Magnifica Anemone Slowly Dying

EngineerRock

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I am a fairly new reefer and this is my first post so please be gentle. I got a beautiful magnifica April 23rd from my lfs. Since then however, it has slowly deflated and shrunk its tentacles. I can tell something is wrong but the lfs keeps saying it's fine. I am afraid it is going to die soon unless I do something immediately.

I have attached a video from April 24th as well as several progress pics including one today. Below are all the potentially relevant details and measurement that I could think of. Let me know if something is missing. As a side note I have multiple small rock flower anemone in several different locations throughout the tank. The look very happy with some more than doubling in size over the past month. Rest of the tank is a mixed reef (happy coral too) that is heavily stocked with fish.

Symptoms:
Shortened tentacles
Shrunk (probably only about 1/5th the original size. Maybe even smaller)
Constantly moving
Mouth is gaping
Not responsive to touch
Will eat meaty food
Has constant indirect flow. It is always moving in the water.


Confessions (please don't hate me):
Pretty new to the hobby but have wanted a reef tank for the past 20 years.
The tank was started March 25th with a fish in cycle ending on April 19th.
Anemone was added April 23rd. I know added it this soon was risky but my lrs said my tank should be fine and that adding it early would avoid trouble with it moving and stinging established corals.

Tank Info:
Size 80 Gal with a sump built into the back.
4 T5 bulb light fixture 6 inches above the water.
Anemone is located about 14 inches beneath the light (8 inches under the water) on the side of some purple live reef rock. I was told that it would like being at the base of the rock where it meets the sand bed but I later read on this forum that I should have placed it at the top of the rock column. NOTE: I swapped the bulbs from white to a mixture of blues on April 30th.
2 QPS 9 power heads at level 7 of 20 which I think comes out to 819 gph per power head (located near the top on opposite sides of the tank 48" apart)
2 mighty jet return pumps each at 538 gph
Small protein skimmer
Small chaeto reactor

Current parameters:
salinity: 1.025
ammonia: 0
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 10
ph: 7.9
dkh: 8.5
temp: 78 F
April28th.jpeg Lights off
May12th.jpeg Lights on
May18th.jpeg Lights off
 

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Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

MikeyA

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Welcome to the community. I'm not the resident expert on these creatures but I have successfully kept a few (very few) in my years in this hobby. I'm sure others will chime in who may have more knowledge than me.

My first thought is your tank is way, WAY, too immature to kept a ritteri! Your tank should be at least a year old before attempting to keep one of these animals. They are difficult animals to keep and not for beginners due to their delicate nature and intolerance for chemistry changes which your tank being so new goes through constantly throughout the day. Do you have an auto top off system? If not you need to establish one!

Secondly unsure about your equipment, skimmer model, and namely t5 fixture (bulb types, wattage), your lighting probably isn't close to strong enough.

He is moving cause he is not happy with your setup and is looking for better conditions (lighting, flow, water chemistry) which all parameters should be as close to ideal and non fluctuating as possible. Unfortunately you probably don't have and will be unable to provide his ideal conditions being that the tank is so new.

Thirdly the nem "could" have an infection and will need medication which requires quarantine set up and daily dosing. But this is difficult to say being you have so many other variables going against you.

But your LFS is full of ****, this is NOT normal for them to deflate and shrink so much, it's a sign of distress and not doing well at all and will die if you don't take action soon. By taking action i suggest you return the mag to the lfs or dedicate it to someone locally with a more established system.
 

MERKEY

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Hello and Welcome,

This is a great place to get answers to all of your questions!

By the looks of your pictures it looks like you are having a bacteria bloom of some sort at the moment also. This is a sign of a new tank or an established tank that has added something new and started a bloom or had a mini cycle.

How old is your tank?
 
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Sltloser

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Do you have dates/times for the pictures and video above?

Watching the video the anemone looks great. Depending on when you took the pictures of the anemone (time relevant to light cycle) it may give more information as to the deflated tentacles. Anemones will often extrude the water from their gastrovascular cavity (basically the interior of their body) and replace this water. This leads to the tentacles being deformed, and the anemone becoming shrunken (something close to picture 3). I haven't read any scientific literature on it, it's purely anecdotal evidence, but I've noticed that anemones trend towards doing this soon after lights have turned off or right before they come on in the mornings.

One other question is how often are you feeding the anemone (if you are) and what food are you using? If you are not feeding it currently I would highly recommend feeding this daily with brine shrimp/mysis shrimp/ other small meaty thawed frozen food (something between 1/8 and 1/4" in size).
 

gig 'em

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Yeah I would echo what most people have said so far. Magnifica anemones are considered "Expert Only" anemones for a reason. They need cycled and stable tanks if you want to have a good chance at transitioning one from the wild with success. I would recommend trying a easier to keep anemone like a bubble tip instead.

I would also recommend a ciprofloxacin treatment for a full week. It helps improve survivability, not always 100% successfully, but much improved odds. If it survives, I would recommend moving it along to a large and mature reef tank. It really should be reserved for someone with more experience to be honest.
 
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EngineerRock

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Welcome to the community. I'm not the resident expert on these creatures but I have successfully kept a few (very few) in my years in this hobby. I'm sure others will chime in who may have more knowledge than me.

My first thought is your tank is way, WAY, too immature to kept a ritteri! Your tank should be at least a year old before attempting to keep one of these animals. They are difficult animals to keep and not for beginners due to their delicate nature and intolerance for chemistry changes which your tank being so new goes through constantly throughout the day. Do you have an auto top off system? If not you need to establish one!

Secondly unsure about your equipment, skimmer model, and namely t5 fixture (bulb types, wattage), your lighting probably isn't close to strong enough.

He is moving cause he is not happy with your setup and is looking for better conditions (lighting, flow, water chemistry) which all parameters should be as close to ideal and non fluctuating as possible. Unfortunately you probably don't have and will be unable to provide his ideal conditions being that the tank is so new.

Thirdly the nem "could" have an infection and will need medication which requires quarantine set up and daily dosing. But this is difficult to say being you have so many other variables going against you.

But your LFS is full of ****, this is NOT normal for them to deflate and shrink so much, it's a sign of distress and not doing well at all and will die if you don't take action soon. By taking action i suggest you return the mag to the lfs or dedicate it to someone locally with a more established system.
You are definitely correct about the tank being too young. I trusted my lfs when he said it would be fine but that was poor judgement by me.
I do have an auto top system. It is an AW20 Aqualifter by Intertek. I have been having issues with it regularly failing in the off position and not topping off the tank though.
My skimmer is a Nuvo Skim rated up to 50 gallons. I know this is underpowered for my tank (80 gal) but I change the cup daily, have a chaeto reactor and have a weekly water change schedule.
My light fixture is a used TEK-LIGHT Elite T5 that runs at 216W. My bulbs are two blues (blue plus I think), a purple plus, and a coral plus. Each bulb is a 54W bulb.
I am afraid of it being an infection. It looked good for the first few weeks so I though that meant I was in the clear as far as infections go.
 
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EngineerRock

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Hello and Welcome,

This is a great place to get answers to all of your questions!

By the looks of your pictures it looks like you are having a bacteria bloom of some sort at the moment also. This is a sign of a new tank or an established tank that has added something new and started a bloom or had a mini cycle.

How old is your tank?
It is one month old. Too young I know. There is a small bloom (at least much smaller than the bloom while cycling) going on now after adding some fish and doing a big scrubbing + vacuuming during the last water change. Per lfs directions I am waiting it out but it seems to me that these mini blooms are happing more frequently than they should. Considering my nutrient levels seem pretty good I am not sure how to fix this. Any suggestions?
 
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EngineerRock

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Do you have dates/times for the pictures and video above?

Watching the video the anemone looks great. Depending on when you took the pictures of the anemone (time relevant to light cycle) it may give more information as to the deflated tentacles. Anemones will often extrude the water from their gastrovascular cavity (basically the interior of their body) and replace this water. This leads to the tentacles being deformed, and the anemone becoming shrunken (something close to picture 3). I haven't read any scientific literature on it, it's purely anecdotal evidence, but I've noticed that anemones trend towards doing this soon after lights have turned off or right before they come on in the mornings.

One other question is how often are you feeding the anemone (if you are) and what food are you using? If you are not feeding it currently I would highly recommend feeding this daily with brine shrimp/mysis shrimp/ other small meaty thawed frozen food (something between 1/8 and 1/4" in size).
The video is from April 24th. I actually named each picture with its date but I didn't notice that info is not displayed.
pic 1: April 28th 6:37pm about 90 minutes after lights out
pic 2: May 12th 12:38pm middle of the light cycle
pic 3: May 19th 5:56pm one hour after lights out
 
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EngineerRock

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Do you have dates/times for the pictures and video above?

Watching the video the anemone looks great. Depending on when you took the pictures of the anemone (time relevant to light cycle) it may give more information as to the deflated tentacles. Anemones will often extrude the water from their gastrovascular cavity (basically the interior of their body) and replace this water. This leads to the tentacles being deformed, and the anemone becoming shrunken (something close to picture 3). I haven't read any scientific literature on it, it's purely anecdotal evidence, but I've noticed that anemones trend towards doing this soon after lights have turned off or right before they come on in the mornings.

One other question is how often are you feeding the anemone (if you are) and what food are you using? If you are not feeding it currently I would highly recommend feeding this daily with brine shrimp/mysis shrimp/ other small meaty thawed frozen food (something between 1/8 and 1/4" in size).
I do moderately heavy broadcast feeding every morning and target feed it with meaty foods 3-4x per week. Should I feed it daily in this poor state or should I focus on lighting and treatment?
 

AcroNem

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As has been said, your system is way too young, likely unstable as well as it looks quite cloudy. I also recommend getting it into a treatment tank and running a Cipro treatment asap. Here's the link again

It can do a lot to save an infected anemone but it will be challenging with your system so new. Unfortunately, many LFS will say anything to make a sale.
 

gig 'em

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I do moderately heavy broadcast feeding every morning and target feed it with meaty foods 3-4x per week. Should I feed it daily in this poor state or should I focus on lighting and treatment?
I wouldn't feed it at all. If anything I've had more issues post feeding. Not target feeding an anemone at all has led to long term success and continued growth. They don't need large meaty items to eat in order to survive, in a healthy system they can survive just fine without them. I don't target feed any of my large species anemones and they continue to grow.

Just focus on getting it out of the tank and treating it. It's also pretty bleached, so on top of a possible bacterial infection, its likely slowly starving until it gets its zooxanthellae back. If you decide to keep it, there's a long battle ahead of you in turning the health of it around. It is possible, but it's going to take some research and work.
 

kapnkush608

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I know you probably don't want to hear this but I think you should sell it or trade it in. You're going to spent the next 8-12 months chasing it's health unless it dies somewhere along the way or eventually turns to mush. Your going to spend the first year of your tank worrying about this anemone instead of enjoying things like adding zoas and killing free Monti cap until a piece finally makes it.
 
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gig 'em

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I know you probably don't want to hear this but I think you should sell it or trade it in. You're going to spent the next 8-12 months chasing it's health unless it dies somewhere along the way or eventually turns to mush. Your going to spend the first year of your tank worrying about this anemone instead of enjoying things like adding zoas and killing free Monti cap until a piece finally makes it.
Agreed. I think it's best to pass it on to someone with experience. Magnificas are difficult to propagate in captivity and it would be a shame if this anemone died. @EngineerRock Maybe find someone within your state that has had success keeping this species? Where do you live?
 
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EngineerRock

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Agreed. I think it's best to pass it on to someone with experience. Magnificas are difficult to propagate in captivity and it would be a shame if this anemone died. @EngineerRock Maybe find someone within your state that has had success keeping this species? Where do you live?
I live in Cupertino California. I am open to trading/giving it to somebody local with more experience. Just message me directly if you are interested.
 
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EngineerRock

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I know you probably don't want to hear this but I think you should sell it or trade it in. You're going to spent the next 8-12 months chasing it's health unless it dies somewhere along the way or eventually turns to mush. Your going to spend the first year of your tank worrying about this anemone instead of enjoying things like adding zoas and killing free Monti cap until a piece finally makes it.
As sad as it makes me, I think you are correct. It might be too late, but if anybody in the San Francisco Bay Area wants to try and save it please message me directly.
 

Sltloser

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I do moderately heavy broadcast feeding every morning and target feed it with meaty foods 3-4x per week. Should I feed it daily in this poor state or should I focus on lighting and treatment?
With it's deteriorating state I would agree with some of the other advice here, getting it into a cipro treatment would be the best idea for it.

I do however not agree with the thought of not feeding anemones. With the current stressed state I would continue to feed the anemone. Although they are able to feed via autotrophy they also use heterotrophy to increase metabolic input, which is important for all anthozoans (although lighting is often the main focus in our hobby) . Hosted clownfish will often feed anemones, their waste goes towards nutrient input (ammonia), along with feeding from the water column. There is empirical evidence to show that anemones do gain mass from being fed, and uptake ammonia from hosted anemonefish (please see articles below).

http://wp.auburn.edu/chadlab/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Chomsky-et-al-2004-sea-anem-feeding1.pdf

 
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EngineerRock

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With it's deteriorating state I would agree with some of the other advice here, getting it into a cipro treatment would be the best idea for it.

I do however not agree with the thought of not feeding anemones. With the current stressed state I would continue to feed the anemone. Although they are able to feed via autotrophy they also use heterotrophy to increase metabolic input, which is important for all anthozoans (although lighting is often the main focus in our hobby) . Hosted clownfish will often feed anemones, their waste goes towards nutrient input (ammonia), along with feeding from the water column. There is empirical evidence to show that anemones do gain mass from being fed, and uptake ammonia from hosted anemonefish (please see articles below).

http://wp.auburn.edu/chadlab/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Chomsky-et-al-2004-sea-anem-feeding1.pdf

I called all the vets in my area (Northern California) and none will give me antibiotics of any kind. One who specializes in aquatic creatures even said that using cipro would be "irresponsible" because it is too harsh and leads to poor outcomes for anemones. Any thoughts on that or other ways to get cipro?
 
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