Finger Leather Coral Aquarium Care, Lighting Requirements and Feeding Information
The Finger Leather Coral is also commonly referred to as Sinularia Coral, Finger Leather, or Trough Corals within the aquarium hobby. Finger Leather Corals are found both in Tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans in various shades of brown, with white or gold polyps. It is somewhat difficult to identify many species because they all have the similar appearance of a mushroom or toadstool, each with a distinct stalk and capitulum (cap). Finger Leather Corals are often propagated in captivity, where generally polyps are detached from a mature coral and attached to a new base. A sharp knife is used to cut a branch from the point it merges with another, then loosely attached to a solid surface until it heals and attaches on its own. This should only be attempted on healthy specimens and only when water quality is very good. Overall in a mature reef tank with moderate to strong water movement and intense lighting, the Finger Leather Coral can be a very low maintenance attractive coral.
Finger Leather Corals are relatively peaceful corals and are more often likely to be disturbed by other corals than they are a disturbance to others, but adequate space should be provided between them and other corals in the reef aquarium. However, when the Finger Leather Coral perceives a threat or disturbance, it will retract its polyps into the skeleton and secrete a mucous coat for protection. This mucous is toxic to other corals and is used to ward away other reef inhabitants infringing on its territory. A moderate to strong water current can help wash away this mucous coating whick will both keep it from building to toxic levels, and will also keep the coral less susceptable to certain types of infections. The more plain Sinularia Leather Corals from Idonesia are easy to maintain in the reef aquarium and make an excellent coral for the beginning through expert reef aquarist. Finger Leather Corals require medium to high lighting combined with medium to strong water movement. For continued good health, they will also require the addition of iodine, strontium, and other trace elements to the water.
The Finger Leather Coral uses symbiotic algae zooxanthellae hosted within its body to provide the majority of its nutritional needs from the light driven process of photosynthesis. Thus intense lighting from either metal halides or powercompact fluorescents should be used to provide high intensity lighting. Finger Leather Corals will also benefit from additional feedings of foods such as micro-plankton, baby brine shrimp, or foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates.