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Natural Reproduction by Fission


Giant Symbiotic Anemones




SBMarine (Montreal, Canada) - 13 November 2013



You may have noticed, reading printed or electronic material of the world: the huge number of options considered for the reproduction of Anemones ... However, I rarely glimpsed valid photographs or videos accompanying such documents. Of course, reproduction by budding, by division, by fragment ... All this is possible and also includes corals and other marine organisms. But regarding the aquarist, Natural Reproduction by Fission is the only option for most Aquarists. We know of corals, for instance, that reproduction is related to the sixth day of Black Moon. January-March: IN NATURE. In a tank, it's a different story. What's good about Natural Fission in captivity; is that it shows ideal conditions: quality of chemical and biological parameters of the tank; the required lighting quality; quality food and this is most important. Indeed, too many anemones in captivity are never fed by their keepers (not very often or very badly). Why dœs it come as a surprise that they only live one or two years: when in reality their life expectancy exceeds that of humans !

SBMarine therefore will only document Natural Reproduction. It is certainly not a spontaneous or unpredictable phenomenon. An anemone presents signs or behavior typical of a reproduction in progress ... Because this process is not limited to the split itself which lasts about 12 hours. It takes several weeks before the split can occur. At that stage Anemone must first break through the thin outer and inner cell membranes that contain the mesoglea. And this occurs at a specific location: the center and bottom of the stomach cavity (inside). This translates by the center of the foot (to the outside). Here, the inner and outer walls are fused without mesoglea separating them. If, therefore, the anemone is not on glass it will be impossible to see the process. For, seen from above, the anemone will not show any visible sign during reproduction. Except when the split occurs. To clone itself, Anemone must equip it’s double with a stomach and a mouth and for that it has to cut at its own digestive system. Once divided into two, each anemone will have to restich to form a mouth and a full stomach. This requires a few days. Food distribution can usually resume after a week or two.
Thereafter it is noted that the anemone shows an off-center mouth opening, at its periphery. This is normal since it is the junction point. Subsequently the mouth will naturally gravitate towards the center of the oral disc.
The Rhodactis for their part have different characteristics of reproduction and that which applies here is not entirely similar with Rhodactis. With Cerianthus: these are not anemones but relatives of Black Coral: reproduction is entirely different. It is only in recent years that they have been reclassified and now form a separate Order of their own. Their mode of reproduction in captivity is not only different but intriguing ...


Orion keeps telling me: Needs a Closer Look !!


Entacmea Quadricolor

its vagabond reputation indicates need for a Specific tank

Symbiotic Anemones - Cerianthus - Rhodactis: don't belong in Reef Tanks




IMPORTANT: Anemones are not - potted plants - that can, at will, be positioned in a chosen place ... Anemones only select this location. It is recommended never to intervene, even if it means feeding it in inaccessible places. Quads can roam about the tank for days, weeks and months: which is what happened with Rose.The situation became worrisome for two months when she took refuge behind the rocks at the bottom of the tank; in a poorly lit area ... She had her own reasons to do so. During that period we rarely saw the juvenile Premnas who followed it’s every move… patiently… Sometimes time is on the keeper’s side and things turn out nicely !! Not always but often   :)

The images below show the transformation of an Anemone neglected by an opportunistic distributor… From it’s endless wanderings to it’s reproduction seven months later !!

Here is Rose, after two months spent hiding at the tank bottom... Notice two kinds of tentacles: those inflated like balloons and those that are long, without swelling ... On the first day here at SBMarine: it’s oral disk was about 3 inches in diameter but showed very few tentacles relative to its size. They all seemed healthy with this beautiful bubble appearance at the tips and shimmered under actinic light at night ... At first glance everyone would have concluded to a healthy specimen. It wasn’t so... Notice the crumpled appearance of long tentacles and numerous small dots on the portion of the disc that SEEMS devoid of tentacles... 

Entacmea has a LARGE number of tentacles on its surface, not just a dozen balloons on the periphery of the disc ... After several months of food distributions and under three tubes of 10,000 degrees Kelvin with extra actinic light... Rose was left with a dilemma: trying to expand to its real volume to deploy its tentacles to the light ... It turned out that most of its tentacles were damaged ... She had to regenerate ... For months I have siphoned countless fragments and pieces of tentacles around the tank !! Notice how Rose seems to be TRANSLUCID on these photos ... Entacmea like all Anemones is a particularly delicate ANIMAL because her - body- only consists of two single-cell membranes: an inner wall and an outer wall that is all !! Anemones in perfect health are not translucent to this extent !!

About agitation and water flow now ... Forget about rotating turbines, heavy duty powerheads and all… I know they are considered to be the Nec-Plus-Ultra by many (so be it).  Laminar Flow destroys Anemones in the short or long term. Know that Anemones are perfectly capable of expanding by themselves without being blasted !! They can do this best usually in a Minimalist 30 gallon tank equipped with a single 3.5 watt standard air pump !! And understand that Premnas will quickly sweep, shake, rattle and roll in all directions - LOL – Giving Anemone ample water flow and agitation…. 
After a fifteen day exploratory and regenerative stroll: ROSE chose the most unexpected place to set up shop .... :)

For several weeks ROSE has thoroughly inspected every crevice, every niche, every rock, every current condition, every lighting condition   ; D) .... and all tank occupants followed this daily progress with curiosity ...

A Maroon clownfish never abandons his host no matter where it moves !! Aquascaping such a tank with ANTHELIA is suitable. Anthelia dœsn’t have nematocysts for it’s defense and is never attacked by Entacmea. Moreover Anthelia is able to directly assimilate Phosphates in water which certainly does not hurt Entacmea. It’s light requirements are low since it is not a photo-symbiotic coral. Anthelia is a Coral said to be for beginners ... But some breeders greatly appreciate it’s versatility !!!    :)


Juvenile Surgeonfish such as this Zebrasoma coexist seamlessly with Entacmea. They help keep the tank free of invasive algae. However, they quickly learn to steal food distributions from Anemones… You might have to use tricks to prevent them ... Moreover this species reaches gigantic sizes requiring gigantic tanks also !! If you already have a 200 gallon tank or more reserved for this purpose: any juvenile surgeonfish can transit through this tank for a few years and be useful to eradicate GHA !!

After its initial sortie (first photo) ROSE moved to the front in the center. There she stopped a few days to expand it’s foot to a maximum. That's the same way Entacmea begins its reproductive split ... But it has not yet reached this stage ... It must first regenerate its many tentacles.

To split in two (clone): Entacmea must expand in two opposite directions and it is thanks to her foot she can do so !! However here the reproduction is not imminent because there is no lesion on the foot ... It is perfectly healthy as can be seen !!

In September 2013 there were two significant events at SBMarine


- The arrival of a male juvenile Premnas (Caramel) (female to the right was called Chocolate)


   - ROSE chose its final location                                      

ROSE chose to position itself to receive natural sunlight: from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Sunlight pierces through the top of the tank !! The three 10,000 Kelvin tubes became redundant and replaced with two 6,500K and two standard 13 watts ACF blue bulbs ... that's all !! However, I would not recommend placing a tank back to a south-facing window without having a powerful air conditioner. Plus you would need to shield the back of the tank with a sheet of extruded polystyrene to avoid sudden and sharp temperature rises !! Even in winter at -40 degrees the sun quickly heats the room and the tank to critical, if not lethal, levels... In winter, you simply heat the room to maintain the optimal temperature at 25 degrees Celsius : INSIDE THE TANK ! (and keep the protective styrofoam backing also)
And to answer the following question ... NO !! We never use commercial suspended or so-called submersible heaters in our tanks !! Never ... Neither do we use external aquarium chillers: often used because of Mercury / Halogen / HO / High Intensity LEDs that give off excessive heat ... These coolers cool an aquarium, I agree, but simultaneously they reject a lot of heat in the room ... and the temperature increase in the room ... again will cause a temperature rise in the aquarium ... It’s like running around.. the SBMarine Methodology is probably not perfect, but we know how to explain it in detail. The Pre-requisites for SBMarine users will be re-published again shortly.

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Chocolate... Caramel... and Rose

An Irresistible Trio...

The Fissioning Process takes about 12 hours

First lesion appears approximatly 15 days before: at the internal and external junction point
the exact center of the Anemone that is

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The small luminous dot indicates that shredding has not yet reached the interior of the stomach cavity. To the left: Mesoglæ which is lodged between the two unicellular membranes is clearly seen.


Around 7:00PM 12 november 2013. Tearing continues...

Around 10:30PM 12 november 2013.  Partial fission !!

Around 11:30PM: We now have two distinct Entacmeas profiling themselves. 

The - V - shaped section (left) was Rose's exact center. Once seperated: each Entacmea will need to stitch itself back together .


13 november 2013 2:00AM: A new Anemone is - born -

7:00AM: Caramel and Chocolate are rather excited...

Caramel volunteers for the first inspection !!

The greatest thing about Natural Reproduction.... Is that Caramel can go from one host to another with no inconvenience of acclimatation !! And all Entacmea clones can share the same tank !!  

Sans Paroles

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See you soon !!