To Feed or Not to Feed Anemones?

Dream2aReef

Memebr TBRC
On one hand I've been told to feed my anemones silversides. While someone else says to feed them pellets. On the other hand I've been told not to feed the nems at all. What is everyone else choosing to do and how does your nem seem to be doing since you started feeding or decided not to feed?
 

bazineta

Premium Member
I have never once fed my RBTA, but it has a pair of associated clownfish, who presumably sneak table scraps to it, as it's always been healthy.
 

BonsaiNut

Premium Member
Clown anemones do not NEED supplemental feeding as long as they are healthy and you have bright lighting. Anemones have been shown to grow from small to quite large sizes without supplemental feeding (though they may grab stuff out of the water column particularly if you feed fish heavily). Limiting supplemental feeding may restrict/slow growth rates of anemones if you wish to keep them smaller in your tank.

However... there are benefits to supplemental feeding. They will grow faster and they may reproduce more frequently (sexually and asexually). Additionally, if an anemone is stressed or bleached, supplemental feeding can help provide an anemone with energy while it recovers.

People have many opinions about "best" anemone foods. In the wild, clown anemones are opportunistic feeders and will eat fish, clams, snails, crabs, shrimp, sea urchins, and for all intents and purposes anything that they can swallow. The important thing to consider when feeding:

(1) Large chunks of food take more time and energy to digest than small chunks of food. Generally, smaller feedings more often is much better for the anemone, to say nothing about ammonia spikes in your tank.

(2) Anemones are quite happy eating prepared marine foods. They do not "need" raw food to be healthy. If you prefer to feed raw foods, be VERY cautious about food poisoning. Do not feed anything raw that you would not eat yourself. If it looks or smells bad, DO NOT USE IT. There have been numerous anecdotes on this site of people who had a long-lived anemone in their tanks, and one night fed a questionable piece of food, and the anemone was dead in 12 hours.
 

Dream2aReef

Memebr TBRC
It seems like everyone has a different opinion. It sounds like everyone has to make their own choice on what they think is best for their nem. What I've had a hard time with and why I asked the question in the first place is because I've had two nems die off and they were not being fed and there were no clowns hosting in them. They would seem fine and then all of the sudden they'd close up, then move out of the light then shorty after they'd die. However, I have other nems that seem to be doing fine some with clown hosts some without.

(on a side note this is happening in to seperate tanks)
 

BonsaiNut

Premium Member
By the way, as some anemones have evolved to rely more and more on energy from zooxanthellae, their forms have changed to make them less capable opportunistic feeders. In most cases they have shorter tentacles, weaker spirocysts (grabbing cells), and stronger nematocysts (stinging cells). In this case, having a strong sting but weak grab serves as a defense mechanism and strong deterrent - including some whose stings are very potent to humans. Many "fire" anemones belong to this group.
 

BonsaiNut

Premium Member
It sounds like everyone has to make their own choice on what they think is best for their nem.

In reef-keeping in general people have to make care choices. I would advise making those choices based on scientific knowledge versus unfounded opinion. Always check the sources of people's comments - and if they don't have a source, take what they say with a grain of salt.
 

Dream2aReef

Memebr TBRC
By the way, as some anemones have evolved to rely more and more on energy from zooxanthellae, their forms have changed to make them less capable opportunistic feeders. In most cases they have shorter tentacles, weaker spirocysts (grabbing cells), and stronger nematocysts (stinging cells). In this case, having a strong sting but weak grab serves as a defense mechanism and strong deterrent - including some whose stings are very potent to humans. Many "fire" anemones belong to this group.

Thanks for the info. My nems tentacles tend to be long and flowing. I know in my 125 where there are two BTA my female clarkii hosts in the biggest one and feeds it seaweed everyday. My smaller BTA the two smaller Clarkii's have taken to however, they only lay in it at night and I have never once seen them feed it. In my 75 there is a flame tip nem but the clowns clowns host in a corner of the tank so, that nem is not feed by them to my knowledge. Both tanks are under Halides. The 125 is under 150 watts and the 75 is under 250.

Right now everything seems to be doing good but like I said everything seemed to be doing good in the past and then all of the sudden the nem hides and dies.
 

Dream2aReef

Memebr TBRC
I was just reading in another thread how many people stay a way from the silversides altogether because they have lost their nems due to feeding it these. A lot of people seem to say anything from krill, shrimp, or scallops it seems. The debate in that thread seemed to be over fresh or frozen. So many choices, sometimes I wish these things were a little more simple so I knew I was making the best choice.
 

miniwhinny

New member
I have a couple of dozen maxi carpets and a RBTA (in 2 different tanks) and never feed any. The RBTA is in with 2 picassos so it may get left overs once in a while but the carpets are in a no feed tank and they're getting huge!

:)
 

steelhead77

New member
Think about them in the wild. No-one is stuffing anything in their mouth once or twice a week. They are opportunistic feeders, not hunters. They are perfectly capable of getting everything they require from the water column and lighting. I have 3 HUGE RBTA's in my 180 and I rarely feed them (like once every two months, if I think about it) and they are all very healthy.

Like others have said, there are many opinions on this matter, I just relate my experience, YMMV.
 

Dream2aReef

Memebr TBRC
In the past I've went with the not feeding option but, hearing some people do and some people don't makes you wonder what's best. I know in the wild no one is stuffing food in their mouth but, I also think food in the ocean is more readily available to them then in a tank so that's why I've been wondering. My nems seem to be doing good at the moment so I might just leave well enough alone and follow the "if it's not broke don't fix it" moto. :)
 

BonsaiNut

Premium Member
I also think food in the ocean is more readily available to them then in a tank

Actually, it is more likely the exact opposite. Most people overfeed their tanks. Waters in the ocean are very nutrient poor and food is hard to come by. Have you ever heard of a fish starving to death in someone's tank? Try this experiment once - don't feed your tank ANYTHING for two weeks. I guarantee you that not a single fish will die, and many inverts will actually look better.

I know I am overstating the case because some corals and gorgonians and general filter feeders require feeding at a micro level and these conditions are sometimes difficult to recreate in a closed system. But for larger, macro foods, there is usually an abundance in our tanks. Hence the large numbers of pods, worms, and other detritus feeders.
 

crsandoval

Active member
I have had my Ritteri over six years now. I used to feed him every day, then he got up to almost two feet. Now I feed once a week (silversides) and he is about 16 inches across.
 

Smitty1782

New member
Nice reads from everyone on here. Learning a lot about nems... I have a 28g nanocube cf quad, i would like to get a nem in there for my clowns eventually. Is my tank sufficient to keep a nem alive and happy? Lighting, size, etc. What is typically the hardyest of the nems? Let me know guys... Any pointers would be great.
 

karavak

New member
I started with 1 RBTA, currently sitting on 8 and I have already sold a few over the years.

I feed silversides, shrimp or a scallop every once in a while.. no set schedule at all.

When I do feed things during the day I'll direct some food towards them if they are around but overall they get enough from the light and are all happy, health, and still growing and splitting... a bit too often for my liking at this point!
 

bues0022

New member
Smitty - not trying to be discourteous, but you may have better luck with any questions by first reading a lot of threads on here, and then starting your own thread.

I agree with BonsaiNut. Host anemones don't NEED feedings, but unhealthy ones may. Feed if you want, but if you do feed responsibly (I sound like I'm talking about alcohol!)
 
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