Carpet Anemone Green - Stichodactyla Haddoni


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Sea anemones belong to the phylum Cnidaria and they are usually found attached to rocks or to the base of the sea. They move very rarely and sometimes attach themselves to the hermit crabs for locomotion. They have a sac at the base which has a sticky foot that gets attached to the rocks. The upper part is fleshy and consists of many tentacles which surround its disc-shaped mouth. Sea anemones anchor themselves to substrates and wait to catch prey in their outstretched tentacles. The type of substrate a sea anemone needs depends on its species. Some, such as the bulb tentacle sea anemone, prefer to attach themselves to hard surfaces, while others bury their bases in soft substrates like sand or mud. Actinodendron species need a layer of sand 6 inches deep. When first introduced to a tank, a sea anemone moves around until it finds a suitable surface, then settles there. Take care when moving sea anemones, as tearing their bases can kill them.


Sea anemones eat prey to supplement the food that marine algae create in their tissues. In the wild, sea anemones' tentacles release stings that paralyze prey animals, then draw the animals into their mouths. Suitable food for sea anemones in a tank includes marine fish flesh, table shrimp, whole mysid shrimp, mussel tissue and pieces of scallop. Let frozen food thaw, and cut it into pieces between 1/4 and 2 inches long, according to the anemone's size, and place it on the central disc, or chop it into fine pieces and squirt it into the anemone's tentacles with a turkey baster. Feed anemones once or twice a week.

Sea anemones are very sensitive animals. So it is very important to keep their environment and other aspects under control. They may not survive in the hands of people who do not have much experience of maintaining sea life or saltwater aquariums. Tank conditions should mimic the warmth and movement of reef water for sea anemones to survive in captivity. Heaters supply the warmth some sea anemones require, but they can burn themselves on contact. Place the water heater in the aquarium sump or make a PVC cover for the heater, with slots cut into it. Fitting tanks with water pumps oxygenates the water and helps remove waste products from sea anemone tentacles, but the animals can also become entangled in the pumps and die. Fit a sponge filter over any open or moving parts, such as in the intake of a powerhead pump.

Sea anemones can grow up to 2 m or 6 ft in diameter. Hence they require a large aquarium. Keep the anemones in at least 30-35 gallons of saltwater. A larger aquarium can give a better environment to the anemones and will help them grow healthy. Place three to four large rocks inside the aquarium as the anemones love to attach themselves to the rocks and very rarely move from one place to another. Open water pumps in the aquarium can be dangerous for them as their tentacles can get easily caught in the pump and can even lead to their death. Similarly, a water heater can burn the tentacles of an anemone. Hence it is better to place the pump and heater in a separate slot in order to avoid accidents.

It is very important to maintain the environment in the saltwater aquarium. Maintain the temperature of the fish tank between 75.2º F to 82.4º F. The salinity levels should be between 1.020 to 1.026. You need to have a strong filtration system. Sea anemones require abundance of light hence a high watt metal halide will be best for these creatures. You need to check the temperature, quality of water, salinity and pH on a regular basis. Change 15 to 30 percent water in every three to four weeks for aquarium maintenance.

Sea anemones share a symbiotic relationship with clownfish and hermit crabs. Clownfish eat algae from the surface of an anemone which keeps the anemone clean and healthy. Anemones eat the leftover food by the clownfish. However, you need to research a bit about the species of clownfish which can best suit the anemone. Studies show that the sea anemones hosted by the clownfish live longer, healthier and do not require frequent feeding compared to the anemones without the clownfish. In a symbiotic relationship with the hermit crabs, anemones are usually seen attached to the hard shell of the crabs. As the crabs locomote in search of food, anemones also come in contact with abundant food. In return, anemones save the crabs from predators with the help of their stinging tentacles.


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