A pair of Amphiprion bicintus
in a wild bubble-tip anemone.
I’ve often written about how my enjoyment of scuba diving on “real” reefs has informed and guided my reefkeeping back home. Indeed, I’d
advise anyone to don a pair of fins and mask
and snorkel over a reef at the very least. One
of my favorite groups of creatures to see in
the wild are anemones and their attendant
fish and crustacean symbionts. I’ve met
many species on many reefs, but the only
one I’ve ever photographed in the wild and
kept in captivity is the bubble-tip anemone.
The bubbletip is found throughout the
Indian Ocean (including the Red Sea), to
the Western Pacific, Australia to southern
Japan, and through Indonesia. Significant
color types are noted from different
localities across its range. The degree of
“bubbliness,” as TFH author and all-around
aquatuc guru Bob Fenner describes it, also
varies between regions and individuals
(in the wild) and, according to some,
is associated with health and well-being
in captivity. Entacmaea quadricolor is
universally accepted as the hardiest of
aquarium-suitable anemones and the best
choice for the beginner reefkeeper.
Like many of their kin, bubble-tip anemones contain zooxanthellae in
their tissues and receive some of their
nutriment from these symbiotic algae. This
means that, like coral polyps, they are
capable of bleaching—that is, in response
The bubble-tip anemone ( Entacmaea quadricolor) is the first anemone choice for many
reef aquarists; Richard Aspinall meets the bubble-tip anemone in captivity and in the wild.