Chalice corals are found all over the Indo-Pacific but this particular chalice coral is aquacultured by ORA. Aquacultured corals are grown in aquariums instead of being collected from the ocean.
These are not difficult coral, but many hobbyists give them improper conditions, which causes problems. The key here is moderation. Unlike other stony coral such as Acropora, where things are “highest light and strongest flow”, this coral is more of a Goldilocks coral.
Let’s start with lighting. Chalice corals usually prefer 100 micromoles of PAR, though they can be acclimated to slightly higher light. Chalice corals don’t really benefit from higher light. The risk of bleaching from too high light outweighs the slightly possible benefits of higher light by a lot. If you are unsure, always err on the lower side. It takes a lot longer for chalice corals to lose color from too little light than it does for them to bleach from too high light. Regardless of where you want to put this coral, always acclimate it to the light first, even if you are placing the coral under medium light.
Next, let’s discuss flow. The theme of moderation continues. Chalice corals often grow plating or encrusting structures which are great at collecting waste and detritus. If detritus is allowed to settle on the coral, it will cause die off. However, too much flow will cause the tissue to recede. Larger colonies can also be pushed off the rock with too much water flow. For this reason, you should provide just enough water movement to keep the coral clean. Unfortunately, this is a moving target, because the coral may need more flow as it grows.
The only other thing you need to consider when it comes to the placement of your chalice coral is aggression. Some chalice corals release sweeper tentacles at night, which are deadly to other corals. While you might think this coral would get a long with other chalice corals, it certainly does not. Remember, this is a large category of many different coral species, all of which are pretty hard to identify.
Being a stony coral, chalice corals require elevated levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium that are at least relatively stable. Large fluctuations can be devastating for any stony coral, but chalice corals are typically less sensitive than Acropora or Montipora. They are also slower growing, so they don’t consume as much. Still, if you have a lot of stony corals or plan on having a lot, SPS or LPS, you will likely need to implement a calcium reactor, dosing, or kalkwasser. These methods are effective, but can cause large swings if they aren’t used properly. When you’re starting out, it is usually better to dose too little than too much.
For nitrates and phosphates, things are standard; aim for nitrates of 1-5 ppm and phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. This is just a general guideline and not a strict rule. Keep your temperature between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable.
Finally, let’s discuss feeding. Chalice corals get most of their nutritional needs from the products of their zooxanthellae, so feeding is not required. However, they are capable of capturing food such as small pellets or frozen coral foods. The key is to turn off the pumps to give the coral time to eat the food. Again, practice moderation, as too much feeding can lead to nutrient spikes. Feed live phytoplankton and amino acids if you want an equally effective feeding strategy that won’t cause nutrient spikes.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: This coral can be placed anywhere as long as its lighting and flow needs are met.
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 well adapted to aquarium life. Aquacultured corals are also more sustainable and environmentally friendly.