Likely Reef Tank Suitable
Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable
Range: Tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean and Red Sea
Natural Environment: These photosynthetic anemones are often found in dense colonies living along shallow clear water reefs where gentle water motion exists. In these locations their individual sizes are somewhat small, however, in slightly deeper areas where less light penetrates, they are found singly in larger sizes. They almost always have their foot firmly planted between rocks or other types of firm substrates. Generally found in varying shades of orange-red.
General Husbandry: Of all the available sea anemones in the trade for hosting Clownfishes, this is among the best, if not the best! In fact, it’s known to host 13 clownfish species. Indo-Pacific species are said to form symbiotic relationships with Amphiprion ephippium, A. frenatus, A. melanopus, A. chrysopterus and Premnas biaculeatus. Those off the coast of Australia form symbiotic relationships with A. akindynos, A. mccullochi and A. rubrocinctus. Those in the Red Sea are hosts to A. bicinctus, and in the Indian Ocean it serves as host to A. allardi and A. clarkii.
Its almost always available in the trade, both from the wild or captive bred specimens, and is hardy and generally very easy to maintain. As noted above this species is photosynthetic and found in shallow areas in the wild, therefore, it needs excellent lighting (PAR 300 - 450) such as that from metal halides or fluorescents such as VHO or T-5’s, and/or excellent quality LED's, and gentle flow areas, with its initial placement best if placed between narrowly spaced rocks. Once settled in, they will move on their own to better locations if so desired and stay there as long as conditions suit them.
As to feeding, pieces of shrimp, clam meat, fresh marine fish flesh should be placed close to their central mouth area where in will be drawn in with the help of their tentacles and consumed. One feeding per week will suffice.
As for reproduction, this species is capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction. Both males and females exist in the wild and at the right times, sperm and eggs are released into the water column. After fertilization, they develop into larvae where some settle on the bottom to develop into adult anemones. In aquaria they reproduce asexually via longitudinal fission (cloning). There seems to be some history in asexual reproduction occurring after the specimen has experienced some sort of stress, e.g., major drop or rise in specific gravity, poor water quality, or being subjected to low or too intense light. It should go without saying that water quality is also important, and would keep its parameters similar to those in high quality reef aquaria, e.g., Calcium 380 - 430 mg/l, Alkalinity 3.5 meq/l, pH 8.1 - 8.2, Phosphate <0.015 mg/l, Specific Gravity 1.024 - 1.026, and a temperature range of 74 to 82°F (23 - 27°C).
The cause of its bulbous tips is still not resolved, but Delbeek and Sprung (1997) believe light intensity is the main factor for their shape.
This species can get quite large, e.g., more that 15 inches (37.5 cm), therefore prefer to have it added, even if originally quite small, before the aquarium is stocked with different corals, as it can harm them when clawing over them, especially small-polyped stony (sps) corals. It would really be better to allow this anemone to establish itself before adding sps corals to the aquarium. Finally, it can be kept with or without clownfish, although in the wild, clownfish do protect the anemone from predators.
When shopping for this species it may be necessary to purchase the whole rock it’s attached to, so as not to damage it when trying to remove it. Although, my local shop places some ice cubes in a plastic sandwich bag and holds it near the anemone until it frees itself. Seems to work well!