If you are caring for a bubble tip anemone in a home aquarium, you may at some point encounter the issue of splitting. But what exactly is going on that causes this anemone to split? Well, there are a few different reasons that this might occur.
Bubble tip anemones sometimes split in an effort to preserve themselves if their environment becomes less than ideal. This can occur when the water parameters aren’t right, it doesn’t have sufficient food, or it has recently been introduced to a new tank.
Keep reading as I unpack what goes on that leads to bubble tip anemone splitting, as well as insights on keeping multiple anemones together. I’ll also touch on the likelihood of these creatures stinging each other in the same tank. Let’s get right into it!
Reasons Why Bubble Tip Anemones Split
There are several things that can go on in a tank that cause bubble tip anemones to split. But what you basically need to know is that the main cause of splitting is biological – it’s an act of self-preservation.
When it comes to this particular anemone, its chances of surviving are a lot better if it breaks into two small units than if it stays as one large unit.
If you’re unaware of what it looks like when a bubble tip anemone splits, check out this photo documentary for reference.
Poor Water Conditions
The main water conditions in a tank that alert a bubble tip anemone to potential danger include:
- Temperatures that are too hot or too cold (they should stay somewhere in the middle of 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Poor pH balance (stay between 8.1 and 8.4).
- Water that isn’t alkaline enough.
- Water that is too soft (needs to be between 8 and 12 dKH hardness).
- Water that isn’t getting enough light each day (bubble tips need a lot of light for photosynthesis – around 12 hours per day of LED lights, fluorescents, or metal halides).
- Water that doesn’t flow properly (your tank needs jets that aren’t pointed directly at your anemone in order to give them the gentle movement they prefer).
Adaptation to a Tank
Another factor that commonly causes bubble tip anemones to split is their struggle to adapt when you first put them in a tank. Again, trying to get used to the water parameters may be stressful, causing the creature to jump into protective mode, so it can survive.
This is why it’s recommended to use a mature tank that’s been running at the right parameters for at least six months.
Not Enough Food
Light is the main source of food for anemones, and they technically don’t need much food otherwise. They rely on the zooxanthellae contained in their tissue to undergo photosynthesis and get energy and nutrition. But if you don’t give them enough light, they will start to expel their zooxanthellae and stop photosynthesizing as they progressively get lighter in color and eventually die.
If this is occurring, your anemone might become stressed and split as a result in order to try and survive the changes.
Furthermore, as the anemone gets larger, it may require some supplemental food in the form of reef frenzy, fresh raw shrimp (without shells), silversides, or mysis shrimp. If it isn’t getting enough of these nutrients, it may split.
And finally, once you introduce a fish for the anemone to host, such as a clownfish, your anemone will need more food than usual, which may cause it to split.
How Do I Get My Bubble Tip Anemone to Split?
Splitting isn’t something you want your bubble tip anemone to do if you can help it. The better question would be how do I get my bubble tip anemone to grow back together?
The truth is that bubble tip anemones can grow back into their full circle after splitting, but don’t count on it to happen. If you want to see if it will grow back together, give it some time and don’t change the environment much.
One or both halves may end up melting and dying if the conditions in the tank are poor enough, but once it splits, you will likely have at least one part survive.
Will Bubble Tip Anemone Sting Each Other?
The answer to this question is not so straightforward, as anemones can actually have varying temperaments. Some bubble tip anemones may be territorial when kept in a tank with other anemones. This is often because they feel threatened by the other anemone stealing their food.
In this case, they might stretch their tentacles out and sting the others. You seriously don’t want this to happen as it can damage, and even kill, the anemones that are getting stung.
Can You Mix Bubble Tip Anemones Together?
You can technically keep multiple bubble tip anemones in an aquarium together, but you have to be careful about it if you want to avoid them stinging and killing each other. Unless you are using a pretty large tank (at least six feet large), you probably want to stick to just one bubble tip anemone.
If you have a large tank, though, and you want to mix bubble tip anemones together, then you should do so by placing them far away from each other. They can grow pretty large (30-50 cm in diameter) at full size, so place each one on a separate side of the tank if you can.
That said, bubble tip anemones are fairly difficult to care for. Even trying to keep one healthy at a time is a lot of work, so it’s not recommended to keep multiple in a tank, especially if you’re a beginner.
Do you notice bubble tip anemone splitting? Reasons for this phenomenon vary, but it’s usually due to the anemone feeling in danger. They can survive much easier if they’re broken into two small anemones than they can as one large anemone. This is why they might split if water parameters aren’t just right, or they aren’t getting enough food.
To avoid this issue, use a mature tank with the correct parameters, and try not to keep more than one bubble tip anemone in a single tank.