Why does my anemone keep walking round my tank?

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Anemones can walk, and it's not unusual for them to wander round the tank. Nick Jones explains why.

Anemones can have demanding requirements as regards lighting, feeding, water flow, temperature and water quality. This may also sound necessary for many corals, but many stunning tanks full of SPS corals have struggling anemones.  

Anemones can walk. They find a position they feel comfortable in and bury their foot in the sand or attach to a rock. If conditions aren’t suitable in the reef tank they will wander, looking for a more favourable position. This can lead to neighbouring corals being stung or the animal getting  into an unprotected pump inlet and meet its doom.

If yours continues to move it’s because it can’t find a suitable location, the right amount of light or because water conditions aren’t exacting enough.

If your anemone doesn’t settle within a week or so, your tank may never be suitable and the best thing would be to pass it to another hobbyist whose tank is more to the animal’s liking.
Even established anemones will often move occasionally and poke out of different holes in the rocks. This isn’t something to worry about.

This article was first published in the Christmas 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.