Updated September 24, 2018
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
The Chalice coral is one of the more popular corals (as of 2013) due to the amazing colors they have. There are all sorts of color morphs out there and several different coral species that are commonly called Chalice corals. Echinophyllia sp, Enchinopora sp., Oxypora sp, Pectinia, and several others.
You will often find chalice frags with names like Mummy Eye, Miami Hurricane, Acid Rain, etc. These are various color morphs that certain frag traders and sellers have come up with as a way to keep the various color morphs straight and there is a little bit of marketing to this as well.
If you are interested in them and want to buy Chalice coral frags be prepared to put out some serious cash. Frags are priced based on their colors and size. I've seen several frags going for anywhere from $40 all the way up to $500 for a frag! Just plain crazy. If you have a stable reef tank that has been set up for awhile, the tank has stabilized and you can provide the proper requirements this could be one coral that could help supplement your hobby, at least until prices even out as more chalice frags come into the market.
The Chalice coral is considered semi-aggressive and they may have sweeper tentacles that will harm neighboring corals. They also will actively feed at night after the lights are out. Wait about an hour or so after lights out and look in on them and you will see what I'm talking about.
You can target feed them msysis or brine shrimp using a modified two-liter soda bottle. Cut the bottom out and then place it over the chalice and then using a turkey baster, gently squeeze in some food while keeping the two-liter bottle there for a few minutes allowing them time to grab the food. Don't over feed them and risk polluting your tank, especially in smaller setups. They will get most of what they need from the water and lighting. The more often you feed them though they faster they will likely grow.
Regarding recommended water flows, many hobbyists are having good results keeping them in moderate water flows. Make sure it is turbulent water flows (ecotech vortechs are good for this) and not one way water flows that could lead to tissue damage. I keep mine on the bottom of the tank under moderate to high water flows in a predominately SPS reef tank.
They also will do fine under moderate lighting levels. If you have high output LED's, metal halides or T5-HO's they will likely do fine near the bottom half of the tank. Just be sure if placing them in the sand that no burrowing species are kicking up sand on them. If so, try to keep them off the sand and place them a little higher in the tank.
General Chalice Coral Care Requirements
- Moderate lighting levels
- Moderate and turbulent water flow
- Water temperature - 75°F - 82°F (24°C - 28°C), keep a steady temperature
- Very low levels of nitrate and low phosphate levels
- Maintain calcium levels (400 - 450 ppm) and magnesium around 1300 (nsw levels)
- Feeding them a few times per week will lead to faster growth rates.
Chalice Coral Care
Scientific Name : Echinophyllia sp., Enchinopora sp., Oxypora sp.
Common Names : Too many common names to list for the coral, seriously.
Care Level : Moderate - Considered an LPS coral and will do well in moderate lighting with moderate but turbulent water flows.
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 : Indo-Pacific to the Red Sea, the northern and eastern coast of Australia. They are actually considered quite common.
How to Frag : You can score the underside of the coral with a dremel and then use bone cutters to break off a frag, being sure to include an "eye" in the frag. Rinse the new frag in tank water in a separate container, apply coral glue to bottom of frag and place on a flat frag plug and then re-rinse in saltwater before placing back into the tank for healing. Let them heal up for a couple of weeks before trading or selling. Try to keep frags at least an inch in size for best results.
Coral Food : You can target feed using the two-liter bottle method mentioned above but don't over feed. Feeding twice a week will be fine. Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp and Rod's foods will work well.
Coral Light : Moderate lighting levels. If running Metal halides, T5-HO and high output LEDs, place them towards the bottom half of the tank.
Water Movement : Moderate and turbulent flows are preferred. Avoid one-way flows into this coral because it cause the polyps to stay retracted and eventually cause damage. Check the vortech pumps for a good pump to create some dynamic water movement in your reef tank.
Site 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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