Lobophyllia are mostly imported from Australia and Indonesia, but the Mandarin Lobophyllia from ORA is aquacultured. Instead of being collected from the ocean, this coral is grown in aquariums, which comes with benefits that we’ll discuss later.
Lobophyllia are more difficult to care for than most other LPS corals, which are typically beginner friendly. While a beginner could certainly try their hand at this coral, it is not recommended for both the coral’s sake and your wallet’s sake. However, if you have been able to grow other LPS corals with great success, this might be the next step for you.
In case you’re unfamiliar with keeping Lobophyllia, let’s go over the basic care requirements.
To start, let’s talk about feeding. Most corals benefit from feeding, but don’t need to be fed. This is because they contain a photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae which provides them with most of their nutritional needs. Although Lobophyllia contain this algae too, they require feeding. It is best to feed this coral meaty foods such as pellets and mysis at least every other day. When feeding, you should turn your pumps off and feed your fish before or at the same time to give the coral the best chance at consuming the food.
This may cause some difficulties because frequent feeding might increase the nutrient levels. Ideally, your nitrates should be around 1-5 ppm and your phosphates should be as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. Because of this, you will need an effective nutrient export system.
Moving on, let’s talk about flow. Lobophyllia need just enough flow to keep them clean. Anymore is unnecessary and potentially harmful. If the coral is clean, you are likely providing enough flow. If it looks sucked in or like it isn’t opening fully, this might be a sign of too much flow. For those familiar with keeping LPS corals, this shouldn’t sound new.
What about lighting? With most common aquarium lighting fixtures these days, you are much more likely to give this coral too much light than too little. Technically, it is possible to acclimate this coral to 200 micromoles of PAR, but there is no noticeable benefit to this, and it comes with lots of risk. Ideally, this coral should be placed under 50-75 micromoles of PAR. Anything more than that is unnecessary.
As for water chemistry, things are the same with other LPS corals. Stony corals require elevated levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. Lobophyllia might be more sensitive to fluctuations than other LPS corals, so it is best to have experience with maintaining your base elements. You will likely need to know how to properly use a calcium reactor, dosing, or kalkwasser.
For temperature, keep it between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable.
Purchase Size: 2″
Placement: Bottom to middle.
Lighting: Low to medium.
Flow: Low to moderate.
Parameters: 72-78° F, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 32-35 ppt
Calcium: 350-450 ppm
Alkalinity: 8-12 dKH
Magnesium: 1,250-1,350 ppm
Corals like Lobophyllia are particularly beneficial to aquaculture because they are better adapted to aquarium life than specimens collected from the wild. You are much more likely to have success with aquacultured Lobophyllia than those from the wild. Also, aquacultured corals are far less likely to carry pests and diseases, though you should still dip and/or quarantine them to be safe. Along with that, these corals are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.