The Condy Anemone is the ‘big boy’ of the Condylactis genus!

The Condylactis Anemone Condylactis gigantea, also known as the Giant Golden Anemone, is a familiar and commonly available anemone species. It has long tentacles tapering from a wide base that are white or cream, tipped in pink, purple, gold, white, green or peach. Growing up to 20†(50 cm), this anemone can be quite impressive and add an interesting attraction to a reef tank.

The Condylactis species, though few in number with only three currently in the genus, are some of those sea anemones with a ton of ‘common’ names. These various names describe them by where they are found, their size, or their appearance. The C. gigantea are a roaming anemone, and unlike others, they are constantly on the move. Their range extends from Brazil to Bermuda and into the Caribbean. Thus, due to their size and where they are found, they are also commonly known as the Condy Anemone, the Giant Anemone or Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone, Atlantic Anemone, and Haitian Anemone.

This anemone is sometimes called the Pink-tipped Anemone. It is very similar to its close cousin, the Florida Pink-Tipped AnemoneCondylactis passiflora, though it is generally not quite as pink. Also, the C. passiflora is said to be primarily collected from Florida, while the Condylactis Anemone is usually collected from areas outside of Florida. Some other names derived from their coloration include the Purple-Tipped Sea Anemone, Purple Passion Flower, Hybrid Passionflower, and Passion Flower.

The Condylactis Anemones are inexpensive and hardy aquarium anemones. Provide a tank that is at least 50 gallons per specimen and keep the temperature between 68° and 75°F, since they are subtropical. Like most sea anemones they are photosynthetic and need light to keep the zooxanthellae, which lives within their body tissue, alive. Moderate water flow is best and any substrate is acceptable. Condylactis Anemones have been known to deflate at times. This sea anemone “purging” is normal if it happens once every few weeks, but no more than that. This behavior may indicate a water change is needed.

Sea anemones use their venomous cells, the nematocyst found in their tentacles, to sting their prey and to deflect any attacks. The Condylactis Anemone, in general however, is more like a predatory anemone and will move all over the tank. It does eat fish, so it is risky to allow it to host a Clown Fish, especially since Clownfish are not found in the Western Atlantic Ocean. Interestingly, this anemone does have a 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.

Condy Anemone – Quick Aquarium Care

Minimum Tank Size:50 gal (189 L)
Aquarist Experience Level:Intermediate
Temperature:68.0 to 75.0° F (20.0 to 23.9&deg C)
Size of organism – inches:20.0 inches (50.80 cm)
Diet Type:Carnivore
Suitable for Nano Tank:No

Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Condylactis Anemone or Giant Golden Anemone, Condylactis gigantea, was described by Weinland in 1861. The Condylactis genus is a member of the Actiniidae family, and contains 3 species. The C. gigantea is found in the subtropical waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean from Brazil to Bermuda and in the Caribbean. This anemone is not on the IUCN Red List for endangered 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 are descriptive of location, size and appearance of the anemone. These include 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.

Condylactis Anemones are found at depths of 0-90 feet (30m). They occur alone or in small loose groupings, living within rocky crevices in shallow waters such as in inner reefs and lagoons. They eat fish, zooplankton and unwary invertebrates that wander into their potent stinging tentacles. Condy Anemones also use the zooxanthellae that lives within their tissues for nourishment.

In the wild, this anemone has a symbiotic relationship with Cardinalfish, Cleaner Shrimp (the Atlantic specimens), Arrow Crabs, and Emerald Crabs. However, these anemones do not host clownfish. Their sting is much stronger than that of clown-hosting anemones, and will eventually the anemone will eat them. Some predators can be other anemones, nudibranchs, sea stars and some angelfish.

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


Condylactis Anemones can grow large, reaching up to 20″ (50 cm) in diameter, yet it is unknown how long they live. Some anemones can be hundreds of years old in the wild. In captivity, there are anemone species known to live 80 years or more. The Condy Anemone has also been known to split in captivity, thus reproducing.

The Condy 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. Like most sea anemone species, they have an algae called zooxanthellae living in their tissue. They are photosynthetic and need light to keep the zooxanthellae alive in their body.

Their tentacles are spaced and considerably thicker at the bottom, then tapering near the tip. The base of their short, wide pedal column is a sticky “foot” that they use to adhere to various surfaces and to move around. They do this by contracting the circular muscles of the foot and pushing forward, or they may crawl on their side. The foot can be shades of yellow, brick-red, or bluish gray.

At the top of the column is an oral disc with an opening, or mouth, in the center. Their tentacles are on the outer margin of the oral disc. The C. gigantea take food in and expel waste through this same opening. The mouth should be closed and tight. It will open when hungry, having an oval look. A gaping mouth is a warning signal that the anemone is not doing too well. To defend themselves or if water quality is not to their liking, they will fold up into a ball.

  • Size of organism – inches: 20.0 inches (50.80 cm)
  • Lifespan: 80 years – It is unknown how long they live, however, some anemones can be hundreds of years old in the wild, and in captivity have been known to last 80 years or more.

Difficulty of Care

The Condylactis Anemone can be moderately hard to care for since 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. Keeping the water temperature at 68° to 75°F will ensure their survival. Putting an anemone in a new tank will also 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. Make sure there is no damage to the foot area, often a result of pulling the anemone off its surface.

To transfer 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 while tickling the foot can work.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Difficult
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate – May need a chiller in warm climates.

Foods and Feeding

The Condy Anemone is a carnivore. In the wild they eat fish, zooplankton, and small invertebrates. In captivity you can feed your anemone 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 lead to many deaths.

  • Diet Type: Carnivore
  • Flake Food: Occasionally – Carnivore preparations if they like it.
  • Tablet / Pellet: Occasionally – Carnivore preparations if they like it.
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet – From marine sources.
  • Liquid Foods: Some of Diet – Zooplankton.
  • Meaty Food: All of Diet – From marine sources.
  • 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. Waste production created by your anemone can be calculated in inches. Basically, every inch of anemone is equal to an inch of fish, so an average-sized Condy Anemone produces a bio-load equivalent to 4 or more fish.

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.

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. Additional chemical additives, such Chemi-Pure, GFO, and carbon also help maintain quality water parameters. Poly-fiber can be cut and used in sumps, etc. A good protein skimmer is a must.

Although anemones are not as dependent on calcium as stony corals, magnesium and calcium is still needed to keep the pH and alkalinity stable and within the correct parameters. Additions of trace elements are suggested. Phosphates should be kept around 0.03 or less. Control phosphates with products such as Phosban and the Phosban reactor.

  • Water Changes: Bi-weekly – Water changes of 10% twice a month, or 20% a month are typical.
  • Calcium Levels: 380.0 – 450.0 ppm – Helps to balance alkalinity. Aim for 420 ppm, or 385 ppm if you are using Seachem calcium.
  • Alkalinity Levels: 7.0 – 11.0 dKH – (2.5 to 3.9 meq/L) Aim for 10 dKH (3.5 meq/l) for reef tanks.
  • Magnesium Levels: 1,250.0 – 1,350.0 ppm – Test magnesium levels and adjust before checking Calcium.
  • Strontium Levels: 5.0 – 15.0 ppm – Aim for 8 ppm.
  • Iodine Levels: – .030 to .060 ppm: Control is not recommended.

Aquarium Setup

The Condylactis Anemone gets large, needing an aquarium of 50-gallons or more for one specimen to thrive. They like the typical reef environment, however, the tank should be at least 4 months old, stable, and completely cycled. The temperature should really not exceed 75°F, as 79.0° F is the highest limit for their survival.

Live rock and a sand/reef environment is typical of the Western Atlantic. These anemones need live rock or some other solid material they can attach to and crawl over. Any substrate is fine, however, and the water movement can be moderate. Moderately strong lighting is also necessary for them to survive.

The Condy Anemone is very mobile! They are predatory anemones and always on the move. With that in mind, 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: Any
  • Lighting Needs: High – Strong lighting – Moderate to high. Coming from shallow waters in the wild, these anemones will do their best with stronger lighting.
  • Temperature: 68.0 to 75.0° F (20.0 to 23.9&deg C) – The highest temperature limit for survival is close to 79.0° F.
  • Specific gravity: 1.023-1.025 SG
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: All – Generally inhabits the bottom of the aquarium, but this sea anemone will move around.

Social Behaviors

The Condy Anemone is an aggressive anemone because it will move around the tank, stinging all fish and corals in its way. Like all animals, they will compete for space, so this needs to be taken into consideration. After splitting, however, these anemones will tolerate their own “clones†and sometimes their own species.

Keeping corals in the tank can be a risky thing to do. Some corals, like hydrocorals, may be okay, but most corals are tropical and may eventually be stung and killed. If attempting to add cold water corals, allow the anemones to settle first. Once they are in place, you can then try placing a coral away from them. However, because this anemone moves around, there may eventually be detrimental affects on any other corals or other anemone species.

Most small fish will also fall prey to this anemone, so a species specific tank may be the best choice. Allowing a C. Gigantea anemone to play host to a Clownfish is a big gamble, especially since Clownfish are not found in the Western Atlantic Ocean. Clownfish are from tropical waters, and again, Condy Anemones do eat fish. If the tank is very large, keeping larger cold water fish should be fine. Problems occur when keeping small gobies, blennies or other small cold water fish. These can easily become dinner if they wander into the very sticky (more sticky than typical) tentacles of this anemone.

In the wild they are often a host to a variety of commensal shrimp. 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: Aggressive
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species – conspecifics: Yes – They will tolerate their own offspring.
    • Anemones: Threat – Do not house with other anemones.
    • Mushroom Anemones – Corallimorphs: Threat
    • Leather Corals: Threat
    • Zoanthids – Button Polyps, Sea Mats: Threat
    • Sponges, Tunicates: Threat
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Monitor – Only commensal animals.
    • Starfish: Monitor – Reef safe species.
    • Feather Dusters, Bristle Worms, Flatworms: Threat
    • Clams, Scallops, Oysters: Monitor
    • Crabs: Monitor – Commensal crabs are okay
    • Snails: Monitor
    • Sea Apples, Cucumbers: Threat
    • Urchins, Sand Dollars: Threat
    • Nudibranch, Sea Slugs: Threat
    • Copepods, Amphipods, Mini Brittle Stars: Monitor
    • Stony Corals: Threat – is aggressive
    • Soft Corals: Threat – is aggressive

Sexual differences

No sexual difference in appearance is known.

Breeding / Reproduction

The C. Gigantea anemone is known to reproduce in captivity. The propagating techniques are unknown to be successful at this time, although they have been known to split on their own. In the wild, they reproduce by fission or by external fertilization of egg and sperm.

Anemones in general can multiply by sexual and asexual means.They will multiply asexually by fission, which is when they actually split in half from the foot or mouth to form a clone, which quickly develops into a new and complete anemone. 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, and then begin to grow into a new anemone.

  • Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Ailments / Diseases

Problems for the Condylactis Anemone are pretty minimal. These anemones are pretty durable once they settle in, unless your lighting, water movement, feeding and/or water quality is low or inadequate. Then your anemone will detach to look for “better conditions.†In general, if your anemone moves, it is not happy. If you notice any change in its shape, color, or see other indications that there is a problem, you need to check your lighting and water quality, and make sure the temperature isn’t over 75°F.

The Condy 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. Also, if there are any non-reef type fish in the aquarium, like large wrasses, look for possible attack marks. Some predators can be other anemones, nudibranchs, and sea stars as well as some angelfish, triggers and large wrasses.


The Condy Anemone, also commonly called the Condylactis Anemone or Giant Golden Anemone, is easy to find in stores and online. It is fairly inexpensive, but the cost will vary depending on size and color.


Featured Image Credit: jwscuba, Shutterstock