Why I’m in love with Maxi-Mini Carpet Anemones

I’ve never been a big fan of anemones in reef tanks. Having seen too often the injury they can cause on prize corals as they roam around the aquarium looking for that perfect spot, I was always weary of keeping any type of anemone in a reef set-up.

However, in the last several months, a new species of anemone has become available in the aquarium hobby that has begun to change my mind.  Most commonly referred to as maxi mini carpets, these little beauties are bright, sticky and stingy, although they don’t pack as strong of a punch as carpet anemones.  They aren’t known to roam around the aquarium as most bubble tip anemones tend to do; they generally wedge themselves in some crevice on a rock where they get a good water flow that supplies ample nutrients to keep them happy, although I would recommend target feeding with enriched mysis shrimp or other meaty food.  Also, unlike the carpet anemone, these maxi-minis stay “mini” – 5 to 6 inches at most.  Clownfish will not host them, although sexy shrimp and pompom crabs will.

In my opinion, the best part is the range of bright colors these anemones come in. Similar to the wide variety of bright, 80’s style colors ricordeas are available in, maxi mini’s colors range from bright pinks, neon oranges and dazzling yellows, ultra green or vivid blues and purples.  And they’re not limited to just being one color, I’ve seen combinations of bright pink and greens, orange and blue, purple and green – it really seems that the possibilities are endless!

The other quality that makes these maxi-mini carpet anemones so unique is the ability to frag them.  Typically with anemones, in order to propagate, it’s a matter of over-feeding them until they grow so big that they have to split.  With maxi-minis, you can actually frag them – cut them like a piece of pizza, making sure to cut a portion of the mouth as well and viola, you have two!  As with anytime you frag a coral, extra care must be taken in order to ensure that both pieces don’t get infected and can recover quickly.  Iodine dips and dosing with Vitamin C are two ways I recommend to keep your maxi-mini’s healthy after fragging.

Finally, what really sets these anemones apart from the more commonly kept anemones is the fact that these anemones don’t sting each other, so you can have as many as you like in one tank!   I love the idea of a Maxi-Mini garden – a bunch of maxi-mini’s in every color of the rainbow.

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Jims’ Exotic Fish: New Aquariums, Exotic Fish…Where Fish Are Family


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