Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A new home for my clownfish

I have a confession to make. I am a serial killer of anemones. After I got my pair of clownfish a few years ago, I got an anemone for them. It died. Fish Store Guy said maybe I should try a more hardy species of anemone, so I did. It died. Then Fish Store Guy suggested I try the hardiest, most bullet-proof anemone in the aquarium trade. I did. It lasted a month, but then the inevitable happened. Enough, I said. I couldn't bear any more dead anemones on my conscience, so I gave up my dream of having a pair of clownfish snuggling in an anemone. After awhile, the clownfish gave up the dream too and moved into a leather coral. I felt guilty every time I looked at them.

Some months ago, I was browsing Wet Web Media and started reading about anemones. The experts who run the site told a newbie that his anemone had most likely been killed by chemicals produced by... his leather coral. Apparently leathers produce nasty toxins to defend their territories, and anemones are often sensitive to those chemicals. I tried to fight it, but the dream started to take hold in my brain again. I traded my leather corals in for credit at the Local Fish Store, ran charcoal in the filter to remove the chemicals, and impatiently waited till I was done traveling, so I could be home to monitor the situation. Yesterday I ventured forth to the Local Fish Store in search of my next victim... er, pet. I came home with not one but two anemones, a big long-tentacled anemone and a small bubble anemone that was attached to the same piece of rock.

It's been a whole day, and bnth anemones seem to be thriving. They haven't even moved from where I put them (anemones often wander around the tank, leaving a path of destruction in their wake as they seek the perfect home). The clownfish are happy as, well... clowns, and they aren't even fighting. Mrs. Clown has cleared the area around the anemone, even moving a sponge on a good-sized piece of rock (I'd have paid good money to see her do that). I'm not sure, but I think she might have mating on her mind. Here are a couple pics:

Mrs. Clownfish (a/k/a "Coral")
Female tomato clownfish with my new long-tentacled anemone

Mr. Clownfish (a/k/a "Marlin")
Male tomato clownfish with my new long-tentacled anemone

I dare not get my hopes up, as I've been disappointed too many times. But maybe this time...


Anonymous said...

First off I will say that I have kept leathers of all varieties and anemones of several different kinds together for many years and never had a problem. I would venture a guess and either say there is copper in the tank, or you do not have enough lighting, or you are not feeding correctly.

Right now my 72 gallon tanks houses a neon green toadstool leather, and normal leather, a devils hand leather, and a camo leather. It also houses 4 RBTA's and 1 GBTA along with MAny Many other types of corals.


Janet said...

Interesting. Thanks very much for the comment. I wonder if I had a particularly aggressive species of leather (it was a finger leather FYI). My bubble-tip anemone is doing really well, whereas before I got rid of the leathers, I couldn't keep one alive for more than a week. I haven't changed anything in the tank--food, lighting, water chemistry, etc. But who knows? Part of the fascination and frustration of aquarium-keeping is that there are few hard and fast rules. What works for one person, doesn't work for another, and there isn't always a clear explanation. I guess it's art (and luck) as well as science.