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Blue Ridge Coral

(Heliopora coerulea)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Waterflow: Moderate to Strong
• Placement: Middle to High   • Lighting: Medium to High   • Color Form: Blue, Tan
 • Supplements: strontium, iodine, trace elements   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
• Origin: Indo-Pacific, Coral Sea   • Family: Helioporidae   • Species: Soft Corals

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Blue Ridge Coral native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Blue Ridge Coral (Heliopora coerulea) is found throughout a wide area ranging from the Indo-Pacific to Australian and north to the Coral Sea and southwest Japan. This wide distribution is somewhat indicative of the resilience of this coral, which has made it well suited for the aquarium hobby. Blue Ridge Coral do so well within the aquarium environment that they are often produced via aquaculture.

The overall hardiness of the Blue Ridge Coral makes it suitable for hobbyists new to reef aquariums and also allows it to be reproduced within the hobby, which lessens the need to collect it from the wild. While it looks like an SPS coral, the Blue Ridge Coral is actually soft coral that produces an aragonite based skeleton in which its polyps live. The polyps are inter-connected with a thin layer of fleshy tissue, which covers the entire surface of the coral.

The coral grows in a variety of growth forms including branching, encrusting, plate and tubular forms. The coloration of the Blue Ridge Coral can also vary depending on the polyp extension and the body shape of the coral, with branching and encrusting often exhibiting more blue coloration than tubular formations. Both the corals multiple forms and varied coloration can make it somewhat difficult to identify this species at first glance.

Blue Ridge Corals allow beginning reef hobbyists or hobbyists with only moderately lit aquariums to have a SPS-like coral without the more strict lighting and nutrient level requirements of SPS corals. Overall the Blue Ridge Coral is an excellent aquarium specimen that combines brilliant blue coloration, moderate lighting & water flow requirements along with an excellent track record of doing very well within the aquarium environment.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Blue Ridge Coral in the home aquarium.

Despite resembling a SPS coral the Blue Ridge Coral does not have the same environmental requirements as the more demanding SPS hard corals. Blue Ridge Corals will do well with moderate to high lighting, which can be provided by either LED, high-end fluorescent or metal halide lighting systems. It should be placed in a middle to high location within the aquarium where it will receive at least moderate indirect water flow. Proper water flow is important because it allows the coral to supplement its nutrition by filter feeding small organisms from the water column.

Blue Ridge Corals are considered a peaceful coral as they do not have sweeper tentacles that can sting nearby corals. This allows hobbyists the flexibility of positioning the coral closer to other peaceful corals. In general terms the Blue Ridge Coral should be housed in reef aquariums that in terms of lighting and water quality fall somewhere in between the average soft coral and SPS hard coral aquarium environments.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Blue Ridge Coral.

The Blue Ridge Coral contain the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae, which is hosted within the corals body. This symbiotic algae provides the majority of the corals nutritional needs from the light driven process of photosynthesis. However, the Blue Ridge Coral should also be positioned where water currents will allow it to also be able to obtain additional food from micro-organisms within the water column.

Good filter feeding foods include micro-plankton, baby brine shrimp, or foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates, such as marine snow or other plankton based solutions. The addition of strontium, iodine, and other trace elements to the water, will also ensure ongoing good health.

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