The Ultimate Guide To Chalice Corals

Chalice

If you’re interested in adding a bright new specimen to add to your reef, look no further–chalice corals may be exactly what you need.

These corals are known for their bright, almost fluorescent colors and their prices range from inexpensive to exorbitantly high. 

Read on to learn all about chalice corals and how to take care of one to keep it bright and thriving! 

What are Chalice Corals? 

“Chalice” refers to a group of cup coral species. The chalice corals that are the most common come from six different genera of the Pectiniidae family: 

  • Echinophyllia
  • Echinopora
  • Oxypora 
  • Mycedium
  • Pectinia
  • Physophyllia
  • Echinomorpha

Although the classifications can get confusing and murky, these are highly regarded LPS corals for any hobbyist’s aquarium because of the large variety of bright colors they present. 

Chalice corals can be found prevalently throughout the Pacific. Because of import and export bans in Fiji and Indonesia, the majority of chalice corals are being exported from Australia.

Chalice corals range from around $40 to even up to $500, so both new enthusiasts and serious hobbyists can enjoy them in their tanks. 

How to Care for Chalice Corals 

Chalice corals are some of the easiest kinds of corals to take care of and require low maintenance.

However, they do require specific light, feeding, and water flow requirements so that they can grow and thrive. In order to be a responsible owner, you’ll want to do your research before you purchase one! 

Lighting

Chalice corals prefer low to moderate light conditions of 50 to 100 PAR. Remember that in the wild, they’re typically found about 40 to 80 feet in the water, and you’ll want to try and mimic the lighting conditions they’re used to at those depths.

If the chalice is in good condition, you can also try copying the condition of the seller’s tank.

Remember that you did purchase your chalice corals partly because of their bright colors, and under actinic blue LED lights, their colors will be the most vibrant.

Chalice corals are also readily adaptable to many lighting conditions, but for them to thrive it’s best to introduce them slowly to the conditions you would prefer. 

Water Flow

This doesn’t need to be complicated–you just need a light to moderate flow so that debris doesn’t settle on the chalice. Some chalice naturally form a bowl shape which can become the perfect area for debris to settle if the water flow isn’t high enough. 

You also don’t want the water flow too high where you can see the tissue moving in the water or its jostled from its original position. 

Water Parameters

You should only add chalice corals to your tank if it’s well-established and stable. Chalice corals do well in tanks that have standard reef system parameters. However, they’re known not to do well in nutrient-poor systems.

You’ll also want to ensure that your magnesium levels are on the high-end at around 1400 ppm. Any lower could result in tissue loss. 

Feeding

These guys are avid late-night eaters–it’s a perfect time because they don’t have to fear fish or other creatures stealing their food away. 

Trying to determine what your chalice likes to eat is a bit of trial and error, however. Be patient and try out several types, from frozen foods to pellet foods. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that the chalice can get the food inside its mouth and then close its mouth in less than five minutes. 

Chalice corals also get a good deal of their nutrients from photosynthesis. 

Aggression

One aspect that newcomers to corals won’t be aware of is their aggression. Chalice corals are highly aggressive towards any other chalice, especially when they’re in tight quarters. Only a few have sweeper tentacles that they can extend, but when they do they can do a lot of damage to each other.

Placement is key if you have multiple chalice coral–keep them away from each other and your tank should remain peaceful. 

Propagation

The propagation of chalice corals is fairly straightforward. However, here are a few tips that some people are prone to forget: 

Clean Your Tools

It’s recommended to clean your tools after cutting into each chalice. This is because chalice corals can emit mucus and other chemicals that remain on the tools even after you’re finished cutting. If you use the same tainted tools on another specimen, you can run into some undesirable reactions. 

Gluing Frags

You’ll find many tutorials online that advise you to glue down your new chalice coral to the substrate. However, oftentimes you’ll find the next day that all your hard work was wasted because they became dislodged during the night. 

To avoid this, try using gel super glue. Then, spray it with an instant set product afterward to ensure that your coral will remain stuck fast to its new substrate. 

Brightly Colored Additions to Your Tank

Chalice corals have become popular over the years because of the sheer variety of colors they come in. If you’ve never added coral to your tank the new addition may seem daunting, but these kinds of corals are just as easy to take care of as any other kind of coral.

You’ll just need to ensure that light levels, flow, and parameters of your tank are all appropriate for your coral. Monitor and pay attention to how the chalice corals grow and make adjustments when necessary.

Ready to purchase your very own chalice coral? Take a look at our selection today!

How Do Corals Eat? A Comprehensive Guide to Coral Feeding

For anyone who is fascinated with the strange nature of coral, chances are, you’ve contemplated how they survive. Do they absorb sunlight like most other plants? Do they obtain nutrients from the water? 

If you’re an ocean aficionado in search of biology food for thought, or if you’re considering growing coral at home, then here’s a complete guide to coral feeding and nutrition.

What Are Coral? 

Ocean lovers might remember a time as a kid reading Jules Verne and picturing coral monsters with mouths filled with razor-sharp teeth. If you’ve ever been scuba diving or watched Planet Earth, you might have thought about the absurdity of that image. That image isn’t entirely wrong. 

How Do Corals Eat 

Coral comes in many shapes and sizes, but they are all living animals. If we look at them, it doesn’t look like they have mouths and a digestive system, but they do. And they need to feed themselves regularly. 

Corals are sessile, which means they cannot move to obtain their food. Instead, they have tentacles that reach out into the ocean and snatch unsuspecting ocean particles such as zooplankton. 

How large corals’ prey is, depends on the size of the coral itself. Like most living creatures, corals have specific times which they like to feed (humans do too, think breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Coral isn’t much different except for their feeding time depends on zooplankton. 

Zooplanktons rise to the surface of the ocean around sunset, and it’s then when coral fills its belly. Coral also feed when zooplanktons retreat from the surface at dawn. 

How Do Corals Tentacles Work

In addition to their tentacles, corals have an outer mucus layer that aids in transporting nutrients to their digestive system. Some corals don’t even need tentacles and only use the mucus membranes to transport nutrients to their gastrovascular cavity. 

What Do Corals Eat

Corals get their nutrition from different sources. Many corals use their tentacles like fishing nets that catch dissolved organic matter (DOM). DOM consists of organic molecules that float in the ocean. These organic molecules come from many places, including ocean animal waste and decaying animal waste. 

Corals also use sediment as nutrition. They trap floating sediment with their tentacles and extract the organic molecules from the deposit, such as amino acids, sugars, and lipids. Sediment can also contain bacteria or protozoa (single-celled organisms that contain many nutrients.)

Can Corals Bite

Corals cannot bite, but some corals can undoubtedly sting. Many corals have a predatory mechanism known as nematocysts. Nematocysts are stinging cells located in corals’ tentacles.

These stinging cells are very similar to those of jellyfish. An example of a coral that possesses these stingers is fire coral, which produces a paralyzing sting. 

The three types of nematocysts

Glutinant- Glutinants have a sticky surface that stings prey and causes it to stick to the tentacles. 

Penetrant- Aptly named stingers that act as tiny harpoons and penetrate the exoskeleton of zooplankton. 

Volvent: The cowboy of tentacles that has a lasso-like structure that captures prey in tentacles. 

Living Together In Food Harmony 

Corals can also derive nutrients from a symbiotic relationship with certain types of algae. Zooxanthellae, whose pronunciation is not very important, is the algae that corals bond. 

Corals can have one of three different types of symbiotic relationships with algae.

Corals and algae can have a mutualistic relationship where both the coral and the algae benefit. The coral and algae can have an endosymbiotic relationship where the algae live inside the coral, and they can have an obligate relationship where the algae are obligated to live with the corals, or else the coral dies.  

Do Corals Use Photosynthesis

In most cases, corals do not directly use photosynthesis. Instead, they obtain the byproducts of photosynthesis from the zooplankton they feed. 

In cellular respiration, the coral obtains ATP and gets its life force. 

Feeding Coral at Home 

Now that you know all there is to know about how to feed coral in the open ocean, how do you feed coral in a fish tank? The answer is very similar to how they feed into the sea.

Until recently, keeping coral in a saltwater aquarium was next to impossible. It was difficult because there was no way to control the water quality well-enough to protect the coral from toxins such as nitrates and phosphates. Luckily the science behind aquariums caught up. 

Direct Feeding 

If corals have larger mouths, they usually eat larger prey. Examples include brain coral, elegance, and Plate corals. 

Examples of direct feeding include feeding bigger corals diced fish, frozen plankton, phytoplankton, krill, pieces of shrimp, squid, or clams. Do not overfeed corals. Overfeeding corals can cause a build-up of phosphates and kill the corals. 

Also, corals need a current to flush their digestive tract, so take care not to keep corals in stagnant water, or else they will die. 

However, while feeding your coral, you’ll want to turn the current off. Gently target each coral. Feeding coral in the beginning and the end of the day keeps them in a feeding routine they would follow if they were in the ocean.

Drizzling some food in the tank before feeding each coral can prepare your corals for feeding. You can also try a polyp lab reef booster to stimulate your corals for feeding time. 

Owners should feed their corals several times a week. After the corals adjust to the feeding schedule, they should become more responsive and add color. Usual benefits from consistent feeding schedules include polyp extension, puffier body tissue, increased vibrancy, and increased growth (compared to unfed corals).

Indirect Feeding 

Some corals can survive off the fish who live in the tank. They don’t eat the fish, thank God, but they survive off the scraps the fish leave behind. Bacteria that fish do not consume is a viable food source for corals. 

Different Strokes for Different Corals

Researching how corals eat is the best way to ensure you’re feeding your coral the right food. A food chunk the size of your fingernail is of great value to many Large Polyp corals but is too big for a Zoanthid. 

Owners should research how corals eat in the ocean to decide the best practices to use while keeping corals in the aquarium. Click here to discover more exciting facts about aqua life!

Saltwater Coral for Beginners: 7 Easy-to-Care-For Species

Coral reefs have become known as the rainforests of the sea. They may cover less than one percent of our oceans, yet they are home to nearly twenty-five percent of all known marine species.

There are hundreds of different types of corals. They come in a dazzling array of shapes and colors.

When you’re starting out with a reef aquarium, you’ll need to know what the most appropriate coral is for your tank. Here’s our guide to saltwater coral for beginners that will help you on your way. Continue reading Saltwater Coral for Beginners: 7 Easy-to-Care-For Species

Saltwater Fish Aquarium Setup: 101

A Complete Guide to Setting up a Complex Saltwater Aquarium

Forget the goldfish you got at the fair, click here for a complete guide to setting up a complex saltwater aquarium. It’s not as difficult as you might think.

Keyword(s): saltwater aquarium

Saltwater tanks were around long before Dory helped find little lost Nemo. They’re still enormously popular today. In fact, a 2014 survey by the American Pet Products Association estimated that around 1 million households had a saltwater aquarium.

Starting a saltwater tank – and the subsequent upkeep – used to be quite intense. Today, advanced tools and equipment make it easier than ever. How can you do it? Here is your guide to saltwater tank setup. Continue reading Saltwater Fish Aquarium Setup: 101