Rock Flower Anemones have become widely popular in the reef aquarium hobby. They are available in a myriad of vibrant, contrasting color combinations. They are considered to be one of the easiest anemone species to care for in the home aquarium, making them a great choice for beginner or advanced aquarists. They only reach about 4″ in size so they are even ideal for aquariums as small as 5 gallons.

Prices typically range from $35.00 to $100.00 but I’ve seen one seller try and fetch $1800.00 for an extraordinarily beautiful specimen at one of the trade shows we attended.

Sometimes referred to as a Rock Flower Anemone (RFA) or Red Bearded Anemone, there are actually 11 distinct species of Rock Flower Anemones which include:

  • Phymanthus crucifer (Red Beaded Anemone)
  • P. buitendijki
  • P. coeruleus
  • P. laevis
  • P. loligo
  • P. muscosus
  • P. pinnulatum
  • P. pulcher
  • P. rhizophorae
  • P. sansibaricus
  • P. strandesi

Like other anemones, they have a large oral disc. Tentacles are located around the periphery of the animal while many other species typically have tentacles interspersed across the entire top surface. It is said that no two look exactly the same, however asexual reproduction has been observed by some aquarists.

During reproduction the males and females typically spawn in the fall.  Recently, Joey Nichols from Joe Knows Reefs received a shipment of 100 RFAs and he was fortunate enough to have some of them spawn, producing pea sized babies in the barrel where he was keeping them.  The pictures below are from Joe Knows Reefs and these are classified as “Ultra Grade”.

In nature, Rock Flowers can be found in Caribbean waters at depths between 10 and 100 feet. Typically they can be observed on shaded vertical walls or partially buried in the sand along reef margins as pictured below.  Rock Flower Anemones naturally occur in shaded regions of the reef and require a lot less lighting than the anemone species we typically carry in our tanks.

The Flower Anemone is a carnivore, and requires meaty foods to survive. We offer mussels and freshly chopped fish meat, as well as high quality frozen foods. Adding iodine and trace elements to the aquarium will help the Flower Anemone thrive.

Here is a video clip of a some Rock Flower Anemones we just received last week. As you can see from the clip, each of them are unique.

These anemones tend not to wander about the aquarium as much and are a great addition to almost any tropical reef aquarium.


About Author

Scott Groseclose is the owner of AquaNerd, Aquarium Specialty, Aqua Specialty Wholesale, BioTek Marine, & The Carolina Reef Experience. He has a degree in Biology from St. Andrews University and he has been a passionate reef keeper since 1988.