Condylactis Anemone

Condy Anemone, Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone, Atlantic Anemone, Haitian Anemone, Giant Golden Anemone

Condy Anemone, Condylactis Anemone, Condylactis gigantea, Giant Golden Anemone, Haitian AnemoneCondylactis giganteaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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Hey can a condy anemone fit in a 14G?   Anonymous

The Condy Anemone, also called the Giant Golden Anemone, is the 'big boy' of the Condylactis genus!

The Condylactis Anemone Condylactis gigantea, known as the Giant Golden Anemone is from the Western Atlantic Ocean. It is very similar to its close cousin, the Florida Pink-Tipped Anemone C. passiflora, though it is generally not quite as pink. Also, the Florida Pink-Tipped Anemone is said to be primarily collected from Florida, while the Giant Golden Anemone is usually collected from areas outside of Florida.

A familiar and commonly available anemone species, they are often simply called the Condy Anemone or Condylactis Anemone. But the Condylactis are some of those sea anemones with a ton of 'common' names. The various common names describe them by where they are found, their size, or their appearance. With their range extending from Brazil to Bermuda and into the Caribbean in the Western Atlantic Ocean, the Condylactis Anemones are known as the Atlantic Anemone, the Haitian Reef Anemone, and the Caribbean Anemone. Because this Condylactis Anemone can get very large, needing plenty of space to grow to its full 20", it is also called the Giant Anemone or Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone. Some names derived from its coloration include the Pink-Tipped Anemone, Purple-Tipped Sea Anemone, Purple Passion Flower, Hybrid Passionflower, and Passion Flower.

The Condylactis Anemones are inexpensive and hardy aquarium anemones, but this sea anemone species still needs good light to do well in the aquarium. Like all sea anemones they are photosynthetic and need light to keep the zooxanthelle that live within their body tissue alive. Condylactis Anemones have been known to deflate at times. This is normal if it happens once every few weeks, but no more than that. This behavior, the sea anemone purging, may indicate a water change is needed.

The Condylactis Anemones use their venomous cells, the nematocysts found in their tentacles, to sting their prey and to deflect any attacks. In general, this anemone is more like a predatory anemone and will move all over the tank. As this anemone does eat fish, it is risky to allow it to host a Clown Fish, especially since Clownfish are not found in the Western Atlantic Ocean. However this anemone does have a really interesting symbiotic relationship with Cardinalfish, Cleaner Shrimp (the Atlantic specimens), Arrow Crabs and Emerald Crabs. Just give these tank mates a little time to acclimate and you've got best friends for life.

For more about the types of Sea Anemone Species, see:
Sea Anemone - Tube Anemone

Geographic Distribution
Condylactis gigantea
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Condylactis Anemone, Condylactis gigantea

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This beast of an anemone gets almost twice as large as the bubble tip! Reaching 20," this mobile anemone will need a very large tank. Unlike the Bubble Tip, the Condylactis Anemone will constantly move, hunt down and eat fish and inverts. While some less picky clownfish will host the Condylactis, this anemone will eventually kill and eat the clownfish. The sting from this anemone is much stronger than clown hosting anemones. One hint is that this anemone doesn't host clownfish is that the tropical Atlantic is absent of them. Find the little crabs that host these anemones for a cool display that does not have fish which will eventually be eaten.

Condy Anemone - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Minimum Tank Size: 50 gal (189 L)
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Temperament: Large Aggressive - Predatory
  • Temperature: 68.0 to 79.0° F (20.0 to 26.1° C)
  • Size of organism - inches: 20.0 inches (50.80 cm)
  • Diet Type: Carnivore
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: No

Habitat: Distribution / Background

Sea Anemone Facts: The Condy Anemone or Giant Golden Anemone Condylactis gigantea was described by Weinland in 1861. The Condylactis genus is a member of the Actiniidae family, and this genus contains 3 species. General common names this anemone is known by are Condy Anemone, Condylactis Anemone, Giant Golden Anemone, Atlantic Anemone, Haitian Reef Anemone, and Caribbean Anemone. Some of the other common names include the Giant Anemone, Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone, Florida Condy, Florida Condi Anemone, Florida Pink-Tipped Anemone, Pink-Tipped Anemone, Purple-Tipped Sea Anemone, Purple Passion Flower, Hybrid Passionflower, and Passion Flower. This anemone is not on the IUCN Red List for endangered species.

Where are Sea Anemones Found: The Condylactis gigantea is found in the Western Atlantic Ocean from Brazil to Bermuda and in the Caribbean.

Sea Anemone Habitat: They are found at depths of 0-90 feet (30m) in rocky crevices in shallow waters such as in inner reefs and lagoons. They are found alone or in small loose groupings.

  • Scientific Name: Condylactis gigantea
  • IUCN Red List: NE - Not Evaluated or not listed


Appearance of a Sea Anemone: The Condy Anemone or Giant Golden Anemone can be several colors including pink, purple, gold, white, green and peach. They mostly have white or cream tentacles that are either tipped in one of these colors, or just a small dot on the end of each tentacle. Their tentacles are spaced and considerably thicker at the bottom, then tapering near the tip. Their 'foot' or pedal column, is a sticky foot that they use to adhere to various surfaces. They also use this "foot" to move around. The foot can be shades of yellow, brick-red, or bluish gray.

The mouth should be closed and tight, and will open when hungry, having an oval look, yet a gaping mouth is a warning signal. The Condylactis gigantea takes food in, and expels waste through this same opening. To defend themselves or if water quality is not to their liking, they will fold up into a ball. Like most sea anemone species, they have an algae called zooxanthellae living in their tissue. They are photosynthetic and need light to keep the zooxanthelle alive in their body.

Sea Anemones Life Cycles: Condylactis gigantea lifespan, though they can grow up to 20", it is unknown how long they live. Some anemones can be hundreds of years old in the wild, and in captivity have been known to last 80 years or more. The Condy Anemone has also been known to split in captivity, thus reproducing.

  • Size of organism - inches: 20.0 inches (50.80 cm)
  • Lifespan: - it is unknown how long they live.

Difficulty of Care

Sea Anemone Care: The Condylactis Anemone can be moderately hard to care for because they do have lighting needs and must be in a large enough aquarium to satisfy their ultimate size. Unlike some other sea anemone species, they do not tolerate higher temperatures that are in the 80°s. Putting an anemone in a new tank will result in failure. The tank should be at least 4 months old and stable before adding your new C. Gigantea anemone.

When choosing your Condy Anemone, make sure the color is good, their mouth is not gaping open, and their foot and tentacles are sticky to the touch. Also, they should be attached to something and make sure there is no damage to the foot area, often a result of pulling the anemone off its surface.

To take a C. Gigantea anemone from another aquarium, use a very thin blunt item like a credit card to get under the foot. Slowly nudging it away will get the anemone off the glass. If it's attached to a rock, ideally you can simply purchase the rock as well. If you cannot purchase the rock then directing water at it or wiggling the rock gently upside down under water while tickling the foot can work.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Difficult
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Foods and Feeding

What Do Sea Anemones Eat: This anemone is a carnivore. Feed it chopped silversides, shrimp, krill, and mussels, fresh chopped fish (from your grocery store), as well as frozen carnivore preparations. Feed once a week, unless the mouth is open, then feed as often as it is hungry. Younger ones seem to need smaller daily feedings with food that is finely clopped. The old adage that anemones should be fed once a month is false and has led to many deaths.

  • Diet Type: Carnivore
  • Meaty Food: All of Diet - They can be fed chopped silversides, shrimp, krill, and mussels, fresh chopped fish (from your grocery store), as well as frozen carnivore preparations.
  • Feeding Frequency: Weekly - Feed once a week unless their mouth is open - then feed more often. Also, younger anemones often need daily feedings.

Aquarium Care

Water changes of 10% bi-monthly or 20% a month are typical. Monitor your water quality for your particular situation and adjust your water changes accordingly. One average sized Condy Anemone is equal to 4 or more fish as far as waste production is concerned. Purigen and Poly-fiber are great products to help in maintaining water quality. Purigen is a synthetic polymer that removes soluble and insoluble impurities from water at an exceptionally high rate and capacity, helping to control ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Additions of Iodine and and trace elements are suggested.

The Condylactis Anemone has been known to deflate at times. This is normal if it happens once every few weeks, but no more than that. The anemone is actually purging and taking in what it thinks will be "fresh" water. So when this happens, a water change may be in order.

  • Water Changes: Bi-weekly
  • Iodine Levels: - Additions of Iodine and and trace elements are suggested.

Aquarium Setup

The typical reef environment is what is needed for your anemone. Live rock and a sand/reef environment is typical of the Western Atlantic. They need live rock or some other solid material they can attach to. Be sure to have all of your pumps covered, most good quality pumps have guards on them and are worth the investment. Because this anemone will move about, you will want to provide foam filters over any power head intakes.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 50 gal (189 L)
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: No
  • Live Rock Requirement: Typical Amount
  • Substrate Type: Sand
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting - Moderate to high.
  • Temperature: 68.0 to 79.0° F (20.0 to 26.1° C)
  • Specific gravity: 1.023-1.025 SG
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: Bottom

Social Behaviors

The Condy Anemone is an aggressive anemone because it will move around the tank and sting all fish and corals in its way. After splitting, anemones will tolerate their own "clones" and sometimes their own species. Like all animals, they will compete for space, so this needs to be taken into consideration. In the wild they are often a host to a variety of commensal shrimp.

Allowing a C. Gigantea anemone to play host to a Clownfish is a big gamble, especially since Clown Fish are not found in the Western Atlantic Ocean, and Condy Anemones do eat fish. What is cool is that they have symbiotic relationships with the Arrow Crab Stenorhynchus seticornis, Atlantic Cleaner Shrimp Periclimenes anthophilus, and juvenile Cardinalfish Apogon spp. Some have even noticed Arrow Crabs and Emerald Crabs buddying up with the C. Gigantea. Try natural symbionts and watch that interesting relationship for yourself!

  • Venomous: Yes
  • Temperament: Large Aggressive - Predatory
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Sometimes
    • Anemones: Monitor
    • Mushroom Anemones - Corallimorphs: Monitor
    • Leather Corals: Threat
    • Zoanthids - Button Polyps, Sea Mats: Threat
    • Sponges, Tunicates: Threat
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe
    • Starfish: Monitor
    • Feather Dusters, Bristle Worms, Flatworms: Monitor
    • Clams, Scallops, Oysters: Monitor
    • Crabs: Safe
    • Snails: Monitor
    • Sea Apples, Cucumbers: Monitor
    • Urchins, Sand Dollars: Monitor
    • Nudibranch, Sea Slugs: Monitor
    • Copepods, Amphipods, Mini Brittle Stars: Monitor
    • Stony Corals: Threat - is aggressive
    • Soft Corals: Threat - is aggressive

Sex: Sexual differences

No sexual difference in appearance is known.

Breeding / Reproduction

Anemones in general can multiply by sexual and asexual means. One way is using fission, which is when they actually split in half from the foot or mouth to form a clone, although the clone is its own animal, similar to twins. They will also reproduce using male and female sex glands or find another anemone of the opposite sex. This results in the production of ciliated planula larvae. This planula will eventually fall to the sea floor, develop a pedal disk, then begin to grow into a new anemone.

The C. Gigantea anemone is known to reproduce in captivity, but there is not much information on breeding these anemones. Propagating is fairly easy, yet risky. Based on success with the Bubble Tip Anemone, the procedure may be similar and is as follows:

  • Your anemone must be in good health.
  • It is always best to have done a large water change to your main tank before propagation.
  • Remove the animal to a clean, non-slippery and damp surface, mouth side up.
  • Using sharp scissors or a scalpel, cut the anemone in half right down the center, through the mouth. This results in 2 equal halves.
  • If it is attached to a rock, another method is to just cut through the center of the mouth on one side only (do this long-ways, running with the length of the mouth) encouraging the anemone to finish the "split".
  • Place your 2 halves in a moderately sized "recovery" tank. Use the same water as the main display (as you did a large water change, you would use this cleaner water).
  • Then do 20% water changes a few days after after this little surgery.
  • If they were on a rock, put that same rock in the recovery tank for them to reattach.

If your tank is very large, over 100 gallons, then a 30-40% water change before the cut will help in recovery. Place them back on their favorite rock if they detached, because this will encourage reattachment. It would be prudent to wash your hands if you didn't use gloves. Within a few days your anemone should have started to wrap around and heal itself. Do not feed or bother it during this time and keep Clown fish away, if you have any in your tank.

  • Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Ailments / Diseases

Problems for the Condy Anemone or Giant Golden Anemone are pretty minimal unless your lighting, water movement, feeding and water quality are low. Then your anemone will detach to look for "better conditions." This usually results in an unpleasant experience with a water pump.


The Condy Anemone, Condylactis Anemone, or Giant Golden Anemone C. Gigantea is easy to find in stores and online and is fairly inexpensive. The cost online starts at about $8 USD, and goes up depending on size and color.


Author: Clarice Brough CFS, Carrie McBirney
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