Sinularia and leather corals are awesome because they are perfect for beginners, but they are also well-loved by life-long hobbyists. While Sinularia is found all over the Indo-Pacific, this variety is maricultured in the Marshall Islands by ORA. These corals are grown in aquariums or in controlled area offshore, separate from real reefs.
The Green Finger Leather has a pastel green coloration with polyps that extend out from the branches. The long, slender branches grow outward from the base with some off-shooting from others.
While leather corals are great for beginners, there are some care requirements to know so that you can make your Green Finger Leather as happy as it can be.
Let’s start with lighting. Most leather corals are not picky about light. However, the more colorful ones typically do better in moderate light opposed to lower light, around 50-150 micromoles of PAR. This Green Finger Leather can be placed in higher light, but it may not extend fully, which is why moderate lighting is recommended the most. If you have to place it in higher light, at least acclimate it first by starting it in dimmer light and slowly moving it into the desired placement.
Regarding flow, this coral prefers moderate to strong flow. Water movement is especially important to help this coral shed its waxy layer periodically. This is done to prevent algae from growing on the coral and to keep it clean. The coral will retract while shedding, but afterwards it will swell bigger than before. Flow is also important because it delivers needed nutrients and food to the coral.
Speaking of feeding, leather corals usually don’t respond well to spot feeding. You can, however, dose your aquarium with amino acids and live phytoplankton for better coloration, faster growth, and increased overall coral health. Feeding is great, but it is not required, as the coral gets most of its nutritional needs from the products of its zooxanthellae.
Leather corals often prefer higher nutrient levels than stony corals. It is not recommended that you let your nitrates get over 20 ppm or your phosphates over 0.1 ppm. As a general guideline for any reef aquarium, you should keep your nitrates between 1-5 ppm and your phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible. What is best for your aquarium largely determines on your tank inhabitants and the general behavior of your aquarium’s “ecosystem”. For temperature, keep it between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable.
Leather corals often release toxins in the water that slow the growth of stony corals. While this is less regular with Sinularia, it could still be a problem. To combat this, give plenty of space between this coral and stony corals, run carbon on your aquarium, and do water changes. This is not a deal breaker for most hobbyists, but it is still something to keep in mind.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: You can place this coral anywhere as long as its lighting and flow needs are met.
Flow: Moderate to strong
Parameters: 72-78° F, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 32-35 ppt
This coral is maricultured by the ORA Marshall Islands Mariculture Farm. Maricultured corals are hardier and better able to handle the stress of shipping than corals collected from the ocean. They are also more sustainable and environmentally friendly, which is more important now than ever!