How to love your Lobo: Tips for success with Lobophyllia

uniquecorals

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How to love your Lobo: Tips for success with Lobophyllia

Hi Everyone,

Have you ever kept a Lobophyllia? These are great "LPS" corals with terrific color patterns and shapes that look great in reefs! If you're like a lot of reefers, you may have kept one before, and either had moderate success, or perhaps had a bad experience. Was thinking about this the other day, because we work with a lot of Lobos, and seem to enjoy much success with them, as do most of our customers who purchase them. it made me think about what the keys to success are with Lobos. I decided to offer a little bit of our learned experience here, in the hope that it will spur other Lobo lovers to share their success stories!

UC3inch-aussie-super-lobo-88.jpg


UC4inch-aussie-super-colored-lobo-128.jpg


Source: Like many corals, it all starts with where the coral was selected, and how it was handled after collection, during shipping, and at the dealer. I would have to state that, categorically, the most successful Lobos in captivity are generally those which come from Australia.I'm not beating down other sources...We obtain Lobos from other countries that do very well, but the quality just isn't quite what it is with Aussie stuff. Let's face it: The Aussies do it better! These corals are collected with care...you can just tell, particularly by observing how the animal was removed from it's surrounding substrate, or how the surrounding rock was taken off. It's obvious that the Aussie ones are carefully removed from the reef and substrate. They are also subject to quotas and accountability, so these relatively modest-growing corals are not randomly whacked off of natural reefs, to the detriment of the surrounding ecosystem.

Once collected, most Aussie outfits pack them well, to assure that they are not banged around and damaged during shipping. And, in fact, in my opinion/experience, shipping is where a lot of damage occurs with these corals. Once the tissue is damaged, the coral is stressed and potentially vulnerable to a number of maladies, ranging from bacterial infections to predation by fishes and inverts. Seems like the resident fishes and crabs can literally "hear the dinner bell" (an old and accurate Anthony Calfo quote!) when one of these guys is damaged, and they'll happily chow down on the coral, finishing the job.

So it's of paramount importance that you obtain a specimen that is undamaged to begin with. This will give it a much greater chance of success. Also, I highly recommend a mild coral dip for about 3 minutes on arrival, which will disinfect the coral and hopefully rid it of any unwanted hitchhikers that may damage the coral or its neighbors.

_DSC0900-720-aussielobo-wysiwyg-150-6.jpg


Placement: Thee corals are found in a variety of environments, but seem to be most common in lagoonal or back reef areas. They are not getting blasted by waves, and typically do not do well when subjected to strong laminar flow from a powerhead or pump. They categorically do better in more randomized. moderate to strong water movement. Place them in an area of your reef structure where they can expand and contract without excessively abrading their tissues, rendering them susceptible to infection as touched on above. if the animal comes in on a small rock, you would be wise simply placing the rock on the sand in an area where the coral can grow. Also, place the Lobo far enough from neighboring corals so as to avoid any allelopathic issues or coral aggression.


Environment: Like many corals, stable alkalinity (around 8-10DKH) seems to be a big help in keeping them happy and colorful. These guys don't seem to tolerate wildly fluctuating parameters well, which is a bit surprising to me, because I'd imagine that lagoon corals are more tolerant of such fluctuations...But not in my experience. They will definitely let you know when they are not happy. Also, keep them in temps on the lower side of your "reef acceptable" temp range (like 76-77F). In my experience, these corals are among the first to fade when temps get out of hand, so think about this when entertaining the thought of keeping one.

IMG_1228-720-carpetlobowysiwyg-85-3.jpg


Feeding: Yes, these are hungry corals, and really should be fed a couple of times a week. They demonstrate a strong feeding response and are pretty easy to feed. Use small, meaty marine-based foods, such as Cycolp-eez, Oyster Eggs, or finely mined seafood and Mysis. Gently squirt food in the direction of the corals' mouth, taking care not to blast full-bore into the coral. It goes without saying that you should shut off the flow while target feeding. If you have aggressive hermit crabs, shrimp, or Dwarf Angels, they can be a bit of a pain when target feeding these corals, so keep this in mind. I have personally tried the old trick of removing the specimen from the tank and placing it in a container of tank water while "marinating it" in food for 15-20 mins, so the coral can feed uninterrupted. Although excessive handling of this coral is not the best thing in the world, neither is having tons of shrimp and corals picking at the coral while it's attempting to feed!

Etc.: These are very cool corals, and can do quite well if you follow a few basic tips on their care. Don't be afraid to try one, but make surethat you are up to keeping one. Unlike say, Acros, they are not a "set and forget" coral. They require some active participation on your part in order to make sure that their needs are met. They are most "communicative", and will show you very clearly when they are not happy! Dont fear them, however, as they are colorful, interesting, and rewarding to keep!

UC3inch-aussie-lobo-68.jpg


In the interest of us all becoming better reefers, please share your tips, experiences, and thoughts on these beautiful corals here, so that we can all learn! This was the most cursory of dialogues about them; let's build on the body of knowledge available, so that more reefers can benefit from the experiences of our peers!

Thanks for stopping by!

Stay Wet

Scott Fellman
Unique Corals
 
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miyags

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They are nice! Lots of great color lately, But I don't see to many large colonies in peoples tanks. Long term success???
 

Tahoe61

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Another great article. What lighting recommendations would you suggest? I would have not thought them to be sensitive to temperature elevations, now I know what I have been doing wrong.
 
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uniquecorals

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Another great article. What lighting recommendations would you suggest? I would have not thought them to be sensitive to temperature elevations, now I know what I have been doing wrong.
I was quite surprised that they seem to do better at slightly cooler temps...Again, that's personal experience..But interesting nonetheless!

As far as lighting, Ive kept them under T5, LED, and under halides if indirect...Definitely seem to fare better under T5 or LED, in my experience.

Any other suggestions from the community?

-Scott
 

Nano sapiens

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I was quite surprised that they seem to do better at slightly cooler temps...Again, that's personal experience..But interesting nonetheless!

As far as lighting, Ive kept them under T5, LED, and under halides if indirect...Definitely seem to fare better under T5 or LED, in my experience.

Any other suggestions from the community?

-Scott
I received my first Lobophyllia hemprichi (common pinkish variety) as a B'day gift from my son about a year ago. Being a Mussid, I treated it much like I would an Acan and it has done very well with one of the two heads doubling in size. In fact I liked it so much I bought a second 'Ultra Acan' from you and it is the 'stunner' in the tank as it can be seen clear across the room. Including a pair of Blastos, I now have three Mussids in a row on the SB sharing similar conditions (medium light: ~90 - 115 PAR 'Full Spectrum' LEDs and low/medium flow). The Ultra Lobo has been 'caressed' by a nearby Ricordia florida, but to my surprise there was no negative response, but I moved it anyway to be on the safe side. There has been no reaction between the Lobo and the Blastos when they have touched, either. This is kind of odd since Lobos are reported to be aggressive towards many close by corals, but they can also be stung badly by some others.

I keep the tank at 79-80 degrees. The LPS get fed directly once a week with Mysis and Rod's Food, but at night the Lobo has it's feeding tentacles fully extended since I have a large population of resident Mysid shrimp and Bristleworms). The tank is fed 4X/day with a variety of foods and some of this undoubtedly is utilized by the Lobos, either directly or as DOM (Dissolved Organic Matter) from the fish waste.

Closeup of the Ultra. Not only is the coloration fantastic, but the texture is so cool:




Under 'Royal Blue/True Violet' LEDs (Note: The orange Acanthastrea bowebanki has been replaced by a pair of Blastos recently):

 
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uniquecorals

uniquecorals

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Excellent write up, Nano...Cool shots, too. It's al so intruiging about the temperature...I think everyone has their own "sweet spot", biut we were surprised to see these corals thrive at the lower range of the reef "normal" temp band!

Thanks for sharing! And for the cool pics!

-Scott
 

Nano sapiens

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Hi Scott,

I have a Lobo specific question for you and I was unable to find a definitive answer on the Web.

I recently lost one of two heads of a common pink Lobo. Overnight, 1/3 of the tissue was missing and the area around the outside of the wound looked predigested (milky). I have this coral near an Aussie Ultra Lobo. The damaged head was sitting ~1/3" away from the Ultra and nothing else was nearby. I've since separated the two by over 1/2" and have had no issues in the last few weeks.

All literature I have read speaks of similar or even different Lobo morphs living in close proximity in nature (possibly all the same species, Lobophyllia hemprichii).

Have you ever encountered Lobo on Lobo aggression from different morphs at your facility? Another point I ponder is whether the different Lobophyllia species are compatible and whether it is possible that either one of my two, while looking similar, may not actually be the same species.

Thanks,

Ralph.
 
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uniquecorals

uniquecorals

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Hi Scott,

I have a Lobo specific question for you and I was unable to find a definitive answer on the Web.

I recently lost one of two heads of a common pink Lobo. Overnight, 1/3 of the tissue was missing and the area around the outside of the wound looked predigested (milky). I have this coral near an Aussie Ultra Lobo. The damaged head was sitting ~1/3" away from the Ultra and nothing else was nearby. I've since separated the two by over 1/2" and have had no issues in the last few weeks.

All literature I have read speaks of similar or even different Lobo morphs living in close proximity in nature (possibly all the same species, Lobophyllia hemprichii).

Have you ever encountered Lobo on Lobo aggression from different morphs at your facility? Another point I ponder is whether the different Lobophyllia species are compatible and whether it is possible that either one of my two, while looking similar, may not actually be the same species.

Thanks,

Ralph.
Hmm, Ralph, that is a good question! While I have not specifically seen results of apparent Lobo aggression, I'd draw anecdotally on experiences with other corals and suggest that, in the confines of a closed system, it is certainly possible. On the other hand, it could have been caused by any number of other species that you might be keeping in proximity to the Lobo. I know that in our recent coral "grafting" attempts with Scolys, I was told that the best likelihood of success is achieved when you are attempting to achieve a graph with the same species, as potential aggression will result in a problem. So, if we stretch that to a logical conclusion, it's a possibility.

One thing I have found with Lobos (and many "LPS" species, for that matter), is that once the health of the coral is compromised and an infection shows up, it's often just a matter of time before the whole specimen goes down. And, quote honestly, it seems that every crab, snail, or picky fish in the area hears the "dinner bell" and lines up to take a bite or two out of the denuded coral tissue..Seems to be an irresistible treat!

All in all, I'd suggest adequate spacing (several inches at least) between various Lobo species, just to be on the safe side. We certainly give them room in our raceways, and I'd advise you to do the same in your reef, at least until more conclusive data is available!

Hope this helps!

-Scott
 

Lokipsl

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First off, awesome thread!!! I have had a small lobo going on for 4 years. It has grown quite a bit in this time. It has been through three different tank upgrades. I have had success placing it where it will not be knocked over, or bothered too much. I found that their lighting and flow needs similar to acans. Here is a shot of my lobo surrounded by acans
p.s. They also make a great couch for coral gobies
 

Nano sapiens

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Hmm, Ralph, that is a good question! While I have not specifically seen results of apparent Lobo aggression, I'd draw anecdotally on experiences with other corals and suggest that, in the confines of a closed system, it is certainly possible. On the other hand, it could have been caused by any number of other species that you might be keeping in proximity to the Lobo. I know that in our recent coral "grafting" attempts with Scolys, I was told that the best likelihood of success is achieved when you are attempting to achieve a graph with the same species, as potential aggression will result in a problem. So, if we stretch that to a logical conclusion, it's a possibility.

One thing I have found with Lobos (and many "LPS" species, for that matter), is that once the health of the coral is compromised and an infection shows up, it's often just a matter of time before the whole specimen goes down. And, quote honestly, it seems that every crab, snail, or picky fish in the area hears the "dinner bell" and lines up to take a bite or two out of the denuded coral tissue..Seems to be an irresistible treat!

All in all, I'd suggest adequate spacing (several inches at least) between various Lobo species, just to be on the safe side. We certainly give them room in our raceways, and I'd advise you to do the same in your reef, at least until more conclusive data is available!

Hope this helps!

-Scott
Thanks for the reply, Scott. With a 12g Nano things get packed mighty quick, but ~3/4 separation seems to be working out so far and is the best I can do without removing corals. The next closest corals (Blasto and a Ric) to the dead head were 3" away, so no possible contact there. In a small tank like this, whenever I see this type of massive damage I immediately remove the polyp so as not to degrade the water quality further.

I guess the old adage 'You just never know' holds true once again..
 
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