Addressing MySQL Error 1212: Ensuring MERGE Tables Reside in the Same Database

Encountering Error 1212 in MySQL, characterized by SQLSTATE HY000, can be a stumbling block when working with MERGE storage engines. This error message, “Incorrect table definition; all MERGE tables must be in the same database,” tells us that there’s an issue with how MERGE tables are set up. MERGE tables, which are a collection of identical MyISAM tables that can be referenced as one, must indeed reside within the same database. Let’s explore how to diagnose this problem and implement solutions to fix it.

Understanding the Error

MERGE tables are a powerful feature in MySQL, allowing you to treat multiple MyISAM tables as a single table. However, a common requirement for MERGE tables is that all underlying MyISAM tables must be located in the same database. If they are not, MySQL will raise Error 1212.

Diagnosing the Issue

To diagnose the issue, check the definitions of your MERGE tables to confirm that all the MyISAM tables they reference are within the same database.

  1. Review the CREATE TABLE statement for your MERGE table.
  2. Verify that the underlying MyISAM tables are in the same database as the MERGE table.

Fixing the Error

Example 1: Creating a MERGE Table with Tables in Different Databases

Incorrect MERGE table creation:

CREATE TABLE db1.merge_table ENGINE=MERGE UNION=(db1.table1, db2.table2);


Ensure all MyISAM tables are in the same database as the MERGE table:

CREATE TABLE db1.merge_table ENGINE=MERGE UNION=(db1.table1, db1.table2);

If table2 is currently in db2, you’ll need to move it to db1.

Example 2: Altering an Existing MERGE Table

If you have an existing MERGE table and you’ve added a new MyISAM table from a different database, you’ll encounter Error 1212.


Alter the MERGE table to only include MyISAM tables from the same database:

ALTER TABLE db1.merge_table UNION=(db1.table1, db1.table3);

Ensure table3 is in the same database as merge_table.

Example 3: Moving MyISAM Tables to the Same Database

If your MyISAM tables are spread across different databases, you’ll need to move them to the same database.


Move the MyISAM tables into the same database using RENAME TABLE:

RENAME TABLE db2.table2 TO db1.table2;

After moving the tables, redefine the MERGE table to reference the newly moved tables.


Error 1212 highlights the importance of table location consistency within MERGE tables in MySQL. By ensuring that all component MyISAM tables of a MERGE table are located within the same database, you can avoid this error. Careful planning of your database schema and adherence to the requirements of the MERGE storage engine will help maintain a well-functioning database system. If you need to reorganize your tables, use the appropriate SQL commands to move and redefine them, keeping the integrity of your MERGE tables intact.

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