Rose Bubble Tip Anemone


Rose Bubble Tip Anemones are a very beautiful addition to a reef tank. Although they can pose some risks to your corals and require higher lighting demands, the reward of a beautiful flowing vibrant red anemone is often considered to be well worth it.

Common Names:  Rose Bubble Tip Anemone or RBTA

Skill Level: Moderate

Light Level: High

Water Flow: Moderate

Disposition: Aggressive

Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025


RBTA (Rose Bubble Tip Anemone) are a Bubble tip anemone that has a red coloration on its tentacles.  The normal color for Bubble tip anemones are different shades of browns or greens so the red hue is considered a more rare color strain.  While the coloring is considered rare it’s still a fairly easy anemone to locate for the saltwater hobbyist.

When adding a RBTA to your reef tank make sure to drip acclimate them for about an hour or more if you can keep a steady temperature. They are very sensitive to changing water conditions so the slower the acclimation the better.   Once the anemone is placed into your tank I recommend you turn off your power heads until the anemone’s foot is attached and it will not be blown around the tank.  This is a concern for two reasons. You do not want your anemone bouncing around your tank stinging the other inhabitants. The second reason is that anemones have a very bad habit of being sucked into a power head and being ground up and spewed into your tank.  This will release stinging cells into your water and possibly toxins to your corals.  Once your anemone appears to be attached and settled then it is okay to turn your power heads back on.  However keep a close eye on him for several days, it’s possible that it will want to move again if it doesn’t like the current lighting or flow.  If by some accident your anemone should end up getting shredded in the power head run carbon and do a large water change.



The ideal placement of your anemone should be on a rock shelf with lots of nooks and hiding places but away from your corals.  In the image below you will see this particular tank has a whole rock structure just for rose bubble tip anemones.  The anemones, when placed into the rock, will move until they find the right amount of light and flow. Do not try moving your anemone back to its original spot if it moves. This will only cause stress on the animal and it will move again anyway.

Bubble tip anemones are a photosynthetic organism and can generate food from the lights on your tank. This alone however is not enough to keep your anemone as healthy as possible.  Yes, it is possible that they will grab the occasional scrap of food when you feed your fish but for a happy RBTA spot feeding it twice a week would be best.  I feed my anemones a rotating diet of raw shrimp, mussels, clams, and oysters purchased at the local grocery store.  I have heard a few horror stories from people about feeding silversides to their anemones so I stay away from them.

There are several different species of clownfish which will host in an RBTA. I have found that the most common clown to host in an RBTA is a Clarkii clownfish or a Maroon Percula clown.  I personally have a black Percula and normal Percula clown which host an RBTA and that took to it fairly quickly but this isn’t normally the case.  Unfortunately hosting can sometimes be hit or miss.  The best bet though would most likely be a Clarkii or Maroon, although maroons are very aggressive when hosting and can sometimes damage smaller anemones.


Propagation of Rose bubble tip anemones is possible and can be handled through a natural split of the anemone, spawning, or the manual task of splitting the anemone with a razor or scissors.  In my next post I will go into detail how to manually split an RBTA with pictures since that’s a whole post on its own.

A natural split of the anemone is literally when a rose bubble tip anemone pulls its body in two different directions and rips itself in half.  For years now there has been debate on what makes this happen and why it happens.  Is it because the anemone is healthy and feels it’s a good time to propagate or is it that the anemone is stressed and this is a defense mechanism hoping that two have a better chance to survive that one?  I have had anemones split like this with no rhyme or reason.   The safest thing I have read that an aquarist can try to force a natural split is doing a large water change.  I have read several people comment their anemone has split right after this. Since a water change is a good thing anyways then why not give it a shot if having your anemone split naturally is your goal.

I have little information to offer on bubble tip anemone spawning so I’m going to pass on that. It has been done in personal aquariums I just have never had it personally happen to me.

Unfortunately not all bubble tip anemones live when added to a reef aquarium. If you have the option to pick between an aqua cultured anemone and one picked from the sea always choose the aqua cultured anemone.  Your chances of the anemone surviving are much greater than of one picked from the ocean.  An anemone picked from the ocean has a more likely chance of being injured when harvested and being bagged for a much longer period of time. Not to mention that no matter how hard we try our personal reef tanks are rarely as clean as the sea and the anemone may not be able to tolerate it as well as an aqua cultured RBTA.

If your rose bubble tip anemone does happen to end up knocking on deaths door a hard decision needs to be made.  It is very possible that an anemone can recover from being hurt on a power head or from being bleached out from malnutrition, but you run the risk of the anemone dying in your tank and releasing toxins which could hurt your other inhabitants.  If you’re not sure the two rules I usually go by are:

  1. If the anemone’s foot is to too weak to latch onto anything or the foot is extremely damaged that usually means it is past the point of saving.
  2. If the anemones tissue looks like its disintegrating or falling apart that means it should be tossed out.
Notice the tissue falling apart on this poor anemone. It’s past saving and sadly should be removed from the tank.

If your anemones foot is still strong and his tissue is one piece give him another few days to see what happens, offer it plenty of food and hopefully it will recover.


Information about Bubble Tip Anemone Propagation:  Bubble Tip Anemone Propagation

Have a problem with your anemone shrinking?  Anemone Shrinking




14 thoughts on “Rose Bubble Tip Anemone

  1. I have a bta, i had a split a bout a month ago, well this week I had another split. My question is How or can you tell which is the orginal bta, I have someone that wants to buy it but I dont want to sale the the splitter. Thanks for any answers you can give me.

    1. Hi Libby,
      Congrats on your BTA splitting. Unless you personally keep track of the original BTA I don’t think there is any characteristics which you can tell the original from the splits. However since the split anemones are all from the original, technically it shouldn’t matter which one you sell since they should all split about the same from here on out.

  2. I got two BTA @ the same time and both are looking very healthy now, it’s been about 5-6 weeks, one is a Rose tip and has stayed in the same spot, but the other seems to move around the tank a lot, it’s open and appears healthy, eats, and isnt droopy or discolored but just hasn’t found it’s “spot” yet, I have rocks, and hiding spots, different options for it, do you have any suggestions tho?

    1. Hi Kate,
      There really isn’t much you can do to help your anemone settle.
      If you have the ability to add more live rock and more “caves” , it will give the anemone more options.
      Hope it works out and let me know.
      Thanks for the comment.

  3. I am having an issue with my rbta bleaching. I do not think it would be too much lighting as it went from metal halides down to two 32w pc bulbs on my biocube. I noticed my frogspawn also looks bleached, could this be caused by too weak lighting also or is something else going on? I have had the pair about a month now. Otherwise they seem fine besides not extending as much as they were in the original tank. Any imput would be greatly appreciated! I will send pictures to the above email, Thank you!

  4. My RBTA keeps splitting. I now have seven anemones and they are starting to overtake the tank. Any suggestions to get them to stop splitting?

    1. There is no real exact science on what makes a new split, or in your case how to make them quit. I would try the opposite of what you are currently doing in regards to feeding. I’d you sent feeding them then start to direct feed and see if that promotes growth instead of splitting .

  5. I recently purchased a rose bubble tip. It has shrunk down to a very small size and three bubbles on one foot. Is it splitting and will it be ok. The foot is attached to the side of a rock?

    1. Hello Ann,
      If it is shrinking down then that is probably not a sign it is splitting.
      That to me is more of a sign that there is something wrong with your water quality.
      Have you tested your parameters lately/ what type of light are you using?

  6. Hi. I bought a maroon clownfish And my anemone is hiding deep in the rock. I can’t feed it as it doesn’t want to open. The maroon was biting it all the time. Any advice? I can’t take it out as it is hiding. It’s bee like that over a week. I was trying to cover the anemone but. It was still closed.

  7. I too started with a RTA , it grew and I have fed it about every two weeks. It has split 3 times already, but I haven’t fed any of them. They are growing and doing well. I am planning on getting some clown fish. I have 2 Kelso lights and I feel they are doing really well.

    I had a different kind of anenome and it hid in a cave then it just died, I dont think it was very healthy to begin with. I tried to feed it and it wouldn’t eat.. It died and dissolved in the cave.

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