Gigantic Sea Anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea)

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Gigantic Sea Anemone
Stichodactyla gigantea
Gigantic Sea Anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea)
Name Gigantic Sea Anemone
Name Lat. Stichodactyla gigantea
Family Host Anemones
Family lat. Stichodactylidae
Order Sea Anemones
Order lat. Actiniaria
Origin Indo-Pacific
Diet Autotrophic, carnivore
pH 8.1-8.4
Hardness 8-12 °KH
Lighting High
Current Strong
Behavior Aggressive
Keeping Individual
Care Level Experts only
Life Span N/A
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 40-50 cm
Temperature 22-27 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium 400 l
US Units
Size 16"-20"
Temperature 72-81 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium 100 gal

Distribution and habitat

Stichodactyla gigantea are widely distributed from the Red Sea through the Indian Ocean to the Western Pacific. They live solitary in shallow water on coral rubble and sand, the foot disc buried and attached to a rock, in symbiosis with anemonefish or partner shrimp.


They should be positioned in a very bright spot on the bottom with strong, alternating current by pressing them gently on a rock in a pit for a short time.

Only substrates rich in lime and free of heavy metals should be used as substrate. Filters, skimmers and heaters are necessary to ensure water quality, as well as pumps to simulate tides, swells and bottom currents. It is recommended that live stones be used to set up the aquarium. The bacteria living in the porous stones act as a biological filter. The lighting must correspond to the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals

Salinity: 33-36 ‰ pH value: 8.1-8.4
Carbonate hardness: 6-10 °KH Nitrate content: 2-8 mg/l
calcium content: 420-450 mg/l Nitrite content: 0.0-0.05 mg/l
Magnesium content: 1.250-1.350 mg/l phosphate content: 0.01-0.1 mg/l

Regular addition of trace elements, especially iodine and strontium, is recommended. For salinity, an average value should be aimed for, which may only vary slightly by +/- 0.5 ‰. Ammonia and ammonium must not be measurable. Special attention shall be paid to consistently good water quality and water values.


Zooxanthellae, which are unicellular symbiotic algae, live in their tissue and provide them with assimilation products of their photosynthesis (high light requirement). The zooxanthellae promote growth and provide additional food to the plankton and small particles collected from the water current. In addition to the food produced in the aquarium when feeding fish, they must be fed specifically at least once a week with small pieces of fish or shellfish meat, shrimp, krill, etc

Regular and varied feeding promotes health and avoids deficiency symptoms.

Behaviour and compatibility

This solitary symbiotic anemone should be socialized with anemone fish, such as Amphiprion percula, A. carkii, A. sebae, etc., or shrimp, such as the Periclemens shrimp. Crayfish such as the Neopetrolisthes maculatus are also accepted. Other animals that stick to their tentacles will be devoured. Sufficient distance must be maintained from other corals to avoid encrustation.

Reproduction and breeding

They are separately sexual. Their larvae are part of the plankton for several weeks until they settle in a suitable place. Reproduction by division is also possible, which occasionally succeeds in the aquarium.


They come in different color forms, such as blue, green and beige. After placing them in the aquarium, they sometimes wander until they find a suitable place themselves.

The keeping is not unproblematic due to their size and willingness to migrate as well as the strongly nettling and sticking tentacles.

The anemonefish species living in symbiosis with it, such as Amphiprion ocellaris (False Clown Anemonefish), are very helpful in the often difficult acclimation

Healthy animals have a closed oral disc, look "pumped up". Recommended for their growth (zooxanthellae) is supplementing lighting with Actinic light, a short-wave violet-blue light.

Newly introduced animals must be acclimated slowly to the water in the aquarium. If different species are kept together, make sure that fish and invertebrates match each other in terms of water quality and temperature requirements, as well as their social behavior, and that the setup meets the ecological needs of all species kept together

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: Alex Rinesch

Source: BAENSCH & DEBELIUS (2006): Meerwasser Atlas Bd. 1, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Verlag Harri Deutsch