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Long Tentacle Anemone

(Macrodactyla doreensis)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 14"
• Diet: Carnivore   • Aquarium Level: Bottom   • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
 • Reef Compatible: Yes   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
• Supplements: Iodine, Trace elements   • Coloration: Purple, White, Tan
• Origin: Indo-Pacific, Western Pacific • Family: Actiniidae   • Species: Anemones

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Long Tentacle Anemone native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Long Tentacle Anemone is often found within the aquarium hobby under a variety of names including: Long Tentacle Anemone, Corkscrew Anemone, Red Base Anemone and Sand Anemone. In the wild Macrodactyla doreensis is found living in shallow reefs and lagoons, where it buries it's foot into the sandy substrate near rocky formations.

By burying it's body into the sand and rubble, the Long Tentacle Anemone leaves only it's tentacles exposed. The long tentacles of the Long Tentacle Anemone are used to sting potential prey and to ward off predatory fish and invertebrates. Burying itself in the sand and exposing only the tentacles allows the anemone to feed on meaty items in the water column, while protecting it's vulnerable body from predators.

While the Long Tentacle Anemone will sting most fish or inverts that touch it's tentacles, it will host some species of clownfish like the Amphiprion perideraion, Amphiprion sandaracinos, Amphiprion clarkii, Amphiprion melanopus and similar clownfish species. Long Tentacle Anemone's do best in established reef aquariums or FOWLR aquariums that are larger than 30 gallons and have substantial amounts of live rock and sand.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Long Tentacle Anemone in the home aquarium.

Before placing the Long Tentacle Anemone into the aquarium it is important to remove it from it's shipping container and place it into a container with clean salt water for about 20 to 30 minutes. This will a to allow it to purge mucous built up during transport, so that these toxic chemicals are not introduced into the aquarium environment.

Long Tentacle Anemones do best in well established aquariums that have a deep sand bed and plenty of live rock. They will look for a location that has both moderate lighting and water flow to bury their foot into the sand at the base of some live rock. The anemone is looking for a location that will allow them to receive adequate lighting to stimulate the zooxanthellae algae that they host; as well as, allow them filter feeding opportunities from foods floating in the water column during feedings.

Corals and sessile invertebrates should not be placed within reach of the Long Tentacle Anemone's tentacles as they will sting and damage anything them come in contact with. Fish and mobile invertebrates will generally avoid the stinging cells (nematocysts) of the anemone, but it is possible for them to become prey for the anemone if they are stung and incapacitated.

Should the anemone become highly stressed or damaged from being sucked into a filter return or from being damaged by an aggressive fish species, it should be placed into a quarantine aquarium so that the toxic chemicals that it can release to not foul the main aquarium water. While the anemone is recovering in the quarantine aquarium the water should be partially changed daily to avoid toxins from building up in the water.

A healthy anemone will open it's tentacles out and will not appear to be stringy or have stringy looking flesh coming off of itself. Having a clownfish hosting with the anemone in the aquarium will help prevent it from being disturbed by other fish or invertebrate species.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Long Tentacle Anemone.

The Long Tentacle Anemone receives the bulk of it's nutrition through the photosynthetic symbiotic algae zooxanthellae that is hosted on it's body. It also receives a substantial amount of food from meaty items that it filters from the water column using it's tentacles. This filter feeding occurs multiple times per hour, during which time the anemone will open very wide to capture plankton, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp or other meaty items from the water column.

Clownfish hosting with the anemone will bring meaty food items back to the anemone as well, and provide them an alternate food source. The anemone should be offered meaty foods multiple times a week via a pipette feeder or via water currents bringing food items to the anemone during normal aquarium feedings. Brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, chopped fish, mussels or other similar meaty items are ideal meaty foods for supplemental feedings.

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