Reference - Heteractis Type Anemones
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Heteractis Type Anemones

by Albert J Thiel


Heteractis anemomes are part of the very large Sea Anemone class (family) of animals. Over 1100 varieties of anemones, species I should say, have been identified when I last checked the data. Few of them have been described in great detail though and classified. Many more have not been identified and classified at all. This is not surprising given the number of different types of anemones one can find across the oceans, considering that anemones are found in cold, temperate and tropical waters around the world in all oceans.

The Heteractis variety has been described in quite some detail in specialized literature but, unfortunately, this kind of literature rarely makes it into the hobby magazines. Heteractis anemones are a common variety in the hobby, making the subject a a good topic for a lengthy article that goes into much greater detail than what you normally find in magazines or books.

This is especially helpful since many hobbyists wish to maintain these types of anemones in their aquariums but often have problems with long time survival. This article attempts to bring you as much information as possible, to enable you to maintain these anemones under the best of conditions, thus extending their life in your aquarium.

Keeping anemones (in general, not just Heteractis types) is not as simple as hobbyists used to think, hence this article with plenty of information on how do do so, and what they require. We hope that you learn from it and that your animals will do better as a result of it.

We welcome feedback at any time. If you have questions after having read this article please send them to me. You can email to: Feedback on Anemones

Heteractis Anemones are quite common in the Hobby and are considered one of the most favorite anemones hobbyists seem to want to add to their aquariums. Carpet Anemones, of the Stichodactyla type, come in as a close second but are not discussed in this article.

These Pacific varieties anemones are not inexpensive but are easy to find and come by. Most pet stores that deal in corals and invertebrates will usually stock them most of the time, and they may even have more than one variety in available for you to choose from.

Of the ones mentioned H. malu is the also not difficult to find, but probably the one that hobbyists least look for. Indeed, it is not the most appealing one as we shall see later graphically. It is less expensive but not easier to care for.

In general, the most commonly made mistake is that hobbyists do not provide enough lighting energy for anemones. As a result their symbiotic algae start to die off and the anemone does not do well and slowly starts to show signs that are indicative of its possible demise. Real high amounts of lighting are necessary for all anemones. It is not unusual to have to provide 5 or more watts per gallon of water in the aquarium for them to do well. I realize that watts per gallon is not the best manner in which to express lighting intensity, but it certainly is one that hobbyists can relate to.

Another mistake that is often made is not feeding anemones. Most if not all anemones will fare much better when fed at least once or twice a week. Large specimens should be fed daily. Shrimp, scallop or mussel meat are what I have found to work best for Heteractis types. More on lighting and on feeding later though.

The photo below shows Heteractis magnifica with a purple base (probably a Sri Lankan variety) with many upper body folds. This is a large specimen as you can well imagine. This is an actual view of H. magnifica on the reef (not in an aquarium).

Several varieties are available and are all excellent for aquariums with invertebrates, although as we shall see, keeping them in a healthy condition is not an easy task.

Very often the anemome will do well for a few months and then starts to shrink. The anemone gets smaller and smaller, often exhibits odd behavior and does not do well overall. This can happen after a few weeks, but more than likely starts to happen after a few months.

This article gives you hints and methods on how to avoid this. We shall also look at the individual differences between these various types of Heteractis anemones later in this article. Note that this is not a beginner's anemone (Heteractis anemones, in general, are not recommended for beginning hobbyists).

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