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FAQs on Long Tentacle Anemone Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

LTA eating a large fish.  When is large too large?   12/11/11
I hope you are having a good day, mine has been a strange one thus far. I awoke this morning to an unusual if not disturbing sight.  The LTA in our 180G tank was in the middle of consuming our blue jaw trigger fish.
<No fun!>
Here you can see our small male maroon "nuzzling" the anemone with the remaining couple of inches of the trigger still outside the mouth.  To give you an idea of the scale, the male clown is good sized (3.5") and the trigger used to be around 5.5 to 6" in length.
<No pic/s attached>
We don't know how the trigger got to this point, maybe he expired and the clowns brought his remains over (given the zeal with which the female will move things, this is not surprising). Maybe the anemone was more directly responsible, I don't know.
<Me neither>
What I'd like to know (poor trigger!) is what to do from here.  It's been an hour since I noticed this and the anemone does not seem to have fully "ingested" the trigger.  Will it eventually consume the entire body? 
Or will it be able to consume what it can swallow leaving the rest?
<Likely this latter... best to... Oh, I see you've stated this below>
While I'd like to pull the remains of the fish out of the tank to keep the water quality good, I don't want to begrudge the anemone its meal.  And I certainly don't want to harm the anemone by trying to pull the remains of the fish.
So what do we do?  Leave it, keep a close eye on the water parameters (do an extra bit of water changing proactively?) and let "nature" take her course?
<Gentle pulling>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: LTA eating a large fish.  When is large too large?    12/11/11

Thank you for the response.  Here's an update.
I decided to see how the anemone did on its own for fear of ripping or puncturing it while attempting to remove the remains.
About 14 hours after finding the trigger tail sticking out of the anemone, I was preparing to do a large water change for the tank (1/4 water volume) when the anemone decided it was done eating and ejected the remains.  It was actually quite fascinating (albeit morbid).  The 1/3 of the fish that was outside the mouth was more or less intact, showing only a little wear (including much of the color still in the tail).  Of the portion of the fish that was inside, only a skeleton (or the fish equivalent) remained.  It looked completely picked clean.  I wouldn't have thought the anemone would be so effective at digesting something that it could not even fully swallow.
<Mmm, yes... though even our digestion is outside our body...>
I'm used to feeding the anemone small dried shrimp, pieces of (thawed) frozen food, and whatever the clowns decide to bring it (they will literally bring everything including algae sheets and pellets), with nothing close to a fish of this size.
Today the anemone moved a few inches which is highly unusual for this creature (having been in the same exact place for at least 3 months straight) and it is much darker in color.
The 1/4 water change last night has the nitrate at ~ 15ppm today, (the high side of normal for this tank, but within what I'd say was acceptable) and another good water change tonight should get us nearer to 10.  PH and alkalinity were unchanged.  I'd not recommend leaving a dead fish in a tank for a significant period of time, but it appears to have not been too stressful on the tank.
Thanks again for the help and information (all of it on your site)
<Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Sand For Macrodactyla doreensis/Anemone Systems/Feeding/Lighting 9/22/10
Greetings Crew!
<Hello Jeanne>
I have a beautiful Macrodactyla cf. doreensis - it was called an Australian Purple Tip Marble Anemone by the seller, but clearly sub-labeled a Macrodactyla cf. doreensis. The seller stated that it was quarantined <quarantined> since July and feeding well on Mysis and brine shrimp and ground seafood and was very sticky. It has been acclimated to my system via drip method over a 5 hour time frame and is now in quarantine. I had done some significant research about its needs: near perfect water chemistry - check; temp - 78 in the morning before lights and 80 at lights out; bright light - 430-465 lumens in the location I hope to settle it;
<The 430-465 lumens you state is not a bright light by any means. Lumens is a measure of the amount of visible light and/or intensity. Although high intensity lighting is needed for these anemones, the PAR value of the lighting is most important. Bright lighting with little PAR value will not provide the useable radiation (PUR) the anemone needs.
Would have been much better to know your tank depth and the lighting system you are presently using. Can you provide me with this?>
large system - 300 gallons actual water in the display with 150 gallons in the sump; well established system - closed loop, running over a year with significant live rock housing lots of little critters ias <?> well as in the sand; may or may not bond with clowns - have a pair of young maroons, so we shall see; eats small particles - raise and feed brine shrimp daily via a continuous system from TOMS as well as Cyclop eeze enriched frozen food; likes deep sand. Your article (VERY helpful, informative and well written as always) specifies mucky, fine, but not sterile sand. Have you a suggestion as to where I can find such a thing? I have a 4-5" deep sand bed, but it not mucky. This is a tidbit I had not read elsewhere.
<If your system is well established as you state, I can assure you your sand bed is not sterile and should be fine for the anemone providing the sand is of fine particle size.>
Suggestions will be appreciated. I have a good week till I move it out of quarantine, but I want to present a comfy home immediately upon moving it into the display tank. Many thanks,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Sand For Macrodactyla doreensis/Anemone Systems/Feeding/Lighting 9/22/10
Sorry about the typos - no matter how closely I check, I seem to miss things. Sigh...
<No problem, just correcting/editing before posting. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Sand For Macrodactyla doreensis/Anemone Systems/Feeding/Lighting 9/22/10
<Hello Jeanne>
James, please look at this again... I answered your questions in the body of the text.
<Oh, Jeanne, please do not reply this way. Makes more work for me if I have to cut/paste. Just respond as you would a normal email.>
Absolutely. I mistakenly though the lumens would be more helpful.
<Mmm, not really, lumen value is of no use if PAR values are poor.>
Sorry. The tank is 24" deep, with 4-5 inches of sand bed. The lights are 18" above the water. Two units contain a brand new 250W metal halide bulb with 2 - 24W actinic T5s and two units contain a brand new
400W metal halide bulb with 2 - 24W actinic T5s. The 250s are 10K and the 400s are 14K. All 4 units are 24", their length is perpendicular to the length of the tank and they are hung in the following order:
250W, 400W, gap for acrylic tank's cross brace, 400W, 250W. I run them for 10 hours a day; all the actinics come on first, followed by each MH unit in a series from east to west with a 30 minute staggering of the start time. (This means each MH is running 8 hours.)
<Mmm, where did you get those lumen numbers from? With your lighting, these values should be much higher than what you report. Nonetheless, your lighting is just fine for keeping this anemone species.
James (Salty Dog)>

LTA not eating -- 02/14/10
Hello crew,
I have owned a reef tank for a year and about 5 months ago my wife and I purchased a long tentacle anemone, it was eating 1 to 2 whole small to medium silver sides then we got a pink skunk clown and they hit it off and started to host. Well shortly there after we receiving the bad news of the water quality (was told by a lfs to use a chemical to treat tap water to remove toxins.), I switched the water over to RO/DI water (about 3 weeks ago) and now my anemone won't eat it hasn't bleached out, but the lips are puckered and it has reduced in size my question is should I use the garlic spray (for saltwater) or is it just pulling out the Mysis shrimp and brine shrimp from the water column that I feed the other fish with.
<... Umm, is this the totality of your message? Barring any further information I'd go back to using your tapwater... Something, likely calcium, magnesium concentration, proportion, alkalinity... is off here.
See WWM re Macrodactyla husbandry.
Uhhh: http://wetwebmedia.com/macrodoreensis.htm
and the linked files above.
Bob Fenner> 

LTA/Feeding    4/3/06 Hello, <Hello Chris.>  I recently had an Astrea snail fall into my LTA, and I was not able to retrieve it...is this going to cause harm to the anemone?  <Shouldn't> Will it recognize that it is not food, or will it immediately try to ingest it? <Anemone will take care of the problem by itself, no worries.> The LTA is being tended by two skunk clowns, will they try to remove it? <Doubtful, may try though.> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

LTA question Hello, <Hi there> About 2 weeks ago I purchased a Long Tentacled Anemone.  I added it to my twenty gallon tall aquarium.  The tank currently has about 12lbs of Fiji live rock and a 3 inch bed of crushed coral and live sand.  There is also a lot of different kinds of macroalgae that I am culturing in there.  There is a protein skimmer and a power filter (for water movement).  The water is turned over about 10 times.  I have a 65 watt Power compact 50/50 light on the tank.  The light duration is about 13 hours.  The PH is 8.1 around noon, Salinity 1.025 and Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate are zero at all times.  I replace evaporated water with R.O. water.  I also do partial water changes every 4 weeks.  The only inhabitants in the tank are about five Astrea snails.   <Sounds very nice> My question has to do with the anemone.  I had tried feeding it Mysis shrimp.  It refused this so I fed it Brine.  It accepted this.  I was wondering if a feeding of brine shrimp once a day will support a 7-8inch wide anemone.  If not what suggestions do you have?  Also the tentacles have begun to shrink.  Is this normal.  Usually they inflate back up, but lately fewer and fewer reach their normal size. Thank you , Sam Reef <Some diurnal, periodic shrinking of tentacles is normal, to be expected... I would not try to sustain this animal on a steady diet of brine shrimp. Please read over the anemone feeding FAQs archived on www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

LTA post feeding behavior   Hi Bob, <Adam here today, at your service.> I have an LTA. I have had it for a couple of weeks. My Tomatoes are very attached already and are loving it. Last night all of a sudden when the MH turned off, (The actinics then continue for one hour), decided to shrivel up 50% of his tentacles into thin horrible looking threads. I watched for 10 minutes and they returned back to normal. admittedly I just fed him a piece of fish! He looked fine for the rest of the night.  <Sounds completely normal to me.> This morning he looks a bit different. His entire base is stretched out flattish like leather and his tentacles do not look fully inflated even though they are not shriveled. His colour hasn't changed.  <Still sounds normal.  Many anemones close and re-open after feeding or disturbance and often take a couple of days before they look "normal" again.> My nitrates are around 20, KH 14, everything else good.  Any ideas? I doesn't seem right. What is the feeding regime best for an LTA?  Regard, Craig.  <I would try to track down the reason for the high nitrates (though 20 is not too big of a deal).  I generally suggest feeding a grape sized chunk of meaty food at least a couple of times a month, but not more than a couple times a week.  More feeding will lead to faster growth.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

LTA question 8/5/05 Hey guys,        Love the site!!! quick question.....I have been feeding my LTA krill for the past week now. He seems to like it and eat it every time. I was wondering what else I should feed him and how often. Also, my Clown mated pair (Percula) has been swimming in the corner of my take since I got them (1 week ago). I know about the flashlight trick, but I have a green frogspawn and the LTA, are there any other ways I can get these two to host one of these. Please let me know if you can. Jeromy <This is all posted on WWM... go, read there. Bob Fenner>

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