Bubble tip anemone is one of the widely renowned marine invertebrates amongst the people who are enthusiastic about owning a home reef aquarium.

This species could be taken care of easily without needing to be attended to constantly, making them quite convenient to the owners for their keeping.

Since it’s a scientifically proven fact that symbiotic relationships between species and organisms are pretty common, you might want to be aware of the ideal friends and life-long partners of the bubble tip anemone. It could be paired with a list of compatible fishes, including the joyful clownfish.

Their bodies are laden with attractive tentacles that end with pear-shaped enlargements towards the tips. These tentacles aren’t always swollen and often resemble those of a Long Tentacle Anemone (scientifically known as Macrodactyladoreensis).

All about the Species

Quick Species Facts
Scientific Name Entacmaea Quadricolor
Other Common Names Bulb Tentacle Anemone, Rose bubble tip anemone, BTA, Red BTA, Red Headed BTA
Family Actiniidae
Origin South Pacific (Australia) – Indonesia – Japan – Phillipines – India – Malaysia – Thailand – Sri Lanka – Vietnam – Hongkong- Singapore(1)
Lifespan 100+ years in natural habitat
Size Up to 12 Inches
Type Saltwater Invertebrates
Image Credit: Map data ©2022 Google.INGI – Entacmaeaquadricolor Origin
Bubble Tip Anemone Care Guide
Bubble Tip Anemone Care Guide

Summary

The beauty of bubble tip anemone has held the interest and curiosity of aquarists across the globe. The fact that this species lives on fairly low maintenance makes it even more appealing. That being said, you might still want to have a really neat look at the nature and necessities of this amazing creature if you want it to thrive.

They are classified as one of the most popular marine invertebrates. You might have often noticed them exposed with much attention and care whenever you visit marine fish-keeping or aquariums. Bubble tip anemones are very hardy once acclimatized into the aquarium.

Appearance

You can notice significant types of bulb formations on and near the tips of the tentacles of anemones. This characteristic makes them brilliantly stand out from other species of anemone.

Quick Fact: Bubble tip anemone can bury its column into rocky crevices. If they feel threatened, they will quickly retract. They also have venomous cells found in their tentacles that they can use for self-defense or catch prey by stinging. 

The root cause behind the pear-shaped formations is yet to be found and might remain a topic of curiosity for scientists for a while. However, certain theories suggest that the reason behind the formation of these bubbles on their tentacle is a result of their need for more lighting. Some also suggest that these shapes are formed simply because they need more anemone food.

You are more likely to find them in brick red, pink, or even in red color. The rarest of bubble tip anemone is the one with a rose-pink body. You can consider yourself lucky if you find one, but it might cost you a little more compared to the other ones. The pedal column, along with a sticky foot at the bottom, is also one of the distinguishing features of these fascinating creatures.

Different Types

Even though it’s an animal, people commonly mistake it for flowers and fail to notice the unique existence of this gifted creature. Their polyp is beautifully attached to a basal disc. The body of the bubble tip anemone extends outwards and surrounds its oral disc.

The bubble tip anemone is classified in the types listed below:

  • Rose Bubble Tip Anemone (Sherman Anemone)

The rose bubble tip anemone is one of the most famous sea anemones in the aquarium trade. They are well known for their bright pink tentacles topped with rose-colored tips. The rose bubble tip anemone is also known as simply rose bubble anemone, red BTA, or red-tipped anemone.

Image credit:commons.wikimedia.org
  • Rainbow Bubble Tip Anemone

The rainbow BTA is a member of the Anthozoa class. One of the most recognizable features of this anemone is its bright coloration, which ranges from green to red throughout its body. This anemone is usually found in a closed base with flared tentacles that create a “flower” form when fully extended toward the water column.

Image credit:pxhere.com
  • Green Bubble Tip Anemone (Watermelon Bubble Tip Anemone)

Green bubble tip anemone is some of the more difficult green reef sea anemones to keep in home aquaria. They are green with a greenish-white oral disk. Their green coloration comes from their symbiotic green algae, which can vary in shade based on the water quality and the amount of light they receive. Even the purple tip anemone isn’t purple; it’s actually a shade mix of green-brown.

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Watermelon Bubble tip anemones are also a type of green bubble tip anemones that have been bleached. They typically appear to be a lime green shade with pinkish-red tips, but the pink fades away after some time, and they start looking like watermelons. This type of watermelon anemone is rarer than the watermelon snow anemone (which appears light green with pinkish-red tips). Watermelon Bubble tip anemones are caused by stressors in their environment, including water that isn’t at the right temperature.

Image Credit:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble-tip_anemone
  • White Bubble Tip Anemone

The white bubble tip anemone is found in shallow waters on the reefs of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, as well as Eastern Florida. They are usually a pale pinkish color, but they can turn white if their environment is poor. If this occurs, they will regain their pink coloring once conditions improve.

  • Sunburst Bubble Tip Anemone

These anemones are unique because of their bright orange and yellow colors. These colors give the anemone the name sunburst or sunset, and deep orange clownfish use these anemones as hosts for their eggs. The sunburst bubble tip anemone is fairly large, and it has a light green column with bright rings of yellow and orange in between.

  • Black Widow Bubble Tip Anemone

The black widow bubble tip anemone appears to be a deep red color. The tips of the tentacles, which are referred to as “bubbles,” are bright white or purple with white stripes. They are the rarest, and they will cost up to $500.

The overall resemblance is pretty similar to the commonly found corals. And if you are aware of the nematocysts laden tentacles of a jellyfish, bubble tips have them too. This creature exhibits two variations in accordance with the area they belong to.

If we talk about shallow waters, large colonies of smaller bubble tips could be found there. While on the other hand, you are pretty likely to run into larger, mind-blowing bubble tip anemone in deeper water. But they are all just the same regardless of their sizes.

Max. Size

Let’s consider the size of bubble tip anemone on an average level. It’d be appropriate to say that they grow about 6 to 12 inches(about 15-30 CMs in diameter), at least in captivity. The wild specimen of them could go up to 20 inches as well in natural habitation.

Quick Tip: This species needs to be fed on a regular basis to thrive and stay healthy. It’s better to feed them at least once or twice a week without fail.

The length of their tentacles may reach up to two inches long when they are stretched out to their fullest. That being said, this makes it clear why you should always consider a large-sized tank or anemone aquarium for them.

They need a free and large environment like an anemone reef tank to move around without feeling caged. You should also ensure that two large-sized bubble tips aren’t put in the same tank. It might make it extremely uncomfortable for them to reside in such premises.

Max. Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of bubble tip anemone in an aquarium varies between 5 to 10 years, and sometimes even shorter, depending on its conditions. Most captive specimens won’t live beyond two years if the water parameters are not maintained correctly.

But if we consider the ones that live in the wild and not just in any other saltwater reef tank, it might cross over 100 years and more.

Many factors may contribute to a bubble tip anemone’s shortened life span when kept in captivity. A likely cause is stress associated with transitioning from ocean water to a captive environment.

Other possible reasons for early death include being kept in too small of an aquarium, lack of food, stress from being over or underfed, and the use of copper-based medications (because they may harm the anemone).

Characteristics

Given this creature’s highly protective and rebellious nature, you might never want to step on it. It is pretty common amongst people not to notice it amidst a colony of corals. Groups of these anemones with their bulbous tips are commonly seen stretched across the Southern shores.

Bubble tip anemone is pretty likely to be found with its body hidden column deep in a crevice with only its tentacles sticking out of the surface. Bubble tips of smaller sizes prefer to cluster together, and the larger ones are usually found wandering alone, especially in the deeper water.

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A white line called the ‘equator’ runs around the bulbous portion of the bubble tip anemone. The body column of this creature is smooth and has no verrucae.

Gender Identification

Bubble tip anemone is a sex-changing animal, and it does not adhere to one gender.

Care Instructions

Quick Care Facts
Care Level Moderate
Social Temperament Semi-aggressive
Diet Carnivore
Breeding Reproduce asexually through budding.

Diet and Feeding:

The caretakers have often pronounced the feeding anemone the easiest part of their caring if you know how to and what to feed it. These irresistible animals can easily feed on many sources, including light. It is essential to keep them exposed to a decent amount of light to keep their photosynthesis process running smoothly.

Since they are photosynthetic, they will make the best use of both sufficient and appropriate artificial light to prepare their own food.

But apart from that, your bubble tip anemone might still need a better diet. You can provide it with occasional meals over the course of a period regularly. These protein-based snacks timed at several intervals across a week would greatly benefit its health.

You can opt for tiny morsels, shrimps, and squids too. To feed your anemone, you should attach the food to a stick and touch the anemone with it. You can also replace the stick with large tweezers. The anemone will reach out to it with its tentacles and grab onto the food. You might want to be a little patient while holding the food while it consumes it.

Pro Tip: Try not to end up poking the invertebrate while feeding it. You should also avoid shoving the good towards its mouth. Always remember, patience is the key when it comes to feeding a bubble tip anemone.

Temperament & Social Behavior

Like any other anemone, bubble tip leads a simple life and is seldom active. In fact, the main reason why people mistake them for plants is because of their behavior. They prefer to stay in the same occupied position for long once they have anchored themselves.

But when compared to the other specimens of anemones, bubble tips are pretty active. It is often observed strolling freely, from one spot to another, and it also chooses to spread or close up following its surroundings and conditions.

But most importantly, it is famous for playing host to fish. It is known for beautifully hosting a variety of fishes, including clownfish. In fact, for that reason, clownfish are also called anemonefish.

Breeding

The bubble tip anemone reproduces asexually by anemone splitting in two. To breed, it follows certain procedures like longitudinal binary fission, transverse binary fission, budding, or fragmentation. It will split naturally as it grows older, but it often occurs when the fish becomes stressed too.

If you want it to grow faster, you can simply increase the number of times you feed it instead of giving it larger chunks of protein-based food.

Common Diseases

Most of the health issues the bubble tip anemone face are directly linked with the quality and flow of water and the sufficiency of light.

But how could you find out if your anemone is feeling unwell? The answer is, pay attention to its movement. If the bubble tip anemone seems to move a lot, then the chances of it being unhappy are high. The change in its color and shape might also indicate the inappropriateness of light for it to thrive. Sometimes this problem may be linked with water too, or both light and water.

Tank Recommendations

Quick Tank Facts
Minimum Size 5 Gallons Per Fish
Water Temperature 70˚F – 80˚F / 22˚C – 28˚C
Water Hardness 5-35 dGH
pH Level 6.0 to 8.0
Bubble Tip Anemone Tank Parameters
Bubble Tip Anemone Tank Parameters

Ideal Tank Size

A 100-gallon anemone tank would be great for the 12-inch specimen of anemone. It is also remarkable how a 9 to 12 months old anemone tank is more suitable for a bubble tip anemone to dwell. The size of the tank could be further classified by the size of the anemone.

You can opt for a 30-gallon tank for two-inch anemone care in the instance given. A four-inch bubble tip anemone could comfortably dwell in a 50-gallon tank. And if we scale the creature up to anywhere between six to eight inches, a 75-gallon tank would be more than perfect!

But remember, you might need a bigger tank as the fish grows. It prefers a free environment to live and thrive and settle into. You should be pretty mindful while choosing the tank size for great care.

Tank Setup, Décor, and Plants

Bubble tips are observed to do well under every natural aquarium setup. The only distinguished setup these creatures might need is live rock, as it will help the anemone in anchoring itself well into place. Because when it comes to anchoring, bubble tips prefer affixing its foot underneath the rock instead of into the sand.

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Pro Tip: You should avoid decorating your tank with live corals since the anemone is quite likely to kill it with its tentacles. And even if you decide to put a live coral in the tank, there should be a necessary amount of space between the tank to let the anemone roam freely.

Water Parameters

Water parameters for the bubble tip anemone need to be taken well care of for your anemone to grow and thrive. The most suitable water temperature for your bubble tip anemone ranges between the limit of 72.0 F to 84.0 F.

The water temperature of your tank can be controlled with the help of submersible thermostat heaters. You must also make sure that no major or sudden changes are made to the temperature.

If you ever need to cool down the water rapidly, you can use ice packs. But while doing that, you would need to keep a close eye on the falling temperature and take the ice pack out once it is in control.

Anemones and corals alike can feed on food brought by the water flow. Movement of their tentacles caused by varying intensities of water motion in a circular pattern causes an effect that affects both: zooxanthellae, photosynthesis rates.

Compatible Tankmates

Finding the best fitting tankmates for the bubble tip anemone is not challenging. The best companion for the species should be a variety of clownfish including, but not limited to, three-band anemonefish, barrier reef, and a variety of Clownfish, such as Clark’sClownfish, Australian, Allard’s, Ocellaris, True Percula, Two-band, Maroon, Red Saddleback, and McCulloch’s Clownfish, etc.

Apart from the clownfish, you can also opt for snails, copepods, mini brittle stars, sand dollars, urchins, etc.

You should avoid putting non-reef fish in the same tank with your bubble tip anemone since they are quite likely to attack it. The most common attackers of anemones are triggerfish, angelfish, sea stars, bristle worms, etc.

But the species that you should definitely avoid putting in the tank with anemone in vertebrates as anemone tank mates are crabs, sea mats, clams, oysters, and scallops. These species are absolute threats to BTAs and are the most likely to kill them.

Pro Tip: Try to make sure that the anemone is at least three times larger than the clownfish you are looking forward to putting in with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What happens if you take sea anemone out of water?

A. The bubble anemone is most likely to close up when the water level reduces, or it is taken out of the water. You might need to take your anemone out of the water while cleaning the tank, but try to ensure it is put back in the water within 3 hours.

Q. What to do while the bubble tip anemone is splitting?

A. When your anemone is splitting, it will most probably stretch itself across one or more rocks. You will find it pulling itself towards both directions, and it’d look like it is ripping itself in half. The best you can do is let it split naturally without forcing the process since it might cause serious harm to the creature.

Q.Why isn’t my anemone moving?

A. Anemones prefer to stay in one position or spot for an extended amount of time once it has anchored themselves. But if you are still concerned about it, you can have a closer look at its behavior or get it checked by a specialist.

Q. Is LED lighting suitable for bubble tip anemones?

A. An anemone or any other sea creature with the ability to photosynthesize needs at least 5 watts per gallon. You must use high-intensity LED lighting for anemones, and the demand for watts may increase with the depth of water, so choose wisely.

Q. Why is my Bubble tip anemone hiding under a rock?

A.This behavior in BTA is pretty typical, and there is absolutely nothing to worry about it. They might also do it if there’s a change in water flow or lighting. In some cases, they might also do it when they are stressed.

Q. Why is my bubble tip anemone deflated?

A.There are several possibilities for why your bubble tip anemone might be shrinking. Start by investigating the coloration around its base. If it is a deep pink coloration, it may be trying to tell you that the animal is stressed. It could be a sign that your bubble tip is either sick or expelling the bacteria attacking it. 

If the anemone is consistently deflated, the animal may be trying to reproduce. If this is the case, try moving it away from any nearby coral or by-passing objects.

Final Remarks

As a parting thought, make sure that the water tank and the surroundings within and around it are appropriate for an anemone to live. On that note, it is indeed an unforgettable experience to share a lifetime with the bubble tip anemone while caring for it.

About the Author

Shelby Crosby

Shelby is a passionate fishkeeper who has been writing about fish for over 5 years. She is a pro aquarist and holds a BSc Honors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries. She creates her own beautiful aquarium layouts and loves to share her knowledge of tropical fish with other hobbyists.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

  • BSc Honors in Wildlife and Fisheries in 2011 (University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Completed her undergraduate thesis on the effects of zoochlorella supplementation on the growth and health of fish.

Writing Experience

Miss Crosby is a Freelance blogger; many of her articles are posted online on various blogs. She has also written a few short articles for "Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine" in the past. She is a regular contributor to FishParenting.com. Her education, first-hand experience with fishkeeping, and in-depth knowledge in aquaculture make her one of the most competent writers in the industry.

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