Stichodactyla mertensii (Merten's Carpet Anemone)

Discussion in 'iBluewater' started by iBluewater, Nov 30, 2012.

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  1. iBluewater

    iBluewater Senior Member (PhD)

    Jan 11, 2011
    iBluewater....... CA
    Stichodactyla mertensii (Merten's Carpet Anemone)

    There are some Merten's carpet anemones (S. mertensii) that are, without question, beautiful. These are the beauties that will be prized, and the ones we have pushed hard for our divers to locate and collect. The occasional Mertens that showed up in the trade previously tended to be plain medium/dark brown.

    Photos are of Bottom view and Top view of the same Mertens Anemone

    There is a need for those vibrantly colored Mertens to be brought to the aquarium trade. So the team at iBluewater pulled together their combined diving experience of the last 23 years and set out to re-find those sites where they had previously seen vibrantly colored Mertens.

    One big discouraging factor for the commercial collector is that the Mertens have an extraordinarily sticky foot that is very difficult to dislodge. It stretches like an octopus's tentacle, binding itself to the contours of the rock surface, using the verrucae on their underside (those magenta, orange or red spots) to further aid in powerful adhesion. This is unlike other anemones like S. haddoni or S. gigantea, where only their foot is available to attach, less tenaciously, to the substrate or rock face. So it may be that to the collection diver whose time is money, needing 30-40 minutes to safely detach a Mertens from its rock is just not worth it. He would rather be using that time to collect a dozen bubble tips, gigantea, or haddoni.

    It took a few dive trips for the iBluewater divers to work out the best ways to safely detach a Mertens from its rock more efficiently. Once that was learned, the know how was passed on to divers out at the collection points. We now have a small, but steady, supply of nice-colored Mertens (please see photos).

    Photo below; Gold Tip White Clustered Tentacle Mertensii

    Mertens did not ship well at first. Through trial and error, we developed a method of properly shipping them so they faired much better. This is roughly akin to how we successfully ship Blue Stripes, another famously poor shipper.

    So we are very pleased to offer S. mertensii on our regular anemone page, no longer just limited to the occasional specimen on our WYSIWYG page.

    We observed that, generally:
    a) 5500K - 6800K light is appreciated by Mertens
    b) 10 - 12 hrs lighting replicates Mertens natural habitat;
    c) medium to medium-strong flow works well;
    d) 80F - 82F is its preferred temperature;
    f) Mertens appreciate a stable PH (8.2 - 8.3) haddoni and gigantea prefer a stable 8.3;
    g) Mertens, like schooling fish, get along well with other Mertens in the same tank and can be kept in clusters of 2 - 5. Haddoni or gigantea tend to jockey for ideal spots;
    h) Mertens rarely "walk". If you turn down the flow in your tank Mertens for a few minutes it will very quickly stick to a rock in your tank and stay put;
    i) Mertens are able to bounce back to a healthy state once you make required corrections to its tank environment if it appears stress. Gigantea do not and, instead, often go downhill all the way when idea conditions are absent..

    Environment stats where our Mertens were collected:
    Depth range (Ft): 3 - 18
    Temperature range (°F): 80 - 84.1
    Nitrate (umol/L): 0.048 - 0.418
    SG 1.023 - 1.026)
    Oxygen (ml/l): 5.461 - 5.785
    Phosphate (umol/l): 0.085 - 0.247
    Silicate (umol/l): 1.226 - 3.039

    S. mertensii in the wild is host to 12 of 30 species of clownfish; including
    A. leucokranos, A. sandaracinos, A. akallopisos, A. akindynos, A. allardi, A. chrysogaster, , A. clarkii, A. fuscocaudatus, A. latifasciatus, A. ocellaris, A. tricinctus, A. chrysopterus.

    Clownfish in captivity are generally not picky and will accept a host anemone that's not its natural host anemone in the wild. Carpet anemones that host clownfish, such as Gigantea, Haddoni and Mertensii, tend to melanise the clownfish.

    Photo below; Rainbow Mertensii