Name: Duncanopsammia axifuga
Origin: Australia to Southeast Asia
Although considered rare and expensive in the US, Duncanopsammia axifuga is a common addition to many Australian reef tanks. Usually found in deeper water near sandy substrate, Duncanopsammia axifuga is very adaptable to lighting conditions. Coloration can vary from gray-pink to light green on the tentacles, a pink to intense blue-green on the oral disc and brown to bright green on the corallites. The size of polyps (including tentacles) can be up to approximately 4.5 cm across, while the corallites are approximately 1 cm to 1.5 cm across.
It is a fast grower given the right conditions, and usually develops new polyps directly adjacent to an existing one. As with all other LPS, maintaining calcium and alkalinity levels is necessary, while excess phosphates and nitrates can slow growth. I have a nice specimen that resides in a corner of my 42 L nano-reef indirectly under a 70 W metal halide. Consisting of 9 polyps when I purchased it, it has developed another 12 polyps in the space of 4 months, and has also changed coloration from a fleshy pink to bright green on the corallites and oral disc. Multiple open polyps can shield the skeletal structure from view, particularly on large colonies.
Propagation is as easy as cutting the 'stem' of the coral to separate polyps, although as this coral grows upwards it will not attach itself to reef structures, and I find it is best attached via the use of an aquarium-safe putty such as Selley's Aqua KneadIt.
While possessing zooxanthella and being capable of photosynthesis, this coral appreciates regular feeding with any meaty marine foods able to fit into the expanded polyp's mouth. I feed occasionally with chunks of prawn or mysis, which is very easy due to the adhesiveness and reactivity of the tentacles.
Duncanopsammia axifuga is a relatively unaggressive coral, incapable of producing sweeper tentacles, and generally comes out underneath when competing with other stony corals. It is best left with plenty of space to grow, as well as relatively unaggressive neighbours such as Blastomussa sp.
I've had mine for about 3 months now, under metal halide lighting it seems to take off. I bought 1 head, now have 5. Easy to care for!
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