Even though it has been 6 years since I first wrote about maxi mini carpet anemones, they are still popular and I continue to keep a bunch in my own tank. Here is a refresher on my original article. Welcome to my new blog and shopify store, I'm excited to have you here!
These beautiful creatures known best as maxi mini carpet anemones; they are properly identified as Stichodactlya tapetum. In the wild maxi mini carpets have a wide distribution range however most imports come from Vietnam. Although first described in 1834 and available as rare speciments for years in the aquarium trade, they started showing up more commonly in the U.S. and the really vibrant colors started being imported around 2009.
Although first described in 1834 and available as rare speciments for years in the aquarium trade, they started showing up more commonly in the U.S. market about 6 - 7 years ago, but the really vibrant colors started being imported around 2009.
Maxi carpets grow to a maximum size of about 5 - 6 inches. The solid red Bali mini carpet anemones which appear to be different members of the same family grow to 2.5" and the smallest mini mini carpets (pink/green coloration) grow to 1.5". Though these smaller carpet anemones should are sometimes confused with larger carpet anemones in the gigantea and haddoni families, they will never grow to the sizes attained by those species.
The Hardy Carpet
Unlike the larger carpet anemones such as Stichodactyla Gigantea, the Maxi-mini Carpet is very easy to keep by the average reef aquarist and usually acclimates with ease, expanding within a few minutes when you introduce it into your tank.
This small carpet prefers to live on or tucked into rock and will move very quickly to your rockwork if you place it on the sand bed. I like to have a few pieces of rubble rock around to place the anemones in so they won't move around too much. Once they are settled in to their spots with good light and decent flow, they will usually stay in one place. Most people keep their anemones under T5's, lower down in a tank with MH's, or under LED lighting. Like many corals, they will fluoresce under actinic/blue lighting. If placed under higher light than they care for the anemone will move to shadier spot often out of view, so it is best to place your anemone in a medium - lower light spot first.
These tiny carpets are not known to host clown fish, but they are attractive to anemone shrimp and anemone crabs. In the wild, they are favored by Sexy Shrimp (Thor amboinensis) and Periclimenes spp. commensal shrimps. (Anemone expert Dr. Dauphne Fautin and her colleagues once reported finding 11 Sexy Shrimp on a single wild specimen.)
Sticky But Not Aggressive
They are not aggressive but have a moderate level sting if they come into contact with other livestock or coral. Just use caution and close observation if placing one in a tank with very small gobies or bennies. Most fish know to avoid them, but it is a case by case basis.
The maxi-mini carpet can sting corals, but I have not found the sting to be as bad as some other anemones like a bubbletip anemone or long-tentacle anemone. My Maxi-mini anemones stay away from my torch and frogspawn corals, so we have had no battles so far. They are not aggressive and you don't have to worry about them roving around and digesting your corals during the night. I would not advise putting them next to other types of anemones as the maxi-minis will probably be damaged.
You can keep several of these small carpet anemones together, many people create Maxi-mini gardens in their tanks. Since they come in a rainbow of colors; a Maxi-mini tank is quite beautiful, and they certainly don't require a large reef to thrive. In fact, a nano tank can be perfect for them since their lighting and water quality needs aren't as stringent as other types of coral.
Maxi-minis grow pretty quickly just with good lighting, but you should also feed them some frozen enriched brine shrimp, Mysis, or other meaty foods (even small whole silversides or krill) to make them grow faster. They will grow and do well just on photosynthesis alone, so if you are trying to keep your nutrients down, that will be ok. Like other anemones, they may sometimes egest packets of digested material to get rid of excess waste; this is normal.
One of the coolest things about Maxi-mini anemones is that they can be propagated easily. You can cut a Maxi-mini anemone in half with a sharp razor, dip the two pieces briefly in an iodine/saltwater solution, and place them in your tank. Within 2 - 5 weeks you will have two perfect little anemones, and the mortality rate is very low. On their own, they also will reproduce asexually, dividing by fission (splitting) however it takes much longer.
My love for carpet anemones and fascination with their hardiness and color combinations is still strong after all these years. Every aquarist should reserve a spot in their aquarium for one or ten of these beauties. :D
Author Morgan Moore Jan 26, 2016 Copyright Reef Goddess
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