17 Types of Sea Anemone

What are Saltwater Anemones? What are the Different Types of Anemones? What are the Characteristics of Sea Anemones?

Sea anemones are beautiful on sight and especially if kept in aquariums as show pieces. You might even find some in swanky restaurant aquariums for display. Many nature lovers become curious about them, but the real question is, can we really keep them in our home aquariums? If yes, what types of sea anemone are the most favorable ones? Worry not, as today we’ll be going to answer these questions of yours in this article. We will be sharing all the details about the different types of sea anemone which can be found in the deep sea saltwater beds. But before proceeding to the list, let’s first gather slight info about the saltwater anemone.

A. What are Saltwater Anemones?

These terrestrial blooming plants come under the order Actiniaria. These marine predators are known for their vibrant look. These vibrant-colored species are related to tube-dwelling anemones, corals, jellyfish, and Hydra. But the difference between sea anemones and jellyfish is the medusa stage of jellyfish’s life cycle. A sea anemone typically consists of a single polyp with a central mouth and a ring of tentacles connected to a hard surface by its base. But some species dwell in soft silt and some float close to the water’s surface.

The most well known types of sea anemone coexist alongside other creatures, such as tiny fish, hermit crabs, or other creatures. The reproduction takes place in the following way:

  • The mouth releases sperm and eggs into the water to reproduce.
  • The resultant fertilized eggs grow into planula larvae.
  • After spending in the water column as plankton, they land on the seafloor.
  • Later, they begin to develop into juvenile polyps.

The asexual reproduction method of sea anemones involves splitting into two halves or smaller fragments that then regenerate into polyps. Types of sea anemone populations in some areas are in danger due to the trade in marine ornaments. 

B. What are the Characteristics of Saltwater Anemones?

The primary characteristics of sea anemones are:

  • Habitat: Sea anemones may be found in all seas. They are mostly found in shallow tropical seas. Also, they can be discovered living at depths of over 10,000 meters below the ocean’s surface.
  • Size: Anemones come in various sizes, with diameters ranging from 0.5 to 72 inches/6 feet (1.3–183 cm) for up to 1000 different species or varieties.

C. What are the Requirements to Maintain Saltwater Anemones in Tanks?

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Things to consider while maintaining sea anemones in tanks are:

  • Tank Size: The minimum suggested tank size for sea anemones is 100 gallons or a larger aquarium because they may expand up to 6 feet in diameter. Due to their great fragility, they require unique tank conditions to live.
  • Temperature: Their water must be maintained at 72–86 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Additional Requirement: Additionally, you want a powerful and reliable filtration system to keep the water flowing steadily. This will avoid the accumulation of trash or silt. Ensure your tank is set up correctly in addition to these fundamental requirements.
  • Diet: The plankton, crabs, tiny fish, jellyfish, shrimp, starfish, and krill are the most typical sorts of food that anemones eat. However, some anemone species only consume algae or debris as part of their diet. Ensure you have adequate food on hand if your species of sea anemone only consume fish or shrimp.

D. What are the Types of Sea Anemone?

Let’s now start mentioning the types of sea anemone one by one:

1. Pink-Tipped Anemone

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Condylactis gigantea, often known as pink-tipped anemone, was once known as Condylactis passiflora and is one of the most well-known types of sea anemone and widely accessible saltwater anemones in the aquarium trade. Pink-tipped anemone is typically gathered within Florida.

Other names for this anemone include

  • Florida Condylactis anemone
  • Florida pink-tipped anemone
  • Florida condy
  • Florida Condi Anemone
  • Purple passion flower
  • Hybrid passion flower
  • Passionflower

The requirements to maintain pink-tipped anemone are:

  • Since it’s taken from chilly waters, these pink-tipped types of sea anemones need less food in the aquarium than the Condylactis Anemone.
  • It prefers colder temperatures of 68–75°F (20 to 24°C). Hence, a chiller atmosphere is required to keep it in reef tanks in hotter regions.
  • It may grow to be large. Therefore, it requires a lot of room to expand. Though its body is the size of a tennis ball, its tentacles can reach a length of six feet. It may heighten to around 20” when completely inflated. Therefore, an adult pink-tipped anemone requires at least a tank of 50 gallons.
  • This type of anemone requires intense light to thrive.
  • To sting their food and repel attacks, they have nematocysts in their tentacles containing toxic cells. So, ensure that you give your tank mates some time to get used to each other, and you’ll have lifelong buddies.

Lifespan: 80 years – Some anemones have been known to survive in captivity for 80 years and to live for hundreds of years in their natural habitat. (See Are Sea Anemones Plants or Animals?)

2. Adhesive Sea Anemone

It has a distinctive pizza-like or carpet-like appearance and is one of the known types of sea anemone which make it simple to recognize. It resembles a thick-crust pizza or a carpet with a binding around the edge with these bright colors. They have powerful stinging cells and highly sticky tentacles. They are popularly known by the name:

  • Nap-edged anemone
  • Pizza anemone
  • Pizza sea anemone
  • Adhesive carpet anemone

It has multicolored combinations, including brown and green, pink and yellow, gray and purple, and blue and gray. Sometimes, the oral disc has patches of a third color. 

  • They need a larger tank of more than 75 gallons with strong water movement.
  • They require moderate lighting and a temperature of 72–78 F.
  • The pH level of the water should be 6.0–8.0 and a salinity of up to 5%.

Longevity: 80 years – Although the exact lifespan is unclear, some anemones have been known to survive for 80 years or longer in captivity and hundreds of years in the wild. (See What is The Relationship between Water Clarity and Urchin Survival?)

3. Tube Anemone

Image by Светлана from Pixabay

The types of sea anemone also known as tube-dwelling anemone are best suited for an aquarium display since it is both vibrant and resilient. This anemone has a diameter of 8” (20 cm) with tentacles of a maximum of 12” (30.5 cm) in length. Its body is cylindrical, long, and velvety.

  • It would be best to keep tube anemone in a large tank of more than 50 gallons. They are active predators. Therefore, to keep your tankmates safe from stinging tentacles, make sure to give them plenty of space.
  • This anemone can live in conditions with a wide variety of temperatures, dim illumination, and mild filtration.

100-year lifespan – Although their lifespan is unclear, tube anemones that were first brought into Naples’ aquarium when it opened have survived for more than a century. (See 45 Types of Fish)

4. Beaded Sea Anemone

Image by Jag Garcia from Pixabay

These beautiful types of sea anemones are known for their distinctive beaded tentacles. The beaded sea anemone ranges from gray-green to chestnut-brown. More interestingly, this anemone is home to seven distinct species of clownfish. Being a temporary residence for juvenile clownfish, it is known as a nursery anemone. They typically range in size from 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) and can grow up to 10 inches (25.40 cm).

  • It lives longer in tanks if you give it a deep sand bed and good lighting.
  • Always avoid placing it with fish, invertebrates, or anemones.

Lifespan: 80 years – They are believed to live longer in their habitat. (See Are Sand Dollars Rare?)

5. Saddle Carpet Anemone

These are one of the famous and beautiful types of sea anemones, found in bright green, reddish-orange, pale green, gray, or even stripes. Other common names for this anemone are:

  • Haddon’s sea anemone
  • Saddle carpet anemone
  • Saddle carpet sea anemone
  • Haddoni carpet anemone
  • Haddon’s saddle carpet anemone
  • Sand anemone
  • Saddleback carpet anemone
  • Sea carpet

The organism’s size is 32.0 inches (81.28 cm). It has the appearance of a plush carpet.

  • It enjoys strong water currents and established systems.
  • It has to be maintained in a tank of more than 75 gallons.
  • It needs high-intensity light.

Age range: Exactly how long they live is uncertain. They are believed to live for a century in their natural habitat but for 80 years in captivity. (See What are Main Habitats of Plants?)

6. Knobbly Anemone

Knobbly anemone has a diameter of fewer than 2.5 inches and 8-inch long tentacles. It can be found in any color. Red, brown, orange, yellow, purple, gray, and white are some of these. It has no sticky parts compared to other types of anemones. It is also known as a mushroom sea anemone or a rock anemone.

The requirements to maintain knobbly anemones are uncertain since people don’t prefer to grow them in captivity due to their predatory nature. Their lifespan is still unclear. Must read What are the Adaptations of Fish?

7. Bubble Tip Anemone

Image by Giustiliano Calgaro from Pixabay

Among the types of sea anemone, it is best suited for a big tank. Thirteen species of clownfish will reside on the bubble-tip anemone. Their tentacles can expand to make an appealing bulbous or pear-shaped protrusion. They’ve got the following common names:

  • Bulb anemone
  • Bulb tip anemone
  • Bulb tentacle anemone

They have long and stringy tentacles. They grow up to 12.0 inches (30.48 cm).

  • They require a tank of 30 gallons.
  • They need high-intensity light.

Lifespan: 100 years – They may live for a longer time in their natural habitat. (See Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Pet)

8. Starburst Anemone

Image by MaggieScienceConnect from Pixabay

This lone-dwelling anemone is the most common identity of starburst or sunburst anemone. This is a good option for your aquarium tank if you want a big and colorful anemone. The tentacles are 20 inches in diameter with a light purple color.

It needs high-flow filters or pumps because they prefer moderate water flow rates.

Age range: 60 to 80 years. (See What Fish does Caviar come from?)

9. Beadlet Anemone

Image by Светлана from Pixabay

An aquarist usually buys the beadlet anemone since it is more frequently available. This saltwater anemone has several shades of tan, brown, purple, green, and orange. It still often has a consistent blood-red tint. Some of the common names are:

  • European sea anemone
  • Red sea anemone
  • Horse anemone
  • African Beadlet Anemone

The average size of these sea anemones is 1.9”–2.75” (3–4.5 cm). They reproduce through internal reproduction.

  • It needs a tank of 20 gallons to maintain.
  • It has to be given the proper care and food.

Lifespan: 80 years. (See What plants live in the ocean?)

10. Curlique Anemone

Image by Lluís Gimeno Giménez from Pixabay

It is simple to maintain and reproduce fast. They are all dark or tan in color. These anemones have slender, long tentacles. Usually, the tentacles are far-reaching, ringed, or speckled. The sea anemone has a base of 8–12” (20–30 cm) in diameter. This anemone has amusing names like curly-cue anemone or curly Q anemone.

  • Keep other invertebrates out of their reach.
  • They are easy to maintain.

Lifespan: 80 years (See How Big Is the Biggest Whale)

11. Christmas Anemone

It is a common cold water anemone from the North Pacific. The body of this anemone is contrasted by stripes or asymmetrical patches in pale orange to reddish-brown color. The oral disc has a delicate white or yellow tone, whereas red radial bands around each tentacle’s base and the mouth are crimson in color. Other popular names are:

  • Painted anemone
  • Painted urticina
  • Mottled anemone
  • Christmas sea anemone
  • Northern red anemone
  • Dahlia anemone
  • Thick-petaled rose anemone
  • Painted Tealia
  • Red and green anemone

Its average size is approximately 10” (25 cm) wide of crown and 3” (7.6 cm) in diameter column.

  • It would be best to invest in a chiller before getting one.
  • It does not need any special lightning.

Lifespan: 80 years. Also, check out Where do Animals get Nitrogen from?

12. Corkscrew Anemone

Image by M W from Pixabay

The corkscrew anemone is 19 inches long and has brownish red to orange with noticeable white dots on its foot. This anemone is referred to by various common names:

  • Sand anemone
  • Red base anemone
  • Long tentacle red base anemone
  • Corkscrew long tentacled anemone
  • Snaky sea anemone

The requirements to maintain a corkscrew anemone are:

  • It requires a four-foot tank.
  • Fine sand and intense light are more sufficient for this type of anemone.
  • Do not purchase a bleached or artificially colored anemone.

Lifespan: Although it is uncertain, they can live up to 80 years in captivity. (See Is a Mushroom a Producer?)

13. Mini Carpet Anemone

Mini carpet anemones are the most prevalent species for nano reef aquariums. They grow up to 3 inches across at their widest point. They have flat bodies and strong stings. They are mobile and mostly have sticky tentacles. Its size accounts from 2–3 inches usually.

  • You need to feed them often if maintained in low-light circumstances. Additionally, more feeding stimulates them to put on weight, so they can split to reproduce.
  • It needs a tank of 50 gallons at a temperature of 25–28 C.

Lifespan: They can live up to 80 years in captivity. (See How Big is the Biggest Octopus?)

14. Rock Flower Anemone

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Rock flower anemone is a popular aquarium fish and is native to Japan. These anemones are found in dull gray, green, red, and blue. A fully grown anemone has a diameter of around 4 inches (10 cm).

  • They prefer high light levels.
  • They need a medium water flow.
  • You should keep aggressive species away from your rock flower anemone since they could try to consume it.

They usually live for the general 80 years of age, like most anemones. (See Oldest Living Species Alive Today)

15. Sebae Anemone

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

The sebae anemone has exquisite blue, purple, and mauve tips on some of its tentacles. Mostly, tentacles will be white, violet, or green. The leathery sebae sea anemone and leather anemone are their common names. The word leather is due to its leathery appearance. The tentacles have nematocysts or poisonous cells to sting and ward off potential dangers or attacks. The organism’s size in inches is 12.0 inches (30.48 cm).

  • It is advised that only experienced aquarists try keeping this anemone because it frequently doesn’t perform well in captivity.
  • It is advised not to buy white anemones since it indicates that the anemone is unhealthy.
  • It requires a tank of more than 50 gallons.
  • The tank has to be maintained at a temperature of 65–80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • This type of anemone requires moderate lighting.

Duration of life: The length of their lives is unknown. Certain anemones may live for hundreds of years in the wild while reported to live for more than 80 years in captivity. (See What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Capture Mark-Recapture Method?)

16. Dahlia Anemone

One of the more well-known Urticina anemones is the dahlia anemone (Urticina felina). It is majorly found in Northern Europe’s British Isles. These cold-water anemones are found as deep as 656 feet (200 m). It may have up to 160 tentacles. The blotchy color helps them blend with their surroundings. This anemone may reach a maximum size of 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter.

  • Apply the same husbandry techniques of other cold water anemones for this dahlia anemone.
  • It would be best to buy a chiller since it demands a cold-water reef.

Lifespan: 80 years – but in captivity, their lifespan is likely to be lower. 

17. Ritteri Anemone

Image by M W from Pixabay

These types of sea anemones may grow up to 3.3 feet (1 m) in length when adequately cared for. Most individuals lack the necessary skills to properly maintain an aquarium of a suitable size for these types of sea anemones. It has a purple-to-green coloring. Eight years is the average lifespan.

  • They need clean water and intense illumination.
  • Additionally, the tank has to have a lot of water movement.
  • Due to its size, it should be kept in more than 50 gallons in aquariums.
  • These anemones shouldn’t be kept along with clownfish and other host fish, as these anemones attack fishes.

These are the most famous types of sea anemone you can find in big aquariums. There are many other species of anemones that you’ll find in saltwater seas but might not be of much importance due to their different reasons, like being wild, having a weird appetite, etc. We hope we were able to share some knowledge with you today. (Also read Can a Megalodon Eat a Blue Whale?)

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