Most hobbyists start their journey into marine fishkeeping with a Clownfish. These colorful saltwater fish found fame in the Captain Nemo film, are easy to keep, relatively cheap to buy, and full of personality.
Clownfish are happiest when in a symbiotic relationship with a sea anemone, and Bubble-Tip anemones can make the perfect host for the fish. These hardy anemones are beautiful to look at and relatively easy to care for, making them ideal for first-time anemone owners.
To learn more about the beautiful Bubble-Tip anemone, including its ideal tank conditions, feeding, and more, keep reading below!
Bubble Tip Anemone – At A Glance
|Bubble Tip Anemone Info|
|Scientific Name||Entacmaea quadricolor|
|Common Name (species)||Bubble-Tip anemone|
|Origin||Indo-Pacific Ocean, specifically the Red Sea and Samoa|
|Lifespan||5 to 10 years in the aquarium|
|Minimum Tank Size||50 gallons|
|Temperature Range||75° to 80° F|
|Water Hardness||8 – 10 dKH|
|pH Range||8.1 to 8.4|
|Compatibility||Various Clownfish species, other peaceful reef-dwellers|
Bubble-tip anemones, scientifically known as Entacmaea quadricolor, are fascinating marine invertebrates that belong to the Actiniidae family.
These vibrantly colored creatures are found in various regions of the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, including the east coast of the Red Sea, parts of Southeast Asia, and Australia.
These anemones are generally found in shallow coral reefs with moderate water movement and plenty of sunlight, where they attach themselves to solid surfaces, such as coral substrate or rocks.
Bubble-tip anemones have a very distinctive appearance with a round base and elongated, bubble-like tentacles for which the creatures are named. The anemones’ tentacles can be various shades of pink, green, purple, or brown, often with contrasting stripes that add to this stunning invert’s beauty.
These beautiful anemones can grow to reach a size of around 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter, although some wild specimens and those kept in very large tanks are known to grow larger under optimal conditions.
In a well-maintained aquarium, these anemones can live for several years, although much longer life spans have been reported for wild specimens. However, the anemone’s life expectancy can depend on the individual’s health and the quality of the care it receives.
Bubble-tip anemones have an intriguing tendency to wander around an aquarium until they find a location that suits them. Unfortunately, when the anemone is on the move, it can blunder into and sting corals and other invertebrates in the process.
While the anemone is on its travels, it can wander into dangers, including overflow and pump intakes, which can suck in the anemone and potentially kill it.
For that reason, we recommend keeping your Bubble-tip anemone in a single species tank with its clownfish or introducing it to a new system first where it can settle into a preferred niche before you add other invertebrates to the mix.
In addition, you can protect your Bubble-Tip from overflow and pump intakes by screening them off in case the anemone goes walkabout.
Compatibility and Tankmates
Bubble-Tip anemones have specific compatibility requirements to thrive in an aquarium, including forming a symbiotic relationship with certain species of clownfish, including the Ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and the Percula clownfish (Amphiprion percula).
That unique relationship benefits both parties in that the anemones protect the fish from predators while benefiting from the fish’s food scraps and constant cleaning.
Aside from the clownfish, small, non-aggressive species that won’t harass or damage the anemone are the best choice, so a few suitable tank mates for Bubble-Tip anemones can include peaceful reef-safe fish, such as gobies, dartfish, and firefish.
Fish to Avoid
Fish species that you should avoid keeping with Bubble-tip anemones include large, predatory species that are known to nip at corals or anemones and those that might try to make a meal of the clownfish hosted by the anemone.
What to Feed Bubble-Tip Anemones
Bubble-tip anemones are photosynthetic, meaning that they can receive a large portion of their nutritional requirements from the symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) living within their tissues.
However, Bubble-tip anemones also need supplemental feeding to keep them in the best health.
What About Live Foods?
You can feed your anemones various meaty foods, including small pieces of fish, shrimp, squid, or other suitable marine protein sources.
In addition, many aquarists like to feed their Bubble-tip anemones commercially available pellets and frozen foods formulated explicitly for anemones and corals.
How Much and How Often to Feed Bubble-Tip Anemones
I recommend feeding your Bubble-tip anemone two to three times per week and offering small portions of food to avoid overfeeding (which can lead to water quality issues).
Providing your Bubble-Tip anemone with an optimal environment is essential for its health and longevity.
Ideally, you want a large reef tank setup of at least 50 gallons to accommodate a Bubble-Tip anemone and its symbiotic clownfish comfortably.
To keep your livestock, including invertebrates and corals, healthy, you will need a reliable biological filtration system to maintain good water quality in your aquarium.
Bubble-tip anemones can be highly sensitive to changes and fluctuations in water parameters, so it’s critical to maintain a stable, clean environment
Bubble-tip anemones are a tropical species that require a water temperature of between 75°F and 80°F (24°C to 27°C).
The water salinity should be 1.023 to 1.025 specific gravity, with a pH level of between 8.1 and 8.4 and water hardness of 8 to 10 dKH.
Ammonia and nitrite should be undetectable, and nitrates should be at very low levels, ideally below 20 ppm.
Phosphate should be less than 0.03 ppm, and magnesium, calcium, and alkalinity should be maintained at appropriate levels for your corals’ health.
Bubble-Tip anemones need moderate to high-intensity lighting in the fish tank to support their symbiotic algae, and reef-specific LED lights or T5 fluorescent fixtures can work very well for this purpose.
You will need to carry out regular water changes of around 10 to 20% of the total tank volume every two to four weeks to maintain the water quality and get rid of accumulated nutrients.
At the same time, take care to remove any uneaten food or general detritus from the aquarium before it has a chance to rot and pollute the water.
A very important part of your regular aquarium maintenance routine should include testing water parameters. You can do this with a reliable aquarium water test kit to keep an eye on the levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, alkalinity, and pH levels.
Keeping these parameters stable helps maintain all your livestock’s health, including the Bubble-tip anemone and the overall tank ecosystem.
Health and Disease
Bubble-tip anemones are generally pretty hardy creatures if you keep them in suitable conditions. However, they can be susceptible to stress-related problems, such as bleaching, which happens when the water conditions aren’t optimal.
Monitor the anemones closely for signs of distress, including shrinking, closed tentacles, or unusual color changes, and address any issues right away.
Bubble-tip anemones can reproduce asexually, typically by longitudinal fission, which involves the anemone splitting itself into two separate individuals.
However, that is a very slow process and doesn’t happen often in the captive home aquarium environment.
Availability and Price
Bubble-tip anemones are readily available in the aquarium trade from good marine specialist stores and online suppliers, although prices tend to vary depending on the size, color, and location of the specimen you want.
Small specimens are generally cheaper, while unusual and unique color variants will be more expensive. We encourage you to buy captive-bred Bubble-tip anemones to support sustainable practices and reduce the impact on wild populations of harvesting for the trade.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to keeping the beautiful Bubble-tip anemone. If you did, please take a moment to share the article before you go!
Bubble-tip anemones are captivating marine organisms known for their striking appearance and symbiotic relationship with clownfish. These anemones are pretty straightforward to keep in a modest-sized reef tank with a few peaceful fish and some corals, provided you maintain your tank correctly and carry out regular cleaning and maintenance to keep the ecosystem healthy.