Many aquarists who have Clownfish desire to experience the Clownfish/Anemone relationship in their own tanks. In their haste, many of them try to simply add an Anemone to their Fish Only or Fish Only With Live Rock tank in the belief that the anemone will do well. All too often, the advice given to prospective anemone owners is: "give them some light, an occasional piece of shrimp and they'll do fine." Unfortunately, this is a recipe for disaster.
During 1994-1996, about 100 hobbyists who had experience keeping Clownfish-hosting anemones filled out survey forms posted on CompuServe FishNet on the internet. The results were:
- Less than 2 years experience: 46% of anemones dead after 3 1/2 months
- 2 to 5 years experience: 40% of anemones dead after 11 1/2 months
- 5+ years of experience: 27% of anemones dead after 14 months
- Only one out of every 18 anemones in the survey survived in captivity for 3 years.
- Only 1 in 36 reached 5 years in captivity.
There are about 1,000 species of anemones, only about 10 are considered natural hosts for Clownfish. For those who insist on trying their hand at keeping an anemone, they might want to choose one of the "least fragile" species:
- Bubble Tip Sea Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor)
- Corkscrew Tentacle or Long Tentacle Sea Anemone (Marcodactyla doreensis) or
- Haddon's (Saddle Carpet) Sea Anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni).
Symptoms of an anemone that is "not in the best of health" (read: Sick) are:
- Torn base,
- Open or loose mouth.
- Deflated tentacles.
- White tentacles (indicates loss of zooxanthallae).
- Unattached base (free-floating in the tank).
- Not eating.
- Not sticky to the touch.
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