Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Anthony Calfo » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:29 pm

Cheers :)

I've been texting a friend that is working on an anemone farm and thought that some of the exchange might be helpful to others. The question that started this was out of concern for light shocking newly imported specimens of Entacmaea quadricolor if kept under California sun in a greenhouse. My reply is as follows:

...
Regarding your anemones, its a two-fold issue. On one hand, the species is really easy to define from habitats on the reef. Unlike so many other cnidarians, aquarium collected Entacmaea quadricolor is actually very limited in its range. It is categorically a shallow water anemone with most all being found within 40ft or less.

Having said that... it doesn't mean that it needs to be a high light creature in aquaria. There are several other factors to reckon here. 1) they are simply a very hardy and adaptable organism. We know that they will adjust to and live well under a wider range of light than they'd typically see on the reef. 2) Even if you knew the lights levels from where they were collected, transit and acclimation to aquarium conditions makes it possible that that same level of light over their aquarium could stress or shock them. 3) whatever lighting you choose has to be attenuated slowly (whether that's up or down for these specimens) and also has to be reckoned with the new available light and any changes that are likely in the future (seasonal variation on natural lighting... and bad habits that don't maintain consistent water clarity in aquaria, leading to shock with water changes and lamp changes for artificial light scenarios).

This all speaks to similar problems we all have with high light stony corals just the same.

The overall solution needs to reckon all of the above. Initial acclimation aside (attenuated slowly over several weeks), the long term solution is to light the aquaria to the mean, presuming the range is not extreme. So, for example, in a greenhouse you should shade(cloth) your aquaria so that the summer light level equals spring and fall... and supplement winter sunlight to equal, again, spring and fall levels. This all presumes that the mean does not exceed the healthy range of the given cultured zooxanthellate species. In this case that is not likely since we are talking about a very shallow water photosynthetic anemone. Your job is made even easier by the fact that so many aquarists keep these 'nems well and you can get PAR readings from fellow hobbyists to establish a pulse on acceptable light levels.

In summary, gradually acclimate newly imported BTA anemones to moderate to high light slowly over several weeks during quarantine. Maintain steady light levels throughout the growing period by shading or supplementing natural sunlight when used, running fresh/high PAR lamps when needed, and maintaining water clarity under any kind of lighting.

kindly, Anth-
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Kmiec123 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:13 pm

Thanks AC, great to know! What type of flow is recommended?
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Anthony Calfo » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:40 pm

Thank you, my friend. As for flow, this animal (BTA) is mostly forgiving, relative to its kin.

We've seen them live well (and reproduce under seemingly non-stress induced conditions) with "low" water flow (<30X tank turnover per hour) by modern reefkeeping standards.

Nonetheless, keeping versus growing... and adequate (for life) versus optimal (thriving life) are two different things here. More is better, no surprise. They purge waste faster, get more feeding opportunities and move around less often with stronger water flow.

Make your life easy and simply give them random turbulent flow (max pump output in a convergence versus any sort of wave-timed or attenuated action). Treat them like sps corals as opposed to lps varieties. Something in the 60X range would be nice.

Minimally, you will need to have enough water flow so that all solids are kept in suspension (no areas of accumulating detritus) and the tentacles of the specimens generally look like wheat whipping around in a field on a very windy day.
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby vaporize » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:26 pm

is this translated English? I find myself having to read it two to three times to try to understand it. (Just curious)
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Luis A M » Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:50 pm

vaporize wrote:is this translated English? I find myself having to read it two to three times to try to understand it. (Just curious)

Funny.Tony Calfo is notorious for his very educated
english,way too much sometimes :!: :lol:




















:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby PaulG » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:47 pm

Anthony,

While we are on teh topic of anemones, how well do they cope with phosphate in the water?
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Anthony Calfo » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:31 pm

Cheers, Vaporize. I am truly sorry if it is not clear to you, my friend. Since you have this issue, others most likely do too. Is there anything specific that's unclear? Starting with the summary at the end, perhaps? Is the solution unclear or the question(s)?

Paul. Good question, indeed. But it is one that I don't think we can answer definitively. We (the hobby) are at a disadvantage oftentimes for answers to questions that you would think someone surely has examined and answered by now. And yet, a proper scientific study on most anything is quite expensive. Exceptions aside, mere thousands of dollars would not even begin to approach funds needed for a sound trial. Really... 10k USD is still on the low end (an understatement as the vocational science folks will attest). In short, who is going to pay for studies for hobbyists and why? Industry will most only pay for work that gives them a return (read: beneficial to their product or company, naturally). And philanthropy in the aquarium hobby for research is about as rare as hen's teeth :)

From a farmer's perspective, I can tell you that the point is largely moot. The cycle of harvest for this species is so blessedly fast that the inevitable export of massive amounts of water with each harvest (2-6 weeks) means that system water is exchanged significantly and enough that phosphate (nitrate, dissolved organics, etc) levels do not get a chance to accumulate.

From a display keeper's perspective, I still can't help you. I am one of those hobbyists that relies less on technology and more on steady, frequent and large water changes. "Dilution is the solution to pollution" :):):) I can't say specifically what the effects of long term exposure to phosphate would be for BTAs.
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby rsman » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:14 pm

Anthony Calfo wrote:Since you have this issue, others most likely do too.


ooh great, I can read it perfectly..... not good things happening here :P :evil:
GONE!!!
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby lance » Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:45 am

very interesting info

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http://www.youtube.com/user/CoralMan24

http://s704.photobucket.com/albums/ww49/lancelesko/

Always quarantine new arrival's before adding to breeding tank's or display
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Kmiec123 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:05 am

My reef has nearly undetectable phosphate and an rtba that is doing well....Nitrates are through the roof, as they tend to be in most of my systems due to poor husbandry. ;)
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby PaulG » Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:37 am

Carl,

I've got the same problem... jus thte other way round.... nitrates are 0 (as far as test kit is concerned) but phosphate is 2ppm & my rbta isn't looking too happy & I've lost a couple of acro frags (no biggy there just don't want to lose the nem)
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Anthony Calfo » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:20 pm

Hey, Paul. Sorry to hear about your RBTA, my friend. I apologize if this is overly anal too :) ... but having moderated more than a few forums in my past, I have a pressing desire to keep things tidy for archiving and future readers/searchers. Would you be interested in starting a new thread for diagnosing your anemone woes? I am as certain as I can be that this is not a lighting problem for you (nor likely a pathogen either). Thus, we can flesh out issues that may help you or others on the husbandry aspect.

Carl... heehee, what we often call "poor husbandry" is really just an abundant supply of yummy nitrogen :) My water change habits aside, I think I am in the same boat as you due to the avalanche of food that I rain down on my critters everyday. My style of feeding might be called "bullrush" or "Hail Mary" :)
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby PaulG » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:59 am

Thanks Anthony,

But there is probab;y no need for a new thread, I'll try a water change & see if that improves things & iff not I'll make a new thread.

The only reason I asked is that I finally picked up a phosphate test kit & its reading 2.0ppm in teh tank with the rbta and I've noticed it isn't as 'perky' as what it has been, I've also lossed a couple of acro frags obviously due to the phosphate issue.


Where is the phosphate coming from.... teh food ( I tested this one ;) )
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Anthony Calfo » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:47 pm

No worries, my friend. But just to be clear here; are you testing for inorganic phosphate only? This will make a difference as you systematically rule out variables (inorganic and organic sources). A problem in its own right, high phosphate is not harming your anemone here. Especially while the majority of other inverts are also faring well or well enough. Moreover, phosphate found in the typical aquarium range is not a killer... it's an impediment, in many ways. But not a killer. It will impede your Acros growth if too high, but is highly unlikely to kill them. We need to dig deeper here. But I very much agree with the water change, of course. Dilute, buy time and evaluate.
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby xroads » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:46 pm

Hello all,

I have been culturing my nems for awhile under t-5's. I am going to be switched them to 250W MH in the next month or so & will keep you posted in the growth rate difference.

Currently I am able to split about every 6 weeks.
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Anthony Calfo » Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:04 pm

Great to see you, Craig! Thanks for sharing too, my friend. I can't recall when we chatted last if you said you had a PAR meter or maybe the club has one (or was getting one)? Please take a light reading before the switch if you can and then adjust your new halide setting to that temporarily (well... presuming the MHs are stronger, that is :)) - say for several weeks. Attenuating the light to the "full power" over that time.

It brings up a good point too to remind folks, increasing light does not translate to increasing growth. Adequate lighting maintains cnidarians, but feeding is what grows them and facilitates reproduction. Increasing food will always yield better growth. Heehee... and that brings us back to Carl's nitrogen paradise :D
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby xroads » Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:45 pm

Yes I bought my own par meter about a year ago. Great investment.

My current par with the t-5s was around 300 at the water surface. I am hoping to slowly raise it up to about 600 within a month after getting the new lights.

I feed them 3-4 times a week a combination of mysid, oysters, krill, egg yolks, all pureed into a nice smelly concoction.

I am hoping that the better light will get me closer to a 3-4 week cutting schedule.
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Anthony Calfo » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:37 pm

All great to hear! And your feeding is especially good. The mysids are a good whole food, great HUFAs/fats with the eggs, protein with the krill. Thank you for sharing! Looking forward to seeing more, my friend :)
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby PaulG » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:23 am

Anthony Calfo wrote:No worries, my friend. But just to be clear here; are you testing for inorganic phosphate only? This will make a difference as you systematically rule out variables (inorganic and organic sources). A problem in its own right, high phosphate is not harming your anemone here. Especially while the majority of other inverts are also faring well or well enough. Moreover, phosphate found in the typical aquarium range is not a killer... it's an impediment, in many ways. But not a killer. It will impede your Acros growth if too high, but is highly unlikely to kill them. We need to dig deeper here. But I very much agree with the water change, of course. Dilute, buy time and evaluate.



Anthony,

I have no idea what 'type' of phosphate the test kit is reading as it doesn't say on the blurb that came with the kit.
The kit is an API Phosphate Kit, if that helps?
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Re: Lighting for Culturing Anemones

Postby Anthony Calfo » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:45 am

HI, Paul :) Most hobby test kits only test for inorganic phosphate. Organic is an entirely separate area of concern. It explains why many folks test zero (inorganic) phosphate but have wicked nuisance algae in their aquaria. And with higher inorganic, the concern is that some organic is inevitably present as well. Worse still is that much of the phosphorous in the aquarium can be banked in algae and not register of course on the test kit at that moment but still be present... released and recycled in the aquarium as time goes on.

I could be mistaken, but I recall Hach making a total phosphate test kit.
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