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jservedio

Protip: Wrangling a Stubborn Anemone

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jservedio

So your new baby anemone doesn't want to attach itself to a rock or piece of rubble that you can easily move around your tank and prefers a the nice smooth sides of a breeder box or your tank's glass - how do you get it where you want to go? Here is a trick I've used many, many times over the years.

 

First, you'll need to order yourself some fast food and make sure you get a side that comes in a clear pint container - maybe some wonton soup if you are feeling Chinese food or some collards or mac and cheese if you are going the BBQ route. After your delicious meal, clean out the container really well and fill the bottom with about a half inch of sand and cover the sand with a few larger pieces of rubble (1-3"). They shouldn't fill more than 1/3 of the container. Next, you'll need to get a razor blade or exacto knife and cut some slits out of the lid (see picture) that the nem can't fit through, but flow and light can get through. Dump your detached lump of a nem into the container, put the lid on, and place the container in the tank roughly where you would like your nem to be and forget about it for a few days. This is what the container should look like with your fresh nem:

 

baby-bta.thumb.jpg.d238c2963ff6540692a9972a95ae0d3a.jpg

 

 

Once the nem has attached it's foot to something (whether it's the container or rubble) and has stayed put for at least 48 hours, you can take the lid off the container. Once the lid comes off the container, you need to watch it like a hawk. If the nem tries to escape the container or starts walking more than an inch - put the lid back on and move the container a bit and wait a couple more days. Waiting a few extra days is vastly preferable to your nem letting go and taking a ride through the powerhead.  If it takes a week or so, don't be discouraged. The smaller the anemone is, the more likely it is to just let go and drift instead of walking, so you want to take this slow.

 

If you are lucky and the anemone attached itself to one of the pieces of rubble in the bottom of your container, after the lid has been off for a few days and gotten used to the increased light and flow, you can just move the piece of rubble out of the container and call it a day. Since the container should be just inches from where you want the nem, the flow and lighting should be pretty close to identical the nem shouldn't walk too much and you can skip the rest of this.

 

However, if you have a really stubborn nem and it attached itself to the side of the fast-food container, seems content, and hasn't moved for a few days - it's time to break out the scissors and find a few rubber bands. Dump the sand and rubble out of the container and bring the container up to the surface of the tank and cut the nem out of the container leaving a 2" margin around the foot. Use the rubber bands to attach the piece of plastic to the rock where you want the nem and make sure the nem is in the same location when all is said and done. It should look like this:

 

rbta-rock.thumb.jpg.94a48b790598705d36ee26a5dd03684a.jpg

 

 

Now, let it sit there for a couple of weeks. If you are lucky, the nem will eventually wander off the piece of plastic and onto the rock. But, if like me, you have an exceptionally stubborn nem, after a couple of weeks you can start rotating the rock a half inch or so at a time. After rotating, leave it for a few days before rotating it more. You want to rotate the rock so that the nem's foot is further and further out of direct light and forcing it to stretch further. Eventually, the nem will start to drift off the plastic and onto the rock. It may take weeks and for small nems you want to go very slow since if you disturb it too much, it'll just let go and you really don't want that. Once the nem is on the rock, simply snip the rubber bands and take out the plastic and admire the fact that your anemone is exactly where you want it and happy.

 

potted-nem.thumb.jpg.36d117ef6956357c15ea8e7eaac18124.jpg

 

 

Then, in a few years you can contemplate why you ever got an RBTA in a nano tank in the first place when it's split a few times and is now taking up 1/2 your tank as you run into your next set of RBTA problems:

 

big-nems.thumb.jpg.5e6919f7ccabed3e856cc8b0d7110900.jpg

 

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DevilDuck

This is a great tip! Thanks for sharing!

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jservedio
5 hours ago, DevilDuck said:

This is a great tip! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks! Hope it helps someone out. I've seen so many pictures of shredded nems, so I figured I'd document how I do it since I've got a new nem for the first time in years.

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ajmckay

I swear I'm not a hoarder but I keep all my takeout containers.  Usually for mixing paint/stain, little tubs for acetone or grease, reef stuff, etc...    Super useful and this tip just gives me more fuel to keep saving them. 

 

Not sure if I'll get an anemone anytime soon - I'm battling a bit of bubble algae so I'm moving stuff around a bit to take rocks out for scrubbing.   

 

But this is an awesome tip that I'm totally going to use.  I do something similar for like mushrooms and stuff - but I haven't used it in a while because I didn't do the lid slit thing. I think that's the key.  You get flow but it still keeps the anemone inside. 

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