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FAQs on Carpet Anemone Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Carpet Anemones, Stichodactyla spp., Use in Marine Aquariums by Bob Fenner, Carpet Anemones, big, beautiful and deadly by Mike Maddox, Bubble Tip Anemones, Tropical Atlantic Anemones, Anemones, Colored/Dyed AnemonesCnidarians, Marine Light, & Lighting

Related FAQs: Carpet Anemones 1, Carpet Anemones 2, Carpet Anemone Identification, Carpet Anemone Behavior, Carpet Anemone Compatibility, Carpet Anemone Selection, Carpet Anemone Systems, Carpet Anemone Disease, Carpet Anemone Reproduction, Anemones in General, Caribbean Anemones, Condylactis, Aiptasia Anemones, Anemones and Clownfishes, Anemone Reproduction, Anemone Lighting, Anemone Identification, Anemone Selection, Anemone Behavior, Anemone Health, Anemone Placement, Anemone Feeding Heteractis malu

Suspension, particulate, poop eaters

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Anemone Success
Doing what it takes to keep Anemones healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

re: Carpet Anemone; fdg.       9/9/15
Hello again Bob! Sorry to continue to write.
<No worries; if you have something to state, ask>

I appreciate so much the advice. My Haddoni carpet looks great after it's acclimation.
<I agree!>
I have attached a pic. There is no more gaping mouth and his inflated size is huge. However, each time that I have tried to feed which has been 2 times, he has taken the food but then spit it out.
<Patience; it will not starve from lack of particulate feeding. You DO have measurable chemical food here (N,P,K) I trust>

Once I tried finely chopped raw shrimp and the other time I tried finely chopped raw cod. He then had a tough time bouncing back after eating, he shrunk and had a brief period of a slightly gaping mouth before bouncing back a few hours later. Should I just leave him along for a few more days before feeding again?
<Yes I would; then try foods toward lights out time; then in the dark>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>


Carpet anemone/light, nutrition, reading  -- 06/29/08 Hi Guys, <& Dolls James> I have a carpet anemone, the short tentacled one. I had him in my main display tank which has lots of light. Unfortunately, as I mentioned to Eric, my Queen angel started eating him. <This is the relationship twixt Pomacanthids and Actinarians...> So I moved him to another tank (185g) in my system where my naughty boy Picasso trigger lives. <These sample too> I only have 4 x 55w t5 tubes on this tank. <Insufficient> About a quarter of the tank has no lights directly above. This is the area where the anemone moved to and lives. After reading all the info about them on wwm I see they need lot's of light. <Yes> I was going to put a metal halide on this tank. As he likes to stay in the slightly darker area I'm not sure what to do now. He seems very happy. <Perhaps with lots of supplementary feeding...> I also read to feed them small amounts of food like krill and chopped up mussel, shrimp etc. I was feeding him whole prawns and calamari so now I know. <Mmm... don't eat such in the wild... instead much in the way of small foodstuffs, fecal material from the fishes above and about them. Read on my friend. Bob Fenner> Thanks again,

Green Carpet Anemone Feeding.    2/16/08 Morning, <Hi!> I have read the information about Green Carpet Anemone feeding, but I didn't see any mention of feeding with Micro-Vert. Is that ok? After I feed him, he closes up a little bit. He does draw up inside, but isn't spread out... 80 Gallon Green Carpet Size - ~12" Ammonia - 0 PH - 8.4 Nitrates - 0 Gravity - 23 Thank you in advance, Andy <Andy, my personal opinion is that I would not consider this a food suitable for anemones. Not because it will harm at all, but because I don't think it sufficient to make a difference on their metabolism. There is nothing easier than dropping a piece of krill/mussel/gamma fish/silverside etc into the tentacles of the anemone in order to satisfy that portion of it's requirements. Definitely provide variety in it's diet, but if this product is being used only for the anemone, next time, I'd use that money to buy some good quality meaty marine fare instead. Hope that helps, Mike I>

Re: Green Carpet Anemone Feeding.   2/17/08 It helps a lot... Thank you so much. <Happy to hear, Andy!> The meaty food that you mention... Do I just buy it in the freezer section where the blood worms and brine shrimp is? <Absolutely; and providing it's fresh and caught from unpolluted waters, you can also shop at the fishmongers and freeze yourself> I am thoroughly impressed by your customer service, thank you. <I/We are glad to hear that, and do our best! Mike I>

Re: Green Carpet Anemone Feeding. 2/17/08 I was thinking... I have Grouper and Amberjack that I caught deep sea fishing... Could I use it if I cut it up in the 1/4 cube size? <Not overly familiar with the fish, but if they're safe for human consumption, then can't see why not. There is always a risk that you will introduce some pathogen however, and it may be more advisable/desirable to stick to the pre-treated food you can buy in LFS (gamma foods for example) Also, could I use small Mollies? <I would advise against it.> Should I put the food real close to his mouth? <Anywhere in the tentacles. Does not matter if it is close to the mouth or not. The tentacles will move the food to the oral cavity for ingestion. Hope that helps, Mike I>

Re: Green Carpet Anemone Feeding. Reading   -02/20/08 Thank you so much. I purchased so krill and fed it. He has been shrinking and his mouth has been bulging out... Is this normal? I fed him Sunday and he is still not back to normal. Andy <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm Scroll down to the tray on Anemones, read re their general feeding, behavior... then on to the Carpets... the same reading... BobF>

Success with a Blue Carpet Anemone, sys., fdg.   2/10/08 I apologize for the delay in answering. I own the blue carpet in the pictures with the Scientific American. You asked me to what I attribute my success in growing this specimen. Considering I move every two years due to my employer- I'm surprised it has thrived. I do tailor my setup to him though and take special care while moving him. But here's what I do for him when we're not on the go. I have two 400w halides (Reeflux 12k) but directly over him I have a 96w actinic power compact by Coralife. I change the bulb from actinic blue to actinic white in the winter. <Interesting> Although that light is there specifically for him- I really think that his food is what has made him so large. I have directed the sump return so that I can drop a big pinch of marine pellet food into the tank and it will blow directly onto him. <Ahh! This "falling bits" (including fecal pellets) IS a large source of carpet anemone nutrition in the wild> I do that daily. Once a week he gets a special target feeding. I put a good deal of Nutrafin max marine flake, PhytoPlan, three droppers of Zoomax, a spoonful of Cyclop-Eeze, a handful of silversides, and five mussels into a blender. I blend it until smooth and I freeze it inside a gallon zip lock bag laid flat. I break off a chunk and dissolve it in a cup of water taken from the tank. I use a turkey baster to feed it to him. I experimented with adding egg to his food but his host maroon clown would abandon him for around 3 days after he ate so I decided to stop the egg. I also take precautions when I place him into the tank after a move. I make sure that only Haitian shelf rock touches him- it seems to work better although the majority of my reef is Fiji. Early on I noticed that it gravitated toward smoother surfaces where it's foot would be surrounded securely without being too restrictive. Fiji's bubbly, super-textured surface made him go on tank-obliterating romps. Until he came up on a section of Haitian- he'd hunker down and stay there. I started building my reefs with the Haitian in the two corners- not extending fully to the glass. I place him in the left-hand corner and after I see that he is anchoring I place another much smaller piece of Haitian in front of his foot. Once he's anchored completely I know that the maroon clown will take the next week moving the rock out of the way- but it seems to make the anemone feel more secure. The reason I speculate that this is so; he has not moved from the left corner where I've placed him in years. He hasn't relocated once since I've used this method. I also give it cooked chicken bits and whenever family or friends are over we stick a mussel on a long chopstick and let them feed it to him. I use Prime for water changes, Kent Marine Essential Elements (when I started supplementing with this as opposed to just traditional single-iodine supplements his growth rate exploded), and Kalkwasser. The rest of my chemicals are home brewed using mostly Kent Marine and Seachem. I use a few different types of resin in my sump. I have not used carbon filtration in a year and I don't use a RO/DI system for water changes where I live now- it isn't necessary. I only use my hand to lift his foot from the glass when I need to. And that's basically it. Nothing huge. Thanks, Janelle Ferrero <Thank you for sharing. Very useful. Bob Fenner>

Carpet Anemone Care  1/8/06 Should I feed my green carpet anemone at night or during the day. <I usually feed anemones in the day when they are fully expanded and alert.> I feed it thawed frozen Mysid shrimp soaked in DT's phytoplankton 1 day and the next day live brine shrimp <SO you are feeding everyday? That's a bit much, 2 times a week is almost more than enough.  The first food item you mentioned is fine, the brine shrimp is nutritionally void unless it is freshly hatched and even so I can think of some other foods I would rather utilize.> , is this good to keep it thriving <For now, this animal has a large potential, the diameter will be larger than your tank is wide. Use a more varied regime of food like squid, krill and chopped silver sides.> . 45 gallon tank with 165 watts of lighting 1 daylight and one antic blue. <Lighting is marginal for this animal, I would use x2, 10K bulbs and change the bulbs every 6 to 9 months.> Thanks in advanced <Sure.> --Sbatiste <Adam J.>

Carpet Anemone Question 7/20/05 Hello Crew! <Hello> Thanks again for all your help, you guys and gals are great! I have a 120g marine tank that is doing great (in part to y'alls help) and I just added a Carpet Anemone. It is pretty big (foot is approximately 4-5 inches wide). My first question is regarding feeding: I have been reading all the information on the WWM website and extrapolated lots of good information,  however can the anemone live on a combination of Phytoplankton, Oyster Eggs and Kent's 'smorgasbord" or do I need to add other protein (i.e. uncooked shrimp or small fish) to its diet? <Shrimp or small fish, no goldfish.>My second question is regarding the 2 percula clowns I have in my tank, they don't seem to be the least bit interested in the anemone. Is there a chance they will ever go in the anemone? Aren't carpet anemones supposed to be percula clown's 'preferred' anemone? <Most clowns sold these days are tank bred, so the clown has never saw an anemone and chances are they will probably not enter it if they have not already.  Keep in mind that a very small percentage of carpets live for more than two months in captivity.  I'm hoping you will be in the small percentage.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you for your wisdom!

Feeding Carpet Anemone 7/26/04 I recently purchased a Stichodactyla haddoni (3 weeks) I read  several articles and it was recommended to feed it fish. I at first had tried shrimp and then got some frozen silversides. <this is inaccurate and way too large IMO. Although this sightless animal will sting anything meaty/proteinaceous... they cannot consume all. They often regurgitate large food chunks at night and starve to death to the surprise of some keepers. All meaty foods need to be very fine for such anemones... like the tiny plankton they would receive in the wild. Mysid shrimp and Pacifica plankton work well for this> He grabs both and closes up around the pieces but then lets go and does not ingest them. <this is common... and not good for the anemone> I saw a snail or a hermit trapped the other night, could he have eaten that? <yes> Can they digest a small shell? <nope... regurgitate> Might he just not be hungry? <on the contrary... it needs fed weekly or more often> Do you have any other feeding suggestions? He otherwise appears OK. He has dug a nice hole on the edge of the LR and inflates to about 6". Retracts fine and is very "sticky". Tank is 75g, sg 1.026, 79 F, Alk 3.5, Ph 8.2,  2 x 175 MH and 2 x 96 CF. Thanks. <all good. Anthony>

Carpet Anemone Feeding I have a question regarding feeding anemones.  I saw a gorgeous white short tentacle carpet anemone, <None are naturally white... yours is bleached... has lost its endosymbiotic zooxanthellae> I later identified it as a Merten's carpet. I purchased it 3 months ago, it was under 2 inches in diameter, <Tiny!> I started off feeding it every 3 days with vitamin enriched brine shrimp.  After two months or so the anemone doubled in size.  It was big enough that I could feed it goldfish, which I have been doing for the past month.  It stings them into submission, and devours them whole. It does not regurgitate the food and it is ready to eat again in a few days.  It has quite the appetite too, I feed my clowns a frozen full spectrum food, with a little something for every fish, and it catches and consumes some of that. It is now over 7 inches in diameter ( I know they grow much larger and I can't wait) very sticky, very responsive to light.   But reading your articles on keeping anemones, it doesn't sound like the goldfish are a good idea, and could potentially cause the little guy more harm then good. <Yes> I was wondering if I should stop with the goldfish, and go back to Mysis/brine shrimp, or maybe kill the gold fish and cut them up first. <Or silversides, cockles, many other choices... I would drop the goldfish> Also I noticed it snagged my black ocellaris clown and after a few shakes from the fish it let go.  Is feeding it live fish making it more aggressive?  Thanks in advance. <Possibly. Bob Fenner>

Carpet anemone I inherited from someone a carpet anemone and clown fish. They have been alive for 3 years with this guy so its fairly healthy. Anyhow, its about 12-14" (green anemone) from end to end (quite large). I'm wondering how much to actually feed the anemone. <Small bits of shrimp, fish, etc., nothing bigger than 1/4" about 2-3 times per day.> He is a green haddoni, but is currently light green. I believe he should be darker, but it could be the new surroundings. <Different lighting.> Anyhow, the diet currently is strips of fish, squid, and fresh shrimp. Wondering, should I feed the whole shrimp, or cut it into 3 or 4 pieces and feed? <Small pieces, but use all the shrimp and use uncooked.> Also, I notice when I feed a small piece of shrimp, the clown will bite at it, even when the anemone has it. It's almost like the anemone snatches it from the clown. Is this normal? <Sounds normal. It is not unusual for clownfish for play with the food, either trying to eat it themselves or appearing to feed the anemone.> Thanks, Jim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Green Carpet Anemone Feeding Hello guys, how are you??? Happy new year. I live in Venezuela. A week ago, I arrived from the states, and brought with me a Sebae anemone, a Green carpet anemone, a green serpent star, and a sand sifting star. They where transported each in its bag, and all in an icebox. the people from the airline where very helpful. When I arrived, I started a dripping process for about 4 hours, and then I placed them in the tank. The sand sifting and the serpent star are doing very well, and also the sebae anemone which found a hole where to hide it's "foot" and eats very little every day. The problem is with the carpet anemone. I already had two sebae clowns for about 2 months, and as soon as they looked at the carpet, they entered en stayed there all the time. The anemone does not open like a flat carpet, it looks bright green, but it is like closed, the sides are undulated and the oral opening is obstructed by the sides of the anemone, so any food just falls to the floor. I try to insert very small pieces of fish, calamari, ham, etc. and it does sting them, but after a while, the pieces fall to the floor, or the clowns remove it from the anemone. I even pushed a very small piece of ham inside the "mouth" and the clowns removed it. What can I do??? My lighting is 2x55w power compact. the tank is 20inch. deep. I know it sounds low, but I had a Condy anemone with the same lighting and it grew very well. I have tried to place the anemone closer to the light, but it does not stand the water currents (nothing exaggerated) and keeps ending in the floor. The water is perfect, all parameters, and very well skimmed. Any suggestions??? Thank you very much. Julio <Hi Julio, I suggest you go to WetWebMedia.com and type "carpet anemone" into the google search engine to find out the habits/conditions your anemone needs.  This anemone will want to be close to your lighting, in a moderate current that it is comfortable with, and fed the correct food.  These are sea creatures and they have preferred foods, which do NOT include HAM!! This anemone will eat marine meats like shrimp, scallops, silversides, small fish, etc. You should adjust the current to fit the high light location the anemone needs so it can attach and stay in one place.  Not attaching is NOT a good sign. DO NOT try to force feed it, WAIT for it to attach and then open in the correct light and current, and LET it eat passively when it is adjusted.  It is important that you read about this inhabitant and provide the proper conditions. I hope this gets you on the right track! Craig>

Anemone Feeding I have another question , this one concerning a blue carpet anemone. Is there any signs or symptoms that the animals health is declining. My water quality is good Ammonia 0, nitrates 0 temp 75-77 ph 8.4-8.6. The color is still a rich blue, it eats once a week, but it does seem to shrink up quite often and turn its stomach out. <both are signs of stress, attrition or possibly impending death> My LFS says that this happens and I should not be alarmed <they are mistaken from having seen so many stressed and dying ones on import. Yours is undoubtedly slowly starving on a weekly feeding schedule. These animals need to be fed daily or nearly so. A few months of weekly feeding is taking its toll. Another common problem with these animals is people feeding chunks of food that are too large. Whole pieces of shrimp/fish in time can harm most anemones. It is a wholly unnatural food. They can cause internal tears and stress in general trying to digest it. Such a huge chunk of food would almost never make its way through the water column on a reef past all those watching eyes (fishes, crabs, shrimp, other scavengers) to land on the tentacles of this anemone. Your anemone eats zooplankton at night. 1/4" or smaller! Feed finely minced meats of marine origin. Perhaps whole mysids or Gammarus if you don't have the interest in preparing food for it>> but I have not been able to find any in depth literature on these creatures habits. Do you have any suggestions on a book or website that can give me more details on their habits. Thanks again. Mike Winston <hmmm... for what its worth. Shimek offers a cheap book on "Anemone Secrets" Best regards, Anthony>

Re: blue carpet anemone Thanks for the quick response, will feeding on a daily basis bring it back around or is it possibly to late? I really want to try to bring it back to good health. Thanks again <daily feeding can certainly save this animal! Small frequent feedings are key. Be careful not to overfeed (evident by a mucous ball of regurgent released long after the lights are off each night). A teaspoon is likely more than enough of not too much daily for a small medium carpet anemone. Feed high protein marine meats. Mysids are one of the best. Please NEVER feed adult brine shrimp... to anything (hollow and nutrient poor). Pacifica plankton and Gammarus shrimp are good too. Minced krill... outstanding. Many possibilities. Best of luck! Take pictures of your progress and share them please. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: carpet anemone I got a carpet anemone a few days ago. So far I think it ate a few of my fish and some shrimp. <They are renowned for this.> I found some big piles next to it full of bones. I am scared to get anymore fish. One of the fish was a harlequin Sweetlips 2" long. The anemone is 6" in diameter. Can it do this sort of thing? <Yep> What should I do? <Send the anemone to time out for being bad.> What fish won't this guy eat? <The kind that will stay away, i.e. the ones that live in a different tank. This is one of many reasons we generally recommend anemones be kept in species tanks devoted to their care and particular needs.> Thanks, Todd <Best of luck! -Steven Pro>

The Magic Carpet! I saw a very good-looking blue carpet in my LFS and acquired it. I have a 120g tank in prime condition and I have put it in. <Sounds really nice!> I was impressed by its reaction at the LFS. As soon as the owner tried to get to it, it folded up (it was fully open) and dug deeper into the substrate. It was removed very carefully with no damage to the foot but it was obviously stressed because it regurgitated part of its inside. <Unfortunately, a common reaction to traumatic situations> The trip home took about 20 minutes, it was acclimatized for 30-35 min and put into a rocky area, a sort of semicircle of rocks. Within 10-15 minutes the stomach was swallowed back and appeared normal. It started inflating and it has been inflated and normal now for about 7 hours. <Sounds good> Now, I read it mostly gets food at night. I tried feeding it but he didn't want to know. Can you tell me if the best time to feed it is at night? Will it be inflated then? <Hard to say, each animal is different, even within a given species. They all react differently to various stimuli. I'd try feeding it whenever you are satisfied that the animal appears to be settling in> In the LFS it was under normal fluorescent, but I have 2x250 MH, so I reckon it made a bit of a difference, although it seemed to like it being always inflated. I have noticed it is moving its foot more near the rocks now. <Sounds like it's finding a spot that it will like. Even though carpets prefer bright lighting, it will take the animal some time to adapt to your better lighting regimen, so keep this in mind> Will it finally feed and is it ok to use Zoecon and vitamins to enrich the food? <Well, as mentioned above- I'd give the animal a little more time to settle in, then go for it! I think that enriching the food is a fine idea> Many thanks, you are always the providers of best advice. Massimo, Brighton UK <Glad to hear that, Massimo! I'm sure that your new anemone will settle in nicely under your continued good care! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Feeding Whole Fish to a Carpet Anemone 9/2/03 Hi, I just read again the following quote from "carpet anemone FAQ": "<another possibility here is that it was fed food that was too large. Many aquarists make this mistake with whole pieces of shrimp, krill or silversides (fish). Although the animal stings it and draws it in... that doesn't mean that it is appropriate, safe or even smart. Tears occur attempting to digest a whole chunk of food that would never make its way through a water column of fishes on a wild reef naturally. The rule is finely minced foods: 1/4 or smaller ideally>" Have you seen the pictures from the following web page?  Pretty amazing pieces of food being captured there, how does this fit in the bigger picture? http://www.wildsingapore.com/chekjawa/text/g510-2.htm < http://www.wildsingapore.com/chekjawa/text/g510-2.htm> Cheers, and thanks in advance, Alan <the site is not aquaristic, and look rather casual at that. To some extent it is a matter of good, better, best. Please heed practical experience in husbandry (numerous aquarists seeing large meals regurgitated after hours... damage to animal in some cases reported) and offer more natural sized prey. I assure you that far many more plankton get stuck to anemones tentacles than weak or dying fishes. Anemones are blind and sting any meaty food they touch... regardless of its natural/appropriate size or not. Anthony>

Feeding Whole Fish to a Carpet Anemone 9/3/03 The silversides I've bought (Hikari, I think) are quite large - 2 to 2.5 inches. How small should I cut these up, to feed to a 12" S. haddoni? Or should I be using them at all? Again, thanks. <the quality of the food is very fine.... just chop/mince into small pieces as described int he archives you referred to in the last e-mail: 1/4" bits are very safe and will never give you cause for concern. Still not an ideal food as a staple. Natural foods are zooplankton substitutes like Mysid, minced krill and Pacifica plankton. Anthony>

Carpet anemone questions 10/18/03 After reviewing your site can you confirm the following: 1)  The specimen in the attached photo is a S. Mertensii. <cannot say with certainty from most any photo. But on gross characteristics, I'm inclined to wonder if this isn't S. gigantea which has dense short tentacles of equal size whereas S. mertensii has colored verrucae (peach/pink) and longer tentacles approaching the mouth> 2)  Your usual recommended feeding regimen of a wash of Mysis shrimp or other 1/4" food applies to this anemone as well.  Not too frequently. <yes... a must with all anemones to be safe. There are few if any large chunks of meat/fish falling through the water column untouched on a reef <G>. Many eyes watching and waiting to consume such matter. Anemones instead feed on fine zooplankton (like most carnivorous cnidarians) at night> 3)  I bought this carpet unaware of the numerous posts of it eating tangs and other fish.   <yes... does occur because of the unnatural and crowded confines of aquaria. Far less so in the wild> I am willing to assume some risk and leave it as is in my 200 g tank with 5 fish, but I might change my mind if it's a virtual certainty that at some point it will eat my purple tang.  Can you roughly ballpark the percentages?   <nope> Is it 50/50 that my fish will survive or are the odds against me 95/5? <hard to say... truly pot luck. I never recommend anemones for mixed community tanks. I believe they should always be kept in a species or biotope display, else somebody's life (anemone and/or fishes') will be shortened.> As always, thanks for your help. <my strong advice is to house the anemone in a proper species tank. Perhaps a nice 60-90 gallon drilled and plumbed inline with your 200 gallon to spare you the expense of another filtration system. If your anemone is mertensii... it is a rock dweller... and if it is S. gigantea, then it is a sand/lagoon denizen (soft substrates). Best of luck. Anthony>

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