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Orangutran

Anemone Life Span in Aquariums

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Orangutran

This article is pretty old, but is this still true that anemones don't live very long in aquariums? Maybe this topic has been brought up already, and discussed in the past, i didn't find anything in a search. But it never hurts to bring this to light again...

 

 

 

http://www.garf.org/trever/anem/anenome.html

 

 

 

 

"Recently, Joyce Wilkerson took a survey on captive anemone life span. Only 5 percent of hobbyists with 2-5 years of experience had been able to keep anemones alive for more than two years, and only 1 out of 32 anemones lived for more than 5 years. The anemones simply aren't surviving.

 

When an anemone dies in an aquarium, it releases massive quantities of toxins that could decimate every animal you have in that aquarium. These anemones are fundamentally unsuited to aquariums.

 

Despite this, thousands of anemones are raided from the ocean. This is a tragedy, because in the wild, anemones can live for hundreds of years. They also reproduce very slowly. When an anemone with a 60 or 70 years ahead of it is taken from the ocean and left to die in an aquarium in just several months, it is a tragedy.

 

When an anemone is not given the chance to produce offspring, it is a tragedy. If we keep up these destructive collecting practices, there will be no anemones left in the ocean. They simply do not reproduce quickly enough to keep up with the demand of the pet trade."

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yardboy

I have quite a collection of anemones, none of which has died, but the oldest one I have is a miniature bubble-tip that I've had for 5 years. It's split 3 different times and two of them I sold. The 3rd nearly died in a tank move, but ended up surviving though it threw a couple of tentacles which attached to rock and are now growing themselves.

The original parent.

BTA2101907post.jpg

 

I've got a flower anemone that has been with me for three years and is very healthy.

floweranemomeadjusted.jpg

 

Do't get me wrong. I totally agree with you and GARF on the unsuitablity of anemones, especially clwnfish host anemones, to raising in home aquariums. My first order of an anemone was soon (too soon) after I began this hobby. I ordered a small bubble-tip and a huge one arrived DOA. I decided then to never order another. The big carpets and other very hard to raise anemones, it's just sad besides the horrble waste of money to have one die.

My suggestion is if you really feel you have to have one, make sure you put it into a mature tank, at least a year old, and get one that is small. Like coral frags, I think the small ones are more likely to survive than the big ones. Aso understand that they do live a long time, and you have to be in it for the long haul.

 

 

A few years later someone offered me the miniature bubbletip for free, due to their's splitting. I've had it ever since. Another time, a local reefer was getting out and offered a bigger bubbletip and I couldn't resist again. This one with it's already resident occellaris. I've had it a year and it is very healthy.

showingbubbles.jpg

After a trip to the Pacific, during which I saw many anemones with their host fish (not always clowns) I came home with a real desire to emulate a scene I'd witnessed there, and ended up with a sebae. A friend, Chuck, living in the Philippines had a huge one and said that every few years he'd have to put it back in the ocean and get a smaller one, had done it several times, though their reputation for living in aquariums is poor.

well, I should have known better myself by after 9 months, mine is getting pretty big too, and its skunk clowns seem very happy and feed it every day.

I don't have the option of releasing it into the ocean. I suppose it will end up in a speciman tank eventually, which will be okay too.

 

Hostingoneclown022209post.jpg

Edited by yardboy

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nanoreefnate

Five Tips for a Healthy Anemone

 

Anemones are fascinating creatures, but have a poor survival record in captivity, are difficult to care for, and are not recommended for the beginner. However, for the dedicated aquarist, here are a few tips and tidbits for mastering the care of these amazing creatures!

 

 

1. Don't buy an anemone casually. Take the time to research the particular species you're interested in ahead of time, and have an appropriate home prepared. In the wild, anemones do not often occur in the same areas as corals, and need different requirements. The typical garden-reef style reef aquarium is not an ideal home for any anemone, especially in the long term. Anemones can live a long time, and in fact, do not die of 'old age', and can live for hundreds or thousands of years. Remember this when purchasing one of these animals, and do your best to provide an ideal, long term home. I cannot stress enough the importance of setting up a species-specific display aquarium enough, rather than simply adding it to an existing menagerie of coral and/or other reef invertebrates.

 

 

2. Ensure no pump intakes, powerheads, or prop-type pumps are left unprotected in your anemone tank. If it takes ten weeks, ten months, or ten years, your anemone will decide to wonder and become shredded if the equipment isn't anemone-proofed with foam or a screen.

 

3. Purchase a healthy specimen from a reputable source, preferably a quality online vendor. Online vendors often hold their livestock for 1-2 weeks before ever placing it up for sale. Anemones should never be moved more often than every week, as they cannot tolerate the stress. When choosing an anemone, select one with a tight, closed mouth and sticky tentacles that readily react to food. Drip-acclimate your anemone for at least 45 minutes.

 

4. Avoid purchasing Ritteri anemones, and avoid white or yellow sebae anemones (they are bleached and dyed, respectively). If you are a beginner to anemones, I recommend the bulb-tipped anemone, Entacmae quadricolor.

 

5. Feed your anemone small pieces of raw seafood minced to the size of its mouth. Anemone size is directly related to the amount it's fed, and they will grow quickly if fed often. Remember, most anemone exceed 12" in diameter.

 

Copied from Captive-Aquatics.com

 

Nem's are supposed to live for a LONG time if conditions in capivity are kept high. ;)

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JPF

My anemone history which is rich in culture diversity and suitable for general audiences.

 

Purchased bubble tip. Intake ate it even though I took big precautions.

 

Purchased another BT. It was happy and split. The splitting didn't go well. It rotted at the split and both halves died fast. Weird.

 

Purchased a third BT. It had wanderlust and wouldnt settle down. It eventually met up with an intake which was right next to the surface of the tank. Very weird

 

Purchased a green carpet. Did incredibly well for just over a year. Power failure killed the whole system.

 

Purchased another green carpet. Did even better than the first for three years. Grew like mad. I fed it like a pig. Eventually I sold it to a friend. It is now the biggest green carpet I have ever seen. It easily fills most of a standard thirty gallon tank. I told my friend if she gets tired of it I will buy it back from her.

 

Dibbs!

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yardboy

Nate, I appreciate your posting this information, though I differ on a few points. One I agree with totally is

#4 - I used to feed mine frozen mysis, and while they'd eat it, it wasn't until I offered them a piece of fresh shrimp that I realized they'd only tolerated the mysis. Something about freezing makes them not as palatable to eat. That issue right there will preclude many from raising them, as fresh shrimp isn't available to everyone.

Totally agree that the bubble-tips are the easiest host anemones. Flower's are even easier, but do not host, except shrimps.

 

Another thing is that I've heard the point raised that "In the wild, anemones do not often occur in the same areas as corals, and need different requirements. " In my experience they are found anywhere corals are found, often right in amongst them, much to the chagrin of the corals, as the anemones will definitely sting them. That is why I think one should think twice about putting an anemone into a coral reef tank.

Lastly, any color sebae other than white or tan is colored with dye, but white does occur in the wild, though not as commonly as tan. Mine came white, stayed that way for months, though it was eating and growing well enough. now it is tan, but I suspect that my MH bulbs need changing as my corals aren't growing as rapidly and the bulbs are 12 months old.

 

JPF, I think your experience is typical other than the carpet, but which you had much more experience when you got the second.

Edited by yardboy

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nanoreefnate

yeah i actually have a seabae nem too. thats just MM's suggestions on Nems care and stuffs ;)

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AZDesertRat

This Sebae anemone with the clown peeking out of it is now 19 years old. I purchased it in 1990 from Payless Aquarium Supply here in Phoenix which was later bought out by Petco.

 

6-1026.jpg

 

I've had the RBTA in this pic 6 years.

 

1-24-07004.jpg

 

I never spot feed them the clowns take care of that. They both stay put right where you see them, evidently they are content with the flow and lighting as well as attention they receive from their hosting clowns.

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Orangutran

That's great information Nate, and some beautiful anemones you got there Yardboy! I'm relatively new to this hobby, only a year, and not looking to get an anemone any time soon. But just hoping that everyone's responsible when they put these creatures in their tanks. Heck, i even feel guilty for getting live rock, because i know all this comes from some poor country like the philippines where the environment is not an issue. Back to the topic, i never realized the damage we can do when harvesting anemones from the sea, so just trying to get the message out there...

 

When you got the nems from fellow hobbyist where theirs split, then it's cool.

 

Thanks again guys for your thoughtful input. :)

Edited by Orang-with-a-tan

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Mike Maddox

Kudos to you guys regarding the long-term success with anemones, but unfortunately you all are the exception to the rule. :(

 

Regarding captive life span, the late Joyce Wilkerson's poll is as true now as it ever was - anemone survival rate in captivity even to just the 5 year mark is ridiculously low (Anthony Calfo has put it at 1% several times, and although it's impossible to know, I'd estimate it's lower than that). The claims regarding collection rates are unsubstantiated, simply because not enough data exists regarding the fecundity of anemones in the wild, but this does not mean the decision to purchase an anemone should be made lightly. She is correct about the lifespan: anemones do not age, and exist until something kills them. Anemones have been document that exceed 300 years of age!

 

Yardboy, ever been to a reef? If so, how many? I've seen an anemone amongst coral once in the wild (and, guess what it was doing? Killing a brain coral), and I've seen hundreds of acres of reefs. The fact that hobbyists assume that they are reef crest invertebrates (they're not) and put them in reef tanks most definitely does not help their lifespan, especially in today's world of koralias and overflows.

 

JPF: It's pretty sad you made the same mistake three times, killing three anemones in the same way. Incredibly unconscientious and poor husbandry, is what that is.

 

Orang, the hobby both hurts and helps the environment, depending upon who's doing the collecting, where the rock/animals/what-have-you are collected, and who's educated the collectors. Scleractinian live rock is a renewable resource, and as long as it's harvested responsibly does no harm to the environment, and can provide incentives for native peoples to manage the reef responsibly for continued monetary gains. The problem I have with the hobby is the complete lack of transparency (of information) available to the hobbyist - it's virtually impossible for the hobbyist to obtain any of the above information, mainly due to the fact that most/all hobbyists simply don't care to know. Because no one cares, the demand for the information has never existed, so neither does transparency.

 

I've maintained carpet anemones for years, but I keep them in species aquariums and take their care very seriously, as we all should!

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coolwaters

Joyce Wilkerson took surveys from noobs...

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Mike Maddox

Actually, the survey, while over a decade old, was taken from one of the premier aquarium sites/listservs at the time (run by Albert J. Theil), and one of the very few legitimate sources of information at the time, a listserv I subscribed to for a decade. While the hobby has definitely advanced, anemone success mostly hasn't.

 

Please refrain from posting unhelpful, and frankly completely incorrect information in the future, as you are only embarrassing yourself and hampering others.

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nanoreefnate
Actually, the survey, while over a decade old, was taken from one of the premier aquarium sites/listservs at the time (run by Albert J. Theil), and one of the very few legitimate sources of information at the time, a listserv I subscribed to for a decade. While the hobby has definitely advanced, anemone success mostly hasn't.

 

Please refrain from posting unhelpful, and frankly completely incorrect information in the future, as you are only embarrassing yourself and hampering others.

+1000. ;)

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yardboy

While I don't wear my credentials on my sleeve, I do not make rash statements that aren't backed by my own experience. I've logged thousands of dives since 1979, on reefs in the Caribbean and South Pacific. I maintain a home in the Philippines and have dove on many sites in the Visayan Archipeligo, including Apo Island and islands all around the South China Sea. While there are species of anemones found in the grass beds behind the reef edge that occur solitarily, I see the clownfish hosting species on nearly every dive I make onto the reef face. Maybe our idea of "in the same areas" differ, as certainly most corals cannot tolerate direct contact from anemones without suffering, but I consider "within a few feet" to be the same as "in the same areas".

I am relatively new to underwater photography so moslty take macro pictures because the subjects tend not to move as much. I will go in the water and slowly swim along the face of the reef, snapping pictures with the hope that some will turn out okay, and so a set of numerically sorted pictures will show the corals and anemones scattered randomly together. Since they are macro shots the area around them isn't always shown, but here at least are a couple that show corals nearby in the background.

Picture198.jpg

019LTAwithsofties.jpg

038LTAwithtomatosandcoral.jpg

039BTAwithclownfish.jpg

176LTAwiththreeclowns.jpg

 

 

While I'm certainly not defending coolwaters, I do believe that noobs definitely kill anemones, as they do corals and fish, but that experienced aquarists really have no trouble raising them, if shipping hasn't nearly killed them before they arrive. Any good survey is going to take a cross-section of aquarists in the hobby and my perception is that there are far nore noobs than experienced aquarists out there. Otherwise the lfs wouldn't sell out of clownfish as soon as they get them in, as I can't see experienced aquarists constantly buying them.

Edited by yardboy

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yardboy

While on the subject of anemones, another common statement I've heard is that an anemone will not host more than one species at a time. Here is a shot with at least three species of damsels hosting the same anemone, not counting the crabs and shrimps also in residence.

 

020LTAwithclownsanddamselspost-1.jpg

Edited by yardboy

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Mike Maddox

Very nice pics - I have never seen anemones living in such close approximation. You've been diving a lot longer than I have, so I stand corrected, at least at those locales!

 

The main reason I don't recommend combining anemones with coral in a reef tank is the water flow - an anemone isn't going to last decades in an aquarium filled with koralias and high-rate overflows, and most reef aquarists don't want to wrap these items in bulky sponges.

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HeyLookItsCaps
Actually, the survey, while over a decade old, was taken from one of the premier aquarium sites/listservs at the time (run by Albert J. Theil), and one of the very few legitimate sources of information at the time, a listserv I subscribed to for a decade. While the hobby has definitely advanced, anemone success mostly hasn't.

 

Please refrain from posting unhelpful, and frankly completely incorrect information in the future, as you are only embarrassing yourself and hampering others.

 

a decade ago in reefing is like 50 years ago in automobiles tho. think of the leaps forward in reefing that have occured since the turn of the century.

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Mike Maddox

Out of the people you know that have purchased anemones, how many have kept them 5+ years?

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nanoreefnate

you have, mike. :P

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HeyLookItsCaps

ive had mine 2 years, its split 3 times and my friends have the offspring. the flower nem has grown in Phaellox's tank for a year befor ei got it, so its at least 3....

 

ill let you know in 2 more years haha

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Trolldoll

I've had my BTA(s) for two years. I have a total of four. As I was planning a tank upgrade this week the sob decided to split again. I'm taking three to the LFS for credit this week. None of my nems move. I have one small Maroon that host all four. None of mine have ever had bubble tips. When is was in Fiji I would say only 5-10% actually had bubbles.

 

Here are a few pics from Fiji back in Aug 09. Nems were right next to the coral.

FijiDiving-12048-1.jpg

 

PIC_1724.jpg

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travisurfer

I had kept one of the hardier flower-type anemones in a 20g under two T5 NO bulbs. It was fine for months and began to color up quite nicely until my mantis blasted right through it after burrowing from the backside of the rock it was on. Needless to say, the anemone did not make it...

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Jacobnano

Thats hilarious and sad at the same time haha

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ajmckay

Wow this thread is awesome... yardboy and troll, your pictures rock!!!!

 

Anyways.... It seems that the consensus seems to be that anemones, in-general, are difficult to keep in an aquarium. I don't think any of us should be contending that fact (even based on personal experiences and/or the experiences of friends). Out of the entire SW hobby, the 45,000 members on NR make up a really small fraction.

 

Just like everything else in this hobby, however, nothing happens 100% of the time and there exist deviations for both noobs being able to care for anemones long terms and experienced aquarists not being able to...

 

My opinion? Set up a species tank or at least understand that you may be forced to at some point.

Edited by ajmckay

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Mike Maddox

Well put :)

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Marteen

I'd also like to recommend that if you can always purchase captive bred anemones if you can. You can almost always find a captive bred bubble tip from a friend or local reef club if you look hard enough. I try to buy all captive bred fish and corals so we aren't removing them from the wild and by doing so encourage vendors to start propagating their own fish and corals.

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