Anthelia Waving Hand Coral Aquarium Care, Lighting Requirements and Feeding Information
The Anthelia Waving Hand Coral or Glove Coral is a group of colonial animals with several individual polyps attached to a piece of rock. Under proper conditions, these colonies will grow out and cover adjacent rock, giving a mat like appearance. Waving Hand Corals can range in color from pink, blue, brown, or tan and their polyps have the distinctive eight-leaved tentacles associated with all of the members of this family. While they do not pulse like xenia corals, they do wave in the water currents, which gives them their common name. This species is best kept by a moderate to advanced reef aquarist in a mature reef aquarium with strong water movement and intense quality lighting.
The Anthelia Waving Hand Coral is similar in appearance to the xenia coral, but the Waving Hand Coral does not require quite as intense lighting and prefers bottom locations within the reef aquarium. Moderate to high lighting levels with either power compact fluorescents or T5 fluorescents should be adequate for aquariums 25 inches in height or less. On deeper aquariums, metal halides should be used to make sure that adequate lighting intensity makes it to the bottom of the aquarium where Waving Hand Corals are typically placed. Indirect medium to strong water currents are required, along with excellent water quality. Ideally this species should be kept in an established reef aquarium so that it can supplement its diet with planktonic foods via filter feeding. It is important to position this species away from other soft corals and sessile invertebrates and to allow adequate room for growth, as under the right conditions, this species can grow rapidly. Under correct conditions, the Waving Hand Coral will spread laterally over adjacent rockwork forming a mat like appearance on the rocks.
Anthelia Waving Hand Corals receive much of their nutrition through their symbiotic zooxanthellae algae that is hosted within their bodies. This algae creates energy for the coral through photosynthesis, which requires moderate to high intense aquarium lighting. This species is also a filter feeder and requires strong currents that it can filter plankton or other micro foods from the current to supplement its nutritional needs. Weekly feedings of micro-foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates should be fed to this species via water currents or pipette.