Billy's Stichodactyla Gigantea Thread

billysprout

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Hi everyone,

Starting a thread to document my journey attempting to collect & keep stichodactyla gigantea carpet anemones. I've seen a lot of gig issues & losses reported on this site so I thought I should share the success I've had so far.

My goal for this endeavor is to collect 4-5 colors of gigantea and keep them throughout my adult life. Also learned today that I want to attempt to spawn them.

The moral of this thread is that keeping these noodly blankets is plausible even for a lazy reefer like myself. If you can find them. :p

1699258078981.png

Gig 2 glam shot. This light causes phyto blooms every month or so, hence the extra green tinge.


Butt first, some numbers!
Salinity: 30.5 ppt / 1.023 sg
Temp: 81 F
Tank: 15 gallon display w/ HOB skimmer. plumbed into 120 gallon system
Light: Halo TGS LED flood light (120W equivalent, warm white spectrum, currently on 1500 lumen setting due to phyto bloom)
Flow: Hygger mini wavemaker set to nutrient transfer
Clownfish: Female C-Quest Onyx Picasso, Male wild-caught true perc
Sources: Amazing Aquariums and Reefs (local pickup), Corals Anonymous (local pickup), Pasadena Tropical Fish (local pickup), Harry's Marine Life (local pickup)

And some documentation of my methods:
Specimen Health Assessment
I can't find my original source thread for this, does this sound familiar to anyone? It was a thread ranking the health of anemones based on their symptoms.
  • Mouth is firmly closed in a tight line or pucker (not including feeding response)
  • Foot is firmly attached to substrate or container at multiple points and has no signs of injury or infection. responds to touch
  • polyps are plump and inflated and the specimen responds to touch
  • poop is once daily at max, is low volume and doesn't involve deflation/inflation (remove poop from tank manually if treating)
  • If all other bullets are met, test sting and feeding response with a thawed bit of shrimp or squid. don't test sting with your finger unless you know you're not allergic
Treatment & Quarantine Regimen
  • I use OrionN's instructions , but I combine Cipro with equal doses of Erythromycin and Amoxicillin and a dash (3ml per 5 gallons) of AcroPower. It's the trio used in KungFu Corals dip regimen, and the amino acids theoretically incentivize the anemone to absorb the treated water more quickly.
    • I use an eggcrate insert to protect the nem from the heater and powerhead.
    • I use a sponge filter instead of powerhead if the foot isn't attaching reliably. The egg crate prevents a nem smoothie either way, but nems seem to deteriorate a lot more quickly if they are flipped upside down (especially if the mouth is open)
    • I use an empty mug (or transparent cup if I need to inspect the foot) to hold gigantea or a mug filled with sand for haddoni.
    • Used ABX water is aged on my balcony for 2-3 days, then bleached before dumping.
    • I treat for 1 week if no symptoms are seen, then quarantine for an additional two weeks.
    • Once treatment is done, I use 50% water from my display tank in water changes on the quarantined nem to check for compatibility with whatever microbiome the display has, including any trace amounts of infectious bacteria that the treated nems have grown to tolerate.
  • I'm considering adding a UV sterilizer to the regimen during the day, maybe two hours after lights are on. This would theoretically help reduce the active proliferation of bacteria that the anemone expels, either through excretion or through squeezing out the water if I miss a mid-day deflation. The two-hour delay would maintain the therapeutic lifespan of the previous night's dose of antibiotics. My main worry is that water quality might deteriorate due to the nightly nuking of any nitrifiers in the water.

  • The most important improvement I made to my own practicum is if I see the gig deflated, I immediately turn off the lights, do a 100% water change, administer a new dose of antibiotics, and replace the sponge filter.
    • I caught a huge deflation (pictures below for the bold-of-heart) on Gig 4 last week and saw almost immediate relief of symptoms. I believe I shaved a good week or two off of the recovery timeline.
    • I have noticed that a nem that is recovered enough to attach its foot, but still sick, i can usually trigger its deflation by turning the lights on and off again for five minutes each.

Gig 1: Sad beginnings
Ali from AAR got in a blue gigantea, but it was terminally infected before he even received it. Zero out of five health checks. I bought it (despite his warnings) and attempted to resuscitate.
I didn't succeed. I don't think I even have pictures because it was a limp salty donut from day 1. Even with advanced image search that'd be difficult to pull up on my phone.
I'm only sharing my failure in the interest of transparency. I bullied Ali into selling me it and I'm sure his supplier shipped it healthy too. I think I could have saved it if I knew what I know now, but that's the life of a gig farmer.

Gig 2: Happy Seconds
I promise it's all good news from here! Next up was a brown anemone with a green foot (sold as "Wintermint") from Corals Anonymous. I drove a couple hours to pick it up to avoid the shipping gamble, and it was very healthy from day 1. kudos to CoralsAnon for the great specimen!
Brown is probably the least desirable color for a gigantea, but the way this anemone shines in the fake sun is awe-inspiring. Like the other colors, there's a distinct gradient on the tentacles between the base color and a lighter, almost iridescent tip.
1699314736505.png

Gig 2 in treatment tank showing off its foot
1699316214730.png

Gig 2 in the display, somewhat showing off the tentacle gradients. Mama perc doesn't trust my camera

Gig 3: Weird Thirds
This one is from Pasadena Tropical Fish, another local pickup. It was completely white except for a blue foot, and has very light verucae. It's always had very strong footing, but it had a loose mouth for the first few days of treatment. It still does not have a feeding/sting response but is slowly extending its tentacles. I almost lost it to a weird microbe or something in the quarantine tank that was staining the water a dark brown. I started a fresh quarantine tank and triggered a small deflate before resetting the treatment timer and it's now healthy and looking better every day.
During treatment it started to exhibit a green or yellow tint to the mouth and inner tentacles. I haven't heard of white gigantea existing in the wild, so I'm betting it will continue to color up after continued care.
1699317917406.png

Coloration and tentacle extension was much more progressed before the weird brown water issues.
1699318340172.png

Gig 3 looking 'bald' and bleached after finishing its second round of treatment and moving to display
1699318031730.png

blue foot pics from when i moved it from a mug to a crappy deli cup. tentacles have extended further since this photo

1699318804506.png

Withdrawn after the suspected stinging event, but still with longer tentacles. yellow/green coloration is very subtle under white lights.



The weird thing is I think I just missed Gigs 2 and 3 stinging each other? They were nearly touching yesterday morning, but when I came back to the tank a few minutes later to move them, both nems had retracted from where the point of contact would be. Gig 2 is now roaming around on its tubing and Gig 3 is a bit more withdrawn than usual.

I'm going to test out this theory again next week once everyone is settled down. Given the blue foot and the shorter tentacles, gig 3 might be a haddoni/gig hybrid. Not sure if that would explain a sting reaction, though.

Gig 4: Once more, with color!
Harry's Marine Life got in two green gigantea from Sri Lanka. It's currently in treatment and improving quickly after a rough start. It passed all health checks in the shop except the mouth check, it was nestled up to its companion in the shop and I believe I checked the wrong mouth.

It quickly deteriorated in the bag to the point where I couldn't distinguish its mouth from its foot through the plastic. Upon acclimation, it only passed two of the five health checks: sting response on the outer tentacles and a weak grip on the foot. It deteriorated from there until I caught it mid-deflate as I mentioned above. Either my timing or the general course of the treatment paid off; it's now doing great and is only struggling to close its mouth.

1699323146765.png

After acclimation. See how the tentacles also look weird around the mouth? No sting response from the inner tentacles as of this photo.
1699326758445.png

Horrible picture of the worst deflate, I was panicking so I didn't re-take it.

1699326997751.png

Looked great after the bad deflate, but it was still very sick.

1699327115898.png

Second deflate, it had also detached its foot and fallen mouth-down. Very gross.

1699327253347.png

State as of last night with a bit of expelled medication (maybe?) around the mouth. I haven't caught another deflate, but it's still failing the mouth check more often than not. Cautiously optimistic!
Next Steps

I need to aquascape this display tank, it's boring af.

I want a blue s. gigantea once the green is done with treatment. Anyone selling one? :D

I might not pursue spawning until I have some more attractive color variants besides my green. Maybe Gig 3 is actually a gig and it can pair with Gig 4? Time will tell :)

Bonus pic of the tank in the middle of an algae bloom. The male clownfish hides in Gig 3 when his wife gets violent. He thinks he can fix her.
1699330322729.png
 
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billysprout

billysprout

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From the pictures I was thinking Gig 3 looks like a haddoni.
I know right? I'm not sure if the tentacles are naturally short or if it's just a symptom of whatever bleached this one in the first place. Tentacles are slowly extending as it colors up so I guess we'll see where it lands.

There are spots on the top part of the pedal column which is indicative of a gigantea. But they are small, which reminds me of the hybrid that @OrionN has.
 

bakbay

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Excellent write-up and I’m definitely following along. I’ve been trying to get a gig but it’s nearly impossible. I have 3 ginormous (red, neon green, and blue) Haddonis but really want to add 2-3 gigs to my 175g. Thanks for those leads — I will keep looking.
 
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billysprout

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Excellent write-up and I’m definitely following along. I’ve been trying to get a gig but it’s nearly impossible. I have 3 ginormous (red, neon green, and blue) Haddonis but really want to add 2-3 gigs to my 175g. Thanks for those leads — I will keep looking.
Thanks! Also try pacific east aquaculture, they had a bunch of gigs in stock in ~July but I was in the middle of moving.

EDIT: Oh, and be extra careful when introducing the gigs to your haddoni tank. From what I've heard, they are both susceptible to the disease that gigs can bring. I'd give your gigs some extra post-symptom treatment time (maybe a full week) and keep a super close eye on the haddonis after introduction.

Those haddonis sound expensive so I might even put a cheaper 'canarie' haddoni in the gig's quarantine tank after treatment and see what happens.

Good progress and notes! After reading this post, I may leave raising one of these myself off the table for some time xD
x) it's definitely an expensive venture. worth the effort to some. Anyone accustomed to keeping torches could probably handle gigantea pretty easily
 
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bakbay

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Thanks! Also try pacific east aquaculture, they had a bunch of gigs in stock in ~July but I was in the middle of moving.

EDIT: Oh, and be extra careful when introducing the gigs to your haddoni tank. From what I've heard, they are both susceptible to the disease that gigs can bring. I'd give your gigs some extra post-symptom treatment time (maybe a full week) and keep a super close eye on the haddonis after introduction.

Those haddonis sound expensive so I might even put a cheaper 'canarie' haddoni in the gig's quarantine tank after treatment and see what happens.


x) it's definitely an expensive venture. worth the effort to some. Anyone accustomed to keeping torches could probably handle gigantea pretty easily
Good idea -- I've also read that gigs are susceptible to diseases and may nuke the whole tank! I do have a quarantine tank set up and will follow a close QT method for a few months prior to introducing to the DT. I've always wanted a gig as a challenge; although Haddonis are very easy to keep!
 
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billysprout

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Got a sting & feeding response from Gig 3, the bleached one! Little male clownfish was so excited to keep his host clean that i had to guard the cube of squid from him until it was digested.

It's looking very fluffy too, excited to see its final form :)
1699474822547.png
 

Hot2na

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Nice thread..I also use cipro in combo with Amoxicillin.. the addition of Amox...really is a game changer, IMO.
 
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billysprout

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Nice thread..I also use cipro in combo with Amoxicillin.. the addition of Amox...really is a game changer, IMO.
Thank you! Agreed, I ran out of erythromycin two days ago and haven’t seen any adverse effect on the recovery period. I think C+A are doing the heavy lifting.
 

Hot2na

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Nice thing about that combo : you can treat the whole DT with NO adverse affects..only negative is : it killed off the coraline algae , but it comes back slowly after treatment...
 
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billysprout

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Nice thing about that combo : you can treat the whole DT with NO adverse affects..only negative is : it killed off the coraline algae , but it comes back slowly after treatment...
does it impact the biological filter? I can easily disconnect this display from my main system but i’d be worried about my clownfish
 
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I'm considering using @OrionN 's zoox transplant method for Gig 3. It looks identical to his bleached gig down to the yellow-green area around the mouth. It's coloring up slowly by itself, but I never pass up an opportunity for some mad science. I have access to some pretty cool gig color morphs if I need a donor... I think I'll work on this once gig 4 is done with its treatment.


Gig 4 update: small deflate yesterday to poop, but excretion looked healthy and devoid of infected zoox/tissue. It's now expanded way past its bowl!
1699644230056.png


You'll notice that gig 4 has detritus on its oral disc in most of my photos. I'm going to add a weak powerhead to the quarantine bucket to push the poopies into the sponge filter. 4's foot grip seems strong enough now that I'm not as worried about it detaching and becoming a smoothie.
 
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Very strange partial bleaching event from gig 4 yesterday... came home to a full deflate and a stark change in coloration. Changing the light to UV revealed a lot of shimmering green particles in the treatment bucket.

It seems to be faring well now, so I suspect the bleaching was caused either by 1) the actual bleach that my SO used to clean the bathtub aerosolizing into my fish room or 2) the iodine i added to the treatment water the previous night (3 drops of brightwell lugols, which I thought was a light dose) or 3) insufficient lighting; i dialed the AI prime I plopped on the treatment bucket waaaay down to avoid overlighting the nem during treatment.

Or maybe a fun combination of all three of these factors? x) Here's hoping the decline doesn't continue.

1700008614762.png
 

D-Nak

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Just read the thread. A few comments:
  1. In my experience, just treating with Cipro can cause bleaching.

  2. Bleaching happens because the zooxanthellae within the gig has died. In some of the photos above you can see the dead zoox (looks like brown poop shaped like pellets or little specks, but really is dead zoox. Poop is typically the color of the food the anemone ingested or is stringy but quickly dissipates in strong flow).

  3. Bleaching isn't a death sentence, as long as the zoox within the gig can recover to a population that can sustain the nutritional needs of the gig, and you are feeding it while this process is happening. Just make sure that you're not trying to feed solid foods (mysis, pellets, raw fish) when it is still deflating. The deflation process is a way for the anemone to purge the contaminant/pathogen, and feeding it big meals only impedes this process. There is a delicate balance between feeding so that the gig gets the nutrition it needs but not feeding too much where it uses too much energy and is not able to recover. This is where amino acids become important because the gig doesn't have to digest any solid food.

  4. Lastly, IME multiple gigs in the same tank typically don't do well. I've found that one tends to become the "dominant" anemone, largest in size, and the others shrink down in size. I've tried to mitigate this by not actively feeding the "dominant" gig and other feeding the others in hopes of them getting larger--but they don't. Running a lot of carbon as well as a UV sterilizer might help, as well as having the largest water volume possible. Take photos--the gigs SLOWLY dwindle--and you may not notice it until you look back at photos to see how big the gigs used to be.
 

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