Stichodactyla gigantea, commonly known as the giant carpet anemone is a species of sea anemone that lives in the Indo-Pacific area, with a diameter usually no larger than 50 centimetres (1.6 ft) and a maximum of 80 centimetres (2.6 ft). It can be kept in an aquarium but is a very challenging species to keep alive and healthy for more than 3–5 years.
S. gigantea resides on shallow seagrass beds or sand flats around 8 centimetres (3.1 in) deep (at low tide). Most anemones are treated as sessile, but the ones inhabited by anemonefish are in fact motile. Zooxanthellae are obligate symbionts within the anemone. S. gigantea are associated as hosts to the common clownfish (A. ocellaris), Clark's anemonefish (A. clarkii), the pink skunk clownfish (A. perideraion), and occasionally with the domino damselfish (D. trimaculatus).
S. gigantea is uncommon in the aquarium trade, due to the fact that it is very hard to keep alive, and that it is simply not available in the majority of locations. To keep it alive, S. gigantea must be placed in a very large aquarium, and water conditions must be ideal (i.e. ammonia, nitrates 0 ppm). It must have high power lighting of high intensity, such as metal halide lighting, and requires very strong water current. In addition, all members of the genus Stichodactyla possess Stichodactyla toxin, a toxin that can produce an allergic reaction in the human body. For these reasons, it is advised to purchase an easier to care for species, such as Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) to serve as a host for a clownfish, or as an ornamental anemone.
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