How to Place an Anemone in a Tank

Written by patrick armstrong
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How to Place an Anemone in a Tank
Avoid a white anemone. It is usually stressed, with little chance for survival. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Anemones belong in the phylum Cnideria, closely related to other animals including coral and jellyfish. These aquatic creatures fascinate people, with their bright colours, swaying tentacles and symbiotic relationships with clownfish. Keeping an anemone in captivity is possible, although quite challenging, even for seasoned aquarists. Survival rates for these creatures depend on individual tank parameters and time spent travelling to the fish store.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Display Tank

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  1. 1

    Acclimate the anemone to the reef tank by slowly changing the original store water the anemone came home in with water from the display tank. The acclimation must happen over the course of at least three hours. Anemones react poorly to rapid changes in water conditions because their physiology lacks the capacity to adapt quickly. Remove and replace small amounts of the bag water with equal amounts of the tank water. Keep the tank lights off during this period and float the bag on the tank's surface to equalise the water temperatures.

  2. 2

    Introduce the anemone to the tank by slowly lowering the bag into the water. Remove and discard the bag, leaving the anemone in the tank. Minimise water circulation during the anemone's introduction to the tank by turning off 75 per cent of the water current. Wait five minutes and turn on the tank lights and 25 per cent of the pumps. Once the anemone re-expands, turn on the remaining pumps.

  3. 3

    Wait while the anemone finds a proper location. Anemones move around, searching for an area suitable to their needs: bright light and moderate, indirect flow. This process usually takes several days. Once the anemone finds a suitable location, it will expand and contract at regular daily intervals, cease moving, and attach itself to the rockwork.

Tips and warnings

  • Research other aquarists' experiences keeping anemones thoroughly before deciding to purchase one. They are expensive, difficult and decreasing in the wild.
  • Anemones can eat small fish. Consider this before putting one in a display tank housing small fish.
  • Keeping the water flow at maximum blows the anemone around the tank, contracting it, stressing it and preventing it from attaching. Eventually, it will die.

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