Name: Catalaphyllia jardinei
A few years ago, this used to be among the hardiest of the corals, but this has changed recently in the hobby and many of the newer ones do not last past a few months in most aquaria. Some conjecture that this is due to the fact that this coral has been overfished in its previous shallow water collection zone, and now are being collected from deeper waters. The newer coral varieties usually have more purple and thinner "tentacles", and are reputed to be less hardy. Articles about this phenomenon have been written up on Reefs.org and some other sites. They are beautiful corals and this is a pity. They fluoresce bright green and do have a mouth, so they need to be fed (usually, BBS works well). They also have a very light sting and should not be kept immediately neighboring other corals, which they will bother all the time. I have also noted that my yellow tang has a preference for picking at the mouths of my two elegance corals, and do find this to be problematic. Buy them with caution and research first, I wish I had done more of it before I purchased mine, though both are alive and seem well so far.
I have had an elegance coral in my tank for over 10 years now. It is probably the heardiest coral I have ever had. I believe the over collection in shallow waters over the last 10 years has led to the decline of healthy species. I do not keep it low in the tank, I do not dose with Lugols on a regular basis and I do not think it helps the coral at all. I do not directly feed the coral, it gets what it needs from the feedings from the fish which is pellet or flake food. I do not do regular water changes but do try to do one at least every 2 months. My nitrates are not extremly low I believe, I had it checked at the fish store a week ago on a quick tab test and it was in the range of 40 ppm. I try to keep salinity at around 1.023 and there are only 5 fish in the tank. With all of this the coral has grown to the size of a basketball inside a 140 L and now a 220 L tank. I had gotten the original piece from a friend that was the size of a baseball. I have propagated now twice, the first time 2 years ago in which one of the pieces was 3 cm long and now is 15 cm. I fragged about a month ago and am about to sell some other pieces soon. This coral has been the showpiece in every tank it has been in and has always been my favorite since I got it. It is a shame that this type of coral is so hard to keep now for most people. I am no Sprung or Moe or even have a background in marine biology so I know it is not my expertise that keeps it alive, it is just a really hardy species.
I have found that it is not the coral to blame! It is in fact the industry itself to be to problem. I bought 2 elegance corals at the same time without trouble or fear of their demise. With proper handling from the ocean to your aquarium you will have absolutely no problem keeping this wonderful specimen. Try to find out if your LFS is getting their livestock from a local distributor in your area, or are they picking up their livestock from an airport. If the airport is your LFS route of transport, then most likely they are getting all or most of there livestock from California or Florida. Most distributors that only have local pick up or airport to airport delivery systems in place are the best for great livestock in fish and corals. Most, if not all other distributors buy their (junk) corals and fish from the same place that only does airport to airport delivery. So your LFS that gets livestock delivered is in a sense buying the junk that the good distributors don't or won't sell to their customers! Good luck in all your aquarium journeys. And if you are looking for a good supply of these great corals email a CA distributor for a LFS in your area.
If you decide to try an elegance coral, here are some things I've learned working at the LFS: keep them in an area that is shaded from intense lighting, with good water flow. Another thing that seems to work is dosing twice a week with Lugol's solution, at a rate of 1-2 drops for every 100 liters of water. So if you try one please remember these are not as hardy as they once were so good luck.
Elegance, Wonder or Ridge Coral: Sometimes mistaken for other types of anemones or Heliofungia. Polyps are large and fleshy, often bright pink-ball shaped tips. This coral needs light to obtain food through it's symbiotic zooxanthelle. Also feeds on dissolved minerals and fish feces. May sting and eat snails and shrimp.
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