My first Rose Bubble Tip Anemone (RBTA) - 4/28/04

TippyToeX, a fellow reefer from Reef Central was generous to give me her baby Rose BTA, 2 months after it was cloned from the parent anemone. It has been growing steadily in her tank, awaiting the day it would get to come to our home and be added to one of our tanks. The plan is to add it to my son's 29g tank, currently housing a mated pair of Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish, a purple Pseudochromis, a lot of red mushrooms, some aptasia, an Urchin and some pretty zoanthids.

The day it was about to ship, Amy took a couple of pictures.

It was shipped overnight via FedEx, being dropped off one hour before departure. It arrived by 9:15am the next morning, and was immediately pulled out of the styrofoam box and poured with its water into an open container. I added about a cup of tank water as well, to improve oxygenation.

Because I wanted to do a water change on the tank it was going into, I decided to put the BTA in a good spot while it waited. I put it in a specimen container, and hung that in my phytoplankton bucket where it was near 55w of PC lighting. I also added an airstone to keep the water circulating.

It ended up being there for about 11 hours, as my day was full of stuff to do. Every couple of hours, I drained out about 2 cups of the water, and added 2 cups of tank water.


Finally, I added it to its new home. The clowns knew something was up, because they were out and about. Normally I only see them come out to feed, and the rest of the time they hide behind the rockwork.
                                             I do wonder what they do back there all the time! Hmmmmmm....

This is what it looked like about 2 minutes after it was added to the tank.

Within 6 minutes, the clowns found the anemone, and began to suck on a few tentacles. The fish above is the female, and she's huge!

Within another 6 minutes, in she dove.

It was apparent to me that as the other approached, this RBTA was really in over its head, so to speak. It had only been in the tank about 20 minutes, and already was being beaten quite heavily by the one large Maroon Clownfish. I decided not to chance things, and put it back in the specimen box, which is hanging inside the tank.

It looks a little deflated, but it has been through a lot. It was gently pried it from this box
than 30 minutes ago, and then again off the LR it was beginning to get attached to.

This is over an hour later. You can see the top of the box is open to the current, and due to the way the powerhead was htting it at first, the BTA looked like a tumbleweed for a few seconds. I moved the box to a spot where flow was gentle. I'm hoping it will stay safe over night, now that the lights are out.

I believe I may have to put up an acrylic partition to divide this tank until the BTA has time to grow quite a bit larger. Amy told me it was 5" across, but that is still too small for these clowns. To be frank, I'm really surprised how quickly they jumped in. When I got them over 1.5 years ago, they were in a tank with no anemones. So as far as I know, they've not seen one in over 3.5 years!

If things don't work out with the clowns and this anemone, I may put it in my 55g reef instead. It is a beautiful specimen and I want it to be very happy and very healthy.

Day 2:

Over night, the Rose climbed out of the box, but we are keeping it close to shield it from the clowns, so it feels relatively safe. They've ignored it all day long. I guess out of sight, out of mind. The BTA was fed 3 pieces of krill, which it accepted after a little coaxing.

Day 3:

At 1:52 a.m. the Rose was hanging down but looked good. Lights were turned on for this picture.

Later thie day, about 2 p.m. the female Maroon was back in the Rose. I kept the specimen container nearby, as well as
a cleaning magnet to protect the RBTA so the clownfish would give up and go away, but that didn't dissuade her at all.


Day 5:

This was an interesting situation. The rose was stretching out to get some space for the head to open up. The clown is in the tentacles.

Look at how thin the trunk is. It was even more narrow while I was getting the camera ready.

Day 8:

This is the stuff that drives me crazy. I looked at the above, and even in this condition the
clownfish was still rubbing in it. So I built an acrylic partition to give the Rose a break for now.

The partition is 12 x 18, with 3/8" groves cut into it every two inches on the top 6" and bottom 6". Flow doesn't seem to be blocked.

The clowns are in the larger section. The mushrooms are quite deflated because I pulled out tthe LR to put in the divider.

The Rose's foot is in the upper right corner.

The female, behind the barrier.

Hours later, the mouth is gaping wide open. Because the foot is on the front glass, I can see it clearly, and a tiny hole about the size of a pinhead allowed me to look through the BTA, seeing the rear of the tank. That is a horrible visual and I do hope this anemone is just getting used to the tank. I did a 10g water change the night before, and another 10g the next day, in case the nitrates were an issue.

Salinity: 1.025, temp: 80° F, Nitrates: <15ppm, Ammonia: 0,  pH: 8.1.

It has been eating, and Amy assured me that it was doing this shortly after it split from the parent for about a week. I'm hoping it will settle in soon and cease this behavior, because it stresses me out.

The saga continues...

Day 10

Although it still tends to deflate often, the Rose fluffs up nicely at other times of day. I don't see a specific pattern, but I've noticed that both this BTA and my others tend to always look best during lights out.

Day 18 (05/15/04)

It was nice to check on the Rose today, and see it nice and fluffy. It has moved from its spot finally, closer to the substrate. I fed it a nice piece of shrimp today, larger than what I've fed thus far.

Day 53 (06/20/04)

My beautiful Rose BTA has been showing some growth over the past month and a half that I've had it. Isolating it from the Gold Stripe Maroon Clowns, my hope was that it would grow larger (it was quite young and small). However, my Skunk Cleaner shrimp has been stealing its food right out of its mouth/belly when I would walk away!!!

So I decided to release the fish so they could live in the Rose and keep the shrimp away. I did this a few days ago. The next day I noticed that most of the tentacles were gone! The female clown apparently nibbled most of them off to the point that I'm not sure how it could feed itself!!! So the barrier went back up. The cleaner shrimp was back in the anemone, picking away at its innards, so I put eggcrate on top to keep it out. The day after that, the shrimp was back in there again. The BTA looked so sad that I tried yet another method to protect it.

I took an empty container that used to hold Kent's Phosphate Sponge granules, and drilled a bunch of 3/8" holes all around it. Then I used zip ties to secure it to the heater in the tank so that the top of the container is open about 1.5" - 2" above the water level. Using a plastic spatula (like for flipping pancakes) I carefully slid it under the foot of the anemone. It was dangling from the upper rear corner and looked very very bad, but as soon as I tried to pry its food from the glass it immediately retracted suddenly which is a very good sign. Without damaging it, I was able to relocate it in the container, sitting on the base facing upward. Within a few minutes it was grabbing hold of the base of the container. An hour later it was normal looking with the mouth closed up and sunning itself in the lights.

I may put the Rose in my 55g, where it'll have a better chance of survival once it recovers.

Day 63 (06/30/04)

The Rose did not survive unfortunately. It is always tough to lose the fight when it comes to caring for these beautiful creatures, but maybe later I'll try one more time.


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