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!