Flower Anemone Spawning
In September of last year, Dynasty Marine sent me a box of flower anemones (Epicystis crucifer) to set up a Caribbean biotope aquarium. While the aquarium has gone through some growing pains and at the moment is not very photogenic, over the weekend we were lucky to catch one of the anemones spewing out hundreds of eggs.
Our goal with this tank was to experiment with spawning flower anemones and we’ve spent lots of time observing these anemones in our tank. At the moment we are growing twenty stems of turtle grass, a cluster of ten flower anemones, two ricordea mushrooms, a handful of bumble bee snails and a tiny captive bred neon goby.
There are also two captive bred heliofungia (long tentacle plate corals) a heteropsammia (walking dendro) and a colorful wellsophyllia brain coral. These corals are not from the Caribbean and are only being held in my aquarium until another coral table is ready for them.
The aquarium started off in a 10 gallon classic black rimmed aquarium with oolitic sand covering the bottom. The aquarium is powered by an EcoTech MP10, and AI Prime HD and for filtration, I use a glass protein skimmer with an airstone. There is also a 50 watt heater keeps the tank around 75°F (24°C).
After speaking with Julian Sprung, who also collected our turtle grass, he recommended switching the oolitic sand for a nutrient rich refugite sand which is ideal for growing seagrass. Following his advice, we switched over our aquarium to a smaller 8 gallon high clarity Ultum Nature tank with dark refugite sand. We caught our flower anemone releasing eggs, three days after this switch.
Anemone With Eggs
When the lights were off in the tank we noticed one of the flower anemones was inflated and tripled in size. The large inflated disk was bouncing in the flow with an elongated foot still attached to the rock. The anemone, which is normally pink, was a translucent color and the odd looking anemone begged me to take a closer look.
When I turned on the lights I could see tiny eggs through it’s transparent body traveling from the rim of the anemone towards the mouth. Within one minute I noticed egg releasing from the center of the anemone and quickly shot this timelaps video.
From what we’ve read, flower anemones are either male or female and the males release sperm which is absorbed by the female who broods baby anemones inside her body. We assume these eggs should stay inside the anemone to be fertilized, and tiny baby anemones should make their way out.
We caught our flower anemone releasing eggs, three days after switching over the tank and wonder if this was a stress response to a complete tank switch. The eggs were not mobile in the water which leads us to believe there were unfertilized and perhaps they were expelled prematurely due to stress.
None of the other anemones in the tank had any spawning response and this is the first spawning event we have witnessed in our tank. We will keep you posted with our flower anemone and Caribbean biotope aquarium.