Sebae Anemones (Heteractis crispa) tend to be one of the more difficult species to keep. These anemones are often seen as white or very pale specimens with colored tips. It needs more supplemental feedings of meaty foods like plankton, brine shrimp and similar foods due to the lack of zooxanthellate algae in its tissue to feed the anemone. Rare purple Sebae Anemones are also occasionally found and may have a light lavender or violet color.
Anemones get most of their nutrition from the aquarium lighting and dissolved nutrients in the water but occasional feedings are beneficial. Shrimp, clam, krill and other meaty foods can be fed occasionally by placing the food on top of the anemone near its mouth and making sure no other tankmates take it before the anemone can take it in.
Anemones have a high aggressiveness rating because they are mobile and have strong nematocysts (stinging cells) that can kill or damage other corals or animals. They will need large areas in which to expand their tentacles and should be placed in an aquarium that will allow them to open fully. Once they stay in a particular place, make sure no corals are to close as they may sting the coral in an attempt to keep it out of the territory. Anemones can sting people - avoid touching the tentacles of any anemone without proper protection, especially if you have sensitive skin or known allergies to other stings like bees or wasps.
When first placed in the aquarium, they are known to move around to find the place where they feel they are having all their requirements met. This will normally happen anytime a change is made to their environment. Most anemones like to have their bases under a ledge or in a hole for protection, in a position that their tentacles can extend into the light. Lighting and water movement may affect the appearance, as may the presence of clownfish hosting in the tentacles. They generally need medium direct light, with medium water movement.
While the interaction between anemones and clownfish (or other hosting tankmates like anemone crabs or anemone shrimp) can be interesting to watch, a clownfish is not necessary for the survival of an anemone and vice versa. Most clownfish have preferences for the types of anemones they will host in but may or may not choose a specific anemone as a host. Not all anemones are suitable as a host for clownfish or other animals. Visit That Fish Blog for more information from our marine biologists on anemone and clownfish preferences.