Bubble Tip Anemones are amazing flower-like sea creatures with vibrant colors, gorgeous tentacles and an unusual appearance. So, it’s no wonder why people want to add one to their home reef tank. They make a great accompaniment and provide hours of visual wonder.
But anemones are for more experienced aquarists than newcomers to the hobby. If you’re starting out, it is advisable that you do not begin with an anemone. They are very hard to care for and it is very likely they’ll die sooner than they should.
How do you introduce bubble tip anemone to a reef tank?
When acquiring an anemone, ensure it doesn’t have a damaged foot, a “barfing” oral cavity, or a loss of color. If it looks sick or questionable in any way, avoid bringing it home. Then, when you have it, it’s time to acclimate it to your tank.
Introducing a bubble tip anemone is a delicate business. You have to make sure your water parameters are perfect and you can’t throw the thing in right after getting it.
The first caution you should observe is the conditions of your tank. Do not add bubble tip anemone to a tank that’s less than six months old. This is because the pH balance is not yet established and needs time to stabilize.
The other important factor to understand is that all anemones are osmoconformers. They have a certain internal level of salinity to equal what’s in its surroundings. Anemones can regulate their inner concentrations of proteins, ions, and amino acids to match that of their environment. So, when attempting acclimation into your tank, you don’t want to shock its system.
What Not to Do
Some people mistakenly think that you have to drip water on them from your tank to acclimate them. Although it may seem like a sensible idea, it’s not. This will cause more problems and harm than doing anything good for the anemone.
Drip acclimation means you’re exposing your anemone to a painful experience by incremental pH fluctuation along with a toxic water conversion from ammonium into ammonia.
There are two popular methods for how to acclimate bubble tip anemone to your reef aquarium. One of which is a bit controversial, but it will depend on how you bring the sea creature home and from where.
Test the Waters
Place the bag or container your anemone is in against the tank, near the heat. This way you can keep it warm and get it used to the temperature of the tank itself. Test the water of the anemone’s temporary home and see how it fares against the conditions of your tank.
Getting It in the Tank
If the readings are within close range, you can place the bag or container into the water. Ensure the outer surface is clean before doing this to prevent water parameter disruption or introduction of foreign substances. An upset could hurt other living rocks, fish, and corals.
When in doubt, don’t float it in the water. Instead, add a cup of tank water into the bag two or three times over the course of 15 minutes. It’s important to get the bubble tip anemone out of its stressful environment and into a much better place as soon as possible.
If floating the bag into the tank, after about five to 10 minutes, make a slit in the side of the bag and allow the bubble tip to slide out on its own, letting the water within the vessel to mix with your tank water.
Things to Avoid
In both cases, you want to make sure there’s a smooth transition from the container and into the tank. You don’t want it to splash in or cause the anemone any damage once it enters. Make every effort to keep it out of the air.
What are the proper water parameters for a bubble tip anemone?
Once your anemone sufficiently acclimates to its new surroundings, you have to maintain the levels and parameters of the water. Regular partial changes of water will be crucial and full changes should rarely if ever, happen.
Here are the strict requirements that a bubble tip anemone needs to survive in your reef tank and you must adhere to them:
- Alkalinity – 8 to 12
- Gravity – 1.024 to 1.026 (give or take .01)
- pH Balance – 8.1 to 8.4
- Temperature – 78°F to 80°F
- Ammonia – 0 ppm
- Calcium – 350 to 450 parts per million (ppm)
- Iodine – 0.06 to 0.10 ppm
- Magnesium – 1250 to 1350 ppm
- Nitrate-Nitrogen – less than 1.0 ppm
- Nitrite – zero
- Phosphate – less than 0.2 ppm
- Strontium – 8 to 14 ppm
What if an anemone won’t stay in one place?
When your bubble tip anemone establishes itself in your tank, it will anchor its foot onto some kind of rock by itself. But, the best way to ensure they adhere to a rock you have specific for them, is to aim the anemone over the area when first introducing it into the aquarium.
But, if it fails to stay in one place, try putting a few extra rocks and gravel around their foot. They tend to go for texture and rock crevices, tucking their foot into the nooks and crannies of the ocean floor. So, you want to recreate this for them in your tank.
How soon will an anemone settle?
It shouldn’t take long for your bubble tip anemone to settle into its spot. Most will attach their foot within 30 minutes of acclimation. But this isn’t set in stone. Some anemones will take longer than others because of age, stress or other health issues. Or, they don’t like the rock you’ve chosen.
If your anemone isn’t settling and its concerning to you, try giving it other rocks or substrates for it to attach to. Make sure it’s out of the way of high water pressure and that it has plenty of nutrients.