“This is a sea mat type of button coral! They form clusters of polyps on “mats” of sand!”
Moon Polyps received their name from the way their clusters of polyps appear –
in the shape of half moons!
The Moon Polyps Palythoa sp., are called by other names as well, including Encrusting Anemones, Sea Mats, and Zoanthid Button Polyps. They are actually colonial anemones and are fairly common in home reef aquariums. This genus alone, however, has lots of variety. They have polyps which are partially embedded in a mat and are quite short. Every polyp has flat discs that are covered with tentacles on their rims. Some species have tentacles which are very long and thin while others are knobby and short. Colors range from white, yellow, brown, cream, coffee, or yellow!
Palythoa sp. have a “mat” called the coenenchyma which connects the polyps. These polyps have little parts of sand and/or sediment that they use in the mat to make it more stiff and easier to support a colony. These extra bits of sand and sediment which make up the debris account for about 45% of the weight. The colonies grow in half-moon shapes (convex) and grow anywhere from 4″ to 12″ (10 – 30 cm) in diameter… Read More
“If you want all colors of the rainbow in your reef, try the Acan Echinata!”
The Acan Echinata comes in all rainbow colors and is quite beautiful!
The Acan Echinata Acanthastrea echinata is a member of the Mussidae family and is a large polyp stony (LPS) coral. They come in color combinations of brilliant oranges, reds and greens. This is the most popular Acanthastrea species after the Acan Lord A. lordhowensis. Other names the A. echinata are called by include the Starry Cup Coral, Pineapple Coral, Echinata Coral, Artichoke Coral, Rainbow Acan, Acan Brain Coral, and the Rainbow Acanthastrea.
The A. echinata has been bred and grown in captivity very successfully which has led to a variety of colors being available. Colors that come from captive bred specimens include rust oranges, gray lavenders, green combinations, and fused or grafted specimens that have more than one color. Specimens which are propagated to have certain color combinations are often called names such as the Rainbow Acan Echinata, the Orange Crush Acan Echinata, the Lavender Green Acan Echinata, and so on… Read More
Corky Sea Finger
“This coral actually gets its shape by growing on and over other Gorgoninas – which makes him more “quirky” than corky!”
The Corky Sea Finger reproduces easily and is quite easy to care for – making it a great
The Corky Sea Finger Briareum asbestinum, also goes by the name of the Purple Corky Finger. It is quite beautiful and has a finger shape, which is helped formed because it actually grows over and on other gorgonian species. These Gorgonians thrive in many conditions and are native to areas all over the Western Atlantic Ocean, including pristine and clean waters as well as more nutrient rich areas of water. They most often inhabit knee deep shallow waters. These corals are extremely popular and are collected more often than any other species. Other names this species goes by include the Purple Corky Finger, the Caribbean Corky Finger, the Moss Coral, the Deadman’s Finger, and the Sea Stalk Briareum.
These Gorgonians have another neat quality – if they have green tentacles with a purple base, then they have a fantastic glow when kept unter actinic lighting! The mat of the Corky Sea Finger is usually tan or purplish and gray with calyces that are basically just nubs and which are slightly raised… Read More
“What looks like a head of Romaine lettuce, but feels like a rock? You got it…me!”
The Leaf Coral is another coral which makes a great beginner coral!
The Leaf Coral Pavona decussata is attractive and has a frilled appearance. Quite like the Cactus Coral P. cactus, it has upright and flat fronds but they are thicker and not quite as twisted looking. Horizontal plates can also be formed. It has a surface that looks spiked due to tentacles that are spindly and pointed. Colors come in anything from brown, to green, to yellow cream. Other names for the Leaf Coral are the Frilly Coral, the Lettuce Coral, and the Cactus Coral. Other specimens of the Leaf Coral that have been aquacultured have names such as Green Pavona Decussata, Green Decussata, or Pavona Sp.
The genus which this Leaf Coral belongs to, the Pavona genus, typically has corals with small polyps stony (SPS) and are best for starting aquariums with. They do best with strong currents and high lighting but can also thrive in more moderate conditions… Read More
Palm Tree Polyps
“How about a grove of palm trees in your reef aquarium? This beauty can do just that!”
The Palm Tree Polyps are an easy to care for and beautiful coral!
The Palm Tree Polyps C. viridis is named after the way it looks – like a palm tree! Actually, its tentacles look like palm fronds and each one is surrounded by what is called a pinnule or feathery looking structure. The coloring varies and can include yellow, green or tan in different areas. Other names the Palm Tree Polyps are called are Fern Polyps and Clove Polyps.
Out of the many Clove Polyps, the Palm Tree Polyps is only one! The polyps are contained within unlayered flat stolons that are connected and housed in a structure that reminds you of mesh. These corals are mat-like and encrust. The mats as well can be a variety of colors – including gray, tan or brown. The tubular calyces that house the polyps are small – only 0.5 to 2 inches tall (1 to 5 cm). The size depends on the species. There are a total of 8 tentacles, which again come in a variety of colors! White, brown, purple, green, yellow, and pink with possibly a combination of contrasting colors. Also, if needed the polyps have a base that allows complete retraction… Read More
Idaho Grape Montipora
“Can you guess what I am and where I’m from? I’m purple, but I am NOT a grape, and I’m NOT from Idaho!”
The Idaho Grape Montipora is a popular, very wanted, and expensive coral!
The Idaho Grape Montipora Montipora undata is an SPS (small polyp stony). It has beautiful colors and actually has not been assigned an “official” name. It is often called an “Idaho Grape” because of its common purple colors. Other colors it comes in are green, pink or brownish. It has contrasting polyps which are usually pink, brown, white and/or rust-colored. It is considered an aquacultured coral.
The M. undata is most often in digitat form or branching. The growth variations include vertical to horizontal tubes or plates, with the branches and columns growing fairly thick. Mature colonies are the best ones to observe these variations.
This Montipora is more of an intermediate coral in terms of care but is not as likely to get the typical diseases common to Acropora corals or to bleach. The biggest consideration is the temperature it’s kept at, and lighting and water movement are not quite as important… Read More
Organ Pipe Coral
“Want a little music in your reef tank? Check out the awesome ‘red pipes’ on this Pipe Organ Coral!”
The Organ Pipe Coral actually resembles and organ with its unique red calcite tubes!
The Organ Pipe Coral Tubipora musica is not a stony coral, but a unique soft coral. Similar to the Green Star Polyps Pachyclavularia violacea, this coral has mat polyps and is a member of the Tubiporidae Family. Only one other type of the Octocorals has an external skeleton that calcifies like the Organ Pipe Coral, and that is the Blue Coral or Blue Fire Coral Heliopora coerulea. They both have actual colorful skeletons – red and blue!… Read More
Velvet Finger Montipora
“Velvet, rich and luzurious. Want to indulge yourself with the most visually decadent texture?… Well, that’s me!”
The Velvet Finger Montipora is a favorite coral for beginning reef keepers due to its
ease of care!
This coral, the Velvet Finger Montipora Montipora digitata is fuzzy and smooth on its surface, with small and uniform polyps. These polyps are fuzzy on this species, as well as many other species. They are called ‘velvet’ simply because they are one of the large Montipora corals – several of them are traditionally called ‘velvet’. This coral is also called the Velvet Branch Coral and the Velvet Coral… Read More
Fleshy Sea Pen
"What looks like an antique quill pen but lives in the ocean? That’s right, ME!"
The Fleshy Sea Pen is very delicate, making it one of the most interesting corals!
The Fleshy Sea Pen Ptilosarcus gurneyi is not a stony coral, but a soft coral. It is one of the Octocorals but it differs from them in a few ways. Most soft corals attach themselves to hard substrates, but the Fleshy Sea Pen uses it’s own bulb shape to anchor into soft ocean bottom areas. This also makes it fairly easy for them to dislodge themselves and move around… Read More
"Just cuz I have antlers doesn’t mean I can be mounted on the wall, or made into a lamp!"
The name Antler Coral comes from its antler looking branches!
The Antler Coral, Acropora microphthalma, is a branching Acropora that is quite familiar. The group it belongs to is the horrida group, which is a group of corals that look similar and have rough branches. Other names that have arisen due to their branching forms include the Staghorn Coral, Branching Acropora, and Staghorn Acropora… Read More