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Since I seem to be getting wholly conflicting advice from sites out there, I figured I'd just ask those of you here who have been successfully keeping BTAs for awhile.

Feeding: Chuck said every 3 days or so. Some sites say "every 7 if you want them to split, every 14 if you don't" and still others said "If you have a clownfish, it will bring the anemone food."
I'm more inclined to listen to Chuck on this matter, as his were obviously healthy enough to split, but what do the rest of you think?

On the feeding note, my clown appears confused on the "bringing the anemone food" bit; she steals food FROM the anemone more often than not. At least, that's what it looks like. Anemone will have a bit of shrimp in its tentacles, and the clown will come up and pick at the shrimp bit until the anemone lets go.
Do they actually bring the anemones food under normal circumstances? I don't plan on depending on my spaz of a clown to feed the anemone, just mostly curious.

General health: Um, I have to admit I'm clueless here. I know this guy is stressed due to a new move, but it has settled in on a rock and hasn't moved from the spot so I'm taking that as a good sign. It doesn't retract from the clown, and seems to actually splay open wider when the clown comes in.
I'm GUESSING this is a good thing?
Color is nice and pink, and the tips are about 50/50 'bubble' looking and contracted and long and flailing about.
Is this normal or does it mean the anemone is hungry?

Besides shrimp and clam, what else do you feed yours (if anything at all)?

I also tend to be a supplement freak sometimes, especially with tank inverts (fresh or saltwater).
We don't have the nice fancy equipment to auto-dose, but every 1-2 weeks (or right after a big water change if one is needed) we add Kent's essential elements and coral vite.
We do have a calcium test kit and add liquid reactor at night if the levels are dipping too low.
Since everything seems to be doing okay, I'm assuming this isn't overkill. Before, when we did no supplements, we couldn't get any inverts (or plants) to live very long.

Eventually, I'll stop being paranoid about it once I realize many of the things I've read such as:

- Every BTA looks different. Some are always compact and 'thick' looking, others tend to have longer tentacles and are more spread out. It's scary the variety of looks for the SAME ANIMAL I've seen in looking. :D

- I need to effing relax. I know very well that the first one I had died because I didn't know what I was doing and had very poor (just plain fluorescent) lighting. This time I have good lighting (sunpaq dual actinic and dual daylight) and I'm quite a bit more knowledgable. Plus the fact that the xenia and mushrooms haven't died is a good booster. :)

- I'll be fine as long as the water quality is good (and it is; we do regular partial changes and use the xenia as our big indicator) and the lights stay on for at least 6 hours per day (xenia also lets us know if the lights have been on too long. It gets all angrystressed and balls up if they have.)

- I make sure it gets fed, and it'll be fine.

Oh right, and Chuck, let me know a good time to drop your beer glass off. The anemone moved out and we have the glass all washed out and ready to be used for holding beer again. :)
Otherwise, if you like, I can just drop it off in your mailbox sometime.
 

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I used to feed mine about once a week and they ended up growing and splitting like crazy. Now I only feed them about once or twice a month and they are doing great in both tanks for about 1 1/2 years. The only issue I have had was when I went on vacation and a RBTA started wondering around. My clowns have never feed my anemones and I don't think many percs or tomato clown do, but many maroon clowns will. My tomato clowns like to steal food from my BTA. I usually feed mine about 1/3 of a Silverside at a time.

I would not feed BTA's more than once a week as it is unnecessary and just adds more pollutants to your tank. Feeding bi-monthly may be fine, but watch and see if the BTA starts to bleach. If it does, go back to feeding weekly. If you're goal is to have lots of anemones and get them to split often, you can feed them more, but be aware that splitting will cause them to wonder and that is when you could run into problems with them stinging other corals or getting sucked up into a powerhead.
 

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From my experience, feeding my anemones in the 20gal tank just made them get bigger. In the 75, post-move, the RBTA split right away due to stress, and they're both gaining size every day, it seems. I feed every two to three weeks, as I've found they really don't need very frequent feeding as long as they have good strong light. I'm running one 150w 14K HQI bulb and one 175w 15K mogul pendant over the tank right now. As far as my purple LTA, it has gotten huge. Yesterday I'd say it was a good 15-16" across, following a feeding the previous day.

It's really up to you how often you want to feed. Mine do fine with a feeding every few weeks and enjoy the strong light over the tank. I feed only raw (and thawed, of course) shrimp, and they're doing fine. Any meaty food should be fine, but for me raw shrimp is the cheapest; a whole bag will go forever. I only feed a small cube of shrimp to each of the three anemones when I feed, and that's more than plenty. The strong light probably has something to do with it, but I'd bet they'd live forever without me giving them shrimp every couple weeks.

As far as my tomato clowns, they steal food from the anemones. **** things. So, I use a feeding stick to feed the anemones and then distract the fish with it for a couple seconds so the anemones can close up on the food. I've yet to see the clowns feed the anemones, and that's fine with me. I just make sure they get the food that's meant for them via the feeding stick.

Overall, I've found they're pretty easy to care for. Both RBTA's and LTA's. They survived just fine in a 20gal (although were very crowded near the end before the move) with hardly any trace elements other than bi or tri-monthly water changes. Yes, poor husbandry, I know. They're thriving in the 75 now, and it gets daily doses of AquaC Complete and more regular water changes. Decent water conditions seem to suit them just fine, they're not exactly challenging species of SPS!

One last thing, though, I killed two anemones in the past because I had no idea what I was doing. I've spent hours and hours reading various online forums such as WetWebMedia and Reef Central. It's the research and time you put into knowing how to keep them that will pay off in their thriving in your system. So, thank you for taking the time to ask us questions so that those of us with experience can share it with you and help you avoid any failures we've had in our pasts. It's nice to see you caring enough to ask the questions instead of just assuming the answers and risking your beautiful anemone.

-Joe Schneider
 

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Oops, one last thing, I guess... :)

My RBTA's wandered the tank for weeks after I moved them to the new tank and the one split into two. Both stayed put for a week or more before doing the major moves. Be aware that they'll never truly "settle down." There's always a chance of a move, no matter how settled they may seem, so be prepared for it and make sure you space corals or other potential "targets" of the anemone a decent distance away to minimize your risks of having the anemone make an untimely move and ruin your corals etc.

-Joe Schneider
 

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Our RBTA does get food from our Gold Stripe Maroon Clown, But I know other clowns that do not tend to their hosts this way. We do feed our anemone too. We feed silverside or krill once a week. (krill is not its favorite tho.)
Sounds like you are doing better already than a lot of folks and Its great that you are taking time to read up on your animals. Good for you.

Good Luck.
 

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IME captive bread clones of bta's roam substatially less than wild caught specimens. That is not to say that they dont move, I just haven't had one move far from the spot it picked without being severly instigated to do so. This is opposed to the wild caught specimens I have had, that never really seemed to get comfortable for more than a month or so at a time. I also feed my anemone's once a week, sometimes twice a week. In order to keep the clowns from stealing its food I usually feed the tank at the same time, and feed the anemones with a feeding stick, or a wooden shish-ka-bob stick.
 
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