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3 Dying Anemone Symptoms To Watchout For!

A large number of people within the fish keeping community are starting to progress from standard freshwater aquariums onto various types of reef tanks that include corals and anemones.

Due to both corals and anemones being more sensitive to their water parameters than most species of fish, we commonly see people having issues and a number of people have been recently reaching out and asking for dying anemone symptoms that they can watch out for.

There are a number of common dying anemone symptoms that you can keep an eye out for in your aquarium ranging from the anemone turning white to the anemone starting to melt.

There are also other earning warning signs of potential problems in your aquarium that you can watch out for too such as your anemone constantly moving itself or flipping itself upside down too.

If you are brand new to aquarium keeping and only want an anemone in your tank for a clownfish to pair with then we would highly recommend that you consider using a fake anemone for your clownfish.

Fake anemones are cheap and often do the job of a real anemone when it comes to clownfish pairing allowing you to build up some experience with aquarium keeping before getting real anemones.

In our opinion, you really should have at least a years worth of experience within the fish keeping hobby prior to adding anemones and corals to your setup due to both being more problematic than fish.

Your Anemone Is Turning White!

The most common symptom that your anemone is dying is when it starts to turn white with this being an indication of there being problems with water parameters, the water temperature, or nutrition levels in the tank.

There are a number of ways that the anemone can start to turn white with the most common one being small white specs forming on the anemone that slowly grow inside to take over the full anemone.

You will often be able to see other symptoms of your anemone dying when these white spots form with the anemone often just looking weak and unhealthy helping you confirm that there are problems in your aquarium.

You should always look for secondary symptoms as some anemones can be white in color with some not developing their white pigment until they are established in the tank.

This can result in some confusion with people new to keeping anemones in their aquariums as they mistake the white pigment naturally coming in for a healthy anemone with white spots developing showing that there are problems with the anemone.

This can fool experienced anemone keepers too so a quick Google search for the color ranges of the specific type of anemone that you are keeping can be worth it as your anemone may just be developing its white pigment rather than having problems.

Your Anemone Starts “Melting”!

The most obvious symptom of your anemone dying is when it starts “melting” with causes ranging from problems with water parameters to problems with its tank mates eating the anemone.

The anemone will start to look like it is melting or deflating depending on the type of anemone that you keep and is a very easy to notice sign that there is a problem in your aquarium.

We have a dedicated article going over why your anemone is shrinking that may be helpful if you are noting your anemone melting as there are a number of potential causes and treatments.

As with most problems with anemones, the earlier you catch the melting symptom and start a treatment, the higher the chance is that you will be able to save your anemone.

The problem is that it can be difficult to work out exactly what is causing the anemone to melt, especially if you are new to keeping anemones.

Our article on clownfish biting anemones or our article on how often to feed an anemone may be helpful as harassment from tank mates or problems with nutrition are common issues that can cause the melting symptom in anemones.

When it comes to problems with water parameters, you really do need a reef tank aquarium test kit to test your water as the cheaper test kits will often be inaccurate and may not test for all parameters in your tank that can cause your anemone to start dying.

Your Anemone Keeps Moving Itself!

Although it may not just be a symptom of your anemone dying, if your anemone keeps moving itself around your tank or flipping itself upside down then there is a good chance that there is something wrong in your aquarium.

Problems will usually be due to water flow levels in your tank being too high for the anemone or the light intensity levels being too high or too low.

This is very common for some of the more sensitive types of anemone that people keep and although an anemone tends to move itself to find better areas of the tank that meet its needs, it is an indication that there is a problem.

As we covered in our article on why your anemone keeps flipping upside down, this will take a toll on your anemone over time and can eventually result in the anemone dying be it due to the water flow or light intensity or due to not being able to get nutrients.

This is probably the best symptom of your anemone dying to have as it offers plenty of time for you to correct the problem before your anemone gets to a stage where it is in any real danger.

A quick Google search for the optimal water flow and light intensity for the specific type of anemone that you keep and then matching the parameters in your tank to the requirements will usually be enough to prevent the problem and keep your anemone healthy too.


That brings our article going over the three most common dying anemone symptoms to watch out for and we hope that we have been able to help you. It is very common for people who are new to keeping an anemone to have problems due to how sensitive most types of anemone can be. Even people who have been keeping reef tanks for years or even decades can still end up having problems but they can often be fixed without long term issues with your anemone provided you notice the symptom early enough.