Anemones have the same basic needs as other invertebrates in your tank. Salinity around 1.025, pH around 8.2, Temp around 78 degrees and they are sensitive to any ammonia in the water. Established, well cycled tanks are best for keeping anemones. Anemones are very sensitive to water parameters/quality - often more so than corals, and should not, as a general rule, be attempted in newly established tanks, as the chemistry 'swings' in non mature tanks can do them in.
It must be able to satisfy the following conditions for it to settle down - light, flow, and food. Make sure you have all three right within the tank, or the anemone may wander forever and stress out, leading to death. Reading up on your preferred anemone will give you an idea of where they would ideally like to live in your tank. A common trait for newly introduced anemones is to wander about trying to find the perfect spot.
Once in the tank and in the desired place (however it may move to somewhere it wants) leave the creature alone for the 1 week "resting period". This is very important in anemone health. Don't feed it, touch it - anything - just leave it!
Exceptions to this is if the anemone is in danger; then you should intervene to make is safe. Another is if it has lost its zooxanthellae you should start to feed as soon as it will take the food.
An important general rule here - disturb the anemone as little as possible from day one. Don't shock, don't move it, don't force into anything it doesn't want - LEAVE IT ALONE. An anemone that is constantly bothered will die!
You may notice a color change (usually a darkening or increase in intensity of existing color) under bright lighting and this is a sign of zooxanthellae production. On the flip side, if lighting is not adequate, a loss of zooxanthellae will occur and the anemone will "bleach" or lose it's color. This is a bad thing, and if this happens you should look to rectify this immediately.
If an anemone wanders looking up-stretched or seeks the highest point in the tank - it may need extra lighting. On the other hand, the anemone may go into hiding, away from the light - this may be it's way to deal with the shock of bright light again, but they should come back out in a position they like. If, however your anemone has not re-appeared after a week or so, (which happens) suspect the worse and set about finding it. This behavior is often displayed in sick anemones. You may wish to turn it's rock, or delicately move the rock to another area of the tank.
Flow is very important in anemone health - without one they will wander round the tank forever. Current is used in the wild to enable the anemone to catch prey swept through it's tentacles. It also helps to rid the anemone of waste products and mucus, helping to repel bacteria. A moderate to brisk flow is generally appreciated, but it does vary between anemones. You will find that the anemone will choose where suits it best.
While Anemones like medium to high flow they do best in non-direct flow. Always be sure to cover any pump intakes or overflows to prevent an anemone from getting sucked in. For pumps like powerheads, sponge works well but be sure and clean it regularly. For overflows, you can use filter floss, or the fine mesh PVC gutter grills which can be found at home improvement stores.
This is a very individual choice which should be made together with your anemone. Offer food once a week to start with - this will condition the anemone. After that you could continue to feed, or reduce to occasionally. Feed a varied diet, as you would your fish. It is very tricky to get this right so if you're not sure, feed little and often. Your anemone will tell you when it's full by not accepting the food.
With adequate lighting, anemones do not need to be fed as often as once a day or once a week even. You have to find a balance between feeding, pollution and anemone health. If an anemone is healthy it will grow. This can be a good indicator if it is receiving enough food. Some grow by utilizing tank lighting only. If you have an anemone that grows without food then reduce your feeding to only monthly, or bi-monthly - to ensure that it receives all elements that cannot be obtained from the light (like fats and proteins). If an anemone shrinks, then it is not receiving enough food (and or light).
The Bubble-Tip Anemone is one the most sought after and easiest to keep anemones you can have in the reef aquarium. They come in a variety of colors including white, brown, green, and red. Red, being the most desirable, has been given a special name, “Rose Anemone”. The Bubble-Tip Anemone requires medium to high lighting and good water flow.
Bubble Tips have particularly soft columns so liked to feel surrounded. A favourite thing for them to do is to squeeze into a crack of the living rock and only show they're oral disc to the world. You can encourage a bubble tip to stay in once place by allowing it to feel safe. It may find its own cavity, all well and good. If not try placing it to a structure which has an underhang, then it can peep out from underneath, or create a suitable hole in the rockwork for it to squeeze into.
It is really a waste of time trying to specifically place one of these, or really any anemone, in your tank because they will all move to find a spot that is suitable for them. The best thing to do is to place the anemone on a rock, making sure that it has attached. Then, just stand back to monitor in which direction it moves because all of the coral that’s in the way of the anemone needs to be moved so it doesn’t get stung. Hopefully, the anemone will find a home and not start rolling around in the current. If this happens it is very important to get the rolling anemone stuck to a rock as soon as possible.
The Carpet Anemone is one of the most prevalent anemones in the reef aquarium hobby. Its natural ability to host all species of Clownfish coupled with the different colorations available and its hardiness in the reef aquarium make it very well suited for most enthusiasts. The tentacles of the Carpet Anemone are short and originate from a large disk that makes up the majority of its body. These anemones come in variety of colorations including brown, green, white, red, blue and purple. The brighter the coloration, the higher price you can expect to pay.
These anemones require high lighting and good water quality to stay alive and flourish in the reef aquarium. Carpet Anemone's seem to like to having their foot wedged between the substrate and a rock on the tank floor. This again facilitates retraction to a safe place if needed. The speed at which this anemone can retract and deflate is astonishing!.
The Condy Anemones are hardy aquarium anemones provided that the tank is at least 40 gallons per specimen. They are however a subtropical anemone species and prefer water temperatures between 68-75°F. It is a predatory anemone that may move all over the tank and does eat fish. As a result of this and the fact that clownfish are not found in the same waters it is risky to allow clownfish to host. It does however form symbiotic relationships with cardinalfish, cleaner shrimp, arrow crabs and emerald crabs.
Like all anemones they are photosynthetic but may be fed. They do well in any substrate as long as moderate flow is provided. They can grow quiet large some reaching up to 20 inches and are known to live a long time. At times they may deflate and are also known to purge every few weeks which may indicate a water change is needed.
Long Tentacle Anemone
The Long Tentacle Anemone, as the name implies, has long cylindrical tentacles that are often white with some form of striping. The tentacles originate from a round disk and the anemone’s foot is either yellow or orange. These guys grow to about 10” in diameter and require medium to strong lighting and water flow. It likes it foot an column buried deep in the aquarium substrate. The Long Tentacle Anemone hosts most Clownfish and will be more settled and happy if provided with a fish to clean, feed and protect it.
Rock Flower Anemone
The Flower Rock Anemone are some of the most beautiful anemones and one of the easiest to care for. These anemones remain small, reaching up to 4 inches, are relatively inexpensive and do not require strong lighting. Coming from parts of the Western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean they can be found at depths of 10-100 feet and are often found on shaded vertical walls.
Flower Rock Anemones have been known to prey on small fish that swim too close and thus should be well feed a few times a week. Being carnivorous suitable food for your flower rock anemone includes chopped silversides, shrimp, krill, mussels or frozen fish food. Live rock is needed for them to attach their foot to. They are known to move about in the aquarium and should not be housed adjacent to other species of anemones.
The Sebae Anemone is a favorite amongst experienced hobbyist due to its bright coloration and unique shape. This anemone will host most, if not all, Clownfish species and, in fact, will benefit from the diligent care of the Clownfish. These anemones are typically yellow with purple or magenta tentacle tips, but they sometimes appear bright white when seen in local retail stores.
Note: The Sebae Anemones that are bright white have lost the majority of their zooxanthellae and should be avoided at all costs! Without zooxanthellae, the anemone cannot make food from sunlight and, thus, will starve in a short period of time. The rule is this: if the Sebae is yellow, green or even a shade of brown, then the zooxanthellae is healthy and you have a much better chance of keeping it alive. If the Sebae is white, avoid it at all costs.
The Sebae Anemone is an advanced aquarist’s specie and should only be kept by reef hobbyists with an established aquarium providing perfect water quality and bright lighting. Acclimation of this species is easier if there is a Clownfish in the tank, but care must always be given when trying to place one of these anemones in your aquarium. The Sebae Anemone seems to like being on the tank floor, with its foot buried in the sand, or under a base rock (or both).
Tube Anemones look very similar to sea anemones, but belong to an entirely different subclass of anthozoans. They are solitary, living buried in soft sediments. The Tube Anemone makes its home in the substrate of the reef aquarium and is particularly suited for sand beds greater than 5” deep. This anemone creates a tube from the tentacles is throws away and makes a home in the sand or rockwork of you aquarium.
The Tube Anemone comes in a variety of colors with the most desirable being the red, yellow and purple varieties. Being a nocturnal animal, it will take some time for the Tube Anemone to come out during the day, but after acclimation, it will come out on a regular basis.
This anemone is non-photosynthetic and, thus, must be fed often to maintain its health. A refugium provides a good source of food in the form of microalgae, but small pieces of fish, mysis shrimp or brine will also need to be introduced to meet the anemone’s dietary needs.
Is your tank ready for a clam? It is hard to sum up what makes a tank “ready” for a clam, but there are a few rules of thumb:
Firstly tank maturity must be addressed, the tank must be a minimum of 6 months old. This time gives the final stages of die-off in the rock time to cycle through, some time for beneficial life forms to colonize, as well as time for you to get a grip on the essentials of running your tank.
Second is Coralline algae, Coralline algae is a great tool to use when looking at a tanks stability, it is a rather finicky algae that grows well in the proper conditions for calcifying animals, and does not take to major changes well. If you have a good amount of growing coralline algae in your tank, chances are that a clam will also do great.
Third is testing, it is recommend that major prams (CA, ALK, Nitrate, Phosphate, PH, Salinity, and Mag) be tested once per week (or more), if you tank is ready for a clam you should get the same results from your tests every time you run them. It indicates stability of your tank, this is going to make your future clam’s life easier and it will thank you for it with good growth and great color.
The Crocea Clam has the same requirements as the Maxima and Deresa Clam and is often mistaken for the Maxima. The mantle is more fluted on this clam which is really the only giveaway that it is not a Maxima. They require strong lighting (being a shallow water species) and good water quality to thrive in the reef aquarium. However if their color is more brown this is a sign of their zooxanthellae showing and should be placed in less intense lighting until their protective coloration re-establishes.
Try to obtain a specimen that is at least 2 inches preferably closer to 4 inches. The Crocea Clams max size is only 5-6 inches making them the smallest of the ‘giant clams’. They should be placed in the substrate or on the rocks near the top half of the aquarium so they receive sufficient lighting. Give them time to adjust to their new surroundings and avoid major fluctuations in lighting, flow or water parameters. If they are position where flow causes the mantle to fold upward or close are not able to open fully they will eventually starve.
The Deresa Clam has much the same requirements as the Maxima Clam although it looks slightly different. The Deresa has a fleshier mantle than the Maxima, but the coloration can be just as beautiful. These guys are very hardy in the reef aquarium and are often cultured making it a good choice for intermediate aquarists. Derasa Clams grow quickly and can even double in size or greater within a year reaching up to 20 inches in captivity.
They require either moderate to high lighting and water flow. They are a shallow water species and do best under lighting in the 5K to 12K range.Derasas are particularly intolerant of sediment in the water so a clean system is important for their long term health and generally recommended not to be kept with tankmates that require frequent feedings which may pollute the water. Primarily filter feeders Derasa Clams take advantage of phytoplankton in the water more so than other clams. They should be spot fed a few times a week with micro-foods designed for filter feeders such as ‘marine snow’ or ‘reef snow’.
Maxima Clams are the most prolific clams on the market today. Their intense coloration and hardy nature have made them extremely desirable for the most picky of reef hobbyist. They have many color morphs from “Electric Blue” to “Neon Green,” but they all require high lighting, moderate water flow and sufficient nutrient levels. The Maxima Clam is not as hardy as some other clams nor as easy to care for so considered for the intermediate to advanced aquarist.
Maxima Clams are best placed either in the sand bed (for tanks with strong lighting) or on the rockwork closer to the lights if you are not using MH’s or T5’s as it requires strong lighting. Moderate turbulant flow and very stable water conditions are important and a mature system is vital. They are not sand dwellers to need to be positioned on a hard surface. While these clams can grow to 12 inches they are slow growers averaging 0.1-1.5 inches per year. It is advised to purchase specimens 3 inches and up as clams under 4 inches require feedings with phytoplankton or commercially prepared micro-foods. With fish present in the system larger specimens will not require this direct feeding.
Squamosa clams can grow to approximately 12-16 inches in mantle length with very thick, patterned shells. It is however a slow grower. The Squamosas can come in a variety of colors, including bright blues and greens. This bright coloration is mainly located in the many spots covering its mantle. These clams can be a good choice for beginner to intermediate aquarist with a suitably sized tank.
The Squamosa clams are very hardy and are tolerant of varying lighting conditions; however, they tend to do best under medium to high lighting since the majority of their food (about 80-90%) comes from photosynthesis. It should be noted that they cannot tolerate lack of light for even short periods. Usually found in the substrate it is important to have a sand bed. As they grow they lose their byssus gland which is what many clams use to stay put. Turbulent rather than linear water flow is also best but they will tolerate a wide variation in flow from low to high.