Mertens Carpet Anemone
- Scientific name: Stichodactyla mertensii
- Common Name: Mertens Carpet Anemone, Sea Anemone
- Aquarium size: 400 liters
- Temperament: Calm
- Temperature: Between 26º and 27º
- pH: Above 8
- Diet: Carnivora
- Length: Between 30 to 45 centimeters in diameter
The Mertens carpet anemone or Stichodactyla mentensii , is a sea anemone. Formerly it also received the name of Giganteum Stoichactus.
This variety of anemones is one of those that have a mutualistic relationship with other animals , in this specific case with several fish of the clown species , some damsels , shrimp and also hosts porcelain crabs.
Although the anemone secretes stinging and poisonous substances for other species, clown fish are not affected by them, and have a coexistence relationship, in which the anemone keeps the possible predators of the clown fish away and they, in turn, keep the anemone clean, even eating those tentacles that die.
The Mertens carpet anemone is among the largest anemones. It can measure between 1 meter and a meter and a half.
The body of the anemone is cylindrical in shape, with a basal end that functions as a foot, and its apical end is wavy (never flat) and in the center is the mouth of the anemone.
The blunt tentacles are not sticky , while the warts under the anemone are, and help it stay attached to the substrate.
The tentacles are uniform in size, between one and two centimeters, and are supplied with paralyzing neurotoxins, which it uses as a mechanism to avoid being attacked by predators, but also as an aid to its gastric system, since by immobilizing some of its prey, it is easier for it to ingest them.
They adopt different shapes and color varieties, depending on the sea of origin. In the most common color, the tentacles are yellow or green, and the column is light brown.
Distribution and habitat
Stichodactyla mertensii anemones can be found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, East Africa, Indonesia, the Ryukyu Islands in Japan, and in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef .
Its natural environment includes depths between 1 and 30 meters of moderate currents, with a rocky bottom and / or hard substrates, where it can easily adhere.
Due to their large size, they need an aquarium of at least 400 liters . The temperature must be kept between 26º and 27º, with a pH greater than 8 and a density of 1,025.
They are not easy species to maintain, it is recommended that the aquarium has been operating for at least 12 months, with high lighting.
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In the natural habitat, anemones feed on zooplankton, and fish they catch with their tentacles.
They also contain symbiotic algae, called zooxanthellae, which during photosynthesis (that is why they need strong lighting), produce oxygen and sugars that are also used by the anemone.
In the aquarium, they feed mainly on special preparations, based on prawns and fish meat.
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Behavior and compatibility
Obviously, the Mertens carpet anemone does not have any problem with other fish, except those that may be very small and end up being part of their diet.
You have to avoid fish that can attack it, such as angelfish and some other wrasses. And of course, it gets along great with clownfish or damsels.
Anemones can reproduce in two ways, either by division , in this case the animal is divided in the middle of its mouth and two identical specimens are generated or by sex glands, which in the aquarium is more difficult.
In this case, the specimen meets another of the opposite sex. A ciliated plannula is generated, which will develop a pedal disc and become a new anemone.
Although in the aquarium it is assumed that it does not grow beyond 12 to 18 inches, it may be the case that they grow much more.
It is necessary to provide them with an aquarium of the correct size, so that they can develop properly. Copper sulfate treatments
should be avoided , because they are deadly for anemones.
Particular attention must also be paid to osmotic pressure variations. Too sudden a change in the density of the water could cause its death.