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About the Long-Tentacled Anemone

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The long-tentacled anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis) has a colorful body and tentacles. These colors include greens and purples. This aneome also host three species of clownfish, allowing you to witness their symbiosis in your home aquarium. Also known as the corkscrew anemone, this invertebrate makes a fascinating addition to reef tanks.

Tank Setup

Different anemones have different preferences for their substrate. This species will not attach itself to rocks. Instead, keep your long-tentacled anemone on the substrate. This species prefers a sandy substrate, but can make do with gravel. It will bury its stem into the sand, and retreat when threatened. To accommodate this, keep the long-tentacled anemone in tanks with a deep sandbed of at least 4 inches. Do not try to get the anemone to attach to rocks.


Like many anemones and coral, the long-tentacled anemone hosts symbiotic algae in his tissues. These algae undergo photosynthesis and provide nutrients for the long tentacled anemone. In order for the anemone to survive, the creature needs strong light to support this process. Keep light at 5 watts per gallon or more. Since you cannot plant this species near the surface where the lighting is strongest, you will have to use either particularly powerful lights, like T5 fluorescents, or metal halides to make sure your long-tentacled anemone gets enough light.


This sea anemone gets the majority of its nutrition from its symbiotic algae. However, occasional feedings help the long-tentacled anemone thrive. You can give it supplemental feeding by placing a piece of meaty seafood in the anemone's tentacles. Do not feed it more often than once a week. The creature can process only so much food.

Water Chemistry

The long-tentacled anemone needs the standard water parameters found in a reef aquarium. More specifically, the aemone requires water pH between 8.2 and 8.4. The temperature must remain between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. And the water requires a specific gravity of 1.022 and 1.025, roughly 35 parts per million of salt. The ammonia and nitrite levels must be undetectable. Nitrate must remain below 40.0 ppm, but lower is always better. Phosphate must remain even lower. The absolute limit for phosphate is 0.2 ppm, but again, lower is always better.

The Other Long Tentacle Anemone

In addition to M. doreensis, another anemone goes by the same common name. Anthopleura michaelseni sometimes winds up in fish shops. The species can look similar, though A. michaelseni is generally flatter and wider than M. doreensis and will usually attach to rocky substrate. A. michaelseni comes from colder water, and needs specialized aquarium equipment -- like chillers -- to survive in captivity. Avoid this cold-water species if possible.