7 Reasons Behind Deflated Bubble Tip Anemones-Solution

Bubble tip anemones are bright reef beauties that are pretty sensitive to keep. They have multiple surprising behaviors toward different actions of the growers. So, when it comes to issues like deflating, you might get confused about what actually got wrong with anemones.

In this article, I’ll discuss such interesting facts related to the deflating process of anemones and will guide you toward rescues. The major considerations will be stress, improper water parameters, low lighting, poor filtration, nutrient needs, and feeding.

So, let’s get down to this without further ado.


Fixes at a glance

StressProvide proper water acclimation and avoid keeping sea slugs, starfishes, eels, and crabs in your anemone tanks.
Improper temperatureKeep the water temperature between 77°F to 82°F (25℃ to 28℃)
High water flowInstall good quality wavemakers or power pumps in your tank.
Low lightingSet the necessary lights to provide high output in your aquarium.
Poor filtrationKeep checking the filters more often and maintain hygiene. 
Nutrient issuesPut some corals and shells in the tank and do not overfeed your anemones.
Wrong feedingProvide protein-rich foods and use tongs to feed anemones. 

Why is My Bubble Tip Anemone Deflated [Reasons and Fixes]

Deflated Bubble Tip Anemone

As a noob, you might have been wondering if is it normal for anemones to deflate. Well, yes. Deflating is quite normal in bubble tip anemones.

With proper feeding, an anemone can deflate once a week which is absolutely okay. However, with overfeeding, the shrinking may be noticed even more. This is just its normal behavioral pattern of expelling trapped water and waste food items. But if they remain closed for several days in a row, this might be an issue of concern.

Let’s check what can be the possible reasons behind this and how to deal with them.

1. Stress

The bubble tip anemones in the tank need all you pamper. They are quite sensitive to several changes in the tank which may put them in a stress condition. In such a case, the shrinking of anemones becomes normal.

The very obvious stresses come from little ignorance. Anyway, here I got some suggestions for you to help your anemones and save them from such conditions. So, keep going through.


Most of the time anemones suffer due to the lack of proper water acclamation and placement issues. So first of all, set all the water parameters properly and maintain this condition for at least for 6 months before putting them in the tank.

Here is a list of suitable water parameters for bubble tip anemones-

  • Optimal temperature- 77°F to 82°F
  • Optimal salinity- SG= 1.023-1.025
  • Optimal pH- 8.1 to 8.4
  • Optimal KH- 8 to 12
  • Lighting- Medium to high (220 to 350 PAR)
  • Water flow- Moderate

To keep an eye on these, you can place a good quality testing kit in the aquarium. Do not forget to change the kit at least once a year.

Another key thing to remember is that bubble tip anemones are a bit shy of different intruders in the tank. Sometimes the introduction of new creatures in the aquarium can cause harm to anemones. Certain sea slugs, starfishes, eels, and crabs are common among them. So, it is advised not to put them with your anemones.

Aquarists make the common mistake of emptying the whole tank at once while changing the water. Doing such can put your anemones under sudden stress. To avoid this, you can gradually add fresh water to the older one and this will let the anemones get adjusted more comfortably.

Finally, be careful about accidentally dropping pebbles or solid foods directly on anemones. This may cause injury to them.

2. Improper Temperature

Temperature is a sensitive issue when it comes to adapting anemones in reef tanks. Normally these are okay with a water temperature of 77°F to 82°F. Fluctuations in such cases can cause severe harm to the metabolisms of your bubble tip anemones. That’s why often they don’t get back to their normal shape after regular shrinkage.

However, some easy techniques can keep the water temperature under control. So, let’s check what these are.

Control Measure

Initially, to control the temperature in the reef tank, changing the water helps a lot. You may replace your stale water with some fresh one preferably warm or cooler temperature. It is suggested to do so at least once a day. Yet it’s also needed to check the temperature of the water before putting them in the tank.

To reduce some heat, you can place your aquarium in a cooler place in the room and remove the upper covering for some time. Coupled with these, providing some artificial breeze with the electric fan will also be effective. Such actions will bring down the temperature to some extent.

On the other hand, increasing the light intensity will allow for warming up the water a bit. Moving the tank near any natural light source will also work. But do not keep the tank longer in direct sunlight as this can harm your aquatic creatures.

3. High Water Flow

Bubble tip anemones are prone to damage and they change their activities when disturbed by water flow in the tank. Generally, bubble tip anemones are okay with a moderate flow of water. But mostly they suffer due to too much flow in water.

So, if you are thinking of why is my bubble tip anemone closed up, improper flow in your tank can be a major reason. Here are some of my suggestions to deal with flow-related stuff. Keep reading.

Control Measure

FREESEA Aquarium Circulation Pump Wave Maker in Aquarium

Bubble tip anemones show splitting in high flow. To avoid such conditions, you may place a wavemaker as this can provide adequate water flow which you can control according to your need.

Likewise, aquarium pumps are also effective. The function of such pumps is to fasten or reduce water flow in tanks. These may be applicable to the reef tanks where several organisms are being grown and they need different rates of flow. You can place the pumps in such a direction that the high flows are diverted to the other parts of the tank apart from the anemone growing zones.

4. Low Lighting

Proper lighting is an important criterion for growing bubble tip anemones. Most of the growers have been observing the 220 to 350 PAR range to be a favorable one. If the level fluctuates, your anemones may seize their normal activities and remain deflated for longer.     

So, let’s check how to fix this issue.


Bubble tip anemones need highly efficient lights to achieve the desired output. LED lighting, metal halides, VHO sets, and fluorescent bulbs may meet the need. So, you can pick any according to your preference. 

Sometimes due to low light conditions, other tank habitats may fold into the body of your bubble-tip anemones. You need to remove them gently with the help of tongs to maintain proper health.

A trick also works here which is to put your anemones close to the source of light. This will help in receiving necessary lighting and processing better use of them.

5. Poor Filtration

Lack of cleaning and proper filtration can create a toxic environment for your anemones. While avoiding such toxins, they stop inflating for a couple of days. To put it another way, anemones remain deflated which can put them under severe stress and finally lead them to death.

So, let’s take a look at how to maintain a clean reef tank on your own.

Control Measure

First of all, you need to check the aquarium filters more often. Try to clean them inside and out at least once a month. If you notice that some parts of the filters are worn out, maybe it’s high time to replace them with a good one.

In the case of chemical filters, replace the carbon unit of those as soon as the water turns cloudy.

Then I would suggest you not put so much food at once. Also, clean the leftovers after feeding. Discarding tank waste every day will do half of your job. If it feels tedious, you can do this once in two or three days.

Another brilliant idea is to put some activated charcoal bars in your tank. These will absorb toxins from water and save your anemones. 

Finally, follow the instructions properly while cleaning the filters, and do not let any debris be stuck in your tank for longer.

6. Nutrient Issues

Proper nutrition is important for the overall growth of your anemones. Due to a lack of nutrients in the tank, your anemones may not re-inflate back and remain shrank. So, if you are thinking of how to make anemone grow faster, you should not overlook this issue.

Here I got some facts related to the nutritional needs of bubble tip anemones. Keep going through to know more.


Bubble tip anemones basically thrive for magnesium, calcium, and nitrates. The suitable doses are:

  • Magnesium- 1250 to 1350 ppm
  • Calcium- 400 to 450 ppm
  • Nitrate- Less than 2 ppm, or sometimes less than 5 ppm

Magnesium is mainly needed to maintain the calcium level in the tank water. Stony corals, tridacna clam shells, and coralline algae can work excellently in balancing the calcium magnesium level. So, you may place any of these along with your anemones.

To balance the nitrate level you may need to keep checking your feeding schedule. Keep a close eye on the testing kit, if the level rises, cut out some feedings for a while until it gets down.

7. Wrong Feeding

Feeding is an important part of anemone care. Lack of proper diet, adapting wrong techniques, and ignoring the behavioral pattern may force anemones to pull themselves back.

To give an illustration of what I mean by such lackings and how to compensate, let’s take a look at below.

Control Measures

While growing anemones, the first thing that comes to mind is what to feed and what not to feed them, right? Notably, bubble tip anemones are fond of a protein-rich diet. So, you can give them some market-bought small crabs or shrimps. Put the foods in smaller portions to ease the feeding process.

I get the question quite often from anemone keepers can I feed my anemone frozen shrimp? Well, yes you can. They are okay with frozen food too.

Not to mention that feeding technique is also important as well as providing proper food. Do not throw food randomly on anemones. This will disturb them and for this reason, they may deflate themselves. Such can also happen while putting foods haphazardly with tongs. Just place them gently near the tentacles, and that’s enough.

Another query rises here, how often should you feed an anemone? Well, most of the growers agreed to give food twice or thrice a week. 

However, when you are considering the deflating issue, initially you need to encounter how often anemones deflate. If the process is faster than regular, you may reduce the feeding frequency. Most of the time growers ignore this fact and end up having deflated pooped anemones.

Read More-

  1. 5 Reasons Why the Coralline Algae Turning White
  2. Long Tentacle Anemone Care
  3. Bubble Tip Anemone Dying- Solution


How Often Do Anemones Deflate And Inflate?

Bubble tip anemones can deflate and inflate once a day. Well, it strikes me that such deflating-inflating processes can be observed twice or thrice a normal day. Especially during nighttime, the tentacles of the anemones are seen to be retracted. During the process, they may deflate down to the size of 2.5 centimeters in diameter.

How Long Can Anemones Remain Deflated?

After expelling water and undigested foods, anemones are supposed to be in their actual size within a day or two. They can also remain deflated for two to three days under mild stresses in the aquarium. If the period extends and you notice such a pattern of deflating on and off several times, you may need to cut some loose.

How To Tell If Your Anemone Is Dead?

Prolonged deflating can be a sign of passed-out anemones. Dead anemones look deflated for several days and are reduced in size. With time you may also notice they are completely discolored and some of the dead tissues are coming out of the tentacles and base.

Can You Overfeed A Bubble-Tip Anemone?

Yes, anemones can get overfed too. Some enthusiasts believe in feeding anemones every day, which is highly discouraged. That is because the more you feed them, the more they tend to deflate to push out that undigested food. This can harm anemones in the long run.

How Fast Do Bubble Tip Anemones Grow?

Bubble tip anemones are pretty fast growers. In anemones, a growth of about 12 to 18 centimeters is observed within the timespan of 5 months with proper treatments. They can grow up to 35 to 15 centimeters in diameter, which is quite big for such aquatic creatures. 


I have come to an end now. Assembling all the zests together, it can be concluded that with proper water acclimation and feeding you can resolve most of the deflating cases.

The subsidiary tasks are even easier, maintain hygiene and serve the necessary nutrition needs and you are good to go. 

Come back to my articles whenever you need some directions. It would also be amazing to have your experiences in our comments. Wish you good luck with your anemones!

Howard Parker

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