of the Month
Bob Goemans photograph by the author
Common Name(s): Meat coral,
wrinkle coral, lobed brain coral,
brain coral, open brain coral, flat
brain coral, red brain coral,
modern coral, large flower coral
Range: Indo-West Pacific and Red Sea,
including western, northern, and
eastern coasts of Australia east to
Tahiti, and north to southern Japan
Natural Environment: This attractive
photosynthetic stony coral is usually found
in the clear waters along protected upper
reef slopes and fore-reef slopes, and is sometimes found covering extensive areas, e.g., 5 to 10 meters across. Colonies are
flat to hemispherical and may include corals having different colors and polyp mantles of different texture. Specimens
are sometimes found with two or more colors, where valley wall coloration differs from central mouth areas.
Captive Care: This is a hardy and disease-free stony coral that is commonly available, often in different shades of color.
It is also a very good coral for those fairly new to reefkeeping, as its care requirements are quite simple. This species
should be placed where water movement is slow to moderate, and lighting, either from metal halides or fluorescent
lamps in the range of 3 to 5 watts per gallon, is directly available. Also, since it is somewhat non-aggressive, it should
be placed where other, more aggressive corals will not come in contact with it.
If placed high in the aquarium, it should be so situated that bulldozing critters will not dislodge it. Falling injuries do
not seem to heal very well and can lead to infections and/or microalgae infestations that cause tissue recession. However,
when placed in the correct environmental conditions, growth is quite fast.
Feeding tentacles are usually displayed during evening hours, but sometimes they are seen throughout the daytime.
Should increased growth be desired, direct feeding during the time periods when feeding tentacles are displayed can
be attempted. Zooplankton-type products such as rotifers, newly hatched brine shrimp, or cyclops can be offered, yet
I would recommend limiting feeding attempts to no more than once every few weeks. Specimens I’ve fed more often
have taken on odd shapes, with tissue expanding and hanging/drooping loosely in some areas. When feeding stopped
altogether, this tissue regained its original shape. In fact, I’ve found this oversupply of foodstuffs to cause similar shape
changes in some other species.
Water Quality Requirements: Calcium 380 to 430 ppm, alkalinity 3. 5 meq/l, pH 8. 1 to 8. 2, specific gravity 1.024
to 1.026, NO < 15 ppm, Mg approx. 1272 ppm, phosphate < .015 ppm, and a temperature range of 75° to 83°F ( 24°