View Full Version : Shrinking Anemones
09-15-2006, 7:01 PM
I'm relatively new to the hobby (6 months) and have a couple of BTA's that just don't seem to be doing that well. The best description of what's going on is that they just don't seem as big or as vibrant as they were when I first got them.
They each split soon after I got them. One of the juniors has crawled off into the rocks never to be seen again, the other is just hanging out. The (now) three of them are very laid back about accepting food.
Water params are good (I think). My test kit doesn't test for amonia, but my nitrate and nitrite are 0, PH is 8.2.
I have had a recent outbreak of ick. I first tried using a product called sulfathizole dosed in the food for about 1.5 weeks, but another hobbyist loaned me his UV and said that would take care of the ick in about a month. (Everybody's still eating and looking great.)
Since adding the UV sterilizer, I have been having problems with temperature raising up to the 82 to 84 degree range. I've done the fan on the back of the tank, which seems to be helping.
Anway, that's all I know. I really treasure these guys, and don't want to lose them. If anyone has any ideas, I would greatly appreciate it.
09-15-2006, 7:33 PM
How much light ya got on them?
09-15-2006, 9:29 PM
Most anemones require intense lighting such as metal halides, and an established tank.
Many times they are best left in the ocean.
09-16-2006, 3:58 AM
Agree, what type of lighting do you have and what size tank? I'm, sure the elevated temps are not helping things either.
I agree that halides are requred. Over the years, I have tried them under VHO and PC lighting (at very high watts per gallon too) and they never thrived for long. They always did great for a while then started moving around and eventually dissapered. I added one to my new system with halide lighting and they (it split) look better than when fresly added 9 months ago or so.
09-16-2006, 10:32 AM
I've got 6x96 Power Compacts on them. I've thought about the lighting issue, too. Are there any MH or T5 you can add to a Power compact system, or is it just scrap the old lights and get new ones?
09-16-2006, 11:58 AM
First off.. WELCOME!! Glad to have you @ ARC!
What size tank do you have? Do you have a canopy? Most retrofit MHs are reasonably priced... Talk to Doug at ReefTankLighting.com (http://reeftanklighting.com/) he'll be able to set you up with whatever you want (and he offers an ARC discount if you sign up (http://atlantareefclub.org/forums/arcsignup.php)). He's very knowledgable and can probably reccomend what you need for your size system and needs. He also will not sell you something that is too much for your system just so that he can make a couple extra bucks.
09-17-2006, 2:06 PM
also stop feeding them. anenomes dont need to be feed as much as people think. i've feed mine 1~2 times in the passed 18 months and never will again. feeding can close them up as they dont need to expand to get energy. dont forget they are a very simple animal.
also agreed on the lighting comments, strong light is good (mh preferred).
09-17-2006, 9:22 PM
Hi Simon..I am going to disagree on the lighting thing.. as you know, my freaking behemouth anenome is only under 35 watts of PC's in the nano.
He was about 2" in daimeter when I got him and if I could measure it, it would be about 12" in diameter now. Maybe a bit less.
I have never fed him at all, the clownfish feeds him or he gets floating scraps. He shrinks to nothing then an hour later, he is in fullsize mode.
09-17-2006, 10:28 PM
Here are some other thoughts......
Do you have many other corals present? Anemones are the water they live in and if other Anthozoan fauna are strongly established their chemical presence in the system may be making the water "taste bad" to them. A distasteful toxin (terpene) in the water from other corals would cause the anemones to shrink as they would not want to bring such substances into their coelenteron. I find certain types of Anthozoa thrive more when there is a greater presence of others of their kind in the tank.
Also, what is your specific gravity? 1.025 is a generally recommended value and if it is lower you may have a diluted solution deleterious to their well being. Do you use carbon? One can have 0.0 NO3 but still have refractory DOCs in the tank. How about iron limitation? Many reef tanks I suspect may be iron limited. Furthermore there is greater understanding of the "Redfield Stoichiometric Ratios" of nutrients pertaining to the relative percentages of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and for that matter, iron and manganese and if one of these is out of natural ratios, it may cause the other nutrients to be limited. Often carbon is as we feed such heavily nitrogenous foods to our fish. Not an easy question to answer, but we have to do the best we can. The "Mineral, or Magic Mud" I would wager should provide a more constant iron availability. I agree with Todd also about the lighting. It should be strong, but I don't see that MH is necessarily required.
09-17-2006, 10:36 PM
Carbon has many forms and I know it sounds confusing. Check your alkalinity as well as your PH so there is enough bicarbonate available as a CO2 source for the zooxanthellae. Most DOCs are acidic pollutants but some can actually be beneficial such as the simple glucose leached into the tank with algae filtration. Seachem's Reef Calcium gluconate may be beneficial in this regard as something they can "drink".
09-17-2006, 10:40 PM
Check out the writings of Joerg Kokott in Coral magazine on nutrients and the Redfield Ratio to learn more. We are still learning in this hobby.
09-18-2006, 8:43 AM
I love this. Porter's advice is just as far over my head as listening to Tom Wyatt. These guys really are knowledgeable! Most advice published does say anemones do not thrive in captivity but instead slowly starve. Obviously there are exceptions like Todd & Bob Lemcke [Big Rose BTA]. Personally I think a somewhat dirty tank like a lagoon is better than a SPS totally filtered setup. I think fish waste may be the ultimate coral food and the anemone & clown really are symbiotic in both directions. I also have read that Anemones have no end of lifetime and could potentially live forever. That would account for their low recovery from overcollection...
Also certain species have distinct environments, you should research exactly where yours originated to better understand what it's needs are.
"We are still learning in this hobby." Amen.
09-18-2006, 9:04 PM
You guys simply have to get "The Reef Aquarium, Vol. 3", Sprung and Delbeek. Julian and Charles have really outdone themselves on this one. I've read most of it now and am savoring every page!
Indeed it is quite possible to generously feed fish heavy handedly these days with the advancements of multi-tank system design. And yes, fish food is likewise coral food and an iron delivery pathway. Other cool concepts that advanced hobbyists are experimenting with these days is the careful addition of simple carbon sources such as ethanol (vodka) for denitrification and calcium acetate (Kalkwasser/vinegar mix). Definitely read up on this stuff first before you attempt it.
09-18-2006, 9:37 PM
You guys (and gals?) really know your stuff. I'm a little bit overwhelmed by the chemistry, but have some good reading coming in from Amazon to help me catch up.
Meantime, I've gotten the temp and salinity back (80 F and 1.025), and they definitely seem happier. I have wondered if the split that went off into the rocks died and I just can't see it, thus releasing amonia and all kinds of other toxics the remaining three might not like.
Keep it coming, folks. Newbies like me need a resource that's not getting paid for everything they sell. :eek:
09-18-2006, 9:59 PM
Happy to be of help (I hope). Another interesting aspect of this discussion is the cited intratentacular asexual split of the anemones. It is a curious event that may seem worrisome to wonderful, but I find it often happens in a somewhat stressed animal, possibly subjected to a change in its conditions. In many marinelife it is an attempt at survival by reproduction, seen in Echinoderms, Cnidaria, and Chlorophyte algae, and probably other phyla. No doubt the split taxed the animals physiologically and they are trying to recover.
09-18-2006, 10:14 PM
As long as Entacmea quadricolor is being cultured in captivity, having one is perfectly fine. Many of us saw Anthony Calfo bisecting a rose specimen at SWU and his description of a Bulb-tip Anemone propagation system should be strongly considered by a dedicated hobbyist these days. I find a healthy E. quadricolor can heal fairly well, especially if it is adapted to its captive conditions.