How do you know when your tank is ready for an anemone

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  • Updated on: 17/04/2020

How do you know when your tank is ready for an anemone@davit85 / FreePik

Maintaining a reef aquarium can be quite a challenge for an aquarist. To preserve the health of all the inhabitants of the reef aquarium, it is necessary to constantly maintain certain water parameters and to follow strict feeding rules so the inhabitants of the aquarium do not starve. One type of reef inhabitant that novice aquarists often have problems with is the anemone.

Anemones can live in certain conditions in the aquarium. They need to constantly maintain a certain level of lighting, oxygen, and water parameters. If you cannot provide these conditions, you will not be able to store anemones in your aquarium. 

In this article, you will find a lot of information about anemones in general, as well as some detailed tips for their care. Before placing an anemone in your aquarium, read this guide so you are more prepared for the test.

About anemones

These creatures look like flowers, but anemones are predatory animals. An anemone consists of a polyp and a body. These creatures can have from a few dozen to several hundred tentacles.

Top recommended types

There are many types of anemones. If you are ready to purchase an anemone, then consider one of the types listed below:

  • Bulb Anemone – This species is most often purchased for placement in an aquarium. These anemones have brown columns with green, brown, or bright orange tentacles. Anemones of this species can reproduce asexually.
  • Adhesive Anemone – This anemone is often called “pizza” because it has rounded edges that resemble a pizza crust. Adhesive anemone can be dangerous for other aquarium inhabitants, as it has a strong bite.
  • Beaded Anemone – This type of anemone can be buried in sand or gravel instead of being attached to a solid substrate. Beaded Anemone is not very difficult to contain in an aquarium; there must be enough sand and light around the anemone.
  • Corkscrew Anemone – This species tends to prefer soft substrates, burying the base in sand or mud. If the aquarium has a suitable environment, the anemone will live long, providing delight to the owner of the aquarium.
sea anemone in your fish tankPhoto by David Clode on Unsplash

Requirements for the aquarium

There are no specific rules for keeping anemones, and each species has its specific demands. However, all types have several standard requirements.

Water requirements: The quality of water in the aquarium must be very high, and the water must be clean and free of debris. Sea anemones can live in water with high oxygen levels and a stable pH of 8.1 to 8.3. The appropriate temperature for keeping anemones is from 76 to 78 ° F. The salinity of the water should be stable and between 1.024 and 1.026. The levels of phosphates, ammonia, and nitrites should be as close as possible to 0, and the nitrate content should be no more than two parts per million.

Water flow: Another important parameter is the water flow. If there is no current in the aquarium, the anemone will constantly wander around the aquarium until it dies in search of the current. In the wild, the anemone feeds on whatever the current brings to its tentacles. The current also washes off the anemone mucus, which contains the products of the anemone’s life, thereby helping to resist bacterial infection. All anemones value moderate and stable flow, but its strength is very individual for each species. Most species can live in aquariums with low or moderate flow, but some species may require a stronger flow of water.

Lighting: the amount of light in the aquarium is also an important parameter that affects the life and well-being of the anemone. Anemones are not photosynthetic organisms, but they get the necessary nutrients from photosynthetic algae growing in their tissues. The owner of the aquarium will need to equip the tank with a full-spectrum lamp – ideally, one that is designed specifically for marine and reef aquariums. If the lighting is insufficient, there will be a loss or decrease in the number of zooxanthellae, in which case the anemone will lose its color and become almost transparent. This will be a clear sign that you need to quickly change something in the lighting since the anemone without zooxanthellae lives a very short life.

About anemones for your fish tank@davit85 / FreePik

When to settle in an anemone?

One of the most common and dangerous mistakes that aquarium owners make is to settle anemones too early. If the aquarium is not yet mature enough and the environment is not settled, then such an aquarium can be fatal for the anemone.

It takes several months for the environment in the aquarium to settle down. You can only settle anemones after the aquarium has worked for 12 months or more. After 12 months, the aquarium is less susceptible to changes in water parameters.

Anemones, as a rule, do not cope well with changes in the state of water, so they must be added to a very stable environment in the aquarium.

Before you buy an anemone, study specific species and understand how to care for them, what place they prefer in the aquarium, and what parameters are required for them. 

Once you have settled your anemone in the aquarium, it is important not to touch it or feed it for one week – the anemone needs a rest period to adapt to the new aquarium. During this time, you should not worry if the anemone is moving; it can move to a place that it likes.

Another common mistake is the confidence of aquarists that anemones do not need to be fed. Some aquarium owners claim that anemones can get enough food from water and algae growing in their tissues. 

Feeding is a very individual item for each anemone. At first, you can feed the anemone once a week, gradually increasing or decreasing the number of feedings, depending on the behavior of the anemone.

With appropriate lighting, anemones do not need frequent additional nutrition. You must find a balance between feeding, pollution, and anemone health. If the anemone is healthy, it grows in size. This can be a good indicator that the anemone is getting the necessary amount of nutrition. Some anemones grow without any additional nutrition. If the anemone is reduced in size, it lacks power or light.

You need to carefully monitor the anemone and select a diet for it. If you are sure that the anemone is in perfect condition and growing, reduce the extra food to reduce water pollution, and vice versa. If the anemone is decreasing, feed more often, sacrificing, within reason, the water quality.

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