Recently, while scouring the internet for a good deal on an anemone, I came across and advert on eBay for a “Purple Tipped Anemone” and a “Grey/Tan Anemone”. The prices were unbelievably low at £7.50 per anemone.
Knowing this was too good to be true, I started doing some digging online for a proper identification on these anemones. They are Anemonia viridis, or Snakelock Anemones, found naturally in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
The most colourful varieties of these anemones are apple green with purple tips, the more subdued versions are a plain grey, tan or brown colour.
Are They Reef Safe?
No, they are not reef safe is the simple answer. Unless you have a specific tank set up, these anemones should not be added to a reef tank.
Snakelock Anemones are a cold water species, and while they will adapt to a certain extent, they will not thrive in a reef aquarium. The warmer temperatures will slowly kill them.
While the Mediterranean Sea can reach nice warm temperatures, it is seasonal, and as a result the anemones have adapted to this. They would need to be put in an aquarium that is set up to be a regionally specific aquarium, ensuring the livestock can thrive.
These are a predatory animal, and they pack a nasty sting. They will sting and eat small fish, crabs and shrimp. So while they may be cheap to buy, is that saving worth you favourite fish?
This is not to say that some don’t have good experiences with these anemones, it’s likely that if you keep it well fed with small pieces of fish or brine shrimp, it will leave your fish alone. But, as we all know, the more you feed an anemone, the more it grows and reproduces, so keeping it well fed could mean you end up with more of them than you bargained for.
These anemones will roam around your tank, much the same as other species of anemone. As they move about they will sting any corals or anemones they come into contact with, they also run the risk of wandering into a powerhead or into your overflow.
As the sting is so potent, the coral it is stinging will likely loose the battle and die.
Snakelock Anemones are most often found in rock-pools. This means that when the tide is out they are exposed to insanely high lighting, again, they have adapted to that and would need that to be mimicked in any home aquarium.
If you do buy a Snakelock Anemone, please don’t expect it to host your clownfish. It is not a natural thing for the clowns to see as they come for different parts of the world.
Even if by some chance your clowns do decide to live in the anemone, having a fish live inside of it is not a natural thing for the Snakelock Anemone. What the anemone will see is an easy meal.
For all the reasons listed above, please don’t buy these for your reef tank. Spend the extra money on an anemone that is suited to a reef climate!
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