Rainbow Acanthophyllia

Descripción

Name: Acanthophyllia
Temperature: 24-26C
Flow: low-mid
PAR: 50-150
Water parameters: Nitrate 5-20 mg/l, Phosphate 0,05-0,15 mg/l
Feeding: Feeding is desired.
Care level: Easy/Moderated


Acanthophyllia are a large polyp stony coral often referred to as a donut or meat coral. They are similar in appearance to Scolymia/Homophyllia or Cynarina in that they are a single polyp, round in shape, and often times come in some dazzling colors and patterns.

Seven years ago, I did a video on this coral and the title was something like ÒAcanthophyllia are an underrated LPS.Ó These days that could not be further from the truth. Nowadays, Acanthophyllia are highly desired among collectors of large polyp stony corals and I would go as far as to say that they are the absolute pinnacle for those looking for that signature show piece.

The obvious downside to that level of demand is the price point for these guys. They are some of the most expensive corals in the industry.

Luckily despite the prices, Acanthophyllia tend to be one of the more hardy corals out there. There are some corals that are notoriously sensitive and it is always a scare to drop serious money into a coral that is known to be challenging. Acanthophyllia are the opposite end of the spectrum. They can be housed in a wide range of tank conditions and can handle a modest degree of neglect. You really canÕt say that about a high end Acropora for example.

The only thing I would mention about its hardiness is when it comes to shipping this coral. Shipping is always a stressful event for any coral but it can be particularly damaging for Acanthophyllia. Under all that flesh is one of the spikiest skeletons IÕve seen on any coral. This is troublesome for two reasons, the first is it can poke through shipping bags thus causing leaks and if you are shipping in cold weather, the leaking water can deactivate the heating packs in the box. Big yikes. So when it comes to packing these guys we donÕt skimp on the bags. I know IÕve used up to four giant 3-mil bags to send them out.

The second problem with their spiky skeleton is that they can damage their skin during transit. Evan assuming they donÕt punch through the bag as they roll around, the spikes skeleton does poke through their skin. Like I said though, it is a good thing this coral is pretty tough because it does not take long for the coral to settle into an established reef aquarium and heal over that damage.

Location

Acanthophyllia are found throughout Indonesia and Australia. The specimens from Australia are predominantly that greenish blue mint-chocolate chip appearance. The specimens from Indonesia are mostly red and blue, but there are rare color variants that are all the colors of the rainbow. Those are the most desirable.

Depending on the colors high end collectors are willing to pay well into the four figures, and occasionally I see a truly stunning piece that I can imagine someone spending a fortune on. Part of the reason for their scarcity is their availability in some countries. Right around the time of the Indonesian export ban in 2018, there were changes in what corals could be sent where and from what I understand Acanthophyllia was one of the most restricted corals once things opened back up.

Here in the US they are still being brought in, but the prices are much higher than before. As for the future of the imports and exports for this coral, that remains unclear.

The other aspect affecting its price is the fact that there are no good aquacultured sources for Acanthophyllia. They cannot be cut and sexual reproduction hasnÕt been accomplished on a commercial scale. Hopefully that changes in the future! That would be game changing, but we are talking about a monumental challenge given the difficulty associated with sexual reproduction on the commercial scale and the incredible slow growth of this coral.

ThatÕs a little bit of background on Acanthophyllia. LetÕs now talk about their care requirements starting with lighting and placement.

Lighting

We primarily keep Acanthophyllia in low to medium light intensity here at Tidal Gardens which is around 50 to 100 PAR. We have kept them in higher lighting but they did not appear to appreciate it and were always at risk of bleaching out. If you have a colony of Acanthophyllia and want to experiment with higher light, remember that it can be a risk, so be prepared to move it into a shadier region of the tank at the first signs of trouble.

As for placement, almost every tank I see these corals in keeps them at the bottom of the tank regardless of whether it has a substrate or bare bottom. They settle in nicely down there are when they are happy will extend nicely and take on that ChiliÕs lava cake appearance. I suppose there isnÕt a good reason that they couldnÕt be put up on a rock scape, but it is much less common. Perhaps the thinking is that higher up on the rock scape would expose the coral to more light and more flow which might not be the best combination for this coral.

One other thing about placement to consider is to consider how much it will spread out once it settles into your reef tank. Acanthophyllia do not grow fast AT ALL, but they can swell many times larger than their skeleton so you want to avoid a situation where this coral reaches out and covers its neighbors.

Water Flow

LetÕs move on to water flow. We touched on it briefly in regards to placement, but I would prioritize finding an ideal location with regard to flow more so than lighting. Being such a fleshy coral you donÕt want to give it too much flow to the point that the skeleton starts to poke through the flesh. It can absolutely happen if the Acanthophyllia is getting hit continuously by a strong laminar flow.

As a general recommendation, I would keep an Acanthophyllia in a low to medium flow area and preferably one with variable flow patterns so one side of the coral doesnÕt get hit constantly. Normally I would be concerned about a coral placed on the bottom collecting detritus, but that is more of an issue with small polyp stony corals or large polyp stony corals that grow into a bowl-like shape. Acanthophyllia donÕt have any difficulty shrugging off detritus that settles on them so they can be kept in lower flow than most without issue.

The lower flow also makes it much easier to feed.

Feeding

If you enjoy spot feeding your corals, you are in for a treat. Acanthophyllia exhibit one of the most dramatic feeding displays when it opens up. They practically turn themselves inside out to completely transform into a giant seafood receptacle.

They can be fed a variety of foods, so I wouldnÕt overthink it too much when selecting something to give them. LPS pellets or full sized krill would work fine. WeÕve even fed them larger items like silversides in the past.

What is kind of strange is how Acanthophyllia reacts to different food. One behavior IÕve seen is that it reacts the most enthusiastically to really small planktonic foods especially frozen rotifers. The colony opens way up but it is hard to tell if it is actually eating anything. I have a feeling that they are taking it in through their mucus coat it is just that their tentacles are not engaged in prey capture during that time.

Once it is fed larger chunkier food though it actively takes them in.

Another thing you can do in terms of feeding that isn't completely necessary, but will help keep your corals on the healthier side, is to feed them amino acids as well

Amino Acids are simple organic compounds that play a major role in building proteins as well as other biological functions at the cellular level. There are a little over 20 different types of amino acids. Most of them can be synthesized by the organism but some cannot be and must be taken in by feeding. Those amino acids are termed essential amino acids and they vary from species to species. Corals regularly take in available amino acids from the water column so it is easy to provide them with adequate quantities by broadcast feeding an amino acid solution. They are available from any number of commercially available reef supplement manufacturers. This may be the easiest way to feed your corals because as long as amino acids are bioavailable in the water column, the corals will soak them up.

Ê

Forma del producto

Name: Acanthophyllia Temperature: 24-26C Flow: low-mid PAR: 50-150 Water parameters: Nitrate 5-20 mg/l, Phosphate 0,05-0,15 mg/l Feeding: Feeding is desired.... Leer más...

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Descripción

Name: Acanthophyllia
Temperature: 24-26C
Flow: low-mid
PAR: 50-150
Water parameters: Nitrate 5-20 mg/l, Phosphate 0,05-0,15 mg/l
Feeding: Feeding is desired.
Care level: Easy/Moderated


Acanthophyllia are a large polyp stony coral often referred to as a donut or meat coral. They are similar in appearance to Scolymia/Homophyllia or Cynarina in that they are a single polyp, round in shape, and often times come in some dazzling colors and patterns.

Seven years ago, I did a video on this coral and the title was something like ÒAcanthophyllia are an underrated LPS.Ó These days that could not be further from the truth. Nowadays, Acanthophyllia are highly desired among collectors of large polyp stony corals and I would go as far as to say that they are the absolute pinnacle for those looking for that signature show piece.

The obvious downside to that level of demand is the price point for these guys. They are some of the most expensive corals in the industry.

Luckily despite the prices, Acanthophyllia tend to be one of the more hardy corals out there. There are some corals that are notoriously sensitive and it is always a scare to drop serious money into a coral that is known to be challenging. Acanthophyllia are the opposite end of the spectrum. They can be housed in a wide range of tank conditions and can handle a modest degree of neglect. You really canÕt say that about a high end Acropora for example.

The only thing I would mention about its hardiness is when it comes to shipping this coral. Shipping is always a stressful event for any coral but it can be particularly damaging for Acanthophyllia. Under all that flesh is one of the spikiest skeletons IÕve seen on any coral. This is troublesome for two reasons, the first is it can poke through shipping bags thus causing leaks and if you are shipping in cold weather, the leaking water can deactivate the heating packs in the box. Big yikes. So when it comes to packing these guys we donÕt skimp on the bags. I know IÕve used up to four giant 3-mil bags to send them out.

The second problem with their spiky skeleton is that they can damage their skin during transit. Evan assuming they donÕt punch through the bag as they roll around, the spikes skeleton does poke through their skin. Like I said though, it is a good thing this coral is pretty tough because it does not take long for the coral to settle into an established reef aquarium and heal over that damage.

Location

Acanthophyllia are found throughout Indonesia and Australia. The specimens from Australia are predominantly that greenish blue mint-chocolate chip appearance. The specimens from Indonesia are mostly red and blue, but there are rare color variants that are all the colors of the rainbow. Those are the most desirable.

Depending on the colors high end collectors are willing to pay well into the four figures, and occasionally I see a truly stunning piece that I can imagine someone spending a fortune on. Part of the reason for their scarcity is their availability in some countries. Right around the time of the Indonesian export ban in 2018, there were changes in what corals could be sent where and from what I understand Acanthophyllia was one of the most restricted corals once things opened back up.

Here in the US they are still being brought in, but the prices are much higher than before. As for the future of the imports and exports for this coral, that remains unclear.

The other aspect affecting its price is the fact that there are no good aquacultured sources for Acanthophyllia. They cannot be cut and sexual reproduction hasnÕt been accomplished on a commercial scale. Hopefully that changes in the future! That would be game changing, but we are talking about a monumental challenge given the difficulty associated with sexual reproduction on the commercial scale and the incredible slow growth of this coral.

ThatÕs a little bit of background on Acanthophyllia. LetÕs now talk about their care requirements starting with lighting and placement.

Lighting

We primarily keep Acanthophyllia in low to medium light intensity here at Tidal Gardens which is around 50 to 100 PAR. We have kept them in higher lighting but they did not appear to appreciate it and were always at risk of bleaching out. If you have a colony of Acanthophyllia and want to experiment with higher light, remember that it can be a risk, so be prepared to move it into a shadier region of the tank at the first signs of trouble.

As for placement, almost every tank I see these corals in keeps them at the bottom of the tank regardless of whether it has a substrate or bare bottom. They settle in nicely down there are when they are happy will extend nicely and take on that ChiliÕs lava cake appearance. I suppose there isnÕt a good reason that they couldnÕt be put up on a rock scape, but it is much less common. Perhaps the thinking is that higher up on the rock scape would expose the coral to more light and more flow which might not be the best combination for this coral.

One other thing about placement to consider is to consider how much it will spread out once it settles into your reef tank. Acanthophyllia do not grow fast AT ALL, but they can swell many times larger than their skeleton so you want to avoid a situation where this coral reaches out and covers its neighbors.

Water Flow

LetÕs move on to water flow. We touched on it briefly in regards to placement, but I would prioritize finding an ideal location with regard to flow more so than lighting. Being such a fleshy coral you donÕt want to give it too much flow to the point that the skeleton starts to poke through the flesh. It can absolutely happen if the Acanthophyllia is getting hit continuously by a strong laminar flow.

As a general recommendation, I would keep an Acanthophyllia in a low to medium flow area and preferably one with variable flow patterns so one side of the coral doesnÕt get hit constantly. Normally I would be concerned about a coral placed on the bottom collecting detritus, but that is more of an issue with small polyp stony corals or large polyp stony corals that grow into a bowl-like shape. Acanthophyllia donÕt have any difficulty shrugging off detritus that settles on them so they can be kept in lower flow than most without issue.

The lower flow also makes it much easier to feed.

Feeding

If you enjoy spot feeding your corals, you are in for a treat. Acanthophyllia exhibit one of the most dramatic feeding displays when it opens up. They practically turn themselves inside out to completely transform into a giant seafood receptacle.

They can be fed a variety of foods, so I wouldnÕt overthink it too much when selecting something to give them. LPS pellets or full sized krill would work fine. WeÕve even fed them larger items like silversides in the past.

What is kind of strange is how Acanthophyllia reacts to different food. One behavior IÕve seen is that it reacts the most enthusiastically to really small planktonic foods especially frozen rotifers. The colony opens way up but it is hard to tell if it is actually eating anything. I have a feeling that they are taking it in through their mucus coat it is just that their tentacles are not engaged in prey capture during that time.

Once it is fed larger chunkier food though it actively takes them in.

Another thing you can do in terms of feeding that isn't completely necessary, but will help keep your corals on the healthier side, is to feed them amino acids as well

Amino Acids are simple organic compounds that play a major role in building proteins as well as other biological functions at the cellular level. There are a little over 20 different types of amino acids. Most of them can be synthesized by the organism but some cannot be and must be taken in by feeding. Those amino acids are termed essential amino acids and they vary from species to species. Corals regularly take in available amino acids from the water column so it is easy to provide them with adequate quantities by broadcast feeding an amino acid solution. They are available from any number of commercially available reef supplement manufacturers. This may be the easiest way to feed your corals because as long as amino acids are bioavailable in the water column, the corals will soak them up.

Ê

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