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|11-09-2008, 01:32 AM||#1|
Anemones! Coming to Terms with their Success in a Reef Aquarium
Anemones fall under the class ANTHOZOA. This class makes up the anemones, corals and anemone like organisms. Most anemones remain sessile by means of attaching themselves to glass, rocks or substrate by means of a "foot".
Anemones consist of two layers of cells, each specialized for different functions. The outer layer is masked with stinging cells(nematocysts) and muscles, while the inner layer contains the simple digestive system which it conusumes food captured by its tentacles or waste from its zooxanthellae.
Anemones are predatory in nature and are able to consume numerous food stuff not limited to crabs, small fish and sea urchin. Most anemones will need to be housed under moderate to intense lighting as they contain zooxanthellae, a photosynthetic organism that nourishes the anemone through its waste product. Because of this anemones don't need to rely on target feeding or other means of food delivery. The size and shape of an anemone can be altered based on available nutrients in the palegic area of your tank.
Tropical sea anemones imported for the aquarium trade should be housed with the absence of an intake for pumps and powerheads!!!! I don't know how many times I have read about fellow reefers stories, of the marriage had between an intake on their powerhead and their anemone... I have also suffered, or should I say most of the anemones I have housed, have suffered a terrible fate losing their battle to an intake pipe, or overflow drain.
Their are ways of combatting this problem!!!! Placing foam material or a cartridge over the intake pipe will help to disperse the water suction over a wider area thus preventing the anemone from getting sucked in to the piping or drain. You could go to a local pet shop and pick up some sponge/pre filter foam and attach it to your powerhead intake. The other thing would be to house your powerhead or drain in a separate chamber and or design a baffle out of meshing so as that the anemone cannot cover the whole overflow or drain. The other thing to be careful of is a heater in the tank. If an anemone grabs hold of the heater element and the heater turns on, if the anemone cannot let go quick enough, it will burn its pedal disk, often resulting in the death of your anemone!
I shall go through the variables that must be achieved if you are to have any success with a sea anemone.
Temperature: Temperature is a major factor that needs to be ascertained! An amemone will surely succumb to fatality if they are not kept between 68-87 degrees. Ideally the temperature should be at 78 degrees! If this temperature is not met, it affects the functions of it's enzymes used for metabolic process such as digestion, tissue maintenance, consumption of oxygen and detoxification of radicals that develope during photosynthesis.
Lighting: As stated above, most anemones need moderate to intense light to provide their zooxanthellae with the needed light for photosynthesis and in return feeding the anemone. The best lighting scheme would be daylight bulbs with a color temperature of 6500k and supplemental actinic lighting. An aquarium housed with direct sunlight is ideal, though a chiller must be used to combat the high temperature associated with this set-up. A familiar problem with the lighting we use is that for the most part it is constant lighting with no changes in light intensity found with natural sunlight through cloud cover! A dimmer attached to our ballast could offer anemones the advantage of beijg able to rid themselves of toxic radicals from photosynthesis through breaks in the irradiance from our lighting!
Water motion: Water movement bring food and oxygen to anemones and corals alike. it also carries away waste and carbon dioxide. The movement of their tentacles caused by the water flow intensity affects the anemones zooxanthellae and the rate of photosynthesis.
Trace Elements: Iodine, zinc, bromide and copper in low doses aid in growth and repair of tissue, pigment formation and metabolization of symbiotic zooxanthellae. As with any supplementation or dosing, remember not to overdose!
Tankmates: One of the benefits of having a host Clownfish associated with an anemone is the protection towards its host! This being said however, doesn't ensure 100% success in a fish or reef aquarium. Crabs and bristle worms once they get bigger will snap at the chance to eat an anemone. Angelfish and Butterfly fish will also test their luck and devour an anemone as well. Many corals will also sting or be stung by contact with an anemone often times proving fatal.
A couple of things to look out for when selecting and keeping an anemone.
Bleaching: Loss of pigment in an anemone, means that it is loosing its zooxanthellae needed to survive. The zooxanthellae can repopulate itself under favorable conditions. Bleaching can take place with too much light or inadequate lighting. In my experience, keeping a watchful eye on your anemone can help in its rebounding. If their is too much light, an anemone will let you know by retreating into a cave or place with indirect lighting. If this happens try decreasing the duration the lights remain on. This may be the easiest thing to do as removing an anemone could damage its foot and they will move if unhappy.
Now if you don't have enough light, many times your anemone will let you know by climbing up the glass and shrinking as a last ditch effort due to its eating its cell tissue for nutrition. One important note!!!!!!!!! if you use carbon to clear up your tank(either due to smell or GELBSTOFF-yellowing of the water), you will increase the lighting intensity thus the UV wavelength reaching the bottom of your aquarium. Because of this you may disturb the anemone temporarilly or severely thus activated carbon shouldn't be used to aggressively.
Shrinking: Again this is caused by insufficient light needed by the zooxanthellae with which feeds the anemone. The shrinking involves the consumption of tissue making up for the deficiency caused by the decrease in zooxanthellae. If this happens an increase in lighting should help the situation plus a supplemental target feed is helpful.
Loss of stickiness: This is caused by an unhealthy anemone. Its inability to fire off nematocysts in its tentacles is the reason for this. The anemone is directing all of its energy to defend against pathogens and damaged tissue instead of sending off nematocysts requiring energy. Again more often than not a result of inadequate light.
Refusal of food: Target feeding of anemones is not necessary if they are receiving adequate lighting! A treat of shrimp, clam or squid once a week will be sufficient. If it refuses the food, don't force it to eat as you could injure it. Just make sure again that the lighting is sufficient.
The last thing that I have encountered with an anemone, especially when I just place it in my tank is the mouth opens wide and a portion of its insides are evident. That is its actinopharynx, and the reason why it does this is to get more oxygen. The anemone has actually been suffocating in the plastic bag!!!!! It can also be its natural way of doing a water change. I cant believe it does its own water change. If you have this situation, the best thing to do is place the anemone in a strong water flow to make the tentacles flow and that will add proper ventilation.
Hopefully this will help answer the myriad of questions regarding this interesting creature we call the anemone.
I know that in my experience I have seen many of these signs and wish that I knew back then what I know now!!! Also with the many types of anemones available to us, I would stick to a hardier type such as the "rock", Condylactis, Pacific long tentacle, sand and Sebae. Stay away from Crispa, Carpets(Stoichactis) and Ritteri.
|11-27-2008, 09:25 AM||#2|
Coral Banded Shrimp
|11-27-2008, 10:06 AM||#3|
Fantastic monograph! Thanks for sharing with us! K+!
|11-27-2008, 10:55 AM||#4|
|11-27-2008, 11:10 AM||#5|
thanks so much for the info it give me a much better understanding of what there needs are....
|11-27-2008, 02:07 PM||#6|
Great job Tom as usual!!!
|11-28-2008, 09:43 AM||#7|
That brings me to something I've been thinking about...
First picture is of a seabe that I bought about 8 months ago, thinking my maroons might host it. Well, they never cared about it and still don't. I believe I read somewhere that tentacle extension happens more when there is something hosting it. Is that true? This seabe is also no bigger now then when I bought it , I do feed it a meaty snack about every week or so and it does eat it. It was bleached when I got it and is now a nice brownish color. Does it look normal, relatively speaking?
This picture is of a seabe in my other tank I bought for my Clarkii that seemed to be freaking out constantly wanting to host something. I have had this one for almost a month, I've been feeding it to get it to get some color. It's about 8" across and looks totally different than my other seabe. Thoughts?
|11-28-2008, 10:56 AM||#8|
Sometimes an anemone will look different from another due to location, lighting, health and other factors. The one in the top picture looks very healthy! Does the bottom one have purple tips?
To be honest with you the anemone on the top doesn't look like a Sebae anemone!
|11-28-2008, 12:54 PM||#9|
The bottom one does have purple tips, when I first got it it had pink and purple tips, now just purple. It's darkening up a little.
As far as the first picture, I bought that from a very reputable lfs (not deathco) that sells seabe's all the time. I am pretty sure it's tentacles used to be longer and it looked a little different then. I'm going to try to dig up an older pic of it. It also used to be white with purple tips...
|11-28-2008, 01:01 PM||#10|
I think this was not too long after I got it.
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