Brain Coral - Favites spp.

Updated September 24, 2018
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The Brain Coral is a large polyp stony (LPS) coral that resembles the human brain. There are several different species commonly available that go by the common name of Brain Coral. These corals can be extremely long lived, upwards of several hundreds of years or even longer in the wild. I even recall seeing a documentary on NOVA where they were estimating the life of one particularly massive brain coral was over a thousand years old and it had recently been damaged by a boat! Ugh.

Brain Coral

These corals definitely are not very fast growers when compared to the likes of acropora or montipora but they are more durable in hurricanes and tropical storms whereas acros and montis may break away.

They have sweeper tentacles that they use for both prey capture and for defense. Like other photosynthetic corals they use zooxanthellae living within them to generate foods for growth and reproduction. But, they do benefit from supplemental target feedings as well.

Moderate lighting and moderate flows, stable temperatures and stable water parameters will provide a nice environment for them. Keep them well away from other corals due to their sweeper tentacles. Also keep them out of tanks with wandering anemones.

I have a bubble tip that is pestering my brain coral in my 120 gallon reef tank. One of the worst mistakes I've made as a reefer is to include anemones in my reef tank. Once anemones get in and attached to the live rock they are very difficult to remove.

Brain Coral Care

Scientific Name : Favites spp.

Common Names : Moon Coral, Closed Brain Coral

Care Level : Fairly easy, provided that you give them proper lighting, water parameters and keep them away from other corals and anemones.

Parameters : pH 8.2 - 8.4, Temperature 75°F - 82°F (24°C - 28°C), Water Hardness 8° to 12° dH, Calcium 400 - 450 ppm

Origin / Habitat : Found near or in most of the world's reefs and primarily exported out of Fiji and Indo Pacific

Temperament / Behavior : Need to keep them away from other corals due to their sweeper tentacles that mostly come out at night. They are not immune from the sting of anemones and will eventually die back in places if stung by other corals or anemones.

How to Frag : You need the proper tools to frag brain corals. A dremel with a diamond wheel works fine. Many prefer to use a diamond blade on a band saw. Cut along the polyp edges and affix to a flat reef plug using coral glue or super glue.

Food : They will eat tiny zooplankton type foods. They extend their sweeper tentacles at night and you can use the 2 liter soda bottle trick - cut the bottom out flat and then place over the brain coral and squirt in the food. Allow them to feed for several minutes and don't overfeed. You can do this a few times per week.

Light : Moderate lighting levels, placed near the bottom of the tank when under T5's, Metal Halides or LEDs.

Water Movement : Moderate and turbulent flows will work the best.

Site References :

References :
- Borneman, Eric (2004). Aquarium Corals, Selection Husbandry and Natural History. T.F.H. Publications
- Calfo, Anthony (2007), Second Edition, Book of Coral Propagation. Reading Trees Publications.
- Sprung, Julian (1999), Corals: A Quick Reference Guide. Ricordea Publishing.

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