Order Ceriantharia, Subclass Ceriantipatharia
An exchange of messages, and the article that resulted from it, took place on the reefkeeping mailing list on the Thiel Tech Site at http://www.athiel.com
Names of the message originators have been left out to protect their identities. The text of this document is far longer than what the original exchanges included.
Most of the messages related to questions about requirements of this tube anemone species, and its behavior in a reef tank. Some related to their aggressiveness and the dangers they pose to other animals in the aquarium, especially small fishes.
This article was written as a result of all the exchanges on the mailing list and the misunderstanding about the needs and behavior of Cerianthid anemones that became clear from the several postings.
This is nothing uncommon as little information about Cerianthid, or Tube anemones, is available in hobby literature, unless one does a real thorough search for it on the Net and in a multitude of books and magazines.
The beginning of the article refers to the various exchanges. It then continues and provides information on these fascinating animals.
Thank you for the clarification. I think I was not the only one wondering. Your statement that the Cerianthid Anemone was leaving its tube, and that the tube could be seen going around the tank -floating- and catching fish was obviously a misstatement of what you actually really wanted to say. Thank you for confirming it, as what you first posted sounded very much like a real bad sci-fi scenario. Swimming carnivorous empty tubes, roaming the tank and engulfing fishes was a little confusing to many at best. Glad you clarified your statements and set the record straight.
In my experience, it takes such anemones quite some time to build a new tube also, although some of the messages I read appeared to imply that this could happen overnight. This is not my experience and not that of others either. Moreover, one usually needs to "assist" in making sure the "raw materials", so-to-speak, for the rebuilding of the tube are available in the tank: sand and particulate matter in larger amounts than usual, so the Cerianthus can rebuild a tube since what it requires to do so is now available in the aquarium.
This is not always that easy to accomplish. Sand can be made available and nowadays usually is, because of the fact that most reef tanks are set up with some amount of live sand. Particulate matter may float around and small pieces of other material are found in the tank as well. The Tube Anemone adds its own materials to this and eventually ends up with the rather large carrot shaped greyish tube that we are accustomed to see them reside in.
When such an anemone has left its tube, I have often found it much easier to take the loose Cerianthid and just slip it back into its tube.
The "just" is a euphemism and a gross over-simplification as it is, in my experience, not that easy to do. The tube has a tendency to collapse on itself, making it more difficult to reinsert the "foot" of the anemone back into it.
It can be done though and I have reinserted such anemones back into their tubes several times, so I know it can be achieve. Patience and several attempts will probably be necessary. As you go along and try it several times you will get to the stage where you can indeed do so with relative ease.
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