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Red Mushroom Coral
(Actinodiscus sp.) Easy Semi-aggressive Low to Medium Bottom to Middle Moderate Red, Pink, Maroon Calcium, Iodine, Strontium, Trace elements 72-80° F; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4 Indo-Pacific, South Pacific Actinodiscidae Mushroom Corals The Red Mushroom Coral (Actinodiscus sp.) is a hardy and easy to maintain species, which is also very colorful and enjoyable to keep. Red Mushroom Corals are also referred to as Mushroom Anemones, Actinodiscus Mushroom and Disc Anemones. This variety of mushroom coral varies in color from a light pink to a dark maroon depending on lighting and aquarium conditions. They will also fluoresce when kept under actinic lighting. Red Mushroom Corals are a wonderful invertebrate for bottom placement in a reef aquarium, which over time will reproduce forming a carpet covering the rock work and nearby sand in a brilliant fluorescent red. In general, Red Mushroom Corals will prosper with only a medium light intensity, and should be placed in the lower areas of an aquarium if kept under high intensity reef lighting. Red Mushroom Corals require a low to moderate indirect water flow in which to provide supplementary food sources such as photo-plankton and carry away waste products created by the coral. Too direct or too intense a water flow will inhibit the Red Mushroom Coral from fully expanding and will overtime lead to poor health. Optimum placement for this species is on the bottom of the aquarium in a spot with indirect water flow. Bottom placement will also keep the Red Mushroom Coral from receiving too intense lighting; as well as, allow it to grow outward. When placing the Red Mushroom Coral also keep in mind that it is a semi-aggressive species that will require adequate space between itself and other corals or sessile invertebrates (also note that this species will grow out horizontally over time). The Red Mushroom Coral receives most of its nutritional requirements through the photosynthesis of the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae, which it hosts. However, it also feeds on other nutrients and particle matter present in established marine aquariums. The Red Mushroom Coral will also benefit from additional feedings in the form of micro-plankton or other foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates. Each mushroom polyp in the colony is a distinct individual, thus supplemental foods should be gently sprayed over the entire colony to make sure that each polyp has an opportunity to feed.
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Acan Coral
(Acanthastrea echinata) Easy Aggressive Medium Bottom to Middle Moderate Orange, Red, Purple, Blue, Pink Calcium, Strontium, Trace Elements 72-80° F; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4; dKH 8-12 Indo-Pacific Mussidae LPS Hard Corals Acan Corals (Acanthastrea echinata) have become extremely popular within the reef aquarium hobby due to their bright striped color combinations and ease of care. They are generally widely available and are sold under multiple common names including: Acan Coral, Acan Brain Coral, Acanthastrea Coral or simply Acans. Acan Corals are available in an extensive variety of vivid color combinations and patterns, which allows reef hobbyists to inject any desired colors into their reef tank. Beyond simply boasting amazing colors, Acan Corals are also very hardy and adapt quickly to the reef aquarium environment. They will tolerate a fairly wide range of water conditions and once acclimated are known for their rapid growth rates. Acan Corals have only moderate lighting and water flow requirements that consist of moderate lighting intensity and medium amounts of indirect water flow. While Acan Corals are perfect for beginning reef hobbyists, they are also highly sought after by advanced reef hobbyists for the splash of color they bring to even the most established reef aquarium system. Whether a beginning or advanced reef hobbyist with anything from a nano reef to large reef system, the Acan Coral is right at home. Their modest care requirements and brilliant coloration make the Acan Coral the perfect addition to almost any reef aquarium. While they are easy to care for and have modest care requirements, there are some specific requirements for keeping Acan Corals. First off is placement, Acan Corals need to be kept at least a couple of inches from any neighboring corals. This is because the Acan Coral is an aggressive species that will fight for its position on the reef. They can extend their stomachs out onto neighboring corals in order to attack them, which they will do in order to acquire more room to grow. Secondly, Acan Corals need medium, indirect water flow in order to both provide filter feeding opportunities and to remove waste products from the coral. This is best achieved through the use of a wave maker or through alternating powerheads that create laminar water flow within the aquarium. Lastly, Acan Corals need proper lighting in order to provide feeding opportunities via the zooxanthellae algae hosted within their body. The catch here is that unlike other corals that receive most of their nutrition this way, the Acan Coral only utilizes photosynthesis for a portion of their nutrition. This effectively means that they only need moderate lighting intensity and will bleach out or die if over exposed to intense lighting. It is for this reason that Acan Corals are best placed in the lower to middle areas of the average reef aquarium, where lighting levels are substantial but not as intense as the upper portions of the reef. Acan Corals receive a portion of their nutrition through photosynthesis from the zooxanthellae algae that they host within their body. However for long term health and faster growth they will need filter feeding opportunities. Well established larger reef aquariums will often have zooplankton present in the water column that the Acan Coral can filter and consume, or hobbyists can target feed them with foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates. Ideal target feeding foods include Cyclopeeze and MicroVert or ZooPlex from Kent Marine. Acans can be fed every other day for rapid growth, but typically only need to be fed twice a week for normal sustained growth. Target feeding is best performed by mixing the coral food in tank water in a separate container, then using a turkey baster or target feeding device to shoot the solution directly onto the coral. The Acan Coral will sense the food in the water around them and catch it with tentacles that they extend into the water column. Once the food is attached to the tentacle, it will be retracted back to the mouth of the coral and consumed. It is often suggested that Acan Corals be fed during nighttime hours; however, this is not necessary since acclimated Acan Corals will readily feed at any time of the day. Keep in mind that specimens that are newly added to the aquarium will often not eat for a few weeks, which is completely normal. Once they are fully acclimated and settled into their new environment they will begin feeding.
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Flowerpot Coral
(Goniopora sp.) Difficult Aggressive Medium Bottom to Middle Moderate Red, Purple, Pink, Tan, Green Calcium, Strontium, Magnesium, Trace Elements 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Indo-Pacific Poritidae LPS Hard Corals The Flowerpot Coral (Goniopora sp.) is a common name applied to a variety of Goniopora and Alveopora corals found throughout the Indo-Pacific. While there are many distinct species of Goniopora and Alveopora, this profile is intended to cover the basics that are common to all varieties. Goniopora is a species of large polyp stony (LPS) coral that forms branching colonies with polyps that always have 24 tentacles, with both the disc and tentacle tips having colors that range from purple, pink and red to tan and green. The Polyps are long and fleshy and the tentacles are normally extended both day and night. Alveopora are also a species of large polyp stony (LPS) coral that forms branching colonies with polyps that always have 12 tentacles instead of 24. Beyond simply a difference in appearance, Alveopora sp. species have been found to do better in the aquarium environment than Goniopora sp. species; however, both types should be considered advanced or expert level corals to keep. In addition to Alveopora sp. species being more hardy in the aquarium environment, hobbyists have also found that red and purple Flowerpot Corals do better than tan or green specimens. The exact reason for this is not currently known; however, the anecdotal evidence has been consistent amongst many reef hobbyists. It was thought for many years that Goniopora and Alveopora corals did poorly in the aquarium environment because of a lack of lighting intensity. However, modern high intensity lighting systems have had little to no effect on successfully keeping Flowerpot Corals. Hobbyists have since learned that the difficulty in keeping these corals is more in the unique combination of aquarium conditions that are required for long term growth and prosperity. More specifically the combination of water chemistry, water flow, lighting, filter feeding opportunities and direct targeted feedings. Flowerpot Corals need moderately intense lighting in order for the zooxanthellae they host to thrive; however, they do not need the high intensity of light provided in many modern reef aquariums. It is for this reason that most hobbyists with highly intense lighting place their Flowerpot Coral in a lower middle to bottom location on the reef. Water flow should be moderate in strength with varied, turbid or laminar flow, which is typically created by a wave box, alternating powerheads or by placing the coral in an area of the tank that receives varied water flow. Ideally the water flow should be sufficient to remove waste products generated by the coral, while still allowing the coral filter feeding opportunities from zooplankton and other foods present in the water column. Water chemistry is also crucial for the the Flowerpot Coral in order to ensure proper skeletal growth and development. Hobbyists should utilize quality reef salt and reef supplements in order to provide proper calcium levels, magnesium and trace elements, which are all crucial to calcium based hard coral skeletal structures. Lastly, Gonioporas will require regular targeted feedings of meaty foods like cyclopeeze or baby brine shrimp. Some very established reef aquariums with large refugiums may be able to provide enough water column filter feeding opportunities for Goniopora and Alveopora corals to thrive; however, most hobbyists will find that regular targeted feedings are necessary for the coral to survive and thrive within the aquarium environment. Reef building hard corals like the Flowerpot Coral require proper calcium carbonate levels in the aquarium in order to build their skeletal structures. They are made up of tiny animals with a tubular body and an oral gap fringed with tentacles. These tentacle polyps are equipped with nematocysts (poisonous cells used to sting prey), which they use to feed on small marine organisms ranging in size from zooplankton to very small fish. Much of the energy requirements of the coral are provided by photosynthetic organisms that live in its tissue, called zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae supply the coral polyps with oxygen and food, and are responsible for the color of the corals In return, the corals provide a protected living area for the zooxanthellae. However, Flowerpot Corals also require additional feedings of larger meaty foods like cyclopeeze or baby brine shrimp. In most cases, target feeding of the Flowerpot Coral will be required to insure that they receive adequate nutrition. Since the Flowerpot Coral is slow to feed and often out competed by tank mates like shrimp and fish, many hobbyists use the cut top of a soda bottle to allow them to squirt the food onto the coral and keep it from floating away or being eaten by competitors.
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Montipora Capricornis
(Montipora capricornis) Moderate Peaceful Strong Middle to Top Moderate to High Green, Purple, Pink, Orange, Tan Calcium, Strontium, Trace Elements 72-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Indo-Pacific Acropoidae SPS Hard Corals Montipora Capricornis is a popular species of SPS coral that is often referred to as a plate coral or vase coral, due to their distinctive outward growth pattern that resembles a plate or vase like shape. When grown under the proper lighting, water flow and water chemistry conditions Montipora corals are considered to be fast growing. Hobbyists should carefully consider initial placement of the Montipora Capricornis in order to allow room for it to grow both outward and upwards. Many hobbyists use Montipora Corals to create horizontal ledges off of the main reef rock work, which creates a very pleasing aesthetic. Montipora Capricornis can exhibit a wide variety of coloration's; however, the most common color forms are green, orange, purple, pink and red. It is also worth noting that Montipora Capricornis can exist in a variety of shades of each of these colors and can have outside edges of the coral that are a different color from the the rest of the coral. Montipora Capricornis will do best in reef aquariums that have strong lighting and strong laminar water flow. Strong lighting via metal halides, high-end compact fluorescent or high-end LED lighting systems is required to provide enough photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) for the symbiotic zooxanthellae hosted within the coral to be able to produce adequate food for the coral. Strong laminar water flow will both remove waste products from the surface of the coral and provide supplemental filter feeding opportunities. When placing the coral hobbyists need to keep in mind the fast growth rate, outward or horizontal growth pattern and lighting requirements of the coral. Hobbyists with reef tanks that employ strong lighting will often place Montipora Capricornis near the bottom of the aquarium in order to give it room to grow up and out, while hobbyists with less lighting will need to place the coral closer to the surface to provide enough nutrition for the coral. A good way to determine if the coral is happy in it's current location is to look to see if the corals outer edge has a white hue to it. This means that your coral is growing, which is a good indicator that the coral is happy and growing. Propagation of the coral is handled like most other SPS corals and is considered to be relatively easy. Hobbyists need simply cut off a piece of the parent coral and attached to a frag plug or piece of rock rubble to anchor it while it grows out. Propagation of Montipora corals is particularly easy as one need simply grab an edge of the coral and snap a piece of it off. Once the piece is removed it can be glued onto another area of the live rock or a separate location for grow out. It is okay to have your coral out of the water for several minutes while the glue is applied and to let it dry before being placed back into the tank. Montipora corals utilize photosynthesis to produce the majority own their own nutrition from the available aquarium lighting. They also contain polyps that will extend into the water column in order to filter feed on small plankton like food drifting through the water. It is important that proper lighting and water flow is provided so that the Montipora capricornis can both produce food and remove waste products from the surface of the coral. While not required, supplemental feedings of foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates will increase the already fast growth rate of the coral.
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Nuclear Death Palys
(Zoanthus gigantus) Easy Semi-aggressive Medium to Strong Middle to Top Moderate to High Purple, Green, White Magnesium, Iodine, Trace Elements 72-79° F; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4; dKH 8-12 Indo-Pacific Zoanthidae Polyp Corals Nuclear Death Palythoas (Zoanthus gigantus) are a popular morph produced by combining Purple Death and Nuclear Green Palys. The strong demand amongst reef hobbyists for this color morph has fueled coral farmers to begin producing them in larger numbers, which is helping to increase their availability within the hobby. Hobbyists, collectors and vendors have found that the standard scientific naming convention lacked the detail necessary to describe many of the new zoa color morphs, thus the new generation of catchy named zoas was born. The distinctive features of this species include: its large polyp size, alternating green and purple striped skirt, purple ring with iridescent red coloration, green middle, purple lips and white mouth which all combine to define what is now grouped as the "Nuclear Death" color variant. Nuclear Death Palythoas are similar to other Palys in that they are relatively easy to care for and can be successfully housed in a variety of reef aquarium setups. They require medium to strong lighting and moderate to strong water flow in order to allow their symbiotic algae zooxanthellae to thrive and produce food for the coral. While most Nuclear Death Palythoas morphs acquire the majority of their nutrition from photosynthesis and do not require supplemental feeding; some individuals have acquired higher growth rates through supplemental feeding of very fine foods intended for filter feeding invertebrates. The addition of reef additives like: calcium, strontium, iodine and trace elements along with occasional feedings of micro-plankton and similar foodstuffs should allow for the best possible growth rate. Nuclear Death Palythoas kept under proper aquarium conditions will spread or colonize nearby rocks and hard surfaces. In order to keep them separated from other coral species the hobbyist should provide gaps between the rock aqua-scaping, in order to create a boundary to limit the carpeting or horizontal growth of the Polyps. Proper placement is important when keeping Polyps with other corals, as Polyps will crowd out other corals by stinging them repeatedly as they grown in and around them. Hobbyists are recommended to start their Nuclear Death Palythoas in a lower position on the reef and move them up the reef after they have had a chance to acclimate to the aquarium. Nuclear Death Palythoas receive the vast majority of their nutrition through the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae contained within the coral. They receive other nutrients from dissolved minerals that they filter from the water currents. They will also benefit from the addition of reef supplements containing calcium, magnesium, iodine and trace elements. They can also be periodically offered meaty foods like micro-plankton, baby brine shrimp and other similar fare.
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Fire and Ice Zoanthids
(Zoanthus sp.) Easy Semi-aggressive Medium to Strong Bottom to Middle Moderate to High Blue, Red Magnesium, Iodine, Trace Elements 72-76° F; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4; dKH 8-12 Indo-Pacific Zoanthidae Polyp Corals Fire and Ice Zoas (Zoanthus sp.) are a beautiful species of Zoanthid that are sought after for their brilliant steel blue and red coloration. Aqua-cultered Fire and Ice Zoas tend to do best in the aquarium environment, as many wild caught specimens are from deeper locations on the reef. The environment of deep reef species is often difficult to completely reproduce in the aquarium environment. In the case of Fire and Ice Zoas many hobbyists have had good success by placing them lower in the aquarium in a location that receives strong but filtered lighting. Fire and Ice Zoas also tend to do better when kept at more moderate water temperatures ranging from 72° to 76° F. These conditions are recommended as a good starting point when first introducing this species to the reef aquarium. Given time and gradual adjustments, hobbyists should be able to identify the ideal location in which to keep Fire and Ice Zoas in their reef aquarium. Fire and Ice Zoanthids (like most zoas) should be introduced in the aquarium in a lower position on the reef and then gradually moved up towards the light source. This is done to ensure that they do not experience photo-shock, which can occur when zoas grown under one set of conditions are then immediately introduced to an aquarium with very different conditions. Fire and Ice Zoas are similar to other Colony Polyps in that they are relatively easy to care for and can be successfully housed in a variety of reef aquarium setups. They require medium to strong lighting and moderate to strong water flow in order to allow their symbiotic algae zooxanthellae to thrive and produce food for the coral. While Fire and Ice Zoanthids acquire the majority of their nutrition from photosynthesis, many individuals have acquired higher growth rates through supplemental feeding of very fine foods intended for filter feeding invertebrates. Fire and Ice Colony Polyps will continue to spread or colonize nearby rocks, they can be separated from other coral species by providing gaps between the rock aqua-scaping, in order to create a boundary to limit the carpeting or horizontal growth of the Polyps. Proper placement is important when keeping Polyps with other corals, as Polyps will crowd out other corals by stinging them repeatedly as they grown in and around them. Fire and Ice Zoas receive the vast majority of their nutrition through the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae contained within the coral. They receive other nutrients from dissolved minerals that they filter from the water currents. They will also benefit from the addition of reef supplements containing calcium, magnesium, iodine and trace elements. They can also be periodically offered meaty foods like micro-plankton, baby brine shrimp and other similar items. Well established reef aquariums with populations of phyto-plankton work best for all varieties of filter feeders, as they are able to supplement their diet with foods filtered from the water column. The addition of reef additives like: calcium, strontium, iodine and trace elements along with occasional feedings of micro-plankton and similar foodstuffs should allow for the best possible growth rate.
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Purple People Eaters Colony Polyp
(Zoanthus gigantus) Easy Semi-aggressive Medium to Strong Middle to Top Moderate to High Purple, Green Magnesium, Iodine, Trace Elements 72-78&deg F; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4; dKH 8-12 Indo-Pacific Zoanthidae Polyp Corals Purple People Eaters Colony Polyp (Zoanthus gigantus) are a popular morph of the "PE" palythoa/zoa line of colony polyps. Purple People Eater (PPE) zoas were one of the first zoa morphs to receive a colorful common name that has since spawned a naming fad amongst the various Zoanthid color morphs. Hobbyists, collectors and vendors have found that the standard scientific naming convention lacked the detail necessary to describe many of the new zoa color morphs, thus the new generation of catchy named zoas was born. The distinctive features of this species including: its size, neon green skirts, deep purple colored plate and its distinctive neon green mouth how helped define what is now grouped as the "People Eaters" feature. The brilliant purple coloration of this giant polyp palythoa/zoa commands attention in even the most elaborate reef aquarium, thus it is often sought after by zoa collectors and reef enthusiasts alike. Purple People Eaters are similar to other Colony Polyps in that they are relatively easy to care for and can be successfully housed in a variety of reef aquarium setups. They require medium to strong lighting and moderate to strong water flow in order to allow their symbiotic algae zooxanthellae to thrive and produce food for the coral. While most People Eater Zoanthid morphs acquire the majority of their nutrition from photosynthesis and do not require supplemental feeding. Some individuals have acquired higher growth rates through supplemental feeding of very fine foods intended for filter feeding invertebrates. The addition of reef additives like: calcium, strontium, iodine and trace elements along with occasional feedings of micro-plankton and similar foodstuffs should allow for the best possible growth rate. Purple People Eaters Zoanthids kept under proper aquarium conditions will spread or colonize nearby rocks and hard surfaces. In order to keep them separated from other coral species the hobbyist should provide gaps between the rock aqua-scaping, in order to create a boundary to limit the carpeting or horizontal growth of the Polyps. Proper placement is important when keeping Polyps with other corals, as Polyps will crowd out other corals by stinging them repeatedly as they grown in and around them. Hobbyists are recommended to start their PPE Zoas in a lower position on the reef and move them up the reef after they have had a chance to acclimate to the aquarium. Purple People Eaters Colony Polyps receive the vast majority of their nutrition through the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae contained within the coral. They receive other nutrients from dissolved minerals that they filter from the water currents. They will also benefit from the addition of reef supplements containing calcium, magnesium, iodine and trace elements. They can also be periodically offered meaty foods like micro-plankton, baby brine shrimp and other similar fare.
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Blue and Green Sympodium
(Sympodium sp.) Easy Peaceful Medium to Strong Middle to High Moderate to High Blue, Green, Red Calcium, Magnesium, Strontium, Iodine, Trace Elements 72-80° F, sg 1.023-1.025, dkh 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4 Indo-Pacific Zoanthidae Polyp Corals Blue and Green Sympodium (Sympodium sp.) grows throughout the reefs and shallow lagoons of the Indo-Pacific ocean. Blue and Green Sympodium is a fast growing species that will colonize or encrust the rocks or shells on which it grows. The growth rate and aquarium behavior of Blue and Green Symodium is very similar to that of the various Xenia species; however, Sympodium sp. is a member of the Zoanthidae family of encrusting polyp corals. Despite only being introduced into the aquarium hobby in the 2010 time frame, Blue and Green Sympodium has become widely available due to its ease of growth and adaptability to the aquarium environment. Given proper aquarium conditions, Blue and Green Sympodium will quickly spread over areas of the reef that it has access too. For this reason it is recommended that hobbyists isolate the coral on rocky formations that are placed at least a few inches from other portions of the reef. This will allow the hobbyist to both get a feel for the rapid growth of the coral and allow its growth to be controlled since it requires a hard surface to grow on and will not grow onto a sandy substrate. Hobbyists will want to maintain Blue and Green Sympodium in reef aquariums that have moderate to high lighting and moderate water flow. Average reef aquariums with typical power compact fluorescent or T-5 fluorescent lighting systems and a tank height of up to 30 inches will require the Blue and Green Sympodium to be place in an upper area on the reef. Reef aquariums with metal halide lighting or high intensity LED lighting systems and a tank height of up to 30 inches will allow for Blue and Green Sympodium to be placed in either an upper or middle location on the reef. The overall height of the aquarium and lighting placement greatly affects how much PAR or (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) is available to the coral, thus coral placement will vary depending on the overall tank conditions. Ideal water flow will be a moderate intensity laminar water flow or wave style water flow provided by either a wave box or multiple power heads positioned to create varied flow. Mature reef aquariums or reef aquariums connected to mature refugiums are ideal as they provide supplemental feeding opportunities via phytoplankton and other micro-organisms present in the water column. Lastly, hobbyists will want to place the Blue and Green Sympodium (Sympodium sp.) coral in an area where its growth can be controlled, as it will spread to neighboring portions of the reef rapidly under ideal conditions. Blue and Green Sympodium polyps receive the majority of their nutrition through the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae contained within the coral. However, they thrive when they receive additional nutrients from phyto-plankton that they filter from the water currents. They will benefit from the addition of reef supplements containing calcium, strontium and trace elements. They can also be periodically offered meaty foods like micro-plankton, cyclop-eeze, marine snow, baby brine shrimp and other similar foods.
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Cabbage Leather Coral
(Sinularia dura) Easy Semi-aggressive Medium to Strong Any Moderate to High Tan, Green, Pink Blue Strontium, Iodine, Trace Elements 72-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Fiji, Indonesia, Indo-Pacific Alcyoniidae Soft Corals The Cabbage Leather Coral (Sinularia dura) is found widely distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific, where it takes on a variety of shapes and color forms. The most common colors are tan and green; however, Cabbage Corals will also exhibit pink and blue coloration depending on lighting and other tank conditions. Cabbage Leathers are ideally suited for aquarium life as they will readily adapt to a wide variety of tank conditions. This makes the Cabbage Coral perfect for beginning reef hobbyists and for mixed reef tanks that have more aggressive fish species. Larger fish species like Large Angelfish who can be very destructive towards many species of corals containing polyps will not generally bother leather corals like the Cabbage Leather. The flexible nature and hardy disposition of the Cabbage Leather Coral make it well suited for any sized reef aquarium and most community fish aquariums as well. Cabbage Leather Coral can tolerate a wide range of lighting and water flow conditions, which allows for flexible placement within the aquarium. Cabbage Corals will do best with moderate to high lighting and medium water flow; however, they can also tolerate low lighting and water flow conditions as well. Lower light conditions will slow the corals growth rate and can have an affect on the coloration exhibited. Hobbyists should experiment with positioning within the aquarium as the optimum position within the tank will vary depending on lighting and water flow. Cabbage Leather Corals require a rock or hard shell surface on which to grow and encrust. They should be placed at least a couple of inches from neighboring corals in order to avoid causing damage to them. Cabbage Corals will shed their waxy coating from time to time in order to remove detritus buildup, during which time they will appear to shrink up. However, this is a natural occurrence and does not reflect on the overall health of the coral as they will open back up within a few days to a weeks time. In addition to the basic tenants of good reef keeping (clean, stable water parameters), Cabbage Leather Corals will appreciate the addition of trace elements, strontium and iodine which are replenished during partial water changes. As the Cabbage Coral propagates naturally by splitting off a portion of its base and then encrusting or growing onto nearby rocky surfaces, it is very easy to speed this process up within the aquarium via cuttings. By simply cutting off a portion of the coral and placing it on a rocky surface, the Cabbage Leather Corals has the distinction of being one of the easiest coral species to propagate within the marine aquarium environment. Simply use a sharp razor blade or pair of scissors to cut off one or more of the corals heads. The cut head can then be glued to a frag plug or piece of coral rubble using super glue gel or similar product. It is also possible to place cut coral head into a rocky crevice with low water flow and it will attach itself to the rock in a matter of days. Leather corals in general lend themselves well to fragging and are even suitable fragging candidates for beginning reef hobbyists. The symbiotic algae zooxanthellae hosted within the Cabbage Leather Corals body provide the majority of its nutritional needs from the light driven process of photosynthesis. However, the Cabbage Leather Coral will also benefit from additional food such as 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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Blue Ridge Coral
(Heliopora coerulea) Easy Peaceful Medium to Strong Middle to High Moderate to High Blue, Tan strontium, iodine, trace elements 72-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025 Indo-Pacific, Coral Sea Helioporidae Soft Corals 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. 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. 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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