Mixed Reef - Sun Corals
Posted by Chad , in Corals 23 July 2011 · 0 views
Tubastrea sp. under actinic lighiting dining on cyclopezeThese beautiful species are arguably most recognized denizens of corals. Their bright colors adorn many coffee table reef and diving books. We, as keepers of the reef, cannot help but be awe inspired by them and think how great they would look in our own aquariums. Remarkably, these beautiful corals are not that difficult to keep and by providing them with a few key necessities, they will thrive and grow in your aquarium.Placement: The single largest thing that sets Tubastrea apart from most other corals in the hobby is they do not have symbiotic zooxanthellae in their tissue to supplement their carbon needs (i.e., they need to be fed). Since they will need to be fed, you should place them in your aquarium in a location that is easily accessible. Also, just because they are not photosynthetic does NOT mean they should be placed in a cave at the bottom of your aquarium! Tubastrea need a flow rate high enough to keep detritus from settling in between their individual coenosarcs. On the reef, they can be found alongside sps in near full sun, finding a place in your aquarium with good flow and accessibility for feeding is very important.Feeding: Tubastrea will generally extend its feeding tentacles anytime there is food in the water column. Also, in my experience, once acclimated Tubastrea is not picky and will accept all kinds of food from fresh seafood to pelleted fish food. Feeding should be no less then 3-4 times per week for growth and propagation, although feeding daily will reward you with growth rates to rival some zoanthid species. A note on initiating feeding: Occasionally Tubastrea arrives in poor condition with receded and thin coenosarcs, when in this condition, careful coaxing is needed to initiate feeding. Feeding can usually be initiated by removing the coral from the aquarium and placing it in a smaller container on the counter (ensure it is on a stable surface that will not be easily bumped). Once in the container, add some mysis or brine "juice" to the water and wait 30-45 minutes. After this time, the coral may extend some feeding tentacles (even the tiniest extension is enough) and open the individual polyp mouths. Carefully, (using too much force will cause the coral to close) place some small pieces of meaty foods in the mouths and tentacles of the coral; with some practice, you will find the necessary finesse to this method. Return the coral to the aquarium after an hour whether any extension has been noted or not. Some particularly stubborn corals may take a week or two of this nightly treatment to begin fully extending in the aquarium, but this method almost always works. Once the Tubastrea begins to open, feed it daily and it will usually make a full recovery.Tubastrea species are hardy corals that are not difficult to keep as long as just a couple of needs are met. The bottom line is: place them in a location with good flow, lighting is unimportant, feed your sun corals several times a week, and watch them grow!Sun corals can be purchased locally through our sponsors. If you have any questions of further care, please contact Chad.