There has been a huge spike in people keeping anemones in their tank over the previous couple of years as more and more people look to move from freshwater tanks to marine tanks or even reef tanks where corals and anemones will be a main feature of the tank. Due to this, there have been a huge number of people reaching out and asking questions about caring for an anemone recently as they are storage behaviors that anemones can do with anemone poop being one of them.
Just like all other living things, anemones poop as they excrete waste from their system with there being a range of different types of anemone poop that can be produced depending on what type of anemone you keep as well as what you have fed it. Most anemone poop is similar to an owl pellet where it is encased in mucus and it will commonly float as a quick way to get the poop away from the anemone too but not all anemone poop floats.
We have seen some people who keep anemones in their aquarium tanks worry that something may be wrong with their anemone due to its poop changing color or consistency but this is usually nothing to worry about. Although a change in color or consistency can be an indication of a problem with your anemone, their poop will naturally change color depending on what they have been eating.
Do Anemones Poop?
Anemones do poop and larger anemones can poop a surprising amount as they release waste from their system with this often catching people new to keeping anamones off guard. Not all types of anemone poop is the same either with some anemone poop naturally having a watery texture, some having a stringy texture, and some being in a sort of pellet form similar to an owl pellet.
This can all be considered normal and natural depending on your tank set up and is usually nothing to worry about. As we covered in our article on caring for a white bubble tip anemone, some people can be shocked when they add a new type of anemone to their tank that they have never kept before and its poop is totally different from the anemone poop produced by the other types of anemone that they keep.
Depending on how often you feed your anemone, it may poop more frequently than other anemones too with some types of anemone being better suited to pulling food out of the surrounding water without you having to directly feed it. This means that different types of anemone in the exact same tank fed the exact same amount may poop at totally different frequencies to each other and potentially have totally different textured poop that are different colors too.
Do Anemones Poop Out Their Mouth?
Anemones do poop out of their mouth as the majority of anemone species only have one hole that they have to use as their entry and exit hole for their food. Anemones will usually excrete all types of waste through their mouth too so essentially, they will poop, pee, and vomit from their mouth, sometimes at the same time as a way to rapidly get rid of waste from their body depending on what they have eaten recently.
Depending on the health of your anemone, overfeeding it can end up causing problems as some of the internal parts of your anemone that are not meant to be exposed can end up being pushed out of the anemones mouth as it poops to excrete waste. This can result in your anemone shrinking as well as the anemone having problems with being able to eat again moving forward.
Most anemones are able to retract the parts of their body that can end up being exposed from their mouth but it may take as long as a week. This is a clear sign that the anemone is either being overfed or not being fed suitable food for that specific type of anemone with both problems sometimes being present at the same time in some situations. If you do notice that your anemone has internal parts of it emerging from its mouth when it poops then you really should be looking into the reason for this and treating it asap.
How Long Does It Take An Anemone To Poop?
It can take anywhere from one hour to one day for a healthy anemone to poop depending on what the anemone has been eating recently as well as the other waste that the anemone needs to excrete from its body. This pooping time frame can even take longer in some situations with there being no reason to worry but an anemone taking longer than a day to poop is usually being fed a complex food that can often be switched out for a more suitable food source.
There is a growing trend in people feeding their anemones various types of insects with crickets being a very popular option. Although there is nothing wrong with feeding your anemone crickets due to them usually fitting the macro nutrient requirements of a standard diet, the exo skeleton of the cricket can take some time for the anemone to poop back out when compared to something like feeding your anemone reef roids.
This is also a good example of how the poop from an anemone that is fed different types of food can have a very different texture and color too. If an anemone is fed a cricket or some other type of insect then it will often poop out a floating pellet where as if an anemone is fed something like reef roids it will often poop out a long stringy poop with both being normal for that food source.
Is My Anemone Pooping Or Dying?
Many people who are new to keeping anemones often mistake an anemone pooping for an anemone that is having problems and potentially dying. This is due to there being so many varieties of poop that an anemone can produce depending on what it has eaten as well as an anemone sometimes exposing internal parts of its throat when pooping making people worry.
Unfortunately, without seeing photographs of your anemone it is very difficult to be able to advise you on any potential problems and if your anemone is pooping or dying. What can be considered normal for one anemone may be considered irregular for another anemone and what you feed your anemone can also totally change the type of poop that it will produce too.
This is why questions about if an anemone is just pooping or if it is dying are often controversial on social media as people who keep anemones in their tanks often feed them totally different things. What may look like an anemone dying to one person is normal for someone else who feeds their anemone a totally different type of diet. Our article going over how to identify the signs of an anemone dying may be helpful to you though so you should at least skim over that article if you are in doubt.
Is My Anemone Expelling Zooxanthellae?
If your anemone is expelling zooxanthellae then this will almost always look like long, stringy, liquid poop but will often be a different color to actual poop. Expelled zooxanthellae is usually brown and will not have any mucus in the expelled substance but it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between anemone poop and zooxanthellae due to them looking similar in some situations.
This is one of the reasons that some people who keep anemones in their tank will try to stick to a diet that will cause their anemones to poop out solid pellets so they are able to easily tell the difference between poop and zooxanthellae being expelled. In some situations, an anemone expelling zooxanthellae can be normal but it is also a common sign of a potential problem that may need to be dealt with as soon as possible.
You will often find that an anemone that is expelling zooxanthellae due to a problem will expel so much zooxanthellae that it will start to fade in color, turn white, and often shrivel up or shrink. There are a number of reasons that this may happen with water flow, water parameters, lighting intensity, nutrition levels, and a tank mate eating the anemone being common reasons but you do need to fix the issue as soon as possible to prevent the anemone from perishing.
That brings our article going over anemone poop to an end. We hope that we have been able to help as many of our readers as possible better understand anemone poop as it does often cause confusion within the community. Even a slight change in diet can sometimes drastically change the color, texture, and considerate of the poop an anemone will produce while sometimes having an effect on how frequently the anemone will poop too.