There are tons of variations of most types of coral. The Symphyllia coral is no exception. It has a great reputation for being an easy coral so almost anyone can be successful with one. Low to moderate flow is best for these beauties. They are found at varied depths, so the best way to determine lighting is to start the coral at the sand bed and slowly move it around until it looks good to you. They are naturally nocturnal, but like most corals can be trained to come out in the day to feed. The coral is photosynthetic, a filter feeder, and also capable of eating meaty foods. It will require a stable Calcium, Alkalinity, and Magnesium levels but only if you have a tank that uses a lot. Regular water changes will keep a lightly stocked tank very happy. Maintain standard reef parameters and your coral will thrive.
Symphyllia Wilsoni image via reef2reef member @Living Reef Orlando
Symphyllia corals are peaceful towards each other, which is great if you want to cram a few kinds on one rock. They can get stung by more aggressive corals like Lobo and frog spawn. They are also irritated by corals like xenia and some other soft corals so make sure to keep them in their own region. When they get big you can just frag them and trade them for more reef goods. This also give you an excuse to keep your corals surrounding it trimmed. When fragging, make sure to get the coral to contract as much as possible so its own weight doesn’t cause it to tear its flesh.
image via reef2reef member Reefer831
There are various types of Symphyllia to choose from, which also means there are various types to get confused by. There are ways to tell them apart quite easily. Of course, you can always post an ID thread in the LPS FORUM.
Symphyllia agaricia – These are found on the exposed reef slopes and come in browns, reds and greens for the most part. The coral will vary in shape but the larger valleys will be your best bet for identification.
Symphyllia radians – This particular type has medium valleys and comes in a huge assortment of colors. The valleys grow differently as the coral itself grows into different shapes.
Symphyllia agaricia image via http://www.arkive.org/sinuous-cup-coral/symphyllia-agaricia/
Symphyllia recta – These are not so diverse on the color wheel. Mostly you’ll have the dull/natural colors but they look awesome nonetheless.
Symphyllia radians image via http://www.arkive.org/sinuous-cup-coral/symphyllia-radians/
Symphyllia recta image via http://coral.aims.gov.au/factsheet.jsp?speciesCode=0348
Symphyllia wilsoni – Theses are usually much more flat than the encrusting counter parts. You will find these in Blues, greys, the purples and the browns.
If you have a nice spot waiting for one of these guys make sure it is the correct species and be careful of placing other corals in its vicinity. Keep them fed. Keep the calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium up and your corals will thrive for years to come.
image via reef2reef member @mainereefer
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