Saddle Anemone - Carpet Anemone

Haddon's Sea Anemone, Saddle Carpet Anemone

Saddle Anemone, Carpet Anemone, Stichodactyla haddoni, Haddon's Sea AnemoneStichodactyla haddoniPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough

The Saddle Anemone has spectacular colors, and is associated with 7 different clownfish species!

The Saddle Anemone Stichodactyla haddoni or Carpet Anemone is one of the most colorful of the clown-hosting anemones. A magnificent animal, it makes a gorgeous centerpiece in a saltwater aquarium. It will require a large aquarium, however, as these anemones can get big. They can be colored a bright green, reddish orange, gray, light green or even be striped. Their tentacles are so numerous on the surface of the oral disc, it gives the anemone a "plush carpet" appearance, thus the name Carpet Anemone.

It is a popular anemone, known by many common names. Besides Saddle Anemone and Carpet Anemone, some names you will find them called are Haddon's Sea Anemone, Saddle Carpet Anemone, Saddle Carpet Sea Anemone, Haddoni Carpet Anemone, Haddon's Saddle Carpet Anemone, Sand Anemone, Saddleback Carpet Anemone, Sea Carpet, and several other combinations of these names as well.

This anemone is easier to keep than some other carpets, as long as its unique needs are met. It appreciates bright light, good water movement, and a mature system. It may open and extend itself to "find" plankton type foods at night time. They use their venomous cells or nematocysts found in their tentacles to sting and deflect any possible threats or attacks. Some predators can be other anemones, nudibranchs, sea stars and some angelfish, triggers and large wrasses.

For more information about Clown Fish anemones, see:
Facts About the 10 Clownfish Hosting Sea Anemones


Pet Supply Comparison Shopping
Saddle Anemone - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Size of organizm - inches: 32.0 inches (81.28 cm)
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Diet Type: Carnivore
  • Minimum Tank Size: 100 gal (379 L)
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: No
  • Temperature: 72.0 to 79.0° F (22.2 to 26.1° C)
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Habitat: Distribution / Background

Sea Anemone Facts: The Saddle Anemone or Carpet Anemone Stichodactyla haddoni was described by Saville-Kent in 1893. The Stichodactyla genus is a member of the Stichodactylidae family, and this genus contains about 6 species. Some other names they are known for are Haddon's Saddle Carpet Anemone, Haddon's Sea Anemone, Sand Anemone, Saddleback Carpet Anemone, Saddle Carpet Sea Anemone, Sea Carpet, Saddle Carpet Anemone, and Haddoni Carpet Anemone. The Stichodactyla haddoni is not on the IUCN Red List for endangered species.

Where are Sea Anemones Found: The S. haddoni is found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, specifically the Red Sea to the Fiji Islands.

Sea Anemone Habitat: Saddle Anemones are found singly at depths of 13 to 130 feet (4 to 40 m) on reefs and soft sandy bottoms. In shallow waters they are often among seagrasses, but they are also found among small rocky or coral substrates. Some like cracks and crevices. They are hosts to 7 different clownfish species in the wild. They use their venomous cells or nematocysts found in their tentacles to sting and deflect any possible threats or attacks. Some predators can be other anemones, nudibranchs, sea stars and some angelfish, triggers and large wrasses.

  • Scientific Name: Stichodactyla haddoni
  • IUCN Red List: NE - Not Evaluated or not listed

Description

Appearance of a Sea Anemone: The Haddon's Sea Anemone has a sticky foot that it uses to adhere to rocks below the sand. They also use this "foot" to move around if conditions are not ideal. Their color can be gray, bright green, reddish orange, light green, or have stripes radiating outward from the mouth.

Their tentacles are short and stubby. They are so numerous on the surface of the oral disc it gives the anemone a "plush carpet" appearance, thus the name Carpet Anemone. As with all anemones, the mouth is in the center of the disc. Its oral disc has slight to deep folds that are somewhat closely spaced, which can give it a wavy appearance. The mouth should be closed and tight, and will open when hungry, having an oval look, yet a gaping mouth is a warning signal. The S. haddoni takes food in, and expels waste through this same opening.

Sea Anemones Life Cycles: Saddle Carpet Anemones can grow up to an impressive 20" to 32" (50 to 75 cm), but it is unknown how long they live. Some anemones can be hundreds of years old in the wild, and in captivity some have been known to last 80 years or more. The S. haddoni have not been bred in captivity and rarely do they split on their own.

  • Size of organizm - inches: 32.0 inches (81.28 cm)
  • Lifespan: - It is unknown how long they live. Some anemones can be hundreds of years old in the wild, and in captivity some have been known to last 80 years or more.

Difficulty of Care

Sea Anemone Care: The Saddle Anemones can be moderately difficult to care for because they do have high lighting needs and must be in a large enough aquarium to satisfy their ultimate size. Putting an anemone in a new tank will result in failure. The tank should be at least 12 months old and stable before adding your new S. Haddoni.

When choosing your anemone, make sure the color is good, their mouth is not gaping open, and their foot and tentacles are sticky to the touch. Also, they should be attached to something and make sure there is no damage to the foot area, often a result of pulling the anemone off its surface.

To remove an S. haddoni from another aquarium when it is stuck on the glass, use a hair dryer. Blow at the foot of the anemone from the outside of the tank and the heat will make it pull away. If it's attached to a rock, ideally you can simply purchase the rock as well. If you cannot purchase the rock then use ice cubes in a zip lock bag, and gently rub the foot all around until it releases. This may take a few minutes, but it is the most reliable way of getting your anemone to release safely. Don't allow the fresh water of the ice cubes to touch the foot directly as this can cause tissue damage.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Difficult
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Foods and Feeding

What Do Sea Anemones Eat: The Carpet Anemone is a carnivore. Stichodactyla anemones are well equiped with nutritional alternatives for their well-being. In the wild they derive daily nutrition from their symbiotic algae, zooxanthellae, which dwell within their tissues. They also use their venomous cells or nematocysts found in their tentacles to sting and capture prey. This is usually blind prey like urchins, snails, crabs, and shrimps, as well as small fish that come into range. They also absorb nutrients from the water around them and they consume wastes from resident animals like clownfish. For their well-being it is not necessary for them to be fed by Clownfish they host, though clowns will often carry chunks of food to the anemone.

In captivity you can feed your S. haddoni chopped silversides, cod, and other types of fresh chopped fish (from your grocery store), as well as frozen carnivore preparations. They also enjoy crustaceans, as they are a natural food for them in the wild. You can offer table shrimp, clams, and mussels if yours will accept it. It is sufficient to feed them 2 to 4 times a week, and this avoids overfeeding.

Clownfish hosted with your anemone usually will not be able to sufficiently feed themselves and their anemone with the small quantity of food that is put in a captive environment. You will need to target feed this anemone. You can just offer your clowns a piece of fish flesh and they will usually snatch it out of your hand and give it to their host. However, not all clowns are this smart, so don't depend on the clown fish to feed the anemone.

  • Diet Type: Carnivore
  • Meaty Food: All of Diet - They can be fed chopped silversides, cod, and other types of fresh chopped fish (from your grocery store), as well as frozen carnivore preparations.
  • Feeding Frequency: Weekly - Feed them 2 to 4 times per week.

Aquarium Care

Water changes of 10% bi-monthly or 20% a month are typical. Monitor your water quality for your particular situation and adjust your water changes accordingly. A Saddle Anemone (6" to 8") is equal to 3 or 4 fish as far as waste production is concerned.

Purigen and Poly-fiber are great products to help in maintaining water quality. Purigen is a synthetic polymer twhich removes soluble and insoluble impurities from water at an exceptionally high rate and capacity, helping to control ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Additions of Iodine are suggested. Keeping salinity stable with a top off mechanism is highly suggested. Control phosphates with products such as Phosban and the Phosban reactor. A good protein skimmer is a must.

  • Water Changes: Bi-weekly
  • Iodine Levels: - Additions of Iodine are suggested.

Aquarium Setup

The typical live rock/reef environment with a sand substrate is what is needed for your Saddle anemone. Have a 6" to 8" sand bed for them to bury their foot into. The anemone will attach to a hard surface through the sand. Once it is secured, if it is happy it will stay put. If it isn't happy and is moving around, be sure to check your lighting and water quality; also make sure you are feeding it adequately. With all anemones it's a good rule of thumb to have all of your pumps covered, most good quality pumps have guards on them.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 100 gal (379 L)
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: No
  • Live Rock Requirement: Typical Amount
  • Substrate Type: Sand
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting - Moderate to high. Coming from shallow waters in the wild, these anemones will do their best with stronger lighting.
  • Temperature: 72.0 to 79.0° F (22.2 to 26.1° C)
  • Specific gravity: 1.023-1.025 SG
  • Water Movement: Moderate - Moderate to high water flow.
  • Water Region: Bottom

Social Behaviors

All anemones are semi-aggressive because they can be mobile, although a contented Carpet Anemone will stay put once it has found a place to settle. It has often been suggested to not put anemones in a reef environment because corals cannot move away from the stinging tentacles. Once you have your anemone situated and it has not moved for several months, it might be safe to add other corals. Keep this in mind when stocking sessile inverts. Some predators can be other anemones, nudibranchs, sea stars and some angelfish, triggers and large wrasses.

With these anemones, it is generally recommended that you don't put any other anemones in the same tank. Anemones need to have their own space, otherwise there can be a "chemical" warfare between species. This will usually cause one to not eat, shrink, and eventually die. However, after splitting anemones will tolerate their own "clones", and sometimes their own species. Having excellent filtration and a large tank (over 200 gallons), will usually allow 2 anemones at opposite ends to thrive. You can also build a natural blockade to help prevent them from wandering into each others "space".

The experience of almost every Carpet Anemone owner is that most of their fish will eventually be eaten. However there are some animals which have been recorded as being associated with S. haddoni anemones. These include anemone shrimps in the Periclimenes genus like the Five-spot Anemone Shrimp Periclimenes brevicarpalis. Some fishes are the Domino Damsel or Three-spot Damsel Dascyllus trimaculatus and certain Clownfish.

If you want to have your Saddle Anemone host a clownfish, be sure your anemone is 3x's larger in diameter than the length of the clown fish you introduce.

It has been known to host the following 7 Clownfish species in nature::

Additionally, in captivity it has been known to also host the following Clownfish:

  • Venomous: Yes
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Sometimes
    • Anemones: Monitor
    • Mushroom Anemones - Corallimorphs: Monitor
    • Leather Corals: Monitor
    • Starfish: Monitor
    • Nudibranch, Sea Slugs: Monitor

Sex: Sexual differences

No sexual difference in appearance is known.

Breeding / Reproduction

The S. haddoni have not been bred in captivity and rarely do they split on their own. Propagating is not recommended. Anemones in general can multiply by sexual and asexual means. One way is using fission, which is when they actually split in half from the foot or mouth to form a clone, although the clone is its own animal, similar to twins. They will also reproduce using male and female sex glands or find another anemone of the opposite sex. This results in the production of ciliated planula larvae. This planula will eventually fall to the sea floor, develop a pedal disk, and then begin to grow into a new anemone.

  • Ease of Breeding: Unknown - The S. haddoni have not been bred in captivity and rarely do they split on their own. Propagating is not recommended.

Fish Diseases

Problems for the Carpet Anemone are pretty minimal unless your lighting, water movement, feeding, and water quality are low. Then your anemone will detach to look for "better conditions." In general, if your anemone moves, it is not happy. With any change in shape, color, or other indications that there is a problem, you need to check your lighting and water quality. If there are any non-reef type fish in the aquarium, like large wrasses, look for possible attack marks. Some predators can be other anemones, nudibranchs, sea stars and some angelfish, triggers and large wrasses.

Availability

Buy A Sea Anemone: The Saddle Anemone or Carpet Anemone S. haddoni is easy to find in stores and online. The cost online starts at about $27.00 USD and goes up depending on size and color.

References



Author: Clarice Brough CFS, Carrie McBirney

Copyright © [Animal-World] 1998-2012. All rights reserved.