Usually when we go to East Java to pick corals, we end up staying overnight. There is a hotel that sits right in the middle of the suppliers, and we always end up staying in this nice hotel.
Here is the view from outside the hotel room. Remember the pier from previous posts? It was here that I took these beautiful photos below, of the sunrise in East Java.
I got up at 6 am and walked out to the water's edge. I was amazed at what I saw. The sun was just creeping over the horizon. I rushed back to the room and grabbed my trusty Fujifilm digital camera. Notice the landmass on the right? That is part of Northern Bali.
I zoomed in and took this picture right after the first one above.
I took this picture a minute later.
It seemed like the sun was rushing to rise. If I didn't take the picture myself, I would think this picture is a sunset!
Ok, now let's jump into the main topic for today - awesome anemones! During my adventures to East Java and Sulawessi, I run into some fabulous anemones. If you don't have a trained eye, it is difficult to identify the anemone species. I will attempt to show the differences so we can all become anemone identification experts. Me myself is not an expert, but I have consulted with a true expert. Her name is ShuTin, remember the lady with the monster tank in Monterey California? She is in the process of propagating many species of anemones. Soon they will be available to fellow reefers. I will give more information on this when the time comes.
Most of the following anemones were from this past week's collection. A few pictures are from the past.
This is about eight Rose Anemones (Entacmaea quadricolor)clumped together. So beautiful, it looks like the basket is burning with flames!
Bubble tip anemones come in all sorts of colors. Specimens like this green tip metallic pink with a red base is not common. Unbelievably beautiful!
Another rare morph of the bubble anemone, metallic orange! If I was a clownfish, I would make this my home:)
This bubble tip is more plentiful, but still nice with purple tips!
A close up of a rose bubble tip. This one happens to have real bubble tips. I would say at least 50% of these anemones have longer tentacles with short bulbs at the tips. I think these differences in the tentacles and bulbs are due to environment differences. But they do have one thing in common, they are so nice!
A basket of choice Macrodactyla doreensis, commonly called long tentacle or L/T anemone. This basket has a metallic green one with white tentacles. It also has two different color morphs of purple. And of course can't forget the metallic red one in the middle!
Check out this amazing doreensis, it is green with purple tentacles! This color morph is extremely rare and I've only seen a handful of these.
Ok more rare than the green/purple one, is this insane pink one! Just a gorgeous anemone!
Usually one can id the anemones from the tentacles and shape. But the species of the Stychodactyla are hard to differentiate. Usually common name of "carpet anemones" is used to id these type of anemones. The best and easiest way to tell the differences is to look at the verrucae (bumps) on the base of the anemones. There are three different species of carpets that look similar. There is the gigantea, the haddoni, and the more elusive mertensii. The blue one pictured above is a gorgeous gigantea. It had just come in from the islands and was stressed. The verrucae on the giganteas normally run half way down to its feet.
Here are some more examples of giganteas. These are large anemones (such the name "gigantea"), that can sting and eat large fish in your aquariums. In the wild, they are generally found in shallow water in the sand. The only problem with giganteas is that they have a hard time adapting to captive environments. Their long term survivability is very poor.
A couple of gorgeous red giganteas. Unfortunately the red morph of this species seems more sensitive than the blue or the purple. If you have a red giantea alive for more than 6 months, you are extremely lucky!
Another species of the carpet family is the Stychodactyla haddoni. This species lives a little lower down the water column and is also found in sand.
This particular specimen has red mixed in with some other colors.
Here is another photo taken with flash. The red is more apparent now. I've seen specimens of this color turn into brick red under some good lights.
Here is a close up view of the verrucae. The verrucae on the haddonis are very small and are only found at the most upper part. We can assume that if the carpet anemone has a smooth foot, with no bumps, then it is most likely a haddoni species. The good thing about this particular species is that generally they are hardier and easier to adapt to captive environments, far better than their cousin the gigantea. Also the fact that they are a smaller species, makes them ideal for our reef tanks. Keep in mind though that a full grown haddoni is still a big anemone.
Another beautiful carpet. This one is orange - red!
The final species of the carpet at interest is the Stychodactyla mertensii. These usually are found deep down on the rocks. Like the gigantea, this species can get large. However, unlike the giganteas, this species can adapt to captive environments well and flourish. By far these are the strongest and most suitable species for our reef tanks. The only problem is that I've only been able to find green ones here in Indonesia. I only see a few pieces at a time during my trips, so definitely not common. I do hope one day I'll find a blue or a red one!
The verrucae on the mertensii are small and run all the way down its foot to the base. I believe this species of carpet is the one that clownfish like the most. What I mean is that most species of clownfish will host in a mertensii.
A basket full of giganteas and one mertensii in Sulawessi.
A beautiful Heteractis magnifica! Finding a color morph like this is no easy task. Commonly called the ritteri anemone, this species can be difficult to acclimate to captive environments. They have a history of just melting away in our tanks. But anemone "cefu" master ShuTin, has been successful not just keeping these alive, but even one step further and successfully propagating them! Pretty amazing!
Here is another Heteractis species that can be a challenge. The famous malu anemone. Many people have heard it but can't id it. There is another species of the Heteractis that is worthy of mention. It is the crispa, the sebae anemone. I have a picture of a super pink with purple tip specimen in my camera but left the camera chord in Bali (I'm still in Jakarta), so I'll have to post it later at another time.
Check out this crazy looking hellfire anemone. It has green, orange, purple, crazy colors! Of course none of the clownfish will host in it. But still is very pretty!
Ok, if anemones can crossbreed between different families, this one would be it. A very strange looking anemone. It has bubble tips but has the base of a sebae (crispa) anemone!
Here is the base. It definitely looks like a Heteractis crispa on the bottom.
Check out this strange and pretty anemone. It is very unusual in that it has little white bumps at the base of the tentacles. I've consulted with ShuTin and she tells me that it belongs to the family of anemones called Phymanthus, the same family as the hellfires.
Here is a picture of the base. It does have a pretty purple base!
Another not so reef friendly anemone, the deepwater pseudocorynactis. These have extremely sticky tentacles that can sting very badly if handled wrongly.
Ok guys, I hoped you enjoyed today's post on the anemones. I hope now you get a better idea of identifying the many different anemone species.
Before signing off, take a look at this article that I found in a newspaper. The paper is called Bali Times and is written in English. I'll post cool little stories of interest whenever I run into one. Enjoy!