Tubastrea faulkneri                          Sun Coral

The one thing that the majority of reef keepers have in common is the desire to introduce an array of vivid colours into their reefs. Let’s face it: the majority of corals that you will see on display are various shades of brown and fawn colour. Fantastic they are, but you lot out there want vivid colouration, and why not indeed?

The downside to this is that the vivid corals often carry a much higher price tag, enter the sun coral. This little beauty fills a nice little neich, fantastic colours, amazing polyps which are a wondrous sight to behold in the aquarium when the whole colony is out, and to cap it all off a price tag of between £18 and £25 depending on the size of the piece. This all sounds too good to be true, so what’s the catch?

Well, it does not like light and has to be hand fed, when I tell this people it never ceases to amaze me when I get, “Oh I can’t be bothered with all that work.” Well, if that’s your attitude you don’t deserve such a beauty because feeding is not work, it should be pleasure! Ok, so now I have vented my spleen lets see what exactly what this coral requires.

In the wild, they are found mainly under overhangs, and cave mouths. It is crepuscular in behaviour, that is active the most at dusk and dawn, and relies totally on prey capture for nutrition normally feasting on planktonic animals, but large polyps can consume small fish. So place the coral within a cave mouth, glue it upside down to an overhang and supply it with moderate water flow, this will provide it with a natural habitat. Now to the bone of contention, feeding. These corals can be stubborn little sods in that they can remain retracted within their calcium house, so we have to encourage a feeding response. De-frost frozen plankton in aquarium water and then using a syringe gently and I mean gently, squirt some juices over the coral. if the polyps do not expand in 30 minutes, repeat. Once expanded, squirt the larger pieces of food over the desperate polyps, and that’s it. Feed each individual polyp as they are not connected. Doing this ‘work’ you will be rewarded with a stunning, healthy coral. One tip when purchasing avoid pieces with the orange colour missing between the polyps, not a healthy beast.

CV  —  Phylum Cnidaria
Tubastrea faulkneri
Indo-Pacific, close relatives global tropical distribution
Target feeding with suspension food
Up to 30cm across in wild normally 5 – 7 cm in shops
Water Flow:   
Likes the shade, keep out of direct light
An easy hard coral to keep, but as always water quality has to be high