Home > Tips & Tricks > Bubble Tip Anemone Care & Info | A Beginner-Proof Anemone

Bubble Tip Anemone Care & Info | A Beginner-Proof Anemone

Looking for something unusual to decorate your reef with? Or trying to find a suitable host for your clownfish? Corals are nice and all, but there’s more! Let us introduce you to the bubble tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor), a colorful anemone that’s become pretty popular in the marine aquarium hobby.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about bubble tip anemone care and keeping this species in your home aquarium. 

Name (Common, Scientific)Bubble tip anemone, BTA, Entacmaea quadricolor
dkH8-12
TemperamentWill sting neighbors
Temperature72-82 °F
Salinity1.023-1.025
pH8.1-8.4
Difficulty levelIntermediate

Bubble tip anemone appearance & natural habitat

Appearance

It’s not difficult to see where bubble tip anemones got their name. Although they can stretch their tentacles to look stringy, the appendages are usually bulbous and bubble-like, with a hint of color on the very tip.

A bubble tip anemone can grow to up to around a foot in diameter, although it usually stays smaller in the aquarium. Its mouth is located in the center of the disc, surrounded by tentacles that can reach up to 4″ in length. The base is called a “foot”; it helps the anemone adhere itself to rocks or sand.

Color varieties

One cool thing that we love about bubble tips is that they can be found in a pretty wide range of different colors. The “standard” version is a light yellowish-brown, but you may come across many others.

A few of the more common color morphs include:

  • Rainbow bubble tip anemone: Greenish-blue at the base, pink at the tips, and orange in between.
  • Rose bubble tip anemone: Dusty rose coloration.
  • Green bubble tip anemone: Pinkish to tan in color with lovely neon green tips.
  • Red bubble tip anemone: Sporting a bright orangeish red.
  • Colorado sunburst bubble tip: Simply spectacular! Developed in Colorado, featuring a greenish-blue base and bright orange tips.
  • Nexus burst bubble tip: By Eye Catching Coral. Unique mixture of green and orange tips.

And more! Our favorite is a cultivar with a pale center and neon pink tips, which is sometimes referred to as the “pink-tipped bubble tip” or “pink tip snowflake” (pictured at the top of this guide).

Keep an eye out while shopping, because reefers and nurseries are always coming up with beautiful new color morphs. Many of these are very pricey at first, but once they become more popular, the price tends to drop.

Red bubble tip anemone
Red bubble tip anemone

Natural habitat

Bubble tip anemones are naturally found in the Indo-Pacific. They have a wide range that stretches all the way from the Red Sea in the west to the Melanesian islands in the east. Here, they can be found at depths of up to 650 ft. The species likes to attach itself to rock crevices for stability, but can move if its current spot isn’t ideal.

As we briefly mentioned in the section on appearance, not all bubble tip anemones look the same. Their appearance mostly appears to depend on age, depth, and the presence of fish. In shallow waters, which have more fish, young bubble tips tend display the typical bulbous tentacle shape. Here, they’re generally smaller but communal in nature.

Bubble tip anemones found in deeper reefs are usually adults and have stringy tentacles without “bubbles”. They also grow a lot larger and tend to occur solitarily rather than in groups.

Did you know? Bubble tip anemones naturally host many different species of anemonefish. Some of these, like the maroon clownfish and clarkii clownfish, are commonly kept in the aquarium.

Bubble tip anemone care

If you’re looking to get into growing anemones, you’re in luck. Most of them are considered pretty difficult to grow, needing lots of light and very stable conditions. The bubble tip anemone, however, is a bit more forgiving. If you have some experience, you can probably make it work!

Let’s have a look at what your bubble tip will need to thrive.

Bubble tip anemone placement

Yeah, about that… like many other anemone species, the bubble tip anemone is not sessile. As odd as this sounds, it can move around. It will do if it considers its current placement to be inadequate, or sometimes seemingly just because it can. This means you don’t have to find it a good spot in your tank: they do this themselves.

In terms of lighting and flow requirements, your bubble tip anemone will appreciate both being on the medium to high side. Make sure your aquarium has spots with around 250-350 PAR and good flow, so the anemone can take up residence there if it so chooses.

Their ability to move can also make these guys a bit of a handful. Most important to keep in mind is that anemones don’t know that they can’t move close to wavemakers or powerheads.

Use covers on everything, because the last thing you want is a bubble tip getting stuck, dying, and fouling the entire tank. Or worse, getting chopped into bits and blown all over the place!

Compatibility

Unlike some anemones, bubble tips are not known for killing fish. They can be combined just fine with species that won’t bother them. Corals are another story: the anemone’s stinging tentacles pack a pretty strong punch, which isn’t ideal if it decides to move and take up residence close to a coral.

Although bubble tip anemones can technically be combined with most corals, we wouldn’t place them in a tank that contains our most precious frags.

In order to keep violence to a minimum, you can try the following:

  • Choose more resistant species, like soft corals
  • Provide a few perfect spots for the anemone (medium light and flow, some nice rock with plenty of crevices), far away from corals
  • Try boxing the anemone in with some rocks
  • If the anemone has move into a very inconvenient location, you may have to find it a better spot.

Maintenance

Don’t forget that even though they’re considered quite forgiving compared to other anemones, a bubble tip anemone does need high water quality to thrive. Stay on top of aquarium maintenance to prevent issues.

Tip: Bubble tip anemones will get along swimmingly with anemone shrimp of the genus Periclimenes, Ancylomenes, and Thor. You could try the sexy shrimp, which wouldn’t generally host a bubble tip in the wild but will usually happily hang out in one (and keep it clean!) in the aquarium.

Feeding bubble tip anemone

Like many corals, bubble tip anemones contain zooxanthellae, microscopic algae in their tissues that allow them to use photosynthesis to obtain nutrients. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to feed your bubble tip, though.

If your bubble tip anemone hosts a clownfish, it might not need too much food, as its resident fish will help keep it well-fed. Still, be sure to regularly supplement with (thawed) frozen food or bits of squid and shrimp. You can target feed the anemone to make sure it actually consumes the food.

Bubble tip anemone close-up
Bubble tip anemone at FantaSEA headquarters

How to frag a bubble tip anemone

If you’d like to divide your anemone, you can’t just take it and frag it like you would with a coral. After all, a coral is not a single organism, so it won’t mind being split. A bubble tip anemone, on the other hand, is actually a single invertebrate. It won’t be happy about being cut apart.

Instead, you’ll have to sit back and let the anemone take care of things itself. Bubble tips can be relatively small when you buy them, but they can reach a pretty respectable size (over a foot). If yours is thriving (or alternatively, if it’s very stressed) it will often decide at some point to split itself. Handy!

Conclusion

If you’re looking to get into keeping anemones, the bubble tip is a nice one to start with. That being said, you do need a good level of general aquarium knowledge to make sure yours thrives! If you just want to enjoy your tank with none of the hassle, we can help. Contact us here so we can help design, build and maintain your aquarium for you!

Sources & further reading

Fautin, D. G., Allen, G. R., Allen, G. R., Naturalist, A., Allen, G. R., & Naturaliste, A. (1992). Field guide to anemonefishes and their host sea anemones (p. 78). Perth: Western Australian Museum.

Photo of author

Marijke Puts

Hey! I'm Marijke, FantaSEA's resident blog writer. I'm a full-time pop science author, part-time PADI diver and snorkeler, and have been keeping fish since I was a kid. When I'm not writing fish care guides, you can usually find me underwater or trying to figure out how to fit more tanks into my house.

You may also like

Sorry, no posts were found.

Leave a Comment