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FAQs on Carpet Anemone Behaviour

Related Articles: Carpet Anemones, Stichodactyla spp., Use in Marine Aquariums by Bob Fenner, Carpet Anemones, big, beautiful and deadly by Mike Maddox, Bubble Tip Anemones, Tropical Atlantic Anemones, Anemones, Colored/Dyed AnemonesCnidarians, Marine Light, & Lighting

Related FAQs: Carpet Anemones 1, Carpet Anemones 2, Carpet Anemone Identification, Carpet Anemone Compatibility, Carpet Anemone Selection, Carpet Anemone Systems, Carpet Anemone Feeding, Carpet Anemone Disease, Carpet Anemone Reproduction, Anemones in General, Caribbean Anemones, Condylactis, Aiptasia Anemones, Anemones and Clownfishes, Anemone Reproduction, Anemone Lighting, Anemone Identification, Anemone Selection, Anemone Behavior, Anemone Health, Anemone Placement, Anemone Feeding Heteractis malu

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Mini Carpet Anemone      7/21/14
Dear Sirs:
Earlier today I did a routine partial water change in my 100 gallon.
<Mmm; the water was pre-mixed, stored ahead of time? We've had a spate of "water change" queries, both fresh and marine...>
Everything was as it always is after a water change and acrylic scraping, all shiny, clear, and pretty. So this evening I notice that the water had become cloudy and there were many, many tiny white spots floating everywhere. The spots did not appear to be swimming like "bugs" might and the royal gramma was not chasing them like he would if they were "bugs".
They have lessened now and the water is less cloudy, but while all this is going on I notice something going on with the two mini carpet anemones that share a rock up high in the aquarium. In the more than a year that I have had these two, one green and one red, I have not seen them do this: Green was secreting long white streams of stuff. I am guessing it's not poop since the royal gramma ate one of the larger streams that floated by him.
Green seems to be finished with his business. Now, at the same time, Red is secreting tiny brown irregularly shaped pellets of something, I am guessing poop. No one is eating what he's secreting. They are coming from a tiny opening in his center. Oh my gosh, I just went to take another look to see if Red was still pooping, and I'll be darned, he shot out a huge amount of these pellets, like a volcano erupting!! Those white spots that are everywhere are coming from Red! This has been going on for a good hour or more. What do you think is going on and why haven't I seen this before?
<Sounds a great deal like reproduction to me>
Thank you,
P.S. he just did it again!
<Do keep your eyes on all... I'd mix up and keep ready as many gallons of new water as you can; as well as a back up of chemical filter material (GAC). Bob Fenner>
RE: Mini Carpet Anemone      7/21/14

Wow, that's kind of cool. So you think like male (Green) and female (Red), anemone version of eggs and sperm?
<Possibly; yes>
I will do as you suggest, change the filter media (I use Chemi Pure Elite and bags of GAC) tomorrow, and change some water the next day, using the water I mixed up this morning.
By the way, I think I was wrong when I said no one was eating Red's "poop".
I noticed one of the pajama cardinals hanging close as though waiting for the next batch to be expelled and the cardinals appeared to be eating too, in their corner of the tank.
Might I find baby anemones in the near future?
<Mmm; not from sexual union in aquarium conditions; no>
Thank you Mr. Fenner,
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Common Questions but SO IMPORTANT TO ME PLEASE. Sarco, carpet anem. mis beh.      4/19/13
I have a 140 gallon reef tank with over 150 gallons of water in the sump.
All Parameters are great, all my hard corals, anemones, etc
<Should I assume you're aware of allelopathy twixt Cnidarians?>
 are open and healthy.....but my 2 Tyrees (aust. green leather toadstools) won't open.
<... Sarcophyton species... Not Steve per se>
It's been 3 months....They are about 6 inches below the water level with LED lights above. HELP PLEASE HELP
I've added Iodine, I've put healthy opening green leather frags right next to them, etc.....Any genius ideas?
<... they/these may have been compromised ahead of your receiving them... there may be the celebrated (mentioned above) chemical warfare going on... Esp. among competing Alcyoniids... >
2nd minor question.....Healthy expensive Carpets have moved behind the rock
<A good clue>
and are open under the lights behind the rock. I can't reach to try and move which wouldn't be smart anyway.......Any tricks to get Carpets to move, i.e. turn off lights on that side of the tank or increase annoying flow to that area, etc....
<Just patience... if anything, moving other stinging-celled life that's too near them (w/in a foot)... I would be reading re the measure of RedOx, using ozone likely, chemical filtrants, adding a much, MUCH larger RDP refugium, humongous DSB to this system... for the reasons that will become obvious to you while reading on WWM>
Your loyal follower begs for your opinion....
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Carpet Anemone Beh., reading   7/22/08 I have a green carpet anemone and he has a white ball in the middle of him. Is he sick ? or is he splitting? I had him for about a year now and this is the first time I have seen him react in this matter. My tank is 180 Gallons and he is the only anemone that I have. <Mmm... likely just the mouth everting... Need info., actually better for you to read re this/these animals behavior, needs: http://wetwebmedia.com/cptanembehfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Haddoni Carpet Anemone, Shrinking, Possibly Expelling Waste -- 1/06/08 Hello, <Hello Jon, Brenda here!> I have enjoyed learning from WWM responses and posts, but I could not find anything to completely assist in my concern. I have had a new Haddoni carpet anemone for a couple of weeks in my 55 gallon tank and it has appeared to responding favorably. <Good!> My pair of orange skunk clowns have been in it since several hours of its introduction to the tank. Yesterday, I added a protein skimmer (Corallife Super Skimmer for up to 65gal). Next, I took the advice of feeding very small pieces of krill and it took the meal. This morning it is very shrunken. Is this natural for digestion or possibly a response to the new skimmer? <Did you wash the skimmer? If so, with what? Is it new or used?> Or a coincidence? Should I be worried? <It is likely expelling waste. If it stays that way, then there is a problem. Anemones do shrink from time to time to expel. If it is not better by morning let me know. I will also need to know more about your tank. I will need to know your exact equipment list, amount of flow and your exact water parameters. If you can, send me a picture of the anemone. > Thanks for your support! -Jon, Central IL <Wow, Central Illinois!! This is a place I am not all that far from, and do visit a few times a year. Central Illinois hobbyists have some incredible looking reef tanks, and dedicated reefers! You're welcome! Brenda>
Re: Haddoni Carpet Anemone, Shrinking, Possibly Expelling Waste -- 1/07/08
Brenda, Thanks for the quick response. My Haddoni has reemerged today. <Great!> I'm hoping this was not a negative reaction to the new skimmer. <I don't believe it was.> But I know I need to make some upgrades. After reading posts on WWM I realize I have put the cart before the horse with my equipment. In addition to the Corallife "super" skimmer, I am running 2 Whisper 60s (Penguin Bio-wheel 350 should arrive any day to replace one of them), and lighting consists of 2 18" Quantum 15 Watt Quantum Leap Dual Day/Actinic T6 Lamp. I know I need to upgrade. <Yes, quickly. I would also look into adding a refugium. How much flow do you have in the tank?> I'm not getting into corals. The Haddoni will be my most difficult animal with tank mates being: 2 orange skunk clowns, Hawaiian bluespot puffer, blue hippo tang, <Your tank is not large enough for a tang.> bi-color Pseudochromis, 2 damsels, 2 peppermint shrimp, 1 sally lightfoot, 1 arrow crab, and a unknown starfish (brown/green). Would a Nova Extreme 36" T5 HO 2x39 watt with SlimPaq Actinic T5HO and SlimPaq 10,000K T5HO be a suitable replacement? <No, this fixture does not have individual reflectors. Without individual reflectors T-5 lighting is comparable to PC. Even using T-5 with individual reflectors, I don't believe T-5 is going to be sufficient in this case. This anemone has a high light requirement. I would go with Metal Halide lighting. How long has your tank been up and running?> If you know of any good places in central IL I should visit, let me know. <I would visit Johnny's Reefing Experience. More information found here: http://www.k-9countryclub.net/johnnysreef.html. There is also a reef club in your area that you may want to check out. You can find it at http://www.bnarc.com/ > The Culver's restaurant in Bloomington has an incredible new 1200 gallon tank. <Yes, I keep hearing that from friends. I have not seen it yet, but did speak briefly to the owner at IMAC about keeping anemones in it.> Thanks again for your assistance! Jon <You're welcome! Brenda>
Re: Haddoni Carpet Anemone, Shrinking, Possibly Expelling Waste -- 1/08/08
Brenda, <Hello Jon!> The tank has been running for a month, but a bulk of the water and much of the sand was transferred from my established office tank. <This is much too soon for an anemone. Even though you transferred a lot of the sand, things still need to settle. When disrupting a sand bed, you will have some die off, and a cycle. You will have some ammonia spikes that are extremely toxic to anemones.> My Tang is a very little guy, but this gives me a good excuse to upgrade to a 125 gallon in my office and move him there. :) I will look into getting the metal halide ASAP. Flow is at a medium level would be my best estimate. <How many gallons per hour total?> I should receive my Zoo Med Power Sweep 226 Powerhead any day in case more flow is desirable. I need to research the refugium. <I can help you out with this. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm Get in contact with BNARC. Those guys and gals will be more than willing to help you build one. They are not hard to build. I have built a few my self. However, it is always nice to have some assistance the first time or two.> The Haddoni shrunk a second time after another small feeding and came back again promptly. I hope this is a good sign. <Not so sure, test your water parameters.> Thanks for the tips, Brenda! Jon <You're welcome! Brenda>

Question About Carpet Anemone Waste   4/21/07 We bought a green carpet anemone about a week ago. <Not easily kept in captivity>   When it expands fully, it's about a foot long. <Likely a few times larger...> It seems to be doing quite well and has gotten settled in.  We have been feeding it about a half inch cube of Mysis shrimp every other day.  It sucks it in very quickly and seems very content with the food.  Every night afterwards, it releases what appears to be the whole amount of shrimp in a nice compact slimy sphere.  Do you believe that this is a normal waste <Yes> and the carpet gets all that it needs from the food <No> or is that its way of telling us that we are feeding too much. <Mmm, is simple waste production... only have one in/out opening...> Thanks in advance for the advice. Steven <I would be remiss if I did not encourage you to read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/carpetanemones.htm The linked files above... re Carpets... Systems, Selection, Feeding... Bob Fenner>

Carpet Anemone ... What? sys., beh.   3/18/06 Hey Guys,  <Hello Seth> Thanks for this site, it has provided me with lots of info on my travels into the Marine world! I have a question that I was unable to find an answer for in the search. I have a green haddoni carpet that has been in my tank for about 4-5 months now. Has always been healthy and eating and planted himself in the sand of my 55. The 2 Ocellaris (sp) clowns hardly came near him, except for the female who would wander over and nip at some of the anemones tentacles/nubs. Well last week the female decided that she would host in the anemone (which I was happy about) however, I noticed that the anemone has not let go of the floor where he was rooted and is kinda just moving along the sand. It doesn't look like he is sick, as his color is still nice and he eats. But I don't want to have him die in there. Is this normal? Is there anything I should do to help him re-plant himself? Or anything I should be looking for? It doesn't look like his foot is damaged, but I don't really know what that would look like either. I don't see any torn flesh.  <Anemones will move if they don't like their present location.  Can be caused by changes in water current, poor lighting etc.  This anemone does require intense lighting that can only be provided by MH or HQI.> Thanks for the help!  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Seth

Stichodactyla haddoni coloring  Hello All, <hello! Ryan with you>  Foremost, thanks for your site. I have a simple question. I have a Stichodactyla haddoni.  <Common name Haddon's Sea Anemone, for the search engine>  Oddly he/she/it is yellow...a somewhat large (about the "flat" size of a new pencil) <Gotcha> Its yellow...not green.  I have it in a 85G with two true Perc's.  The tank is 3yrs old w/120 lbs of LR  Water Q. is excellent.  The light I'm giving it (I did research prior) is from PC's  2x96 watt 10K  2x36 watt 10K  2x36 Actinic  TW=336 watts /85= 3.95 WPG  <somewhat on the lower side of anemone requirements, but I'm sure he would move to a higher level in the tank if it wasn't reasonable>  Bulbs are changed every 180 days.  Why hasn't it changed to green ( I heard yellow is the "its not getting sufficient light color")? <Hmmm....some of these creatures are a more yellow/brown in their tone. You may just have one that isn't predisposed to a green tint. Color is often indicative of which part of the reef they were collected.>  The little tentacles sparkle and move around.. it seems happy, never moves. <Then I would say he will be more beautiful in time, but don't have your heart set on green. I encourage you to feed a variety of foods- and fresh if possible. Bob has a recipe in CMA that works very well, and will only benefit your tenants. Good luck, Ryan>  A tad of insight please. Thanks.

Another saddle carpet anemone AWOL Hi I have a issue regarding my carpet anemone.  It is in a 46 gallon bow aquarium, w/ 2x96 watt VHO and 175w MH.  I feed him every other day, ground up misc. seafood (shrimp, perch, squid) Mysid shrimp and occasional live brine shrimp and black worms.  Water tests are fine and I did a 20% water change on Friday as I do every other week with R/O water.  I test my water myself and occasionally I take samples to my LFS and everything is inside the normal range. Nitrate is usually undetectable. <How about Ca and Alk?> I've had him about 13 months.  The past two weeks it has gone crazy eating fish--3 clowns, a lawn mower blenny, maybe a damsel. <All anemones are predators, and carpet anemones have some of the most powerful stings of all of them.  I have lost several shrimps and a couple of fish to mine.  These are definitely not community tank animals.> I now have a tank with 100 lbs of live rock, xenia and a Chromis, and one beautiful, green anemone, about 10". <Hmmm...  I am a bit suspicious here.  Who identified the anemone?  Although green saddle anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) do come into the aquarium trade, they are unusual.  There is a similar looking Caribbean anemone that is also unusual in the trade, but (being Caribbean), is not a natural clownfish host.... and it is a vicious predator.  See Delbeek and Sprung, "The Reef Aquarium, Vol 2" and/or Fautin and Allen's "Anemonefishes and their host sea anemones" to try and properly ID your anemone.> I've been pondering getting rid of him.  Although I was willing to dedicate my only  tank to it--I at least wanted to be able to keep some clowns or something, otherwise it just is not worth it.  I've struggled, knowing that if I trade it in--most likely will not get the same level of care and lights, maybe not enough to survive. <Good to see that you are providing proper care and don't want the animal to fall into less caring hands.  Your local aquarium society can be of great help here.> Today he is missing.  Somehow he has buried himself under the gravel/sand in the tank.  It is only 1.5" deep and he is under it.  He did this all  within the last hour. He has never moved before. I wondering if it is complications from eating such large food, or if he is just dying as so many anemone's long term do.  Should I leave it or try to fetch it from the tank? <Both S. haddoni and the Caribbean look alike are capable of withdrawing completely into the sand (although into 1.5" is surprising) as well as wandering the tank.  Be sure it is not on the move (inevitably toward a powerhead, drain or pump inlet).  They do this occasionally as a response to disturbance or sometimes for no reason at all.> Honestly I'm done with anemones--everyone out there--they are too much of a pain, even if you do everything seemingly right? Thanks.  Jennifer Von Canon  <How very true.  Just like any animal, they have specific needs and certain problems associated with their care.  Unfortunately, they are exaggerated compared to many other animals.  Best Regards.  AdamC>

Carpet anemone Hello! I recently, about a week and a half ago, bought a green carpet anemone (S. haddoni). When I bought it , it was very sticky. I have fed it some pieces of shrimp. It isn't as sticky as it was when I got it and isn't taking food eagerly. I have 6 watts per gallon of PC lighting over the tank. I have plenty of water flow in the tank. It has not moved from its initial position in the tank and is attached. Sometimes its mouth is slightly opened (not gaping open) and has some parts protruding slightly. Is this normal while the anemone adjusts to its new tank? If not what could be the cause? What can I do to assure the survival of the anemone or at least make a whole- hearted attempt to bring the anemone to good health?  <Doug, unfortunately you selected one of the most difficult anemones to keep for any length of time. I suggest that you read the link I will post here. This should provide you with everything you're looking for. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm  Good luck with your carpet. James (Salty Dog)> 

Carpet anemone Hola mi amigos!! <whassssup!> I just added some more water flow to my tank, and it is definitely a little more chaotic. My carpet has started moving around, which seems to be that it is trying to find the best place to be in regards to the current. Is it safe to assume that since up until my upgrade it was pretty sessile? <agreed!> Tanks, Kim P.S.-Can't wait to meet you guys at MACNA!!! My first one! :) <excellent, my friend... hopefully you are going to the banquet too (you got a full weekend pass?)... we need witnesses to say that Steve and I don't look too shabby in suits :) Be seeing you soon! Anthony>

Ritteri anemone moving away from light Hello, <cheers> About two months ago I purchased Ritteri anemone for my 90g FOWLR tank. She is about 9" in diameter (was half the size at the LFS). There are three retrofit kits under the canopy with 35" light strips as follows: 3 96W 10K white, 2 96W 7100 actinic and a 96W 6100 white (all intended for future reef).  <wow... this light scheme is not even remotely adequate to keep a ritteri anemone, my friend. Especially is the anemone is below 12" of water depth. As good as the these PC lights can be in light quality... they are poor in penetration. Very poor. MH lighting is quite necessary for this most demanding anemone. In fact, Ritteri anemones are more demanding than almost any coral in the trade for light. Thus the reason why most die within a year... if not 6 months> Before I got this anemone I would only use 1 10Kwhite and 1 7100 actinic for the fish. Now I am running 2 10K white and 1 actinic.  <indeed heavier daylight is necessary for this animal... little actinic needed or useful here> I placed the anemone at the top of the rock in the current, about 9" away from the lights.  <excellent> Anemone did not like it there and slowly moved to the middle of the tank (18" away from the light) as if trying to move away from the light and wedged herself in between the rocks. Is it possible that I have too much light for her (this sounds not right)? . <not even remotely possible. Anemones move for many reasons: dynamics of water flow, sensation of a neighboring cnidarian (polyp, anemone, coral, etc), etc> She also developed a second mouth about a month ago, but is not dividing.  <now that is interesting! This anemone may begin to look peaked because it is about to divide. Please continue to feed well with very finely shredded ocean meats (never chunks) if it will take it. Maintain very good water clarity in the meantime (carbon use, water changes, etc)> Is there anything that I should change in this setup to maximize her health? Thank you. P.S. There is a mated pair of maroons that feed and clean her every day < a marvelous site to see although not a mutualistic relationship. Clownfish in captivity are generally a burden or detriment to anemones and many in the wild live without any clownfish whatsoever. Still... enjoy the beauty of it all. Anthony>

Blue Carpet Anemone I have a 180 reef tank with 3 175 watt 10,000K MH's and 2 140 watt 50/50 VHO's. Water chemistry is Ammonia 0, nitrite/nitrate 0, salinity 1.022-1.024 and pH 8.2-8.3 My question is my carpet anemone is placing its foot under the rock (between rock and glass) and only displaying the very top of its body leaving very little space for the clowns to play in. I have been feeding it twice a week (squid) and it accepts food fine. Is this usual behavior or is something causing it to do this. <It is very normal for carpet to bury their foot.> Thanks, Mike Winston <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Anemones, Calcium Reactors, etc. Thanks for the quick reply Anthony!  I have 1 Hammer coral, 2 bulb tip anemones, and one large carpet that is quite happy.   <ahhh... yes, my friend. The two anemone species are especially problematic. We get buried in e-mail on issues around this. All seem to look good for as much as a year. In some cases towards two years. Almost none will make it beyond 2 years (allelopathy). The carpet will overwhelm the other anemones and many of the coral by then. Extremely noxious> It is attached to a rock and the bottom of the tank.  Any ideas to remove it without ripping it's foot?   <yes... many ways. But have some rubble (small and loose) piled near to its foot/base. Then shade the light directly above the anemone with a small ceramic plate/dish or like safe obstruction between the light and the water surface. This is an easy an gentle way to move most anemones (they will crawl onto the rubble  and into brighter light).> Also are the Fiji plate corals in the tank, are they considered LPS?   <yep... very hardy and easy to propagate keep... but extremely "hungry". They are less than 80% satisfied by the products of photosynthesis under the best lights. More than 20% of daily carbon needs to come from target feeding. This animal needs fed almost daily in aquaria or it starves in less than 2 years (most in less than 1). If fed... they are incredible! Hardy and fun> Should those be removed also? <Hmm... its not a pure science. All corals produce some amount of chemical defense. We are best to simply minimize unnatural aggression. 2 LPS in a tank of SPS is no big deal... but 10 is too much. How can we satisfy corals collected in 40-60 foot of water (LPS) with others collected in less than 10 feet? Not in the confines of a 24"tank under standardized lighting. Some fare well while others suffer in time> Thanks for the "heads up" about chemical war between the animals.  I will remove the anemones and the LPS this weekend.   <definitely the anemones ASAP. By themselves in a sunlit window would be magnificent! Think of a 60 hex with only that big bad carpet anemone in a southern window and a dozen humbug damsels playing in it!? Wonderful> About the calcium carbonate, I do add the B-Ionic but have never shaken the container before doing so.   <Aieeeeee! My ears <G>> Only at first when I received it. Could be my culprit.   <OH ya! Its a big problem. The ingredients are all clear but separate in the bottle and get dosed imbalanced (you can actually see the separation if you let the solution set over night in a clear graduated cylinder... looks like a thermocline)> I like the Knop C reactor also but the Korallin C 1502 might be better when I get a 180 gallon tank in the future.  Any thoughts on the Korallin models?   <no strong preference for any brand by me. I like Knop for their longevity and reputation. Some aquarists do not favor its smaller size. The new dual chamber Knop reactors are pretty sweet though! Have you priced them at Di's place yet? General Aquatics?> For such a pricey piece of equipment I don't want to buy a second one, if you know what I mean. Thanks for all the help! Brad Stefanko <Agreed... best regards, Anthony>

The Magic Carpet! I saw a very good-looking blue carpet in my LFS and acquired it. I have a 120g tank in prime condition and I have put it in. <Sounds really nice!> I was impressed by its reaction at the LFS. As soon as the owner tried to get to it, it folded up (it was fully open) and dug deeper into the substrate. It was removed very carefully with no damage to the foot but it was obviously stressed because it regurgitated part of its inside. <Unfortunately, a common reaction to traumatic situations> The trip home took about 20 minutes, it was acclimatized for 30-35 min and put into a rocky area, a sort of semicircle of rocks. Within 10-15 minutes the stomach was swallowed back and appeared normal. It started inflating and it has been inflated and normal now for about 7 hours. <Sounds good> Now, I read it mostly gets food at night. I tried feeding it but he didn't want to know. Can you tell me if the best time to feed it is at night? Will it be inflated then? <Hard to say, each animal is different, even within a given species. They all react differently to various stimuli. I'd try feeding it whenever you are satisfied that the animal appears to be settling in> In the LFS it was under normal fluorescent, but I have 2x250 MH, so I reckon it made a bit of a difference, although it seemed to like it being always inflated. I have noticed it is moving its foot more near the rocks now. <Sounds like it's finding a spot that it will like. Even though carpets prefer bright lighting, it will take the animal some time to adapt to your better lighting regimen, so keep this in mind> Will it finally feed and is it ok to use Zoecon and vitamins to enrich the food? <Well, as mentioned above- I'd give the animal a little more time to settle in, then go for it! I think that enriching the food is a fine idea> Many thanks, you are always the providers of best advice. Massimo, Brighton UK <Glad to hear that, Massimo! I'm sure that your new anemone will settle in nicely under your continued good care! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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