few days ago we've noticed that half of it's tentacles are gone! On one side, it has normal green bulb tipped tentacles and the other side for some reason just started shriveling up and now are gone! We can't seem to find anyone who has had this problem. The entire 5 weeks we've had the BTA, we also had a Maroon Clownfish that has "occupied" it for lack of a better word. Here are all the things we have in the tank: (first of all it's a 55 gallon tank with a pro wet/dry filer) 3 Bumble Bee snails, 2 tiny blue algae hermit crabs, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 grazer snail, one Kenyan Tree, one Frogspawn, one mushroom, one Yellow Tang, one Powder Blue Tang, one Diamond Watchman, one 4 Striped Damsel, one Yellow/Purple Chromis, 1 Maroon Clown Fish, 1 Coral Beauty and 1 starfish. <Wow! That's quite a load in a 55 gallon! Do consider larger quarters for all in the very near future!> Our lights are one 65 watt daylight bulb and one 65 watt blue light bulb that stand approx. 3 inches from the top of the tank. The BTA has stayed in the same place for the past 3 weeks. Any idea what would cause the BTA to just lose tentacles? Vince Urban <Well, Vince, I wonder if the anemone "lost" the tentacles, or if they are merely retracted? Regardless, I'd start by running some tests for basic water quality parameters, such as ammonia, nitrite, pH, alkalinity, etc. Detectible ammonia or nitrite can, of course, be problematic, as can high levels of nitrate. The other possibility is lighting. I don't think that your lighting is intense enough for long-term success with the anemone. Much brighter light is required for success (Such as metal halide). The other thought is that you need to observe carefully to see of someone is harassing the anemone. Finally, the other thought is that you may need to provide more food the animal, as they do like to eat. Do check out all of these possibilities, and take appropriate action. Regards, Scott F.>

BTA and clowns Hi Bob and Crew! <Hi, Graham at your service.> I first want to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed wetwebmedia.com since I discovered it a couple of months ago.  It has provided me with a ton of information which I have really appreciated! <Thank you!> Most everything I've wondered I've been able to find in previous faq's/articles but I'm having trouble with one specific thing.  I have decided to try and keep my first anemone and really want to do this right.  After much research I have decided on a BTA (preferable tank raised) with a pair of maroon clowns or Ocellaris.  I have good rapport and trust with one certain local fish store and decided to have them obtain all three animals for me, pair the clowns up and "host" them with the BTA prior to my purchasing them.  (I informed them I would prefer Ocellaris over Maroon due to temperament, but since Ocellaris do not have natural symbiotic relationship with this anemone in nature Maroons would be fine too if Ocellaris didn't work out).  It was my thinking that having them all pair/host at the LFS would be a logical way to start off on the right foot.  Do you disagree?   <Not at all.> For background, my main tank is 55 gal. 4' long tank, 80-90lbs live rock, 3-4" live sand bed.  Current inhabitants are 1 yellow tang, 1six line wrasse and 1 cleaner shrimp, cleaner crew of snails and red-leg hermits.  For lighting I have 6- 40W NO fluorescent bulbs (so total of 240W).  BakPakII for skimming (with bio-bale media all removed and heater placed in this side of unit), 4 powerheads (2 little guys, one medium size, one bigger - bigger meaning 400gph rated).  My quarantine setup consists of bare bottom 10 gal. with fluorescent light and hood, which I set up only when needed with heater, one of the small powerheads from my main tank and a penguin mini with bio-wheel which runs constantly on my main tank and moves over to quarantine when set up.  Now my main questions: 1) Is lighting sufficient for BTA in your opinion?  I have read many opinions on this, but I struggle with the total wattage/vs. type of lighting (fluorescent vs. metal halide, etc) issue.  If it is sufficient, could you recommend a mix of bulbs that would work well- i.e. 3 actinic blues, 3 actinic whites, all 50/50's, etc... <No, this lighting will most likely not be enough for the E. quadricolor. Instead, I would look into either 4x 48" 110wt VHO's (2x 10,000k and 2x Actinic) on an Icecap 660 ballast or 4x 96wt Power Compacts. Either one of these setups would provide excellent lighting for not only anemones, but for many light demanding corals.> 2) quarantine procedure for BTA and clowns.  As I said they will be "paired and hosted" before I bring them home from the fish store, so I wondered if it made the quarantine situation unique at all?  Meaning I don't want to split them up,  but I'm concerned because although I want to quarantine them (particularly the clowns) I'm a little worried about the anemone in the empty bare bottom 10 gal. with the dinky little fluorescent light that came with the kit. <That may be a slight bump in the road -- if you do add the anemone to the tank, most likely it will start starving (loss of zooxanthellae) until you added it back to the aquarium. If you would prefer to quarantine the clownfish, I would first add the anemone to the aquarium (allow it to settle in) and later on add the clownfish. There's always going to be the chance that they won't host with each other even if you added the clownfish to the tank the same time you did as the anemone. With that said, I would personally add the anemone to the tank and quarantine the clownfish.> 3)any comments on my current setup/practices? <It sounds very good. Are you planning on keeping live coral?> I would appreciate any insight and thanks again for your great site!! Further, if my specific question(s) have been asked already I apologize for the redundancy, but I could not find an exact match to my scenario. <Take Care, Mike! Graham.> Mike Mendoza

Anemone potential problems? Hey guys!  Love your site!   <Thank you.> My husband and I recently (about 2 1/2 months ago) set up our first salt tank.  We wanted to convert our community freshwater tank and went to talk to our LFS.  We were told it was fairly easy to do (not even close)  and it would be fairly inexpensive (again, not even close)  We expected a lot of hard work, dedication, and trial and error.  We have a 30G tank, we started with 2-12lb bags of crushed coral.  We have approx 20lbs of live Fiji rock. After a week we added 3 yellow-tailed damsels.  We did exactly what we were instructed to do, we tested the water daily, and waited for the tank to fully cycle.  When we were sure it was fully cycled, we brought our water to our LFS to be double tested.  He told us we were all set and ready to start adding livestock.  After a couple of days my husband purchased a Condy anemone.  It has done wonderful.  It's been about 4 weeks and so far so good.  We feed him krill, oysters, and squid.  He has grown significantly in 3 weeks!  He's absolutely beautiful, moves around a little, but I think he has found a comfy spot for now anyway.  We have a chocolate chip starfish who's doing very well.  We also have a banded prawn also doing very well.  15 crabs, and 15 snails. Everything was doing well. We then ventured out and found Nemo.  When we added him to the tank the damsels went crazy, they would not let up on him, they cornered him, and nipped at him until they made us crazy and we took them out and returned them to the LFS.  I'd rather see them go than the clownfish.   <Yellow tail damsels can be extremely aggressive fish, especially once they've settled into their environment.> The next morning we found the clown dead on the bottom of the tank.  We did a water change, and waited another week.  Went back to a different LFS and purchased a pair of percs figuring we didn't have any fish in the tank to pick on them and we might be ok.  The lady at the pet store told us we HAD to have at least 2 anemones in case the two percs didn't work well together.   <Remember that most pet stores (Not all of them- I've seen some fairly nice stores which really take care of their livestock and others which will do anything to sell you something, even if that includes lying to you) are in it for one thing...the money. I would stay away from asking the store any questions. It's important to always do as much research before hand, that's extremely important in this hobby.> Therefore we bought another anemone it was labeled as a Haiti and I wasn't sure I believed this, come to find out it is a BTA.  It is doing fine so far, but the more I have researched, (should have done that first) I have read that the two anemones could have some sort of chemical warfare.  Is this true?   <Chemical warfare isn't an issue with anemones. Instead, it's physical warfare which will often result in two or more dead anemones. Usually the anemones will move towards each other and compete for the light, space, etc. Most of the time neither anemone makes it out alive.> Now for the two percs, they hit it off with each other right away, after 2 days, the male (I think) started hanging out on the bottom of the tank in the corner.  He spent a day and a half like that, my husband called me at work today and told me he was wedged in a rock (the fish, not my husband!)  he got him out of the rock and then he swam right into the Condy, the Condy wrapped it's tenellus around him and the clown fought his way out only to swim right back in and it happened again.  I haven't seen him since.  Is it possible that he was consumed by Mr.Condy?   <That is a possibility. If the clownfish died and somehow floated into its host (anemone), it's quite possible that the anemone consumed the fish. If this was the case, several days later you should notice the anemone releasing matter (including bones, scales, etc.), which is often observed as "brown gunk" coming from the central mouth of the anemone. Usually during this time the anemone will appear almost dead with its tentacles deflated. If the anemone has not done this after 2 weeks after the clown was missing, I would doubt that the anemone actually consumed the clownfish and would start looking at other possible factors.> And would you recommend taking the Condy back to the LFS?   <I would recommend returning one of the anemones. Condylactis are usually hardier than E. quadricolor (bubble tip), and because of this the Condy may have a higher survival rate.> I love this anemone and the BTA as well, but if I want clownfish I would rather bring back the Condy.  If it could harm my BTA and other fishes that is.   <The bubble tip also has the chance to harm other fish and the Condylactis> One more thing, (sorry if I'm taking up too much of your time) Our PH level is between 7.8 and 8.0 we can't seem to get it to go to 8.2.  We bought Proper ph8.2 made by aquarium pharmaceuticals inc.  it did nothing and the directions are horrible.  Our nitrates at 0 nitrites at 0.  I just need some advice please I'm new at this and don't want to lose anything or anybody.  Thank you for taking the time to listen to me blab. <There are several pH buffers on the market. I would recommend you look into a pH buffer such as Kent Marine's products. I've found them to be highly effective in raising the pH. Take Care, Graham.>

Anemones 1/26/04 I am a "newbie" at salt water "fish only" tanks.  I am doing well with every introduced fish except clownfish.  I have a 30 gallon tank with 1 blenny, 1 royal Gramma, 1 green Chromis and 1 horseshoe crab.  I was told that someone makes a "false" rubber anemone but can't find any info on it.  I have lost 3 clownfish in 3 months and find it heartbreaking.   I would like another, but will not try without more information.  HELP!! <Hi Diane.  We will try to get to the bottom of your problem, but I will need more info about your system and water quality.  Please briefly describe your set up including filtration and list the values for all of the water quality parameters you test for.  Please list also the brand of your salt and any additives you use.  Wild caught clown fish are often severely stressed from capture and handling.  Captive raised are widely available and much hardier.  Regardless of anything else, anemones are NOT required for the well being of clownfish.  Anemones are very difficult to care for, and they should be kept only be experienced aquarists.  Fill in some of those details, and we'll try and solve your problem!  Best Regards.  Adam>

Be Nice To Your Anemones! I have recently purchased a bubble-tip anemone yesterday (November 20,2003).  I floated it and dumped the bag with the anemone free swimming in the water. It quickly attached itself to the bottom of a rock that receives little or no sunlight, and it stayed there. It hasn't moved I'm starting to get worried. Should I leave it alone or is there a way for him to loosen up so I can replace him? <In my opinion, under no circumstances should you attempt to relocate the animal at this point. Prying the animal off of its substrate could cause more harm than good. Give it some time. If it's healthy, chances are that it will relocate itself into an area of the tank that provides it with the conditions that it desires...> I also have another question. I have a maroon clown and 2 large percula clowns, and they haven't noticed it yet. Will they go in it or what is the average time before they find it and start playing in it? Thanks for having an awesome site and answering my questions. Once again, Thanks, Chris <Well Chris- many hobbyists are frustrated when their clowns don't establish a relationship with their anemones. The fact of the matter is, these guys will establish this relationship if an when they feel like it! Frustrating, huh? Many clowns now available to the hobbyists are captive bred, and have never seen an anemone. They may have some "instinctive" desire to go to an anemone, but the bottom line is that they will do this if-and only if- they are ready, willing, and able. Enjoy both the fishes and the anemones, and hope for the best...Nature (and the fish) are in charge here! Goof luck! Regards, Scott F.>

No love at first sight? Hi,    I've tried to identify this anemone, and the closest match I've found is called a 'purple tipped anemone'. But it doesn't look exactly the same. My orifice at the end of each tentacle (see photo). <This is a typical bleached Heteractis crispa, a so-called "Sebae anemone"> Whereas the purple tipped anemones I've seen on the web have more coloring, all around the end of each tentacle.    But my real question is will my two-banded clownfish (also in photo) pair up with it? <Perhaps in time> The clownfish (the only clownfish in the tank) has been in my tank for about a month, and I just bought the anemone yesterday. So far, the clownfish has ignored the anemone. Are the species unsuited for each other, or do I need to give them more time to 'get to know each other'? Thanks very much! <Please read through the many archived materials on WetWebMedia.com re anemones... Including natural symbiotic relations. Bob Fenner>

Thank you (anemone health, clown adoption) Thanks for your help identifying my anemone as the Sebae anemone. By the way, the 2-banded clown adopted it after only one day! The clownfish is even feeding it flakes! Thanks again for the great site! Craig <Ah, good to hear. I hope your Sebae/crispa "colors up" (re-adopts endosymbiotic algae) over time. Bob Fenner>

Anemone and clown 11/5/03  Hey dudes,  <whadup?>  I want to purchase an anemone and matching clown fish for my reef tank/Fish plus LR (currently some mushrooms, a Jawfish, coral beauty, 15lbs of LR, and a CSL 2X65 Watt PC with 2 Moonlite). I am wondering if you can give me a breakdown of compatible clowns (ocellaris, maroon, true percula, etc..) and their anemones. Thanks for the input. Mike  <begin reading here in our WWM archives and all will be revealed to you my friend:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm  Anthony> 

Tentacles...  Hi Guys,,,,  <Scott F. your guy tonight!>  First off, love the site,, can't tell you how helpful it has been to me,,, it has stopped me from doing some very stupid things; and I (and my fish) thank you for it.  <Glad to hear that! We're thrilled to bring it to you!>  I have been keeping reefs for a couple of years,,,, I have 4 tanks right now and I'd like to think I know most of the obvious/basic stuff but a couple of recent events in one tank have made me curious. I guess it doesn't matter much but the setup is: 75g DAS Aquarium (overflow box removed), 30g partitioned fuge, 550w PC lighting, 300gph circulation through fuge, 300gph circulation through closed-loop, 100 gph circ. through in-tank powerhead with moving sprinkler head, Prizm hang-on skimmer in fuge partition (I don't care what people say,, this skimmer rocks on a 75g), zero/trace nitrates, ammonia, phosphates etc., sal 1.025, calc. 440. 100lbs Fiji live rock, 3" aragonite sandbed. Many SPS, 1 torch coral, 2 bubbletops. Additives are Kent calcium & iodine & 10% weekly water change. The fish get flake (I know, I know) and I drop some tiny bits of fresh uncooked tiger shrimp (or whatever is cheapest) into the anemones & torch every few days. I recently started using DT's phyto but I've not noticed anything improving for it.  <Well, not all corals will benefit from phytoplankton...>  In this tank I have only 2 fish,,, a big female Gold stripe Maroon Clown and a yellow tail blue damsel,, both are tank-raised. The damsel was my 'suicide' fish that I bought for the initial cycle,, very sturdy chap. These guys are best friends and have never exhibited the slightest aggression toward each other,, they even shared the same cave at night until 6 months ago when I bought a tank-raised bubble-tip anemone for the clown.  The clown took to it immediately and patiently watched it move around the tank until it found a spot it liked. The damsel didn't seem too put-out at losing his sleeping buddy and they still swam around the tank together during the day. Anyway, about a month ago, the anemone had a growth-spurt and split into two.  <Awesome!>  One of the clones(?) wandered a foot or so away and settled directly under a powerhead intake, which I quickly put a sponge over.  <Smart move on your part...>  Anyway,, to cut a tediously long-story short, the damsel now seems to think it's a clownfish and is living in and around the new anemone. I swear it's true, I can send you pictures! This can't be normal right? It doesn't snuggle-up as close as the maroon but it spends some of the day and all night around the anemone, within the tentacles, and doesn't get stung. It also seems to go out of it's way to poop on the anemone, just like the clown. The anemone doesn't seem perturbed by all this, the damsel seems ok,,, I'm just very curious to know if this has happened to anyone else. If not, do I win a prize?  <Bummer- no prize! It is unusual in the aquarium, but it is actually rather common in the wild for various species of damsels to associate with anemones...Bit you get an "A" for effort! Dn- that "splitter" is very cool! Once you have a BTA that splits, it will continue to do so...>  Secondly, and less interestingly, I bought some Fiji live rock 6 weeks ago to fill an empty looking space in the tank. I'd seen the rock sitting in the curing tank at my LFS for a few weeks and just dropped it in the tank when I got home. I didn't cure it further,, it looked pretty 'clean' and didn't cause any ammonia spikes or anything. One night, about three weeks ago, I was sitting watching the tank at 2am,, like we all do,,, and a 4-5 inch tentacle appeared from the underside of a large piece of my new rock, it probed about in the sand for a couple of minutes and withdrew back under the rock. The weird thing is that when it withdrew, it kind of collapsed into itself,, like if you put your arm into a long sock,,, then held the end inside with the tip of your fingers, and pulled back toward yourself. Any idea what this could be?  <Hard to say- could be anything...I'd need a picture to be certain. All part of the fantastic diversity that comes from live rock!>  I thought it might be a brittle star or something,,, I have no experience with large starfish at all, and I'd like to know if this is something that's going to make a grab for my fish or cause damage elsewhere. The tentacle was white-ish with brown stripes. I haven't seen it since.  Thanks for your advice, Juck Lowe  <Well, Juck- just keep watching and waiting- maybe it will return...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Perculas and BTA Are they compatible with BTA?  <Yep> I have a 90 gal with 126 lbs Kaelini and deep Tonga rock with a 4" aragonite sand bed. I have about 15x water circulation. Lighting is 2 175w 10000k MH and 2 125w actinics. I am looking for an "easy" anemone that does not cause an allergic reaction. Am I heading in the right direction?  <These are some of the more hardy anemone and should be fine in your system.  I think all will cause a "sting" some, more so than others.  I have found these guys to be weaker compared to a carpet or LT though.  Cody> 

Anemone Husbandry... Hey Guys, <Scott F. your guy today..> I just bought a new carpet anemone (don't really know what kind, it has bright green, stubby tips) <Might be Stichodactyla mertensii...can be a tough one to keep, since it requires a lot of light and food... Also, you could be looking at S. haddoni, which has shorter, blunt tentacles. It gets quite large, but is otherwise about average in care requirements as carpet anemones go...Meaning- it is touchy...> and went to get new lights for it.  I bought Aqualight 20" quad strip with 96 watts (do you think that is enough) and I was wondering if I should feed him live food or just let him photosynthesize? <Well, in regards to the light- I think that you might need to move the animal high up on your rockwork to get adequate light. You may want to keep a close eye on the animal's behavior to see if the lighting is enough (on the surface, it sounds like it's not...You'll have to feed often, almost daily, in order to keep the animal in good shape)...And, again- light...lots of light- and current!> If I should feed him, what should I feed him? <Various forms of plankton tend to be natural foods.> Also, one more question, do you think black percula clowns will be more prone to live in the carpet than orange perculas. <Hard to say...Many perculas are tank raised, and have never seen an anemone...It is often disappointing for hobbyists to find that their clowns don't go into the anemone...Here's to hoping!> Thanks a lot guys. <My pleasure...really learn all that you can about the species that you have an it's husbandry...Anemones are simply not easy animals to keep, and require a high level of care...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Synthetic Anemone - While Browsing some online fish retailers, I came across some synthetic anemone mad by Nature's image, I was wondering, if clown fish liked these fake things? <Don't know for sure, but am curious myself... will pick one up on Monday and we'll see what happens... but my first impression is that they are not soft enough.> My mother-in-law likes the clown fish but does not have proper lighting to have an anemone so would this possibly be a way to have the clowns without the extra maintenance/lighting hazards (fish loss) of an anemone? <There are a couple of possibilities... use your favorite search engine to look for "artificial anemones".> Just curious. <Documented... does work, but may need some experimentation and much better for you, the tank, and the real anemones.> Thanks so much for your time, I love this website it has answered many questions for both me and her, and helped a lot with our tanks. <Glad to hear you find the site useful.> Thanks so much and have a great day! <You too... Cheers, J -- >

Anemone Hi what type of anemone do you recommended for my percula clown I have excellent water quality and 4 55 watt pc.s on my seventy five gallon reef<I don't recommend putting anemones with coral because the anemone will usually roam around stinging your coral.  If you can keep it in 1 spot you will probably be ok.  If you have your mindset on one though I would suggest either a long tentacle or a bubble.  Also make sure you have all powerhead intakes or anything it can get sucked into covered.   Cody>  thanks JM

What fish eat algae We have a 37 gallon tank with 1 neon Dottyback 1 blue damsels 1 tomato clown 1 pink tipped anemone What could we put into the tank to eat algae.  We thought about a tang but there isn't enough space now.  Is there any small fish that would work? >>I can't think of anything other than a Lawnmower blenny, or going with an invert such as a tropical abalone, but I would worry that the abalone might not find enough to eat in such a small tank.  Otherwise, I will suggest testing your water parameters, including for phosphates, and decide if nutrient export could be the problem. >Will the clown ever go to the anemone? >>This is part of the trouble with clowns, there is no guarantee that they'll host, or WHAT they'll host.  I've heard of them hosting everything from powerheads to overflows.  Look here for info on the pink tip--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm and here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemoneselfaqs.htm Marina Ken Swanson

Sebae Anemone Hi, <cheers, my friend> I just purchased a Sebae anemone online and it just arrived today in the mail with two false percula clowns.   <a fine species although I'm not convinced the clowns are likely to take to it> I guess I shoulda done some research before hand, but didn't.   <we live and learn... do learn and grow from this> I read in your FAQ's that they are not naturally white in color.   <correct> Mine is white with purple tips.   <too common> I was wondering, if the anemone will live?    <yes... easily, if you take the time to feed it very fine minced meaty foods (nothing larger than 1/4" bits) 3-5 times weekly perhaps. It will go through a blotchy ugly stage when re-coloring but should finish rich brown with handsome purple tips in time> It appears healthy, It attached itself to a rock in my aquarium.  I have power compact lighting...this should be sufficient, shouldn't it?   <if the water is shallow (anemone in 12" of water from surface ... not much more?) Also, I fed a chunk of frozen mysis shrimp.   <excellent,. but so thaw first> I placed it on it and it grabbed it and has eaten it all. <very good and one of the very best foods for marine animals at large> I would appreciate any feedback you have on caring for it.   <keep feeding several times weekly and maintain good water quality and all will be fine> Another quick note, my two clowns are not going into the anemone at all, do you think after a few more days of acclimation they might or does this anemone not host them? <the latter... and know that clowns harm more anemones than they help in captivity. Not needed or ecommended> thanks, Ronnie <best regards, Anthony>

Making Peace With His Anemones I would like to thank you guys for all the help I have received from this site, and would like to say that I have read your book. the Conscientious Marine Aquarist has to be the best and most informative book I have read to date. Excellent work. <Bob will sure appreciate that! It truly is a classic for all of us to refer to often!> I had purchased this anemone for my clown so my porcupine puffer would stop eating them. <Oh...not a recommended way to protect clownfish...or the anemone, for that matter!> The tank is a 55 gallon with LR and LS wet/dry filter with a modified SeaClone skimmer. I used one of your suggestions in your book was adding an air pump with airstone this think skims like crazy now. <That's great! A skimmer is one of your best pieces of insurance against poor water quality> It was the biggest improvement, modifying it. Thanks to that book. <Cool!> Sorry I got of track. The lights are two 20,000k but there are only 15 watts. <Are you sure that you don't mean 150 watts? 15 watts is just nothing! Get some serious lighting- FAST! Minimum of 300-400 watts of PC or VHO- better yet, metal halide> He is placed on a live rock perch about 6 in below the lights and he his not moving around. Will he be ok with those lights I have a feeling that you meant to say 150 watts, right?> or should I speed up the building of my canopy with the 400 watt metal halide? <400 watt halides, good water quality, NO harassing tankmates...these should really help you keep the anemone healthy for the long run!> Thks for all your help <My pleasure- good luck! For more information on anemones, do a keyword search on them using the Google search feature on the wetwebmedia.com site...Regards, Scott F>

Homemade anemone? Hi guys..   I was wondering if there is a way to make a "homemade" anemone.  Could rubber bands be used?  I have a clown and would like to provide him with an anemone but am too inexperienced and my lighting isn't up to par to properly take care of a real one.  Thanks bunches. <Yes, this has been done before. Likely mentioned in some of our FAQs, conversations with Daphne Fautin: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshanemfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> Maureen

Condylactis and Captive Clowns Greetings Bob, Anthony and crew. I am writing not with a question, but to share some observations I have made regarding captive born clowns and Condylactis anemones. I am hoping to clear some confusion some readers might have about the notion that captive bred clownfish will take on almost anything as a host, and that Condylactis being cheap and easy to care for would make a good host. <I have stated... many times... a few decades back that this mix (though it can happen in captivity) is ill-warranted... and often leads to trouble (as in ingestion of the Clowns, death of the anemone)> In general, Condylactis do not host clownfish. In aquariums, Condylactis anemones can be a threat to clownfish. Clownfish can be an equal threat to Condylactis anemones. I have attempted to keep two separate Condylactis anemones with my captive reared maroon clown, with the same results each time... a dead anemone. (Resist the urge to comment here and read on.) <Oops, okay> I have witnessed my maroon clown take each anemone as a surrogate, a somewhat commonplace among captive clowns from what my research shows. In close observation of this relationship, it is easy to see that this is by no means a symbiotic affair. My clownfish eager for a safe host, instantly warms up to the Condylactis. The Condylactis however, shows no shared emotions for the clown. The anemone withdrawals tentacles touched by the clown, and exhibits a general dislike of the clowns affection.  Over the course of a few days my clown becomes aggravated and forceful toward the anemone. The anemone responds to the pushing and poking by becoming more withdrawn, closing up for hours. The clown persists on any given chance that the anemone is open. After a few days I find a limp, deflated Condylactis with a torn foot on the bottom of my tank. This is the second time this has happened to me. The first time the anemone was torn closer to the outside ring of tentacles. I would like to note that in both instances the anemones were on live rock surfaces that may have had sharp areas, so I am sure that the clown did not bite or otherwise intentionally kill the anemone. The tear wounds were rather long unlike a fish bite or a hermit claw, and consistent with having been rubbed against a somewhat sharp surface. I theorize that some Condylactis may take a kill or be killed attitude towards this abuse, and this could explain the reports of clownfish being eaten by Condylactis anemones. After my experiences I would have to disagree with Joyce Wilkerson's suggestion that a Condylactis may be an acceptable surrogate for Clownfishes. If readers must witness fish swimming through their Condylactis anemone without being devoured, I suggest they ignore clownfish altogether and go for a diamond blenny. Otherwise, forget keeping the Condylactis and get a tank raised bubble tip. That is assuming of course one has the proper equipment to care for it. If anyone disbelieves what I have observed, I am sure I can repeat this behavior and document it, though I would rather not risk another anemone. To sum it all up, Condylactis + Clownfish = Bad Idea. Readers be warned. -Randy <Thank you for your input. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish Hosting Bob, <<Actually, JasonC... how are you?>> I currently have a 50-gal tank with 2 tank raised perc clownfish, bicolour blenny, some snails etc. and some xenia and a Caulastrea (trumpet) coral. The Perc's have been in the tank for app. 5 mos. now and I think they have just decided on the male/female thing (one is now slightly larger than the other). <<Ok.>> Well this is all fine and dandy, except the male perc (smaller) has suddenly decided that he must host with the trumpet coral. Had tried a "home-made" anemone in the past and neither fish showed much interest and there were no plans in the future for a host anemone for these fish. Just wondering if should try another home-made anemone or is there some other way to discourage this behaviour short of removing one or the other (fish or coral). <<I think it was Steve Pro who mentioned to someone the other day about using a flashlight at night to spot-light the item you want the clown to host in... sort of like lighting the motel light. I've not had any experience with the method, but it certainly sounds like a painless thing to try. Short of that, you may have to remove the trumpet coral to a quarantine tank until both the clowns move to another host.>> Thanks, <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Clownfish Hosting Thanks Jason (speed demon :) ) <<My pleasure...>> Can't hurt but to try. <<And you know... I don't even think it will hurt ;-) >> Aven <<Cheers, J -- >>

Tomato Clown Hi guys! This is not really a question. I recently and stupidly bought a Condylactis anemone, Florida pink tipped, and after searching I could not find anything that was listed as a host or at least nothing that I could find at the LFS. <There are no clownfish in the Caribbean, so no natural clownfish host anemones there.> So, I bought a tomato clown and by the grace of god he did it for a month. Now they live together the clown feeds and cleans the anemone. I just thought that it was a really neat thing you might appreciate. Josh <This is an uncommon event. Sometimes the clownfish go for it, other times not. You have a better chance with captive raised clownfish vs. wild caught. Thank for the report. -Steven Pro>

Maroon clownfish aggressive behavior <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> Hi, I have a question pertaining to my maroon clownfish. The first fish I added to my tank was a dogface puffer. About one month after having him, I purchased a maroon clownfish. The two got along wonderfully. I recently added a porcupine puffer about 1 month ago, and this fish was an absolute terror. <<Hmmm... how large is this tank?>> He was picking on every fish in my tank with the exception of my Huma trigger and the dogface. The porcupine mainly attacked the maroon clown so bad that his two belly fins were chewed off along with his tail. I decided to bring the porcupine back and get a purple tang instead. <<ok>> Now it seems the maroon clown is taking all his aggression out on the dogface. He is constantly following the dogface around and lunging at him and nipping at his gills and back. Does he have teeth that can actually hurt the dogface? <<They do have teeth, but probably wouldn't 'hurt' the puffer, but can certainly annoy him to death - stress, it causes stress.>> Can he be mistaking him for the porcupine? <<More likely making an assumption that the porcupine was a puffer, the dogface is a puffer, and puffers can be trusted. But enough anthropomorphizing. Maroon clowns are known to be aggressive with just about anything including divers.>> I am wondering what I can do get these two guys to become friendly again?<<Probably not... each is just doing what they do naturally. Maroon clowns are aggressive.>>  Thank you. -JPK- <<Cheers, J -- >>

Host for clowns Okay No anemones then .But is there any kind of mushrooms that can host clowns? <None commonly> sorry for asking u a lot Mr. Anthony but as I said its hard to get a good book here. truly sorry. <no worries, my friend. A better solution for you would be a large common mushroom leather coral (Sarcophyton species). These corals are very hardy and tolerant of hosting clownfish and are much hardier than anemones. Really, they are one of the best corals for beginners too. Best regards, Anthony>

Lucky, with anemone, clownfish Dear Bob, Love your site and all the time you have put into it. I have a few questions that I need to ask. I guess that I have been LUCKY, cause I add no chemical and have had my 75gal. for about 4 years now. <Perhaps lucky, but also smart... there is no to not much need to "add anything" to a properly set-up, stocked and maintained system.> I have about 45 to 60lbs. of live rock. I have several fish that I still have since I first started. I have just bought a Sebae Anemone and it is fine and the Clown is fine, but they have nothing to do with each other.  <May not be "compatible"... this happens... or may take some time to become acquainted> It has been about 3 1/2 weeks and still no change. One last thing, all of the live rock and my jets, glass is purple and don't know if this is a good sign or what. <Better than not> I live in a very small town in Mississippi, so I don't have very many resources that I can go to for facts. <We have each other. Bob Fenner>

Sebae & clown fish follow up Hi Anthony, it's Kathy again, <Greeting! Anthony> Just thought you'd like to know that my Sebae anemone seems to be improving.  <Outstanding!> It has embedded itself in the live sand that I have in my tank and seems to be coloring up a wee bit now. It is turning light beige, hopefully brown later. The base has a dark color, like there is something dark inside. (zooxanthellae, hope this is how you spell it) <all very good signs that the zooxanthellae <wink> are returning> When I said it moved in my last E-mail to you I meant that it would open and close it's tentacles and puff itself up when it eats. It only moved to find it's spot in my tank when I first got it. At present it has fluffed out its tentacles so it is a nice shape, NO mouth gaping thankfully. <ahhh...very good> Bozo, my clown is very protective of it. He is like a cat with catnip, I swear!! It is so funny how he loves this thing. I have noticed that when I feed the anemone with a baster full of minced food that my clown will steal some of it. Any ideas on how I can prevent Bozo from taking my anemones food? <probably no great harm...I suspect the anemone will get enough (please don't overfeed to compensate)...the anemone will eventually get it anyway when the clown passes waste> I have tried to feed the anemone at the same time I feed the fish, but the anemone is a bit slow to close around it and Bozo is right there to pluck it out. I feed the anemone once every three days, for now anyway till I see how it is doing. Hope this is not too much. <not at all...perhaps a little more even> I am curious too, how long should I leave my lights on for the anemone each day? I leave them on for 8 hours is this enough, too much? (minimum for fluorescents 8-12 hours and keep bulbs fresh (changed every 6-10 months for photosynthetic animals> Thanks for all your help :) I am learning so much!!!! <keep learning and pass your wisdom on to others in kind. Anthony> Kathy

Anemone/clown question Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> Thanks in advance for doing such a great job for the hobby. I was hoping you could help me out. I bought a bubble tip anemone, who is healthy and has acclimated happily in my mini-reef aquarium, which is just under 10 gallons in size.  <awfully small tank, bud, for this animal and the noxious compounds it exudes...weekly water changes?,,,skimmer and carbon/poly filters?> I already have a tank raised A. ocellaris in my reef who has not yet taken to the anemone. <not a surprise...not a typical host> Is there any chance that it will take up house in the bubble-tip even though the text says it is not compatible?  <small chance, but rather unlikely> If not, which clown fish do you suggest for my little tank? <Clarkii would be a good candidate> I plan to add a royal Gramma and a cleaner shrimp. Other than that, there are no other animals. Thanks again! <that seems reasonable for the fish load...best regards, Anthony> Bryan Chan

Condylactis passiflora symbionts, Clownfish/TWA Anemone associations on the website it shows symbionts for the Condylactis gigantea, but I did not see any for the Condylactis passiflora. I have a 37gl tank I would like to set up with the appropriate symbionts. <Various references list all but the Blenny as being associated with both Condylactis species> I also noticed that you stated a clown would be eaten by a Condy. and I saw this thread http://www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=53289 and was wondering if this person was just lucky or time would tell. <There are a few accounts of Clownfishes (none found in the Atlantic) forming associations with Atlantic and other not-natural anemones (and other stinging-celled life... and non-living objects... shoes, rubber-bands)... though generally they're consumed by tropical West Atlantic actinarians. If you'll read further through the WWM FAQs you'll see a modified response. Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner> thanks chip

Clown question (health, symbionts) Hello again Mr. Fenner, I will keep this short. My 2 tank raised Percula clowns have adopted my flowerpot coral as a host over the last few days. <Yes, this happens> Last night, the larger clown would hardly leave the coral & seemed to be enjoying himself <Herself. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm> immensely. This morning when the lights came on, he was dead, against the inlet sponge. Could the flowerpot coral have caused this??? <Hmm, yes... could have> All my levels are perfect. I wont tempt you w/sushi in Vegas this time. Thanx in advance Craig <Sorry to hear/read of your loss my friend. Please read over the WWM site re the Flowerpot/Goniopora Coral (family Poritidae), anemone symbionts, clownfish health... Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tangs & peppermint shrimp Robert, Hello I have been having a few problems with my 55 gallon reef tank. I have 2 sand sifter stars, a Lg yellow Tang, a blue Morpho Tang, <For browsers, this is aka a Pacific Yellow Tail Blue, Palette, Hippo... Tang, Paracanthurus hepatus> 2 yellow-tail blue damsels, a yellow-tail purple damsel, 2 Percula clowns, and 2 purple-faced pink damsels. I have a stalk of xenia, 40 lbs of live rock, a small piece of trumpet coral, a small flower leather (which has recently started to bud), a few polyps, a few mushrooms, a Condylactis anemone, and a rock anemone. Well my first problem is that my Rock anemone shrunk to a quarter of it's normal size. I was told it was because my water quality was too bad. <Hmm, possibly... could be lighting (lack of it), interaction with other stinging-celled life in the system (physical and or chemical), simple lack of feeding (are you?)...> I have no Nitrate, no ammonia, and no Nitrite whatsoever. I was also told that it may have been from the enamel that was on the Conch shell that the anemone was attached to. But found out later that my phosphate was a 1.0. I think it was the Phosphate but don't know for sure. <"Don't believe everything you're told"> Second problem. I just recently bought 3 peppermint shrimp, one of which was pregnant. I put the pregnant one in a 10 gallon by herself with some live rock. The other 2 I put into my reef tank. 2 days later I found that the 2 were eaten all but part of their tails, which I found. I was told that they molted and were in hiding. Also told by a friend that his Yellow Tang had eaten his 3 peppermint shrimp. His tang was the only fish in the tank. Do Tangs eat Shrimp???  <If they can, want to, they can/will> And the pregnant one had molted, and the eggs (or babies) were still in the exoskeleton. What caused this??? Stress??? <Very likely yes> I'm confused. Third question. I had bought the 2 Percula clowns and were told that they needed a Ritteri, or Haddoni anemone. But that they would eventually take to a Sebae anemone.  <Possibly... to all though the "Sebae" (Heteractis crispa) is one of the three "naturally symbiotic" anemone species with this species of Clown... they can/do adapt to others... Please read this part of our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/anemones.htm> Well I put them in my tank and then that night I had to move the tank to another room. I siphoned the water into a Rubbermaid tub, and put all of live rock, fish, and corals into the tub. was able to move the anemone and the clowns into the bucket without the clowns taking off. After the fish were back in the tank the smallest clown stayed in the anemone, and chased the other one off. But 3 days later they both have adjusted to the anemone and have been there for 5 days. Is this normal???  <Yes, does happen... even though Condylactis anemones are found in the Atlantic and all Clownfishes in the Indo-Pacific...> I was told that they would never take to a Condylactis anemone, but yet It seems that I have done that. <See above re not believing everything you're told.> Thanks for your time. Any help you could give me would be very helpful as right now I have been receiving conflicting advice, and info. <Keeping aquariums will be a very valuable lesson for you in critical listening and thinking... the more you investigate, assuredly the more "apparently" conflicting information you're going to encounter... Learn to develop your own theories, discrimination of facts, opinions, advice... in that order.> Also if you have any info that you could send me on breeding peppermint shrimp, it would be much appreciated, as I can't hardly find any info on the subject. Thanks again, and sorry for the long letter. Sincerely, Tomy Morrow <Read through the site: www.WetWebMedia.com, and we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp & anemones I just purchased a Scarlet Striped Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) and he has been spending all of his time around the base of my quadricolor anemone. Will he hurt the anemone? <Possibly, but probably not... may be hanging out there for "protection"... as in the wild> I figure the anemone may eat him but, I was wondering if he would harm it. The shrimp is a lot smaller than the anemone so I don't think he can just eat the anemone but, can he pinch the anemone and cause it to die? <Again, not likely> Also, I was wondering if you might have any idea what the 'blob' is that I have in the same saltwater tank. The 'blob' has been there for like 2 years and has only grown like 1/4of an inch. The 'blob' I'm referring to is a group of gravel and shells from the bottom of the aquarium that are like cemented together. You can kinda see a whitish looking material within the group of cemented shells but other than that it's just a 'blob' of cemented gravel and shells that is slowly getting bigger. Thanks for the help! Ann <Your blob is likely a type of Sponge... Phylum Porifera... nothing to worry about. You can see some of these on our site here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: cleaner shrimp & anemones Thanks for the quick response. I didn't think it would hurt it but, I wasn't sure. The Maroon clown who lives in the anemone doesn't seem to care that the shrimp is hanging out there. Thanks again! Ann <Ah, and rest-assured, the Maroon Clown will not tolerate anyone messing with the anemone... even you! Bob Fenner>

Re: cleaner shrimp & anemones I know about the little guy's attitude (Maroon clown) he just loves to charge me and bite me whenever I put my hand down into the tank. I wasn't too sure how aggressive he would be towards the shrimp though because the shrimp is only a little bit smaller than him. He is only like 1 and 1/2 inches long but he is full of attitude! Thanks again! Ann

White beaded anemone and maroon gold stripe clown fish I would like to know if they are compatible the white beaded anemone and the gold stripe clown fish thank you <A "natural" compatibility chart is posted on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/anemones.htm Clownfishes may "learn" to be "with" other species of actinarians in captivity... Bob Fenner>

Anemone I am setting up a new saltwater tank for the first time. <Welcome to the hobby!> I am housing two True Percula clownfish and Anemone shrimp and Anemone crabs. <A large undertaking> I would like to know what anemone is recommended for a beginner, and won't grow large, and that is compatible with all of the above? <Hmm, would try the Clowns by themselves for a few months... and tank-bred and reared ones... Please read over the following sections: "Anemones", "Clownfishes", and associated FAQs pages stored on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com> thank you for your time! Melanie Marine <As you'll find, there are a few anemone species that can be tried, but these are not easy to keep... historically... calling for intense lighting and very good filtration... Read over the links to "The Breeder's Registry" as well for a goldmine of other people's practical experiences with similar set-ups, livestock. Bob Fenner>

Sebae Anemone problem Hi Bob, I just found your site for the first time and will definitely be back. The reason I am here is that my Sebae (have had it a week after having bought it and let the fish store hold it for three weeks.) was finally getting friendly with one of my two Percula clowns. I fed it Yesterday, and today it seems to have tried to expel its stomach!!  <Yes, this happens> Found it mouth down in the aragonite. I am running a live rock filtration method with a CPR Bak Pak II and PH is 8, kH is 9, ammonia undetectable, NO-2 undetectable, NO-3 at 12.5 mg/l and holding for a week. The clowns seemed to have been affected by the stomach reversal; especially the new friend. What is the best course of action at this point? Thanks in advance.  Kevin N <If the clowns look like they may be suffering, dying, do move them to all new water... To "right" the anemone (Heteractis crispa) and hope that it re-attaches, recovers... Not an easy species to keep... perhaps to run activated carbon in your filter flow path... and hope for the best. Bob Fenner>

Stocking a tank with compatible fish and invertebrates Bob, I have some questions regarding stocking and fish/invertebrate compatibility. I am setting-up a 38 gallon 48"Lx18"Hx10"W tank that will be illuminated by 2 55 watt 10,000K CF bulbs. The tank will be filtered by live rock, live sand, a protein skimmer, and a mud/algae refugium. <Okay> The focus of the tank will be fish. I am planning to stock the tank with two ocellaris clowns, a butterfly (either an Auriga or pacific double saddle-back), one hippo tang, one purple tang, one flame hawk, maybe one flame angel, and a 30 gallon Reef Relief package from FFE. Would this combination overstock the tank? <You're definitely "there"... that is about as much as you want to put into this "model" 55 show... and it's shape...> I noticed in pictures from your book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, that your example of a fish/invertebrate tank housed a flame angel, Auriga butterfly, with some sponges. It is my understanding that those fish often eat sponges. <They do... many species of marine angels get a good sized part of their nutrition from eating sponges... I'm sure you understand that I did not do the layout, images... and that often examples in books are "not reasonable"... i.e. they show unnatural, not-advised circumstances for real life situations...> Why are the sponges and the fish compatible? Are the sponges in that tank Atlantic sponges? Are there any sponges that those two fish typically won't eat? <Hmm, would have to know more about the pic... there are definitely sponges in all of the world's oceans... and for sure ones that marine angelfishes don't ingest...> Also, I wanted to entertain the idea of providing a host for the ocellaris clowns. If I introduce a bubble tip anemone (I've read that you like these), will it likely be destroyed by the butterfly? <Not if the Clowns associate with it... Place the Butterfly last> Are there any stinging soft corals that will host ocellaris clowns, and if so, will those corals survive in a tank housing a butterfly?  <Yes, and stony/hard corals as well... same protection from their symbionts> Will the 110 watts of light be sufficient to illuminate those corals? <The stony ones only if placed nearer the surface... Look into the Euphyllias here... and Trachyphyllia... take a look through these sections on the Marine Index of the site: www.WetWebMedia.com for more> Thank you. Bruce G. <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Condylactis/Clowns? Bob! I am in need of your help once again! Can you tell me of any Anemonefish will host with a Condylactis, Atlantic? Thanks so much again. Dave <Well, as you likely know these animals are "an ocean apart"... and not "naturally" symbiotic... but sometimes, some do mix... including all the popular tank-bred species... But no guarantees... often as not the Anemone eats the erstwhile Clown... I would read over the general Anemone pieces on the www.WetWebMedia.com site again... I've placed more images of the anemones, and made/placed a table there ala Fautin of who goes with who in the wild. Bob Fenner>

Re: Condy Question Sorry to keep bothering you Bob, but I had another question about Atlantic Condys. Will my pink skunk host with it? It has already hosted with a long tentacle anemone which will not be in that tank anymore. What are the chances of the two forming a new bond? Thank you so much again. Dave <Only experience can/will tell my friend, for you and your livestock. Bob Fenner>

Bubble Anemone Bob, the only corals I currently have in my 125 gallon tank is a Toadstool Leather coral and a Fiji finger leather coral. I also have a couple of mushroom anemones which I keep away from the leather corals. I was interested in adding a Gold Stripe Maroon Clown with a bubble anemone in the tank. I have a couple of questions. First, is the bubble anemone the correct anemone to go with the Maroon Clown? If not, which would be a more suitable anemone? <This is the only naturally symbiotic anemone with Premnas... please read through the anemone, clown sections on the www.WetWebMedia.com and the goldmine of personal experience related on the Breeder's Registry about these animals together. Link on WWM> Secondly, would the presence of an anemone cause any problems or the leather corals that I have?  <Possibly yes... stinging, shed cell difficulties, chemical communication, dominance... need to exclude shipping water... good idea to "acclimate to each other" by way of water changes twixt/tween separate systems for a few weeks... keep up on water changes, chemical filtrant use once placed...> If not, will it limit me in what else I can add in the future as far as corals? <Yes, likely> Will the presence of the anemone cause any problems for my other fish?  <Maybe... sorry about all the indefiniteness here... You ask very good questions... that have no easy, fast, conclusive response....> I have written you in the past and I would like to say that your advice an comments have been very helpful and I appreciate it. Thank you. <You're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner> Gianluca

Tomato Clown Bob, I was wondering what type of anemone a Tomato Clown responds to? Also, would this type of anemone be compatible with: Imperator Angel Flame Angel Surgeon Fish Lion Fish Moray (Snowflake) Thank you for your help, Doug <Well, thanks for getting me off my duff to add a table of the Anemones that are naturally found with Clown Anemonefishes... posted on the www.wetwebmedia.com site... But... the large angel may well eat any/all anemones... the Dwarf might help... and the Moray could easily disrupt such an animal in a typically small system... Read over the WWM site's sections on anemones if this is to be a key item, livestock selection for marine, reef systems... and any/all other sorts of organisms you may be considering. Bob Fenner>

Anemones for New Aquarists I currently have a couple of freshwater setups, and am thinking about getting making my next setup a marine tank. I have always been fascinated by the clown anemone relationship and have been trying to read up on it. Would a 29 gallon with only live rock, 2 ocellaris clowns, and a few shrimp) a protein skimmer and a two or so powerheads be enough volume to keep the water at the quality needed for anemone? In order to have the best chance for the clowns to take to the anemone I've been reading that they don't always) and give the anemone the best chance for survival, would it be better to add the anemone and then the clowns so they are familiar with the anemone from the beginning, or would it be better to introduce the clowns, let the system stabilize and then add the anemone? Thanks for your time, Chris <Do read over Joyce Wilkerson's and Daphne Fautin/Gerald Allen's works on Clownfishes/Anemones and the wealth of information you can find on the Breeder's Registry on this relationship and these animal's captive husbandry. Oh, and the bits on the WWM site as well... Bob Fenner>

Suitable Anemone Mr. Fenner, First of all, I wanted to commend you on your book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist." It's an absolute daily necessity for me. <Glad to find the work useful, even stimulating... as is/was intended> I have a 2-month old 30 gal tank with about 20 lbs of live rock. The tank is fully cycled. I recently purchased a tomato clown fish and wanted to purchase a suitable anemone for it. My question is what would be suitable for a tomato clown that would be hardy enough to tolerate a new set-up? I have one fluorescent light on my tank. I have not upgraded the lighting as of yet. Will this light be appropriate for an anemone? Thanks for all your help! Sincerely, Teresa Stevenson <Actually, as you likely are aware, anemones are not "easy" for marine aquarists to keep... and yes/no your lighting is sorely inadequate... the likely symbiotic types require intense illumination... at least four of the normal output lamps you currently have... I encourage you to investigate upgrading to compact fluorescents for your thirty... or hold off till you have a larger system with more light... but at the very least, wait on a try at anemones for now... When you do have more light... the Bubble Tip, Entacmaea quadricolor will be your best choice/chance for success. Bob Fenner>

Purple tip Sebae & false Percula Bob, I have a 10 gallon mini reef that consists of 14 lbs. of live rock, a false Percula, a purple tip Sebae anemone, plus snails and a few hermit crabs. I normally research all of my purchases very carefully, but I settled for a purple tip Sebae without really knowing much about it. Now I read that they don't do well in most reef tanks. Plus it's possible that a false Percula will never have anything to do with it (so far it hasn't). Also I have read that a white Sebae usually has expelled all of it's algae, thus the white color. <Correct on all counts my friend.> I have 2-15 watt fluorescent lights, one full spectrum and one actinic. The Sebae is located halfway up the tank on a rock with a hole for the base to fit in, plus it's located in front of the outlet of the filter. I placed it there when I got it and it's never moved. It looks healthy, staying rather bushy looking (even more so at night) and seems to react to anything unusual (lights coming on or off, a/c kicking on, etc.). I have noticed however that it is expelling a reddish brown material from its mouth the past few days. I've only had it for a week. Plus it hasn't tried to eat any of the food I've offered. So I have just been using a turkey baster to feed the contents of the tank frozen brine shrimp, but I make sure to blow it past the anemone first to see if it will take any. <The expelling may be bad, or innocuous... do try a larger "meaty" food item... like a (defrosted) frozen crustacean, or a bit of fish flesh... placed directly on the tentacles> Do you have any tips on how to make this anemone last longer? When it dies do you have a suggestion for a better anemone for the tank setup and the clownfish that I have? I've heard many opinions and I'd really appreciate any tips you could provide. Thanks Todd Westfall >> <For such a small tank... this is a tough proposition... the tropical west Atlantic genus Condylactis would be best, but/and may/may not develop a relationship with your Clown... Entacmaea quadricolor (Bubble Tip to most) is about the toughest naturally occurring symbionts... Do guard against the pump/filter intake being the cause of these animal's (and everything else in the 10 gallon's) demise... Please do take a long read through the materials stored on our site: Home Page , and the Breeder's Registry for much more on these issues. Bob Fenner>

Anemones I would like to have the species Amphiprion perideraion (clowns). What is the best anemone to keep? Also how many lbs would it take to fill a 20 gallon tank w/ Fiji rock; it would only hold anemones?  >> One anemone of any of the listed species in good health (EMPHASIZED) and only a few pounds of LR in with it... A twenty is very risky... not good odds for success with such a small volume (ahem, I wouldn't do it). Bob Fenner

Anemones I am interested in setting up a live rock /huge anemone display that will house pink skunk clown fish. The lighting on the tank will be power compacts, and will be filtered w/ a protein skimmer etc. What type of anemone will associate w/ the pink skunk clown fish and will grow really large?  >> Which species? Amphiprion perideraion? In the wild this species is naturally found in association with Heteractis crispa, H. magnifica, Macrodactyla doreensis, Stichodactyla gigantea... All four get large by aquarium standards... in captivity clowns will learn to associate with others. Bob Fenner

Anemone I've got a beautiful m. doreensis and two clarkii for it. Is there anyway I get the anemone to stay in the front of the tank in the sand, where I want him? Will the clarkii find it and live in it? Thanks. - Dan Wheeler >> You might have success placing the specimen in soft substrate (fine, oolithic sand...) in a glass or plastic tray (don't tell your spouse!) in the spot... these animals lock onto the bottom in sandy settings... And yes, the Clarkiis will likely find and occupy the Anemone. Bob Fenner

Anemone I have a 75 gallon marginal reef tank that now houses a small Volitans Lionfish, a 4inch long Naso Tang, a small yellow tail damsel, a few snails, and 55 pounds of live rock. I have a question concerning anemones.  I am quarantining a pair of maroon clowns right now, and am wondering, will my 4 standard fluorescents (2 full-spectrum, 2 actinic), Turboflotor skimmer in sump, and my wet-dry filter be acceptable for keeping an anemone? If so, which anemone do you suggest? I am also looking for some corals to add to my tank, which of the many corals would you suggest for my particular setup? Thanks in advance, and I loved your book. <thanks> >> Hmm, either a Rose or a Bubble Tip (in good shape)... for good starter (true) corals, try the genus Euphyllia (Frogspawn, Anchor, Torch...)... other stinging-celled animals? Polyps, zoanthids/colonial anemones, mushrooms... Bob Fenner

Lighting I have a blue damsel and a tank raised Percula clownfish in my 20 gallon tank as well as a few snails and shrimps. I am looking into getting an anemone, but I am not sure which kinds will play host to the Percula? Also, I will need to upgrade my lighting system. I currently have the All-Glass hood my tank came with, with 19 W of 50/50 actinic/daylight. How much lighting would I need?  >> About four times the current lighting, including some actinic is required to successfully illuminate one of the species of large anemone species that associate with perculas (Amphiprion Percula). The best choice, in terms of hardiness, size (the other two species found in natural association, Stichodactyla gigantea and Heteractis magnifica are way too big for a twenty gallon system) is Heteractis crispa, the Leathery Sea Anemone. Other species of anemones will grow into such symbiotic relationships in captivity... but the three listed are the ones they're found with in the wild. Now, don't let me finish with a few cautionary (and necessary) comments. Anemones are not easy to keep... and if yours perishes (which can, does happen unexpectedly), you will quickly lose all the other life in this system... Make sure and cover any/all intakes to pumps, and make your heater inaccessible... as anemones "get loose" and cause real trouble if coming up against these. And lastly, the fact that the Clownfish doesn't "need" an anemone to be happy, healthy. Bob Fenner

Anemone Sebae Hey I was wondering why my Percula clown or maroon clown won't go to it. Thank you Becky >> Some do, some don't... how long have these animals all been together? Often it takes a few weeks for the fish's to even try... the relationship is not "automatic"... and the anemone will even eat an "unfamiliar" clown... Have patience and "it" will happen if it's going to. Bob Fenner

Hi Bob, I recently added an 8" Dia. Stichodactyla Haddoni (a Purplish one) to my Aquarium and have listened to a barrage of advice on the best care for these inverts. However, I find myself going back to my computer to gain my advice from you because so far you have helped me tremendously. Thank you. Anyway, would you say it is better to feed this invert a liquid supplement such as Liquid Gold or a seafood diet such as mussel, fish meat, etc. Or a combo? The LFS has given me both answers and I am thoroughly confused. One way must be better than the other. One more question. When adding a clown fish such as Ocellaris, True Percula, or Clarkii, for symbiosis, is one better than the other and more importantly, will it make a difference if these clowns are tank bred or not. I have seen on several occasions where the right pair is in the same tank but the fish is uninterested. Any advice on these novice questions would be greatly appreciated. Have a good day and thanks again, Eric Blanton (Novice Aquaholic) >> If it were me, I'd try to stick with the "ground meaty food" approach to feeding the anemone rather than using liquid prep.s... the latter are too messy, and can become a real problem with the nutrient making its way to other paths... At least the other material will be picked over by your other livestock. On the "which species of clown" is best question... IMO the Clarkii's in your case... and if you want them to associate with this species of anemone... really not the true or "false" perculas (they don't do so in the wild), nor the tank-bred and reared ones.... There is a better chance that the wild ones of this species (Clark's) will associate. Bob Fenner

Reef Bob, I have just set up a micro reef in an 12 gallon tank. It houses 22 lbs of Fiji live rock and a Iacon Anemone right now. My lighting is half actinic and half full spectrum, Just under 3 watts per gallon. My question is what types of other living organisms can I keep in this micro reef tank now. I would like to put an anemone in that would associate w/ a Tank raised Percula clownfish What kind would be the easiest?  >> You may well not like/accept my opinion, but a 12 gallon system is way too small and unstable for a symbiotic anemone species... maybe a forty or bigger might be made suitable for a Heteractis magnifica or Stichodactyla gigantea... for the true Perculas.... I wouldn't try one in such a small volume though... If much goes wrong... the whole system would crash. Bob Fenner

Hi Bob, I wrote you a question a couple of days ago about a quarantine tank and the fresh water dip. I got a 10 gal. Set-up with heater, pump, thermometer, cover...I took water (about 2 gal. From my cycled micro tank and added the rest saltwater mix). My order from FFExpress arrived two days ago, I put the hermit crabs (5), Trochus snails (5), and shrimp into the q-tank and dipped one at a time in the order of the two "true Percula mated pair", and the "medium Sebae anemone" in fresh water and the Methylene blue solution for one minute. The problem is the female clown and the anemone. The clown has seemed "off balance" sometimes on its side a little... the anemone has not yet fully opened. One theory I have is that the anemone could have "stung" the female clown...the reason I say this is when the anemone was first put in the tank the clown very gingerly slid against the anemone a couple of times... I did not see it "get stung" but the clowns do not get close to the anemone since the first ? hour that the anemone was added. Like I said earlier the clown seem off balance, and last night I checked on it and it was swimming vertically to the surface as if it needed more air... I added an additional powerhead to the tank and this morning it was back on the bottom next to the male clown upright most of the time. Specifically on the anemone, it still has part of itself folded over on itself. The Sebae does not seem the same as you describe the H. crispa. in The Conscientious Marine Aquarist... "Often white pale gray of light tan this species has long densely crowded tapering tentacles and a leathery column with obvious verrucae" The anemone we received is cream colored, with short tentacles that have purple tips... I have checked the ammonia, pH, temp, and salinity ... the ammonia was a little high and I did a 40 % water change.... What do you think I should do for the clown and anemone? Is it too late? Will they get the rest of the q-tank sick? >> Thank you for writing. Many important issues here. First off, I don't encourage folks to dip, and generally not to quarantine anemones... If they look okay on arrival, we just "rinse them off" (never placing the transport and mixed water anywhere but the waste/drain) and place them where they will be ultimately. Too much trauma, hassle to do anything either, unless it looks like the individual animal is not "going to make it"... then it's placed in a holding/hospital/quarantine tank of its own. Now regarding the clowns and the anemone... the true perc does associate with Heteractis crispa in the wild... but these relationships are not "automatic"... the partnership takes a while to develop... and if a fish is "pushed into" a novel situation, there may be trouble, even consumption of the clown... And the "Sebae" anemone you have may well be a H. crispa... their tentacles are much shorter in the absence of symbionts.... see p.63 of Fautin and Allen's Anemonefishes book... some do have white tentacles with pink/purplish tips. Anyhow, to make this response short, do move the anemone, and I'd consider going ahead and moving the clowns in a week or so... as long as they show no signs of parasitic infestation... and not worry about either's behavior at this point. These animals do "just act like they are", and have undergone a lot of handling and shipping stress. Bob Fenner

Anemone and clownfish HI..... Recently at my local fish store I bought a carpet anemone and a clarkii clownfish - as a pair. They were real "chummy" at the store, but when I introduced them in to my tank, the clown would have nothing to do with the anemone. Is something wrong? I also have a Percula clown, but it won't go near the anemone either. Is the anemone sick? Most of the time I see the anemone nice and puffy, but occasionally I will walk by and the anemone looks deflated - like a pancake with the mouth hanging open. Is this normal? Thanks - Krista  >> The situation you describe is all too common, but not healthy. In all likelihood your anemone has taken a turn for the worst (probably due to conditions in your tank), and the Clowns) are distancing themselves from it... Do you know what type of carpet anemone (that is what species) this is? How much light, circulation are you providing it? How deep in the water is it situated? What sort of water quality do you have? What other stinging-celled life do you keep? How long has the "other" life been in your system? The "pancake mouth hanging open" is a bad sign... I would check on what sort of anemone this is, your systems ability to provide what it needs... and act... quickly. Bob Fenner

Bob- Love your column and never miss it. Some background first, I have a 55 gal reef aquarium, LR and LS, two VHO's (one actinic and one full spectrum), and a 175W 10,000K MH, and a protein skimmer. Inhabitants include: several mushrooms, a bubble coral, and open brain, a cabbage coral, and a Heteractis Magnifica (Ritteri). Also a Flame Angel, and, two Ocellaris clownfish. My question is about the anemone. I know that Ritteri are chronically hard to keep; but, it usually looks great, the clowns love it, and, I think it should be getting plenty of light in my set-up. Lately, I have noticed that it deflates everyday about 1/2 way through my lighting cycle (I have them on from 9-9, and the MH from 11-7). It usually comes back overnight and looks fine again. It does take food (silversides, shrimp) but, not always, and less often, lately. I do have small bristleworms in the LS; but, I wouldn't think they'd bother it in the middle of the day. I also have strong circulation on it, and, plenty of light. Help! Thanks, Dave >> Hmmm, well, it could be "worms"... but I'd do something about the light condition first... as you relate that there is an apparent cyclicity to the anemones behavior and the bright lighting... Is the animal attached to something that can be move to the periphery (55 gal. tanks are four feet long), or the Metal Halide scooted over so it's not shining down so much on the anemone?  Next and in addition, make sure your mushrooms are not coming in contact with the anemone physically (like when they or the anemone expand...), and related to the mushrooms, add a unit of activated carbon to your filtration on a monthly basis... the mushrooms compete chemically as well, and the anemone will lose in these interactions. Lastly, if you have another healthy reef system, do consider moving the anemone... sometimes, subtle differences between systems make a world of difference to the animals in them. Bob Fenner

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