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Saltwater Aquarium/Anemone Compatibility...


Hello there. I am running a 20 gallon saltwater. I currently have a red scarlet shrimp, peppermint shrimp, Hawaiian duster, sand sifting starfish and a blue tuxedo urchin. I want to add fish but not sure anymore considering I want to add an anemone or two. My question for you is, what kinds of anemones can I keep in a moderate light 20 gallon and what kind of fish (besides Clowns, if any) can I keep in the tank? Thank you in advance!

Hi Rich:

Thank you for the question.

In regards to keeping an anemone in a 20 gallon aquarium: It's not recommended to keep an anemone in a 20 gallon aquarium. However based on my own personal experience, I've kept a small red bubble tip anemone in a (24 gallon Current USA Aquapod Nano Aquarium) for about a year before it outgrew the aquarium.

You would of course have to make sure the anemone doesn't get caught in a powerhead impeller, suction screen, or overflow, because they will move around inside the aquarium. You will have to provide pristine water conditions, and sufficient lighting.

In regards to fish for a 20 gallon: If you are looking for hardy fish besides clowns, then I would look for pseudochromis species, blennies, gobies, and fire-fish species. However the aquarium being so small, you would want to only keep 1 or 2 fish.

I wish you the best of luck with all your future saltwater aquarium endeavors.


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David Ocreef


Technical saltwater coral reef related aquarium questions are welcome. Coral, invertebrate, and peaceful species of saltwater fish questions are welcome. Questions asked on Saturday and Sunday will be answered the following Monday. REMINDER: Please check the answers pool to see if your question has already been asked and answered. Questions typically are answered within a 48 hour period, however sometimes it may take longer.


I possess over twenty-five years of hands-on experience and knowledge in the ecology of aquariums. Beyond the traditional, I have successfully tested and sustained environments that have been uncharted territories for hobbyists, for decades. I am the first to admit I don't know it all because there will always be something new, amazing, and exciting to learn about, as discoveries are made. It's a hobby one can never outgrow, or grow tired of.

MASNA - Marine Aquarium Society of North America. Director of Orange County Reef Aquatics -

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After High School, my experience and love of marine animals influenced me to take up studies in Marine Biology. Throughout college, I studied Microbiology with an emphasis on Marine Life, as well as numerous other sciences. I continued to advance in this hobby, by building a dozen or more saltwater ecosystems all utilizing Microbes as the major source of my filtration method.

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