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Why Your Anemone Keeps Flipping Upside Down!

As the number of people within the fish keeping community switching over to keeping reef tanks increases, the number of questions that we see each month about keeping an anemone in their tank is also steadily increasing.

One very common problem for people new to keeping anemones in their tank that is thankfully easy to fix is that their anemone will be upside down due to flipping itself or falling off its rock.

Anemones can move around your aquarium by gliding their base so if they getting too much or too little light or in an area with too much or too little water flow, they will usually move themselves to a better area.

This can result in your anemone falling off a rock and landing upside down while being unable to flip itself back over so they will usually need a helping hand.

Reef tank keeping, especially with some of the more sensitive anemone species really is a challenge and it is far from easy so it is very common for people new to keeping anemones to accidentally keep them in conditions that are less than ideal resulting in the anemone moving around and sometimes flipping upside down.

Our article on caring for a bubble tip anemone or a purple anemone may be helpful but these tend to be easier types of anemone to care for in most cases.

Can Anemones Live Upside Down?

In some very rare situations, anemones can live upside down but this is not ideal for the vast majority of anemones and most will eventually perish if they are left upside down for an extended period of time.

If you do notice that the anemone in your aquarium is commonly flipping upside down then you have to investigate the reason behind this behavior and fix it as soon as possible.

You can usually manually flip your anemone back to being the right way up if you do find it upside down but if you are commonly finding your anemone upside down then it will start to have issues and eventually start shrinking due to a lack of nutrients getting into the anemone.

Even if you do take the time to help your anemone get the right way up after flipping upside down, over time, if it keeps flipping frequently enough, the anemone will eventually end up perishing.

This is why it is so important that you do your best to find the cause of the problem and remedy it as soon as possible.

In the majority of aquarium setups, this does tend to be easy though as there are a relatively limited number of variables available that come into play with why your anemone may flip upside down making it an easier problem to fix than some of the other common problems that we see people reporting with anemones in other situations.

Why Does My Anemone Keep Flipping Upside Down?

The two most common reasons that your anemone will end up flipping upside down is due to the anemone choosing to move because of it getting too much or too little light or being in an area of the aquarium that gets too much or too little water flow.

Other less common reasons that your anemone may end up flipping upside down is due to there being no suitable surfaces for it to mount to, a lack of nutrients available, or harassment from tank mates making the anemone move.

One of the most common reasons that people want an anemone in their tank is to try and pair their clownfish with an anemone but not all anemones are suitable for this.

Our article on the best anemone for clownfish should be able to help you find the perfect anemone for your needs but if you do get an unsuitable anemone then your clownfish may bite the anemone resulting in it moving and ending up flipping upside down.

In some reef tank setups, you may have to have specific lighting or water flow conditions for the other fish, plants, snails, or corals in your tank and these lighting and water flow conditions may not be suitable for your anemone.

Sometimes you are able to reseat your anemone in an area of the tank where the lighting or water flow is more optimal for it by taking advantage of tank decorations to block out the problem.

How Can I Stop My Anemone From Flipping Upside Down?

Making sure that your tank is suitable for an anemone is the easiest way to prevent it from flipping upside down.

This includes everything from water parameters to water flow to the lighting in the tank. You then have to consider water temperature, nutrients levels, and any bites or nips that the anemone may get from its tank mates.

The more sensitive the anemone type that you keep, the more difficult it becomes to balance all of these factors and the more problematic keeping your anemone becomes.

This is why we always recommend that you start with a relatively beginner friendly freshwater aquarium setup before moving over to marine or reef tanks with anemones and corals in them as they do require the foundation skills to have already been formed.

Thankfully though, in the age of social media, you can often find groups dedicated to keeping reef tank keeping where you are able to share some photographs of your setup and get some excellent advice from the community.

This is often the best route to take if you are a total beginner as you are able to get the collective experience of many people who may be able to see a specific thing with your tank setup that is causing your anemone to flip upside down.


That brings our article going over how to help an anemone that is upside down to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you but anemones are not the easiest to keep, especially if you are new to aquarium keeping. There are often a number of things that can cause your anemone to keep flipping upside down and then on top that, there are a whole range of other potential problems for anemones too so you really do need the foundation skills required prior to getting into anemone keeping.