Those under this heading are often used to host clownfishes, or serve as interesting centerpieces for some aquariums. Either way, they are often large, and require well-lighted and at least 100 gallon systems to adequately maintain.
Clownfish domination of host anemones is simply nature's way of providing a place for their survival. In the wild, very large anemones can be found with hundreds of different types of clownfish living in a symbiotic relationship with "their" anemone. With lots of anemones to go around in the wild, the living conditions are quite different than in the aquarium. With only one anemone in the aquarium, the strongest clownfish will dominate and weaker ones will be driven out. If all the clownfish are added at the same time there is a better chance they will all settle down and live together in the same anemone. I find long tentacle Pacific anemones are by far the best choice for keeping clownfish happy and healthy. However, keep in mind the anemone must be of sufficient size, i.e., at least 5 inches (12.5 cm) across, or the clownfish may cause such disturbance that the anemone is unable to feed itself.
Two of the best publications to view most of the anemones of interest are: "Field Guide to Anemonefishes and their Host Sea Anemones" by Daphne Fautin and Gerald Allen, and "Sea Anemones...as a hobby" by U. Erich Friese.
When it comes to selecting anemones, always make sure their coloration is very good, their central orifice is not misshaped, the foot area and tentacles are sticky, and that the shop clerk does not damage the foot area when removing it from the store tank. Many of the more popular anemones need good lighting intensity to survive, i.e., 4 - 6 watts per gallon. As for water temperature, that's generally in the 75 - 82įF (24 - 27įC) range unless noted differently below, with salinity between 1.024 - 1.027. Also, good water movement is usually a key component for long-term success.
As for feeding, small pieces of silversides, shrimp, krill, and fresh fish flesh, and/or whole fishes fed once to three times a week mostly suffice. Place the food morsel on the tentacles or near the central orifice. Only one anemone per tank is recommended unless the aquarium is over 100 gallons in size. And, keep in mind aggressive stony corals such as Euphyllia and Galaxea with long sweeper tentacles and large soft coals such as leather corals that compete for space with chemicals are not good tankmates.
Host anemones of great interest are the bubbletip Entacmaea quadricolor, or the more erect column anemone Heteractis magnifica, as are the long tentacle anemones, Macrodactyla doreensis, and what are called carpet anemones with even longer tentacles, e.g., Stichodactyla mertensii, Stichodactyla haddoni, Stichodactyla gigantea. There are also some other sea anemones of interest, and those are included below.
Please click on the species you are interested in viewing.
Suitable for Reef Aquariums
NOT Suitable for Reef Aquariums
Suitable for Fish-Only Aquariums
NOT Suitable for Fish-Only Aquariums
Avoid this nuisance species!