Anemones or “nems” as they are sometimes called, are a popular addition to many reef tanks due to several reasons. With their long tentacles and wide mantles they can add an element of flow to a seemingly still looking tank. Another reason they are loved is due to their ability to “host” certain species of Clownfish. Their colors are another selling factor, as they come in bright greens, purples, and reds, to name a few. The Anemones that are most often available are Bubble Tips, Rock Flowers, and Carpets. It should be noted that all these types of Anemones can and will move around once placed in a tank so take the necessary precautions to keep intakes and overflows protected. All of the species mentioned above have stinging tentacles, so use caution when handling them and in placing them near other tank inhabitants. Anemones have good appetites and do well when they are provided with meaty foods several times a week. As with any species, before they are added to a tank, they should be acclimated slowly, giving them a chance to adjust to their new tanks water chemistry.
Bubble Tip Anemones (Entacmaea quadricolor)or “nems” are one of the more popular types of Anemones available on the market for several reasons. While they are loved for their color and their unique bulb-tipped tentacles, one of their biggest attributes is their ability to “host” a large variety of Clownfish species. Bubble Tip Anemones are native to the Indo-Pacific especially around Australia. These nems seem to prefer being located in areas where they will get moderate to high lighting and flow. However, of all the types of Anemones, the Bubble Tips are most likely to release their foot and move around a tank, so if they do not like where they have been placed they will move. This is something to keep in mind when building a tank. Because they move, they can easily get stuck in overflows, powerheads, or other intakes that might be in the tank, so make sure to have guards in place. Like all Anemones, they can sting nearby corals as well as human hands, so use caution when placing them, and keep an eye on nearby coral to make sure they aren’t getting stung. When it comes to feeding, they enjoy a variety of meaty foods like shrimp, squid, scallop, and even pieces of chopped up fish like silversides. In order to ensure a smooth transition into their new home, make sure to acclimate them slowly allowing them to get used to the new tank’s water parameters, before placing them in the tank.
Rock Flower Anemones (Epicystis crucifer)or nems are one of the smaller types of Anemones and are only about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. They come in many colors and textures and are one of the few reef tank species in the hobby that come from Caribbean waters. They have a central mouth that is surrounded by frilled edges which can be either smooth or have various textures. They should be placed lower in a tank as they prefer low lighting and moderate flow. Additionally they prefer to reside on substrate or on the rockscape as opposed to on a bare bottom tank. While this species isn’t as active as some of the other Anemones, they are able to detach their foot and move around. Special considerations for this should be made such as placing guards on power heads, pump intakes, and overflows. Despite their symbiotic relationship with zooxanthallae, they have voracious appetites and it is fun to watch them eat. Their tentacles are sticky and are able to catch food like pellets or meaty foods, quickly pulling them into their mouths. When adding them, make sure to take time to slowly acclimate them so they can gradually get used to the water chemistry of their new habitat.
Carpet Anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea)are one of the largest species of Anemones or “nems” seen in the aquarium hobby and can grow up to two feet in diameter. They are native to the shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific, Red Sea, and Central Pacific. Due to their large size and their very aggressive nature these nems are not recommended for beginning hobbyists. They should be placed on the bottom of the tank, somewhere where they can attach to a hard surface and where they will get both high lighting and high water flow. It does not get along with other Anemones or corals and can sting, so watch it closely and try to keep a buffer between it and other species. Like all Anemones they can move around, so checking their location is something that should occur regularly. As they can move around it is recommended to have screens or guards on any intakes, pumps, or power heads in the tank. When it comes to food they have big appetites and will not hesitate to eat tank inhabitants. Make sure they are well fed, by giving them chunks of meaty foods such as shrimp, krill, scallops, or pieces of chopped fish like silversides. They form relationships and will “host” several species of Clownfish. With these Clownfish, there is no risk of them being eaten. Make sure when adding a Carpet Anemone to a tank that it is handled with care and slowly acclimated allowing it to get used to its new tank’s water parameters.