The Fuzzy Lobo is a Lobophytum, not to be confused with Lobophyllia. This is a soft coral from the leather coral family. It grows out in every direction, shooting out long, thick fingers from its base. Leather corals are great for adding texture and shape to an aquarium. They are also easy to care for. However, don’t mix these up as beginner only corals, as many experienced hobbyists have amazing leather coral collections.
Lobophyton is found all over the Indo-Pacific from Indonesia to Fiji to the Great Barrier Reef. Many specimens in the hobby are aquacultured. The Fuzzy Lobo is maricultured by ORA in the Marshall Islands. These corals are grown in aquariums or offshore in controlled area separate from real reefs. This comes with benefits that we will discuss later.
Although Lobophytum and leather corals are easy to care for, there are some care requirements you should know about to give them the most ideal conditions.
Lobophytum corals are not particularly picky about lighting. The Fuzzy Lobo can be placed in low to high light, though there is no benefit with giving higher light. It is best to give them low to moderate light. If you need to put this coral in higher light, it is best to acclimate it very slowly. Start in dim light and gradually move it into moderate or high light.
Next, let’s talk about flow. Leather corals typically prefer moderate to strong flow. This is for several reasons. First, it is to help them periodically shed their waxy layers. Most leather corals shed a waxy layer about once a month or once every two months. This is done to keep the coral clean. After the coral sheds, it usually expands noticeably larger than before. Water movement also helps deliver food to the coral. As an added benefit, leather corals often swell up more under stronger water movement.
What about feeding? Leather corals typically don’t have a strong reaction to spot feeding. They get most of their nutritional needs from the products of their zooxantehllae. However, they can benefit from dosing live phytoplankton and amino acids. If you really want to spot feed, it is best to gently feed a small powdered food or live phytoplankton, but again this coral usually does better with broadcast feeding.
Be careful not to feed too much, as this can cause harmful nutrient spikes. While live phytoplankton and amino acids won’t typically cause this, powdered or frozen foods might. Leather corals typically do better with higher nutrient levels than other stony corals, but too much feeding can cause nutrients that are even too high for soft corals. Plus, it can cause algae growth, which nobody wants. A good range to shoot for is 1-5 ppm of nitrates and phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. You can have much higher nutrient levels for leather corals, but this range offers a lot of wiggle room.
One final thing to mention is that leather corals can release toxins into the surrounding area, which are usually harmless to humans but may cause other corals to close up and stop growing. To combat this, run carbon, do water changes, and give plenty of space between this coral and others.
*Please note that coral color and appearance vary. Differences in light, glass water parameters, and other factors can change how a coral appears, which means that this coral may look different in your aquarium.*
Purchase Size: 2″
Placement: You can place this coral anywhere as long as its lighting and flow needs are met.
Lighting: Low to high.
Flow: Moderate to strong.
Parameters: 72-78° F, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 32-35 ppt
Corals that are maricultured instead of collected from real reefs are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. They are also hardier and better able to handle the stress of shipping. As an added benefit, the ORA Marshall Islands Mariculture Farm provides jobs for many people in the area! These kinds of corals are a win-win all around!