By Bob Goemans
Site Supported in Part by:

Family Stichodactylidae

Heteractis aurora

(Quoy & Gaimard, 1833)

Sand Anemone, Beaded Anemone, Aurora Anemone

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Red Sea to Eniwetok Atoll of Japan and south to Mauritius.

Size: 10 inches (25 cm)

Natural Environment: Lives singly in rocky crevices and on sandy/gravel bottom areas.

General Husbandry: Needs a deep bed of sand, >4 inches (10 cm) and strong lighting, along with one feeding per week of chopped fish flesh and/or shrimp meat.

One of the most easily recognized anemones because of its beadlike swellings on its tentacles, which are about 2 inches (5 cm) long).

There are relatively few tentacles when compared to other species in this genus, and most of its disc is exposed and its surface often has white radiating lines and its tentacles can be greenish, brownish, creamy or purplish with light colored spots. Its column is sometimes pale, often with orange or red mottling nearer its foot area.

When disturbed, retracts fully into the substrate, where it's attached to a hard surface.


    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Cnidaria

    Class: Anthozoa

    Order: Actiniaria

    Family: Stichodactylidae

    Genus: Heteractis

FYI: Does fairly well in captivity and is reported to host seven different Anemonefishes in the wild - A. clarki, A. allardi, A. tricinctus, A. chrysopterus, A. akindynos, A. bicinctus, and A. chrysogaster.

Experience Level: Intermediate

Diet: Photosynthetic/Carnivore

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Coral Safe: With caution

Fish Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: Yes

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Hardiness: Difficult

Calcium (Ca): 380 - 430 mg/l

Alkalinity: 2.5 - 3.0 meq/l

Phosphate (PO4): <0.05 mg/l

Magnesium (Mg): approx. 1350 mg/l (relate to specific gravity)

Temperature Range: 72 - 79°F (22 - 26°C)

Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons

Lighting: PAR 300 - 450

Water Movement: WM 2

Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025

pH: 8.0 - 8.4

Iodine/Trace Elements: Monitor/as necessary to maintain quality seawater.

 Heteractis aurora (Sand Anemone, Beaded Anemone, Aurora Anemone)
Photo © Bob Fenner
Site Supported in Part by:
Champion Lighting and Supply