How To Remove Sea Anemones

Sea anemones are easily my #1 saltwater tank invertebrate. I won’t lie – I like them more than coral!

Being that anemones are delicate creatures, there are right ways and wrong ways to remove them both of which I outline in this episode of Mr. Saltwater Tank TV.

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Comments for this article (24)

  • Tyson says:

    I have to say, I didn’t expect much from this video. But I was gladly surprised with some of the information. I liked the more personal view of some of the troubles that you might have with this process. And we all know that this hobby can make the most skilled of us feel like we just entered the hobby, so it was good in a humbling way to see that you have shared your own troubles with us. Thanks Mark.

  • Jimmy Stewart says:

    I have a black brittle starfish should i feed it or not

  • Paco says:

    my anemone doesnt want to move from the bottom of a rock, it moved for about 2 days and found its new home attached to the side of a small piece of rock. i dont like it cause i can appreciate it much and it looks like its half under the sand and half out. and it hasnt grown in 7 months that i had it. any ideas?

  • Brandon P says:

    Thanks for sharing, Mark.

  • BobbyReef says:

    your the man Marky Mark

  • Ed says:


    That was very informative. I would like to get a Rose Bubble Tip Anemone but I currently have 3 pieces of soft corals and was wondering would it be safe?


  • Jeanette B says:

    Your Red-Headed Step-Child is a savvy nem. She understands the value of “location, location, location”. Obviously she really liked that rock and was going to insist on staying attached at any cost! One question we each need to ask ourselves if we get the urge to move a nem is “Why do I really want to move this critter?” If it is just because it’d be cool to see how she looks on a different part of the reef, that’s not a good enough reason. Nems aren’t furniture so, IMO, only move them if it is absolutely necessary! If they are stinging your GSP or Zoas and the GSP or Zoas can’t be moved, that’s a good reason to try to move your anemone. If you are selling the tank that makes it absolutely necessary to move your nem(or your nem and her rock!!!). If the interior designer in you is jonesing for the esthetics and balance your reef would have if you moved that lovely critter elsewhere, slap your hand and leave that fragile but strong-willed anemone be!

  • Carrie says:

    How long do I need to wait to get a anenome?

  • ReefStinger says:

    Hello Mark , I enjoyed today’s video, my question is I have a LT anemone(10″ dia) and he has been in my old 110 gallon setup,in the sand under a rock for 9 mths never moved. I have transferred him and my other livestock/fish/corals into my new 160 gallon tank 2 weeks ago. I added 3″ fine sand (dry sand in the bottom of the new setup, sprinkled 8 lbs of the old seeded live sand/substrate over top of the new sand, moved and added the LR and some more from the old system to the new. He has moved around several times in the new setup. Tank parameters are still in check for 2 solid weeks . No problems. Is it true that you should never add any anemone into a newly cycled tank until it is 6 mths to a year old? Im guessing maybe needing nutrients out of the sand. I was thinking of moving him into my BB 75 gallon refugium tank and adding a BTA to the new system for my pair of clowns, they do not host a LT nem. Please give your best advice?? should i wait 6 mths or a year? how do people get away with throwing any anemone into a month old cycled tank?? without killing it? Thanks again for a great vid.

  • Lisa says:

    Hey Mark,
    Great video……lots of tips I hadn’t thought of; for the record my rose BTA has been with me since the beginning of my reef keeping. She’s been through hell and back for over 8 years, split a few times, and is by far my favorite specimen in the reef system. I’m lucky that she has always found an awesome spot for display and stays put! She’s big, beautiful, and by far the queen of my system.

  • Mark H. says:

    Thanks for the video Mark.

  • Brian Davis says:

    Well, I don’t know about you guys and gals, but once I was cleaning off stubborn Coraline near the sandbed and one of my Nems thought it would be funny to cast a line out and see if I’d snag the bait. Long story short, my index finger fell for the lure and one tentacle latched on the back of my finger!!

    As quickly as possible…must’ve been at least 2-3 seconds I ripped my hand outta the tank with a nasty sting! It stung for 3 days in fact! Now, I’m gun shy and I don’t go back into the water without nitrile gloves on board! (:

    Anybody else experience this or am I just being a sissy? (:

    I think back on that and wonder if the urea trick actually works?…guess I’ll never know (hopefully).
    Nice vid Mark!


  • Tlove says:

    Thanks, wished i had seen that tip earlier 🙂

  • JASON says:

    Thanks Mark, this was great information. Next time my anemone becomes an annoyance, i’ll keep this video in mind

  • Fritz Panganiban says:

    I love this show that gives comprehensive information regarding saltwater aquarium care.

  • Fritz Panganiban says:

    Complements to you Mark

  • Lisa…congrats on the successful keeping of your RBTA. She sounds like quite the trooper!

  • Carrie…I recommend waiting 6 months after you start your tank. Of course, make sure you have strong lighting and good water parameters when you decide to add the anemone.

  • Ed…if the anemone parks itself next to the corals, it could sting and potentially damage them. That being said, just because you have corals in your tank, I wouldn’t hesitate to add an anemone.

  • Matt says:

    Great vid… Really enjoyed that… 😀 No Nem for me till the big tank arrives… I don’t fancy trying to move it from the 500ltr tank I have to a bigger one when its going to need to cycle!

  • JonP says:

    Another method I have found works every time is vibration. Discovered when I had an anemone that parked on the tank overflow weir comb and I twanged the comb and it detached really easily. Bit harder on a rock, but I have done it twice by putting an old out of balance powerhead against the rock to vibrate it. The anemone hates it and will detach quickly.

  • Brian Davis says:

    @ JonP

    That is very clever! I can think of many appliances to accomplish this! I’m going to try it next time! Ha! I bet everything In the tank wants to move when you do this…hilarious…and clever, love it!

    Excellent discussion Mark!

  • Ich and Fish says:

    Great Video Mark! A lot of helpful information here 🙂

  • Chris Hyder says:

    Thanks Mark! I have used the power head trick with some luck in the past think I’ll try that again. I have two huge anemones and one small one, think I’ll keep just the smaller one as the two large ones dominate the tank and are crowding out other corals. Hate to loose two beautiful showpieces! I would love it if you had a forum just for us members to buy, trade or sell from each other.

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