My Experiences With Keeping The Magnificent Anemone Heteractis magnifica

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atoll

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My Experiences With Keeping The Magnificent Anemone Heteractis magnifica

Lately, there seems to be an upsurge in the keeping of anemone’s, along with bubble tip anemones the Magnificent anemone is becoming more popular and with good reason. These anemones live up to their name and are the most anemone desired by common and peculiar clownfish and derivatives thereof.

They come in a variety of colours more commonly with a purple/redish base with yellow tipped mauve tentacles. Another plus is that they are quite reasonably priced at around £40 to £45ish at my LFS here in the UK. The rather cheap price is probably down to the abundance of them found and the fact most are collected very close to the water’s surface making collection easier than some other anemones.

“Great” you may say and “I want one” Just hold on a minute because here are the downsides, Firstly and most important if you don’t provide for their substantial needs you are going to fail and have a dead anemone and a dead anemone can quickly pollute your tank so do be aware of what you are taking on. Magnifica anemones are considered as suitable for experienced keepers only due to their demanding requirements so be warned these anemones won’t be compromised.

Magnifica’s needs while quite demanding are not unsurmountable together with a little thought and understanding you can have a beautiful thriving anemone hosting a pair or more of wonderful clownfish. The clues to their requirements, good health and longevity as with most animals are found in their natural habitat on the reef with clean fresh water washing over them with most Magnificent anemones found close to the surface bathed in sunlight.

At this point I am going to go back in time when I first kept a Magnificent anemone, that was over 30 years ago. Back then the magnificent anemone was considered by many of the experts of the day as impossible to keep for more than a few weeks in the aquarium. I kept mine with a trio of common clowns for a number of years before my circumstances at the time forced me to strip the tank down and move the anemone etc on.

Back in the day, my Magnifica perched high up on a rock directly under a 250w HQI lamp. The HQI lamps back then were quite a lowly kelvin rated. My Osram lamp was rated at 5400k and by today's standard quite yellow although compared to what went before the light looked white to us. Not far from the anemone I had a Tunze 4002 air-cooled water pump connected to a pulse timer which provided a constant pulse of strong water over it. I won’t go into the filtration other to say I grew a lot of Caulerpa in the tank and also made my own sump with a substantial Tunze skimmer sitting in it so water quality was very good especially for the day.

I was so successful with this anemone that I had to be careful as it could grow very large and larger than I wanted it to grow even though it was housed in a 6’6” long 130gallon tank. I kept it around a foot across by feeding it once sometimes twice a week only. If I fed it anymore it would grow at quite a rate and after feeding the following day it was visibly much larger than the day before. I fed the anemone pieces of whitebait (small fish) mussel, shrimp and prawn which it relished particularly the shrimp and prawn.

Now to my current set up and Magnificent anemone and what I have learned and put into practice not without a few issues I may add. When I first got my new Magnificent anemone, I placed it on a flat rock directly under one of my Radion XR30 gen3 pros not far from an FX150 gyre and a Tunze Nanostream 6040 giving it what I thought was an ideal position and conditions but it had other ideas. If these anemones don’t like their perch then they will move or even detach and wander around the aquarium looking for a place to settle. If you are unlucky that could mean inside a powerhead where it can get mashed up or even up against a weir blocking water flow to the sump, neither are ideal places I am sure you will agree.

All seemed well for a couple of days but then the anemone decided to go walk about. Luckily enough it went high up on my weir which was situated close by. I removed it and replaced it in the same spot but it moved back on the weir with its tentacles flat on the water’s surface as if looking for even more light than my Radion was providing. Surely my Radion’s were providing enough light. Some head scratching followed and I dismissed the problem with water flow and deducted light was somehow the issue.

My mind went back to the Magnifica I kept all those years ago and the light I had it under then I had a lightbulb moment. Although my Radion’s were more than capable of providing enough light they are heavily balanced towards the blue spectrum with my whites only on 15% of their power What to do, I didn’t want to turn my whites up any further and all my SPS were fine under them and growing quite well. if only I could find a better solution so I started to do some searching and after some research, I found just what I needed.

Amazon had a 6500k daylight 16w LED quite cheap at £31-99p delivered (about $45) and complete with its own gooseneck called the Asta20. (they also do a full spectrum version costing a bit more) The lamp clamped onto the side glass and utilising the 60-degree optional lens it came with it totally illuminated my Magnifica which is now sitting on a clump of barnacle shells right under the Radion and the LED spotlight.

The Magnifica has now stayed put for the last few weeks and continues to grow at quite a rate even though I don’t feed it as often as many suggest, I need to control its size and stop it stinging my corals. My 2 clownfish that previously resided in a bubble tip anemone certainly love their new home and much prefer it to the bubble tip judging by their behaviour as they bath within its tentacles. Its almost as if the clowns are telling me this is what we wanted all along, thank you. The bubble tip was sold on to another reefer.

Hopefully, my Magnifica will stay in my preferred place on the far righthand side of my reef aquarium and continue to thrive there for some time to come with my clowns eventually spawning at the base. The H.Magnifica is a beautiful anemone but quite challenging but worth the effort providing for its requirements.

My H.magnifica. Since this photos were taken it has grown considerably.
20180226_173124.jpg


and LED 6500K spotlight.
20180221_173611 (2).jpg


 
Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting

GoVols

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@atoll
They sure are beautiful nems.
Always wanted to give an Magnifica ago, but too scared ;Nailbiting if it went on a walk about on the upper parts of my scape :eek:

Thanks for another great write up.

:)
 
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atoll

atoll

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@atoll
They sure are beautiful nems.
Always wanted to give an Magnifica ago, but too scared ;Nailbiting if it went on a walk about on the upper parts of my scape :eek:

Thanks for another great write up.

:)
Thanks. Bubble tips are also prone to go walkabout as with many species of nems if they are not in a position that suits them and their needs.
 

GoVols

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Thanks. Bubble tips are also prone to go walkabout as with many species of nems if they are not in a position that suits them and their needs.
Well,
(lol)
Mine BTA's have stayed put for two years :)

My Sherman BTA does not like led's, but... you got me thinking :D
 
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atoll

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Well,
(lol)
Mine BTA's have stayed put for two years :)

My Sherman BTA does not like led's, but... you got me thinking :D
Am not saying bubble tips are any worse than Magnificas. However a nem may stay in the same position for ...well years and one day just up sticks and move. This has been reported many times with various nems not just bubble tips and Magnificas.
 
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Am not saying bubble tips are any worse than Magnificas. However a nem may stay in the same position for ...well years and one day just up sticks and move. This has been reported many times with various nems not just bubble tips and Magnificas.
Agree
And thanks!!
 

gig 'em

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Great write up! Magnificas have been my favorite animal since I laid eyes in them in the late 90s and early 2000s. I have loved all my mags I have had and had to pass on mags I grew from 2" to 16"+. Simply amazing animals that can and will quickly outgrow the average aquarium!

Are you hypothesizing that your mag liked a warmer light spectrum, or do you think the PAR or intensity of the blues of your radions was too high for its preference? I've seen colonies of mags in the wild in some deep(ish) water where it was more in the blue spectrum, so I'm curious where the preference of a mag lies. A good controlled test would be great if we had enough clones of the same anemone available!
 
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Great write up! Magnificas have been my favorite animal since I laid eyes in them in the late 90s and early 2000s. I have loved all my mags I have had and had to pass on mags I grew from 2" to 16"+. Simply amazing animals that can and will quickly outgrow the average aquarium!

Are you hypothesizing that your mag liked a warmer light spectrum, or do you think the PAR or intensity of the blues of your radions was too high for its preference? I've seen colonies of mags in the wild in some deep(ish) water where it was more in the blue spectrum, so I'm curious where the preference of a mag lies. A good controlled test would be great if we had enough clones of the same anemone available!

Thanks, Yes I am hypothesizing about my mags light requirement and if anything my PAR may have been too low for it rather than too high asI have only added to the light the Radion gives it the Radion is still above the nem as before. I just don't think my nem was getting enough of the daylight spectrum and I have added to that now with the ASTA20 6500k LED. My nem seems happy in its original position with the added 6500k. Maybe H.magnifica's although all being the same species some have adapted to bluer light while others found much nearer the surface enjoy more of the white spectrum my 6500k is now providing to their satisfaction.
 

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The 'problem' with the magnifica is its propensity for bacterial infections. It does not ship or acclimate well. If you are going to try one, make sure you have the ability to treat it with antibiotics should the need arise. I've had six of them over the years, and the only two that didn't need treatment came out of local reefers tanks.
 
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atoll

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Anything further to report on the Mag’s response to adding the spotlight? Thinking about adding one to me tank for my newly acquired Mag.
Only that it continues to do well. However, a couple of days ago it it close up but then reopened.
 

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Mine never moved over 2 years, bta's. Tend to wander. If you have the space and light, I highly recommend one, just have cypro or other antibiotics ready unless you get one in captivity a while.
 

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Interesting thoughts on the light temp, mine pictured above is kept under orphek atlantics 2.1b’s I have mine set to 85% white 100% on other channels, so whilst not 6500k I’m guessing more like 12000k. I certainly don’t run my tank blue as I dislike the look
 

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Here’s my monster, been sat in the same place for over 6 years, it’s over 15” across Ive never fed it, I think they are stunning nens

Wow! That's a gorgeous mag. Purple tips? Love it when they have colored tips like that. What color is the foot?
 
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Excellent write up @atoll !


Am not saying bubble tips are any worse than Magnificas. However a nem may stay in the same position for ...well years and one day just up sticks and move. This has been reported many times with various nems not just bubble tips and Magnificas.

Agree with this. I also had my first H. Magnifica in the early nineties. It was only a 55 gallon standard aquarium. The anemone was placed pretty low in the tank under a 250 W Metal Halide bulb. It stayed there and was quite happy. A couple years later it went on the move. I was overdue on replacing my bulb and as soon as I did, he stayed put right under, but higher up in the rock work, for a couple of more years (until I had to break the tank down).

Rarely fed it, but my Clarkiis would jam food in its mouth when it was too big for them. One of my favorite marine critters ever.
 

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Wow! That's a gorgeous mag. Purple tips? Love it when they have colored tips like that. What color is the foot?
Thanks, The base is purple as well.. mr and mrs maroon have made it home and spawn every few weeks
 

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Thanks, The base is purple as well.. mr and mrs maroon have made it home and spawn every few weeks

Wow, that is the #1 most beautiful color combo! I've been looking for one with that exact coloration for years. I wish I could get my hands on one. Let me know if it ever splits! I'll write a blank check [emoji38]
 

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Wow, that is the #1 most beautiful color combo! I've been looking for one with that exact coloration for years. I wish I could get my hands on one. Let me know if it ever splits! I'll write a blank check [emoji38]
Lol thank you, it’s actually never split in the 8 odd years I’ve had it in total, even worse for you I live in the UK sorry fella
 

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Lol thank you, it’s actually never split in the 8 odd years I’ve had it in total, even worse for you I live in the UK sorry fella

Haha that's probably why I never see that color variant in the states. No matter, for that color I would bend over backwards to make it work [emoji23] Congratulations on a successful long history with it so far. Here's to another 8 years and beyond! [emoji482]
 
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