Effects of feeding on the growth rates of captive-bred Heteractis crispa: a popular marine ornamental for aquariums
Scott, A 2012, 'Effects of feeding on the growth rates of captive-bred Heteractis crispa: a popular marine ornamental for aquariums', Bulletin of Marine Science, vol. 88, no. 1, pp. 81-87.
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Heteractis crispa (Ehrenberg, 1834) is highly sought after in the marine aquarium trade due to its association with anemonefish. Individuals have been sourced entirely from the wild, adversely impacting populations. This study presents the results of a 12-wk feeding experiment using 36 juvenile anemones grown in captivity since fertilization. The anemones were divided among three treatments (unfed, fed weekly, and fed three times weekly), and changes in size (wet weight, pedal disc, and oral disc diameter) were recorded. Anemones fed once or three times a week did not differ significantly in size, indicating that feeding more than weekly did not increase growth. Although unfed anemones in some cases showed significant growth over time, presumably deriving nutritional benefits from their zooxanthellae, they grew less than the fed anemones. The findings of the present study may have important implications for the conservation of this species if captive breeding can be used to supply the aquarium trade or restock depleted reefs.