There are a wide range of species that the name “chalice coral” represents. However, most chalice corals are relatively similar in care with the main difference being having sweeper tentacles or not. This Stardust chalice is an Echinophyllia, which is a species that can release sweeper tentacles. For this reason, you need to give it lots of space between other corals, even other chalice corals.
Most chalice corals are collected from either Indonesia or Australia, though this chalice is aquacultured by ORA. Instead of being collected from the ocean, this coral is grown in aquariums and then fragged to be sold to awesome hobbyists such as yourself. Aquacultured corals come with lots of benefits which we will discuss later.
Chalice corals are generally easy to care for, but there are some requirements you should know about. Let’s start with lighting. chalice corals do best under low to medium lighting. There’s a good chance that most of the problems hobbyists have with this coral are from too much lighting. chalice corals can adapt to lighting as high as 200 micromoles of PAR if acclimated slowly, but there is no benefit to this, and instead it greatly risks bleaching and color loss. They actually look better under more moderate lighting. If you want to place your chalice corals under medium or high light, you have to acclimate them to the light slowly. The more intestine the end goal is, the slower you have to acclimate it. Start the coral in low light and gradually move it into higher light over a month or longer. Even with careful acclimation, high light can still risk bleaching.
Regarding flow, chalice corals prefer a moderate amount of flow. You need to provide enough flow to prevent detritus from settling on the coral without providing so much flow that the coral recedes. Usually, chalice corals require more flow as they get larger, so keep that in mind. It is best to provide flow that is irregular and random to avoid dead spots and to promote proper growth.
Moving on to water chemistry, chalice corals require at least somewhat consistent levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. They can tolerate moderate swings, but large enough fluctuations can be harmful. If you can keep your base elements relatively stable and within a good range, you shouldn’t have problems in this area.
Next, let’s go over some other parameters. Keep your nitrates around 1-5 ppm and your phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. This is not a strict rule but just a general guideline to shoot for. As for temperature, keep it between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable.
Finally, we’ll discuss feeding. Like most corals, the Stardust chalice contains an algae called zooxanthellae that provides the coral with most of its nutritional needs via photosynthesis. Despite this, it can still be beneficial to feed this coral. The key is to try a variety of different foods and turn all of your pumps off when feeding. If spot feeding isn’t working out, you can also simply dose your aquarium with live phytoplankton and amino acids. All of your corals will be happy about that!
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: You can place this coral anywhere as long as its lighting and flow needs are met.
Lighting: Low to medium.
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
Aquacultured corals such as this Stardust chalice from ORA are awesome. Why? Well, they are well adapted to aquarium conditions such as lighting, flow, and water chemistry. They are overall hardier than corals collected from the ocean. Aquacultured corals are also far less likely to carry pests and disease, though you should still dip and/or quarantine them to be safe. These corals might be more expensive up front, but they save you money in the long run by having a higher chance of survival and decreasing the chances that your other corals die from pest-related issues. On top of all that, they are more sustainable and environmentally friendly!