The Anemone debate, do we really know them?

Discussion in 'Anemone's' started by deadmeat2016, 8 Jul 2013.

  1. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Wouter

    Joined:
    19 Jul 2009
    Posts:
    1,506
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Gordons bay
    Hi All

    I conjunction with my recent thread writing bug, I feel I should share my thoughts on the keeping of anemones, everyone favourite hydrostatic skeleton bearing Coeloemate. It is commonly stressed by us reefkeepers who feel we understand the hobby and are confident expressing our opinions on the care we feel is required and how we provide it to these biologically simple, yet evolutionary wonders of nature we are very fortunate to bear the opportunity of owning.

    My first marine setup I was very blessed by early acquirement of a good metal halide, auto top off and luck on my side. As you hear about people joining the thread begging for help with an anemone they purchased when starting out and want to know what to do to fix it and commonly blame the animal, damaging the reputation of the hobby and the anemone as an animal. I was there, but instead of being cursed with a difficult carpet or magnifica, I somehow ended up with a Malu. Complete contradiction of what one considers a sensitive invert that should be only left for experts as it survived all my mistakes in my 1.2m I made including tap water, overdose of additives, cheap inaccurate measuring equipment, everything which puzzles even more as I added the anemone after the first 5 weeks of the tank running, which is why I have a problem with the 9 month thing, granted you want the cycling to be stable and nothing spiking or dipping as the Kh, Ph etc would do before it reaches stability. ok nutrients, parameters and stability is considered, this includes the salinity via an auto topoff and a decent skimmer. What exactly is the 9 months supposed to do other than the mentioned factors stabilizing? Granted some anemones are more delicate than others while some could be very hardy depending on the species, but you would never know.

    As everyone who has an anemone, houses a pair or more of clowns to complete the natural circle, I had 4 clowns who were ocellaris and the biggest two dominate the anemone keeping the other pair away. I must specify that this was a 1.2m tank with a 80cm anemone, great show tank and fat healthy nennie. While my clowns laid eggs twice weekly, I did not appreciate what I had and the urge to go bigger consumed me so after 2 years of peaceful life, I sold breeding pair with nennie for a price, big mistake I made was putting a price on the success of what I had.

    A trap which I have fallen into and have heard countless stories and versions, is the love hate relationship between the wavemaker and the anemone. Anemones like flow and some like alot although not directly on them. This is accomplished by wavemakers we all love and depend on, but a newly added anemone is a very confused mass of living tissue which is not able to see or feel like we know animals do. So naturally it will not understand that it is not in the wild and will not know what a good spot in the tank is or where to settle which is why like to move initially, sometimes lapping the tank from end to end regardless of any living obstruction. expecting them to sit still is as good as extracting blood from a rock, not likely and setting you up for dissappointment. Back to the humble wavemaker which is essential in the care of the anemone and will also affect where it will settle, but what do you think will happen if a sack of water gets near a good wavemaker and gets close to the water intake of said maker, you have anemone mince which is awesome seeing your newly purchased exotic invert from a foreign country instantly turned into....well...not much. bummer, they love the wavemaker and need it to be happy, although it is the fastest way..........to...well commit suicide I guess, the anemone is living on the edge. And dont tell me to put filter floss or mesh to prevent this, in a large tank with a 15,000L/hr pump, there is not much you can do to stop a sicce voyager v10 causing a suction enough to let an anemone be slowly sucked in through any hole or space available.

    So the advice here is to leave those wavemakers until you notice the anemone sitting still, you can then turn on the wavemaker, but as mentioned, nennies love flow and a new nennie is a stupid nennie so watch for movement towards the pump and mostly watch for it going into walking mode again, which then repeat the whole process and do not forget that pump on unless you are sure that nennie is staying put

    If we are up to the care requirements and attention needed by such a unique animal, the idea and sight of such a spectacular out of place animal to have living in your home is not a just a beautiful natural display of visual diversity, but a chance to learn and really get close to a completely genetically different and extremely old, primitive organism which has been around since before Homo Sapiens and possibly till long after aswell without the need to evolve.

    Many many times it is warned and frowned upon to purchase an anemone wiithout knowing what it requires care wise, yet it seems the most common thing seen among new reefers who are extremely new to the hobby and are seeking help, they have bought this anemone, petshop said this and now its doing this, its a sad but commonplace happening I trust most of us older aquarists have seen and it almost feels like deja vu when it happens cus you try and offer help but the new aquarist is so new to the hobby he doesnt know how to accept the help!

    This unfortunate regular occurrence though cannot be helped as the marine keeping hobby and society in SA has one downfall which is not being able to target new interested reefers, to provide advice from the start, not finding out help is available when they decide to ask when its too late and too dire of a situation for a positive outcome.

    We all probably know the general rules regarding the ownership of an anemone which everyone recites every time the word anemone is even mentioned.

    Tank - running for 9 months
    lighting - alot and well, quality
    Level of care - usually quite high
    difficulty of keeping - moderate
    Feeding - carnivore so frozen fresh seafood
    flow - moderate to strong but not direct
    worth keeping - dont even bother trying to argue......
    bubble tips - blessing due to less demanding care

    These are what we believe anemones are restricted to, a tank that must be that old and this much lighting per liter of water but we must not loose the focus here that all animals are different and while these guidelines are familiar, they are not set in stone tablets by the god of marine aquariums.

    I feel to really succeed at keeping these animals, one can bear the general guidelines in mind, but you cannot rely on a couple of unique opinions which are open to interpretation to define the start of a learning experience which should be informed yes, but also not so daunting as it can be described by some keepers. If I had read some of the opinions like an intelligent reefer, I would have not bought an anemone as I would have been too fearful and not have experienced my journey.

    Some keepers believe they know exactly what the anemone wants and thinks and......well, the truth is we do not know exactly what they want, we have a general idea of the water conditions and temperatures they survive well in and have no problem outliving their display or even owners in said conditions. We are pretty sure about the light, flow and basic stability more sensitive marine invertebrates from the tropics require, but it is still not very clear as to how sensitive the anemone generally is to stability of temperature and flow. Some things we know are obvious such as no copper, acclimating inverts slowly, diet, habit, place to sit, basic stability, what animals not to introduce and what anemones do in response to certain things or changes.

    Which brings me onto some things we do not have a definite answer for regarding anemones with I feel the most interesting fact is the average age of a tropical anemone such as a carpet or a magnifica.......I'll let ponder about that but i have given a clue, its something we cannot definitively answer as some anemones and corals simply have no measured lifespan or genetic lifespan marker which causes them to age, could a little xenia colony sitting in a crack or crevice somewhere be the oldest 10,000 year old living creature or remenant thereof on earth? Not impossible

    But in light of things we do not have answers for is why some anemone species choose to clone and divide themselves through asexual reproduction and other times proceed with spawning and sexual reproduction. Back to what was mentioned about us being able to keep an anemone happy and alive, even growing, which is great yes we can provide suitable conditions for life of a sensitive invertebrate in captivity to keep it alive indefinitely unless an anomalous event occurs but they don't just survive in the wild, the conditions encourage rapid growth, possibly alot more food than we tend to feed, regular dividing and spawning with environmental factors to also compete against like strong unpredictable currents, predators, natural disasters and general competition for survival and living space. While we get them to survive in an aquarium with such delicately kept parameters and intense lighting, no competition and regular uncompetitive feeding, they are sitting still usually depending on size and light, not growing alarmingly fast if at all but the most interesting at all is, they do not divide or release sperm etc, they are simply surviving contently.

    while what I have noticed, especially with bubble tip anemones, that in frag tanks at the two oceans and visitor livestock in for hospitalization, the conditions are meant for fish treatment and care so the temperature, cleanliness and Ph/Kh are not as strictly controlled and stable as a closed buffered system where corals are fragged and inverts are grown, in these less stable tanks, it seems the bubble tips like to move and multiply like there is something in the water causing them to multiply, almost like anemone viagra, for the solo adventurer.
    When these bubble tip clones are placed in displays that are buffered and more stable, the little bubble tips hang tight and seem content where they are placed.

    This particular need to divide rapidly I have only had the chance to witness with Bubble tippers as they are simply there for me to study and log so its a co-incidence. but the behaviour is still apparent in other anemones kept in captivity that they are quite content with no plans to divide which is a bit odd and unlike an organism programmed for survival......or are we missing something? and are they really as delicate as they are described?

    Of course there are many different species and each has a possibly different life cycle and habit, but surely that gives even more reason to not group all anemones as these beautiful sacks of coloured life that are difficult members of a captive system. That some species that are collected could possibly be from certain areas where a species has diversified and no one has noticed or ever will. The anemone is a difficult animal to class taxonomically as the variations are so subtle if visible at all.

    I guess my point is that there is alot we do not know about anemones and alot we think we know, which is.........not easy to interpret. Keeping an open mind in situations like this is what learning is all about. I'm not saying anyone's way of keeping or maintaining a certain anemone is wrong or inefficient, its great but we must not be afraid to admit what we do not know for certain. I sure as hell do not know any better way to keep an anemone than already is recommended, but I am certain of one thing and that is that an anemone has a diverse spectrum of genetic variation between species and there is a reason why they are not exactly hard to obtain for purchase, they can be kept with varying degrees of success depending on the species and location of origin.

    While some specimens could possibly be as sensitive as described and require fragile treatment and care to survive, I can conclude with extreme confidence that although similar, not all anemones should be grouped together as for experts only, not all anemones are actually that sensitive and there are some specimens which are more than ideal for captivity as they just behave without ever complaining about water quality and seem to embrace it, I do not know what would change the 'temperament' of the anemone or tolerances it can take but one should definitely not be frightened of attempting to keep an anemone as long as you know what to expect with movement, have the light, space and patience to devote the required time.
     
    MistaOrange, Smirre and dallasg like this.
  2. AdS Guest




    to hide all adverts.
  3. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    14 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    16,771
    Likes Received:
    582
    Location:
    Sandton
    many thanks for this great post!
     
  4. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

    Joined:
    19 Jul 2009
    Posts:
    1,506
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Gordons bay
    thanks man, spreading the love!
     
  5. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    14 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    16,771
    Likes Received:
    582
    Location:
    Sandton
    keep it coming!! :thumbup:
     
  6. Gareth0508

    Gareth0508

    Joined:
    10 Jan 2012
    Posts:
    594
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Durban
    Thanks deadmeat2016!
    This is great info for a newbie like me!
     
  7. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

    Joined:
    19 Jul 2009
    Posts:
    1,506
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Gordons bay
    Awesome bud, its for people like you I cannot help but share and feels great knowing im not leaving the hobby cold, especially with the compliments which i cannot thank enough for.

    Its like im doing something I can to help which is nice and its working which makes my day! :thumbup:
     
  8. Gareth0508

    Gareth0508

    Joined:
    10 Jan 2012
    Posts:
    594
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Durban
    You can never know enough about this hobby! The more you learn, the better. So thank you for the amount of time and effort you put in to help others out. Much appreciated! :thumbup:
     
  9. Irma

    Irma

    Joined:
    9 Feb 2011
    Posts:
    440
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Midrand
    Great article - almost makes me want to go out and buy a nennie :))
     
  10. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

    Joined:
    19 Jul 2009
    Posts:
    1,506
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Gordons bay

    Awesome, I think my point is made, some people make nennies sound impossible, which if unprepared and too frightened you will have a rough time, but its all about the nennie's..........reactions and how it responds to stress, ergo depends on how you react aswell, if ur lucky you could have an experienced nennie who has been blown around, roughed around, recovered and is conditioned to respond better to stress possibly, as it has had alot worse than it will ever experience in captivity so ready for mistakes. I just kiinda made this up though but sounds good :), pinch of salt!
     
  11. JacoD01

    JacoD01

    Joined:
    11 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Johannesburg / Brits
  12. yuma girl

    yuma girl

    Joined:
    18 Apr 2013
    Posts:
    591
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Forcalquier France
    wow - very good and indepth interesting read :thumbup:
     
  13. Bendor

    Bendor

    Joined:
    20 Aug 2011
    Posts:
    1,491
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Pietermaritzburg
    Thank you for the post! I've been eyeballing nennies since I started. Always been terrified about stability, powerheads, walking, tank age etc. I'll get there eventually.
     
  14. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    14 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    16,771
    Likes Received:
    582
    Location:
    Sandton
    The reason for tank age, is that by then you have achieved some sort of tank stability that would "prevent" the anemone from walking etc
     
  15. Bendor

    Bendor

    Joined:
    20 Aug 2011
    Posts:
    1,491
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Pietermaritzburg
    The same as the stable frag tanks at two oceans.

    I find I have more patience, do more research and await the "perfect" specimen with more panache when I am also terrified. So delaying is not necessarily a bad thing. Just don't give up on your plan in the process. I feel about nennies like I do about getting a new dog. It's a big decision.
     
  16. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    14 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    16,771
    Likes Received:
    582
    Location:
    Sandton
    I agree, most livestock should live for years, so yes the decision is big
     
  17. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

    Joined:
    19 Jul 2009
    Posts:
    1,506
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Gordons bay
    yes yes yes, its all agreeable, but I am simply suggesting that not all anemones will react in a predicted way all the time and some of the basic nennie needs we all can repeat in our sleep are rough guidelines which would have prevented me by fear to take the plunge.

    I took the risk, and got more reward than ever expected. Some of those common basics just need to be a bit.......reworded.

    Not saying I'm gonna even try!
    But what happened, happened, and was awesome
    perhaps I was lucky, perhaps I'm just that good ;)

    But importantly, im proof that not all of these 'beginner with anemone' cases, go tits up!
     
  18. Bendor

    Bendor

    Joined:
    20 Aug 2011
    Posts:
    1,491
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Pietermaritzburg
    :yeahdude:

    I don't disagree with your post. Your post has just made me rethink why I'm waiting/stalling and got me all fired up to get a Anemone again. I just need to stop and think before I run out and buy the first massive carpet I see.

    Impulsiveness is only ever a moment away.
     
  19. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

    Joined:
    19 Jul 2009
    Posts:
    1,506
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Gordons bay
    Remember that the point of this thread is to ask that how do we know what is stable for an anemone?

    does it care if the temp changes by 3-6 degrees in every 24 hours during its life? some say yes, my nennie said no.

    Does it need stable Kh, calcium, magnesium and other additives tested for added accurately?
    Of course i would suggest..........but, my nennie said no

    I was randomly and excessively adding purple up to the tank in an attempt to make it awesome.

    Imagine pouring a single of brandy, you dont measure it to XXml in a separate container and be specific, you jus plop a bit in a glass with one motion of the bottle and its about right.

    Thats how I dosed my 180L 7 week old system pretty much daily at no particular time, with a giant anemone just there and happy with its metal halide, any other additives i just so happened to be trying, plop away!
     
  20. MaximusZA

    MaximusZA

    Joined:
    13 May 2013
    Posts:
    234
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Houghton, Johannesburg
    Thanks @deadmeat2016

    I was petrified to get a nennie as everyone I have spoken to said stay away from them as a beginner. But if you get a couple things right and understand what they need ie. lighting and flow and how to feed them. You have given me hope :p
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
Recent Posts

Loading...
Similar Threads - Anemone debate really Forum Date
Tube anemone feeding Anemone's Wednesday at 18:28
[wtd] Green bubble tip anemone Wanted 25 Oct 2016
Anemone ID ID Needed 16 Oct 2016
How long to drip aclimate a sand anemone? Anemone's 4 Oct 2016
[wtd] Anemone Wanted 27 Sep 2016
Desperately looking for an inferno bubble tip anemone! General Discussions and Advice 26 Sep 2016
Anemone Id confirmation ID Needed 25 Sep 2016