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FAQs on Long Tentacle Anemone Environmental Disease/Health  

Related Articles: LTAs, Anemones, Bubble Tip Anemones, Cnidarians, Coldwater Anemones, Colored/Dyed Anemones

FAQs on LTA Disease: LTA Health/Disease 1, LTA Hlth./Dis. 2, LTA Hlth./Dis. 3, LTA Hlth./Dis. 4, LTA Hlth./Dis.
FAQs on Anemone Disease by Category: Diagnosing,  (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy...), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 
LTA Reproduction
Related FAQs: LTA Health/Disease 1, LTA Hlth./Dis. 2, LTA Hlth./Dis. 3, & LTAs 1, LTAs 2, LTA Identification, LTA Behavior, LTA Compatibility, LTA Selection, LTA Systems, LTA Feeding, & LTA Reproduction,

Large, stable/established...Reef-quality systems; away from other Cnidarian life. Pump intakes, powerheads screened

Lots (several inches) of fine, soft sand to anchor into. Does NOT live on rock...

Possibly a plastic/slotted cover to protect it from overzealous Clownfishes

New Print and eBook on Amazon:  

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Long tentacle anemone curled in ball... Killing, sans reading 6/14/10
I have a question about my long tentacle anemone I just bought yesterday from my LFS and was wondering if someone could help me. When I bought it, it was about the size of a large saucer plate and had a brown color to it with slightly purple tips. When I first acclimated it to my aquarium it was doing fine with it's tentacles swaying in the water and the same color as when I bought it. It might have moved only about 1/2 inch from where I initially placed it on the sand bed, dug a small hole, and attached itself to the sand bed. I went to bed and when I woke up the next morning I noticed it had shrunk up into a purple ball in the same spot. There was also some brown mucus looking stuff hanging on one of the rocks. I imagine it expelled this overnight. I thought it might have died overnight but I keep checking on it and it seems to be expanding back to it's original size a little, although still very purple in color and small. I haven't tried feeding it yet but thought I would try a small piece of squid soon. The only other thing in with the anemone right now is a maroon clownfish.
<Mmm, may not be compatible... Premnas can be tough on Anemones>

To tell you a little bit about my aquarium, I have a 46 gallon bowfront aquarium equipped with an Aquamedic Turboflotor 1000 multi protein skimmer, a Fluval canister filter, and a heater. I'm not sure of the brand name of the heater but right now I have it turned off because my house stays warm during the summer
<Turn it on, set it on low...>
and the aquarium water is about 83 degrees Fahrenheit without it. The aquarium is also grounded.
<See WWM re such probes>
I'm a little confused to the kind of lighting I need.
<?... Read here:
and the linked files above>
I've only ever had a marine all fish aquarium before for about 3 or 4 years. I got behind on the water changes whenever my son was first born but now he is 16 months old and I wanted to start my tank up again, this time adding some anemones and maybe corals to it. Right now I have one OceanSun 10,000 K fluorescent bulb over my tank.
<... this is insufficient. You didn't read, either before buying this animal, or writing us... >

The light is only 25 watts and it kind of confused me as to why it was so low being that I read that you should have about 2-3 watts per gallon of aquarium water. I'm assuming you're supposed to install more than one bulb but right now my aquarium hood will only hold one light unless I upgrade.
The light also says that it promotes the growth of Zooxanthellae algae.
There is a mixture of sand and dolomite in the tank with some Tufa rock (I have no live rock in my tank yet) and I use well water with stress coat added. I also added Kent marine Superbuffer -dKH to the aquarium about 2 days ago. The salinity is 1.022,
<... too low>

pH is 8.3-8.4, Ammonia is approximately 0.25 ppm (maybe even a little higher),
nitrite is 0 ppm, and nitrate is 0 ppm.
<dismal... see WWM re>

I admit that in being excited to start my tank up again that I didn't condition the tank long enough. I think my LTA might have shriveled either because of my lighting or because of the ammonia or maybe even to just it getting accustomed to being in a new tank. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thank You very much.
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/macrodoreensis.htm
and the linked files above. What you have here won't work. Bob Fenner>

Is My Purple LTA OK?/Macrodactyla doreensis/Health/Systems 1/29/10
<Hello Dani>
So I need to ask for some help... I bought this purple LTA on Saturday before doing any research (oops!). I have a 28gallon Nano cube cfi that has only been set up for about a month.
<Oops again. Too small a system for keeping this animal and much too new of a system.>

It looks like my lighting is 105w/8w cf quad;
<Borderline lighting at best for this anemone.>
115v-1ph-60hz and my pump is 16w/266gph.(this is off of the tank specs) I have 20lbs of live sand and about 30lbs of live rock. My friends living in the tank are 2 False Percula Clowns, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Fire Shrimp, 1 Serpent star, 1 sand sifting cucumber,
<Tank too new, too small to sustain the cucumber, problems may lie ahead.>
5 red leg and 5 blue leg hermits, 10 snails (2 kinds I can't recall the names), 2 small Zoas and a hammer coral.
<Oops again, too small a system for keeping an anemone with corals.>

My specs are: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, ph 7.4 (working to raise by adding reef builder to bring up alkalinity) dKH 8 (on Sunday before lights out and after adding a dose of reef builder that day), sg 1.022, temp 81. I have been doing a 2 gallon water change once a week and I test parameters about every other day. (I am very paranoid about my water levels). Anyway, this anemone just sits in this spot and won't attach to anything and seems to have a gaping mouth.
<It will not attach to rocks, burrows into the sand in nature. This anemone will be short lived, I'd return if possible or risk poisoning your entire system.>

I tried to get the best pics I could and after I took them and was typing my email it shriveled up on one side. I am very worried that this fella is going to die and kill everyone in my tank.
<It will.>

I just wanted to know if you thought it would be OK or if I should pull it before he does too much damage?
<Will not be OK, I'd try and return.....good luck here. Should have researched this animal before buying, as to it's needs/system requirements.
A little late now, but do read here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Anemone non-dilemma... sys./Macrodactyla reading    7/24/08 Sherlo Hi WWM Crew <And to you> I am writing you from South Africa and have a very new setup. We started off with Tropical many years ago and have now moved on to Salt Water. We have a 200gal Reef Tank setup with about 100Kg Kenya Live Rock and have recently introduced Livestock, namely 2 x Yellow Tangs (wish I'd known about the bullying!), 3 x common Clowns, 1 x baby Blue Tang, 3 x Cleaner Shrimps, 1 x Red Hermit and 1 x Red base LTA. [The Yellow Tangs have toned down a bit since the introduction of the Clowns]. <Uhh...> We test the water daily and our latest results are Ammonia - 0, Nitrates - 10, Nitrites - 0, PH - 8.2, SG - 1,023 and KH - 10. There is plenty of oxygenation and there are no 'dead spots' relating to the Powerheads anywhere in the tank. We are running T5's (12 hours/day) and Metal Halides (8 hours/day). All the fish look healthy and are eating fine. My problem rests with the sole Anemone that we have. The green tentacles are inflated and sway nicely in the current but it keeps falling over and resting upside down or sideways. <... this is oftimes called the "Sand Anemone"... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm  re Macrodactyla, and the linked files above...> On first introduction, we placed it on a rock in the middle of the tank in good sight of the halides and with plenty of current but it "fell" down to the substrate. <...> I reluctantly moved it back to a rock higher up to the lighting but it does not look like it has anchored itself properly and there is some furry substance around the red base. Also, none of my clowns are interested in it at all! I am very concerned about it and am wary of the addition of more anemones at this stage. <... More? A very poor idea... again, please search, read before writing...> Regarding the attached pic, today, the anemone is now resting with the red base hanging over the left side of its rock ledge and the tentacles are holding on to the rock. I look forward to your advice! <Read. Bob Best Regards
Tammy Knott


LTA vs. Power head -- 3/09/07 <Hi Chris, Brenda here> First of all, like everybody else, I want to say thank you for all you guys do.  You really have helped a lot of people and marine animals!!! <You're welcome> Well, to start off, today I came home to find that my wife had purchased a LTA. She had called me earlier and said that when she had put it in the tank, it went to the back in back of the rocks, so she said that when I got home, I could get her out and put her in front. <It is best to leave them alone.  It was still acclimating and looking for a comfortable place in its new environment.> I came home from school, only to find the tank semi cloudy and that the anemone was partly sucked up in one of the power heads, so I immediately turned the power head off, and pulled it out and took off the part she was hooked onto and put her in a bucket with tank water. I tried to pry her out as gently as I could from the screen and then placed her after rinsing her off a little bit with that same water in my smaller tank. <Power heads are dangerous to anemones, they need to be covered.  Here are some ideas:     http://www.karensroseanemones.com/coverpowerheads.htm  > She is pretty beat up on one half, I would really like to save her because she is really pretty, but what can I do other then try and letting her heal herself?  Let me know what I can do please! <The best thing that you can do now is keep your water parameters perfect. Keep a close eye on it.  If it starts to look like it is melting or decaying, it is time to remove it and do a water change before it pollutes the rest of your tank.  If things are going good after a few days, try feeding a ¼' sized portion of silversides that has been soaked in Selcon.> I also did a partial water change to the big tank to get some of the cloudiness out, I have my skimmer on and so it is starting to clear up already. <Good!  Be prepared to do more water changes.> I'm glad that all of her didn't get chopped up, then I would really be in trouble. Please let me know how to proceed. I have attached some pics of the anemone, my tank and of some rocks. <Yes, I see the pictures.  The anemone is definitely not looking good, but I wouldn't give up hope.> I was hoping that you could identify what is growing on the rocks.  There is an orange jagged thing growing on one, and little round red/maroon things growing on the other one, I was thinking that they might be some type of coral but I'm not sure,   thanks for your help! <The red growing on the rock is a type of red algae.  Please search for red algae on WetWebMedia.  I'm not sure what the orange is, hard to tell by picture.   Any thoughts on this Bob? > Chris. <You're welcome!  Good luck with your anemone!  Brenda>
LTA attachment/health, sys. really    2/22/07 Hi, I purchased a LTA this past weekend.  It is purple in color and was fully open and seemed healthy in the LFS. <Was it buried in the sand there?> I inspected the foot and found no tears/abrasions. <Good>   I brought it home and acclimated it to my tank over about 2 hours.  My system consists of a 20g tall tank <Too small> with 10g sump/fuge, skimmer, 130w pc lighting...ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, ph 8.1, Alk 3.75, calcium 400, phosphate 0.05.  I placed it in my tank between two rocks in what I thought was a suitable location.  It opened up within an hour and looked happy in its spot.  There was no bleaching, but the mouth was open possibly 1/4".  Overnight it wandered to a corner of the tank with a powerhead where it has remained ever since.  It occasionally deflates for about 10 min.s, but winds up looking good as new a short time later.   <Not atypical behavior> Right now it is just lying on its side and doesn't seem to be attaching/burying itself to anything.  I left it alone till this afternoon when I went to great trouble to bury the foot. <Good> The LTA is very top heavy and the slightest current from either my sump return or powerhead (MaxiJet 900) would blow it away. <Mmm, needs much deeper sand... several inches perhaps> Finally, I was able to build a little mound for it, and it was sitting up at about a 45 degree angle.  I went and ate dinner and when I came back it had extended itself and plopped right back down horizontal on the sand.  I tried to feed it a pea sized piece of shrimp yesterday, and its tentacles held on to the food.  I watched it for about 10-15 min.s and it slowly brought the food closer to its mouth.  I had to leave, but when I returned the food was gone, although I don't know if it ate it.  I was hoping you could take a look at the attached pictures and give me any indications on the health of the anemone. <Does have the appearance of a very nice, healthy specimen> I know they are delicate and I get worried when it starts acting funny.  Also, any insight on this thing attaching? I don't want to stress it out too much by trying to bury it (its tricky) repeatedly. <... Really needs a much larger world... with deeper substrate. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/macrodoreensis.htm The linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Where's the fine sand to burrow in?

Anemone acting strangely... LTA in a ten gallon...   1/31/06 Hi there,     Fist of all, I should say that I've read over a lot of the already answered postings, and I can't find something that sounds just like the issue I'm having with my LTA.  I'm sorry if you already have answered this, though, and maybe I'm just using the wrong search keywords.   <Possibly... but may not be there. WWM will never be "done"> Anyways, about my anemone.  I purchased a gorgeous LTA from the LFS a little less than a week ago.  The man at the store told me to make sure I have strong circulation around the anemone, feed it silversides, and make sure to change my 96-watt bulbs if they are over a year old.  I did change my bulbs (they were about two years old) and made sure all circulation was strong (I even added a powerhead and bubble wall).  I slowly acclimated the anemone through about a one and a half hour acclimation of adding small amounts of my water to the bag water. <Were the new/old water qualities about the same?>   The anemone moved around the tank for several days <A bad sign> until it finally settled in two days ago between some live rock.  It inflated quite nicely and my clownfish seemed to show signs of accepting it (he was nudging it and laying on it).  I then fed it a light feeding of brine shrimp just to see if it would eat--it accepted it willingly.  Then, yesterday morning, the anemone had moved again and looked absolutely horrible.  It was laying on it's side, the tentacles were shriveled and limp looking, and there were large globs of slime and large, black, curled looking balls coming out of the anemone's mouth. <Very bad sign>   I called the fish store and they said it was most liking ridding itself of waste. <<Nope; dying>> Today it has moved again and still looks the same (more black balls have appeared and it's difficult to discern the tentacles).  My question is, is it ridding itself of waste or is it dying? <A bit of both>   I have a ten gallon aquarium (yes, I know 10-gallons are dangerous, <... not able to sustain this animal> but I have very stable conditions with 8.2 pH, 0 ammonia, nitrite, and 0-10 nitrates), 96-watt 50/50 PC lamp, strong filtration with a Skilter, powerhead, and bubble wall, and about 20-30 lbs of live rock. The temperature stays steady at about 82º.  The tank is about 2.5 years old and has had a clownfish and coral banded shrimp living in it happily the entire time.  Should I get the anemone out, or will it revive itself?   <Too likely it is dying, will take the rest of your livestock with it... This animal may well have not been well-adjusted from wild-collection, had troubles no matter what was done with it, but placing it in such a small volume... very small chance of success. Bob Fenner> Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, ~Jonathon
Re: Anemone acting strangely   2/1/06
Thanks for your help.  I finally decided to take the poor thing out and toss it...  It was beginning to cloud my water slightly and I figured it had to be dying.  I had great luck with a BTA about a year ago (it lived 8 months!), but I guess I should just give up on anemones since my tank is so small.    Thanks again, Jonathon <Ah, yes. Bob Fenner>

LTA Injured >Dear Crew: >>Dear Angie, using Jeffrey's email.. Marina here. >I have a 44 pent saltwater tank w/an undergravel filter/Power Sweep 228 powerhead, Eheim Classic 2217, JBJ power compact lighting (1 36w actinic,  1 36w 10K), 1 15w Marine-Glo, and a crushed shell base.  The depth is 22". >>Ok.  Since this question, I'm assuming, is about a long tentacle anemone, I'm wondering why you've gone with an undergravel filter (assuming you're new to saltwater). >Currently, I have about 15 lbs of live rock, 1 Gorgonia, 1 flowerpot coral w/barnacles (these look like skeletal hands, it's really cool), 1 Montipora w/button polyps, a large hunk of Porites, some mushrooms, Ricordea, and what I think to be "waving hands" coral (growing like crazy).   >>That would probably be Xenia. >I also have a panther grouper, a Fiji damsel, a cleaner shrimp, a red fire shrimp and a curlicue anemone that I've had for 2 years. >>You've had *that* mix of fish for two years???  I would expect the panther (which is in a pitifully small tank for its ultimate adult size) to begin slurping up what fits in its mouth as soon as it thinks they'll fit. >All are doing great!  Ph is 8.4, salinity is 1.025, temp is 76,  no ammonia, 'trites or 'trates. (Pods and serpent stars are throughout substrate and live rock.)  Recently, I added an LTA and noticed that its pedicle was damaged (don't know if it was during collection or bagging at the fish store).   >>Uh oh.. rough handling, bad juju. >It looks like a white ragged rip about 1/4" long across the foot, which is 3" in diameter.  It wants to anchor but won't/can't (it seems to hover over the substrate, not quite off, but not quite in)  The coloring is great and otherwise seems healthy.  Is this anemone doomed or is there a way I can facilitate its healing? (I plan on upgrading the lighting to 2 55w PC bulbs instead of the 2 36w PCs within the next month.) >>Glad to hear you're going to upgrade that lighting.  I strongly suggest you set up a small (ten gallons should do) hospital tank, and line it with well-washed Astroturf (yes, Astroturf!).  This helps removal once the anemone has healed.  I would line all surfaces (remember, you don't have to fill the tank all the way up with water) with the turf.  From here you have two choices; you can either keep water quality pristine as you do in your main and observe, or you can begin treating with Spectrogram.  In either case, handle the animal with care. >Your site is incredible, one of the most informative I have ever seen on the web.  Thank you in advance!  Angie S. >>Thank you, and you're welcome.  I do hope this helps.  Marina
LTA Injured - Pt. II
>So sorry about my husband's previous question about undergravs.  I told him to look through the FAQs first!   >>You've made my biggest smile for the day so far. >Thanks again for the response, but we are taking the LTA back to our LFS today and getting credit or a better specimen.   >>Sounds like a good idea to me.  Though, upon reading our FAQs, you'll notice that we strongly discourage keeping motile cnidarians (anemones) with sessile inverts, as they can move about and inadvertently sting them to death.  Just so you're aware of the possibility. >Have relocated the grouper to our trigger tank (don't gasp, they are about 3" compared to his 5" and either he is really docile -he thinks he's a dog!- or we feed him really well and regularly) and all are getting along.   >>No gasping here, I've had panthers and found them to be sufficiently "froggy" for lots of triggers.   >Thanks again for such informed people running a superb site!!!  Angie S. (Using Jeff's email again!!) >>You're quite welcome, and thank you!  Marina

Long Tentacle Tangled Anemone 10/11/05 Greetings and thank you for such a great site! <Hello, and thank you for the kind words.> I purchased 1 LT anemone a few days ago and have been very concerned with its health. Several of the little critter's tentacles appear to be tangled within one another. Imagine long clown balloons used for making balloon animals. The poor little tentacles seem to be tied up in this very fashion! I have observed 2 separate spots involving about 4 tentacles each. It almost seems like there is some fiber constricting these little clusters! <It may appear to be tangled but I can assure you that this is not a problem. They will never be sticking up from the base at a 90 degree angle swaying in perfect unison as a popular cartoon would suggest.> Additionally, it seems to have a difficult time staying "stuck" in its spot.  <Anemones often have trouble adjusting to captive environments. It may still be finding the spot it wants.>  It will appear to be stuck into the crushed coral only to roll over a few hours later and then recover once again. Should I attempt to move it to a rock for better "hold" and/or lighting?  <No you can damage it in this way, furthermore the Long Tentacle Anemone is properly placed in the sand bed and not the rock work.>  Its mouth is closed and it tentacles are inflated (save the "tangled" ones).  I have a 55 G tank w/ 55 pounds of live rock Emperor 400 and Aqua Clear 70 Berlin Air Lift skimmer <You may want to upgrade this eventually, if its working out and you have no nutrient problems then disregard this.> Two 65 watt 10,000K and two 65 watt True Actinic compact fluorescent Lamps <These may be inadequate for the anemone, monitor it for signs of bleaching and be sure to feed it once per week.> All test show levels at 0 (Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite) pH hovering at 8.1-8.2 Any help you could give me is much appreciated. <Read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/macrodoreensis.htm, and read the linked FAQ's as well.> Brooke <Adam J.> 

LTA deflated Tentacles / Cyano Problems  11/7/05 Good Afternoon, I have a couple of questions regarding my 55g reef. I believe I may have a problem with my tank as I am experiencing some Cyano problems. Currently my water parameters are as follows: Salinity 1.026 pH 8.2 Ammonia .5 -1 <Trouble> Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Phosphate 0 KH 10 My anemone will open it's mouth everyday expelling a slimy substance and it's tentacles are deflated. <A good clue... something is amiss> It seems to almost flip inside out almost everyday. I know an anemone in general is hard to keep, but it was fine for the first two months with the water chemistry not changing much. My maxima clam and pipe organs are doing just fine though. Everything else in the tank is fine except a yellow tang that has died recently from unknown causes, my best guess is starvation as the seaweed I've been trying to feed her is getting taken away by my Clarkii clown. I actually only have about 25lbs of live rock and 15lbs what was sold as live rock but seemed like base rock. So if I count them, it'll be 40lbs which is probably too little for a reef tank. <Is fine for this size, shape, type system> I also have about 30lbs of Lava Rock <This may be problematical... I would at least have the water tested for iron content> I hope will eventually become "live." Should I buy more live rock? <Would help, yes> And if so, where can I purchase it at your site? <Mmm, we don't sell anything (other than the books, pix we produce...)> Here is my tank set up. Standard 55 gallon 80lb live sand 260w power compacts with 130w 10,000k and 130w actinic Tidepool I Mag Drive 7 AquaC Urchin with MaxiJet And its inhabitants: 2 Damsels Clarkii Clownfish Fire Shrimp 3 peppermint shrimps 2 conch 1 brittle star 15 blue leg hermits 10 red leg hermits 15 Astrea snails 2 emerald crabs bubble coral Maxima Clam Pipe Organ LTA Rusty gorgonian Various feather dusters Thanks for all your help! <I would keep an eye on the anemone, be ready to siphon/vac it out if/when it dies... something is awry in your system chemically... I would remove the lava rock precautionarily (is this a word?),  <<Not that I can find (other than a specific use in translated online Islamic texts), but we get your meaning.  Marina>> and look

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