Terrible Advice Tuesdays: The Easiest Starter Anemone For Your Saltwater Tank


Terrible Advice Tuesdays: Sebae Anemones (Heteractis crispa) are a great starter anemone for your saltwater tank.

The rest of the story: Sebae anemones are a very tempting anemone to keep as they come in a variety of colors and they mostly attach to where your sand meets your rock work – far from most sensitive SPS corals.

However, sebae anemones are difficult anemones to keep and should only be attempted by the advanced hobbyist who has a lot of free time to carefully watch and care for the animal. Getting the anemone to attach and settle in to your tank is the first big hurdle where most people fail. This step alone requires watching the anemone to make sure it doesn’t get blown away by the current, yet knowing when to move the anemone when it doesn’t appear comfortable. In other words, patience and a innate sense of when the animal needs your intervention and when it needs to handle the situation on its own.  Neither of these traits are ones I associate with newbie hobbyists.

I’ve also talked to several advanced saltwater aquarists and unfortunately there was no common advice on how to succeed with sebaes. For an animal to be easy to keep I can usually find at least some common ground for success amongst advanced saltwater aquarists. If you’re thinking about a sebae, go for a bubble tip (Entacmaea quadricolor) instead.

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Comments for this article (7)

  • mike says:

    Hey Mark. I just finished cycling my new 75g tank. I’m moving my clown and one chromis from my 55g that I screwed up using tap water, bad rock and a canister filter. The new tank I used BRS reef saver rock (because of the cost). What other fish would you recommend for a young tank? Thank you.

  • Anthony Peña says:

    Interestingly I got one as a hitchhiker when I bought my first rock when I lived in Japan, I had 2 low power T5s (it was my first tank a lot of fish did not survive the learning curve), and the seabed did amazing until I had to give it away when I moved. I guess its hit or miss.

  • Jason says:

    I’ve had good luck with my sebae. Was attached to rock when i bought almost 1 year ago, has doubled in size and has nevered tryed to move. Thus thing is close to 12″ in dia when fully open. This could be beginner’s luck, or luck of the irish!!! See what i did there… 🙂

  • Ry_Guy says:

    Mark I hear what you’re saying about BTA, but for me it was a long tentacle anemone that has been successful. I’ve had 3 BTA’s and all have died within 2 months but my LTA was the first and is now 3 years going strong. I just could not keep a RBTA or a GBTA alive to save my life, but my LTA is 14″ dia and living well.

  • bobby says:

    Hey Mark I no what you mean about them blowing away when I got my sebae it wouldnt attach to anything it was about 6 inch diameter and bleached no colour whatever I let it tumble around for a day to see if it would attach to something in the end I put a rock on it on the glass it attached to the glass left it for about a week then it moved itself iv had it about a year now my common clowns host it and it around 14 inch diameter

  • Melody Miller says:

    Why is the bubble anemone easier?

  • Melody…bubble tip anemones are hardier and therefore easier to care for.

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