Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): Feel Free To Move Nemo’s House

Terrible Advice Tuesdays: If an anemone hides behind/in/underneath a rock, remove the anemone and put it somewhere back in the light.

The Rest of the Story: Anemones have any number of reasons for placing themselves where they do. Some hide due to stress, others hide when they are about to divide. Others place themselves what seems to be horrible places, when in reality they are just checking out a new position in your tank. They might like the “horrible” place just fine even if you don’t!

If your anemone is hiding in the dark, don’t remove it and place it somewhere else. Let it decide on its own where it wants to be, and then leave it alone. Remove the anemone could cause it undue stress or worse, damage it.

The exception to the rule is long tentacle anemones (Macrodactyla doreensis). These anemones aren’t mobile like other anemones. Long Tentacle anemones rely on currents to move them around your tank. Therefore, if your long tentacle anemone gets stuck in a dark place, leave it there for 3-4 days to see if it buries its foot in the sand. If it doesn’t attach itself in the sand, move it to a higher light place where your rock work and sand meet.

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Comments for this article (11)

  • Joseph Jamison says:

    I have always used a powerhead nudge anemones to move when they moved into a place that was out of the light. In the past when I did not do this they just died.

  • Jesse says:

    How well do anemones get along with soft corals?

  • Dave says:

    Anemone have always done me nuts because of that moving biz. I’d like to train them to sit on top of Aiptasia instead of my prized zoas…

  • jasonandsarah says:

    Bubble tip anemones seem to be the best anemone at moving to a good spot and staying put. I agree with you completely though that if they move somewhere there’s normally a reason and they’ll come back out when they are ready!
    I have a rbta that stays just under an overhang and when the lights come on it pops it’s body out just sat enough to get it’s daily light and away it goes, at lights out every night
    I’ve also had my other anemone split and one half will disappear for a week or so and come back out when it’s ready.
    The one thing I don’t agree with is the love/hate anemone vs coral. I love my bta’s but I also love my corals equally. I’ve personally had a few anemones and currently have 3 bta’s right now with a full stock of sps, Lps and zoa’s/palys and a few other select softies. I’ve had corals kill corals or fight amongst each other. But never had an anemone kill or even damage a coral. Knock knock. Sorry superstitious lol

  • James says:

    My RBTA stayed put for about a year and then disappeared. About a week later I saw it popping out the back of the rock work. After close inspection, the anemone split.

    I’m looking to setup a biocube and want to use one of the RBTAs from my large tank. I’ve heard of using an ice cube to massage the foot so that the anemone will release from the rock. Is that Terrible advice??? What would be the best way to get the new nem off the rocks and into a new home?

  • Lisa says:

    I love my 3 rose bubble tips – they add beauty and movement to my 75 gallon reef. Also, where would my pink clowns reside without my BTAs? LOL. I am fortunate that they have remained fixed for some time now. Like jasonandsarah stated above, they like to retract to their “crags” when lights go out and “bloom” when the lights come back on. The only time I get concerned is when there is a split, the newbie starts looking for a home – I end up swapping the newbie for a new coral frag before any damage is done.

    I must say, I love Terrible Tuesdays; I cannot believe some of the advise I read online. Thanks Mark and keep up the great service!

  • Richard says:

    My bubble tip has lived happily under a rock ledge near the top of my tank for the past five years or so… it stays out of reach of the corals I have in the tank, so I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I couldn’t say I love the anemone more than the corals… I simply couldn’t imagine a saltwater tank without both.

    However, visitors are always amazed and impressed first by the anemone rather than the corals. It puts on an impressive display, and they stare at it mesmerized for ages before they start taking in the corals. When I added a tank-bred percola clown to the tank, the vendor warned that it wouldn’t bond to the anemone, but it did after only a few days, and now spends most of its time snuggled right in the middle of it.

    Since I only have a 25 gallon tank, I do have to remove any clones though… once there were six of them at once. I tried the ice-cube method, but it didn’t work for me (even the fancy ones in plastic shapes). I was most successful using a small, flexible plastic crafting spatula, that I could gently leverage underneath the anemone’s foot without causing any damage. Fortunately, there are two aquarium stores in my town that will take the little ones, so I don’t have to toss them.

  • Rob says:

    I have found the best way to move a Nem is taking a turkey Baster to the foot. Squirt the water at the outer edge and it released the foot, keep doing this till half the foot is up the gently peal the rest back. No damage to the Nem and you can relocate to a new home. I myself have had bubble tips while out sps colonies while I was at work.

  • NATRAJAN says:

    Hi Mark

    I have a mature reef tank now and most of my rock is covered by corals. There is some space though. is there a risk that if i introduce an anemeno it will attach itself on a coral or alternatively not find place and do something stupid like attaching it self on the glass to a powerhead etc.?


  • ice says:

    Thanks fօr sharing your thoughts about sea anemone. Reցards

  • David says:

    Hi thanks for the advice, I just got my first bt a and didn’t realise how fast he could move and hide ! Dave , Northern Ireland

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