Lobophyllia are an LPS brain coral, sometimes called Lobed Brain Corals. They are found in several locations in the Indo-Pacific, however most specimens in the hobby come from Australia. The Lobophyllia sold here is aquacultured by ORA. Instead of being collected from the ocean, this coral is grown in aquariums and then fragged to be sold to hobbyists such as yourself. There are many benefits to aquacultured corals that we’ll get to later. Lobophyllia are not particularly difficult corals. Usually, difficulty depends on the origin of the coral. The longer the coral is in captivity, the easier it is to keep. Fortunately, the Lobophyllia corals sold here all originate from colonies that are well adapted to aquarium life, making them easier to keep than those coming from the wild. In case you are unfamiliar with keeping Lobophyillia, let’s go over the basic care requirements. To start, we’ll talk about lighting. Lobophyillia require a moderate amount of lighting, no higher than 100 micromoles of PAR. However, the type of lighting and the spectrum can determine the coloration of the coral. You may have to experiment with what brings out the desired appearance and what is healthiest and find a good in-between. Just be careful not to give too much light, as this can cause bleaching, and nobody wants that. Regarding flow, this coral requires low to moderate flow. You should provide just enough flow to remove waste from the coral, but anything more is unnecessary. Too much water movement will cause tissue recession and die-off. If the coral looks sucked in or not full extended, this could be a sign of too much flow.
Like any stony coral, Lobophyillia requires attention to water chemistry. Your calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium levels should be close to natural seawater. It is also important that you keep these levels as stable as possible, which may require the use of a dosing system, calcium reactor, or kalkwasser. As for other parameters, keep the temperature between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable. You should aim for nitrates between 1-5 ppm and phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible not 0. You can have nitrates as high as 20 ppm, but this may result in algae problems. Lobophyllia rely mostly on the zooxanthellae, a photosynthetic algae, contained within them for nutritional needs. However, occasional feeding can increase coloration and overall health. You can spot feed frozen food, pellets, or powders, but you can also just broadcast feed, as this coral is perfectly capable of grabbing food from the water column. Lastly, let’s talk about aggression. For a lot of LPS corals, it’s easy to simply say “this coral releases sweeper tentacles. Give it a lot of distance from other corals”. While you should give this coral a lot of space between it and others, you should know why because it doesn’t release sweeper tentacles. This coral has a rather morbid way to take part in coral warfare. Instead of releasing sweeper tentacles, Lobophyillia releases parts of its digestive tract, mesenterial filaments, and will digest nearby corals just with touch. Yeah, pretty crazy. Again, keep give it distance from other corals.
Purchase Size: 2″
Placement: Low to middle. Hobbyists usually keep this coral on the sand bed or floor of the tank.
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
Because this coral is aquacultured, it is better adapted to aquarium life and better able to handle shipping. It is also far less likely to carry pests and disease, though you should still dip and/or quarantine it to be safe. On top of all that, it is more sustainable and environmentally friendly!