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Cloning Bubble Tip Anemones

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 11:09 PM

Cloning Bubble Tip Anemones
Written by David Moorcroft (David999)
Thursday, 29 June 2006 17:48

Firstly I cannot tell you how to clone your bta and the following is just my own experience. I bought my bta 5ys ago the shop shouldn't have sold it to me as my tank was only 2 months old, but worse still they also sold me at the same time a sand anemone. The sand anemone attacked the bta every day by getting in the water flow and landing on the bta.so I gave it away. After the bta settled down my clownfish soon moved in and a few months later I had my first clone. A few months later another clone then I had one that split into three, after a few more I set up another tank with just BTA's and the baby clowns I had kept for myself, leaving the original anemone in the main tank.

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Well they kept on cloning in both tanks; this was an excuse for a bigger tank, so I bought a 6x2x2ft tank I put all the coral at one end and all the btas at the other with a gap in between of just coral gravel. They kept on cloning and I soon had seventeen. By now they were walking up the other end of the tank with the corals. Every morning I would have to retrieve anemones from the coral end of my tank so I decided some of them would have to go. I sold/swapped ten BTA's on the forums finding them all good homes. The strange thing about all this is they were all kept under 5 t8s 2 blue and 3 white also there was no live rock as I use ehfisubstrat for biological filtration . I have since upgraded my lights by adding t5s but as yet I haven't noticed any difference in the anemones. They are still cloning I have had another 3 since I sold the 10 and have sold/swapped them.

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Lighting and Water Quality
I have had emails from reefers who bought them and 3 of them have had clones up to now (2months after they were sold) most are kept under t5s and 1 kept under halides which took a while to settle but that was because it wasn't use to strong light, but it has now settled and cloned. The only similarity to my tank was the dkh and calcium. all 3 have calcium levels higher than 425 and dkh levels of 11.I keep my calcium at 450 and my dkh at 11, but one thing I noticed was my dkh dropped to 8 due to a bad batch of salt it took weeks to get it back up and during this time I had no clones, but as soon as it was back at 11 another 2 cloned. Now this could be just coincidence but I am not so sure.

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What makes them 'clone'?

There are many reasons given for anemones cloning some put it down to stress although I personally don't think this is the case with mine as they all look happy and healthy and eat everything on offer to them. And most of mine are a few years old and thriving. Also stress after and during water changes has been said to start them cloning but I can't say ive noticed this either. One interesting theory that ive heard is that some have a gene that makes them breeders this could account for mine breeding so well and the fact others are having clones from my stock but again this is just a theory.

BTA's don't need as much light as other anemones do, as I said before mine have thrived under 5 t8s so they are a good choice for tanks without halides I do get a bit annoyed when people say you need halides for btas when it's my own experience that they actually hide from them. Eventually they will get used to halides but I think they prefer light a bit lower and certainly don't need them that said I think the lights I had were the bare minimum when I put my first bta in I only had 4 tubes and it wandered for a while till I added another tube, it then settled down right away, but im sure someone is keeping them somewhere with 2 tubes likewise someone will probably be cloning btas under 400w halides, there doesn't seem to be any set rules like many things in this wonderful hobby some people can keep anemones and some can't.

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I think water quality is the main thing with BTA's they need stable good quality water at all times I keep my sg at 1.024 my dkh at 11 calcium at 450 nitrate 5 ph 8.3, I change 10/12% of the water every 14 days and use carbon only 3 days every 2 months. I also use a UV 24/7 but these are just my preferences most reef tanks kept with good husbandry will be ok for a bta.but if your thinking of keeping one all powerheads must have guards on otherwise when the anemone goes walkabout he will likely be minced up.

David Moorcroft

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