This leather coral is what is called a toadstool leather. It has a stocky base that extends up into a larger surface, giving it a mushroom like appearance. They can be found in several areas in the Indo-Pacific. They are most common in Fiji and the Indian ocean, but they can be found on the Great Barrier Reef, Tonga, and other areas in the region as well. The Long Polyp Leather coral sold here is specifically a Sarcophyton leather. These leather coral frags are maricultured in the Marshall Islands by ORA. This coral is almost fully tan with white star shaped polyps. It can be placed under a wide range of lighting conditions from low light to intense lighting. It could be beneficial to place it under moderate or high lighting for better color. However, it should be acclimated to intense lighting slowly over time to avoid bleaching. Remember, it is almost always to err on the side of low light, at least to start. As for flow, this coral prefers moderate flow. Provide random, indirect flow. With too much flow, the coral may pull back and recede. With too little flow, the coral won’t be able to shed its waxy layer and it won’t get access to nutrients in the water. Toadstool leather such as this one shed a waxy layer about every month. This is done to prevent algae from growing on it. Most of the growth can be observed after each time it sheds. This coral has fairly small polyps, so feeding is not hugely beneficial. You can dust them with powdered coral food, but making sure your nutrient levels are in a good place is more important. Ideally, your nitrates should read at 1-5 ppm and your phosphates should be only barely detectable. The levels can be higher than that, but you may start to risk algae problems at that point. Making sure your nutrient levels are in a good place (not too high, but also still apparent) will promote better coloration and faster growth. Another way to promote faster growth is with higher temperatures. Reef aquariums should be 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit. If you lean on the higher end of that range, you may see better results with your coral. However, stability is more important than having a specific number. Something to note about Toadstool Leather corals is that they engage in chemical warfare instead of using sweeper tentacles. They release toxins in the water that will slow the growth of other corals or kill them. To stop this from becoming a problem, run carbon on your aquarium. Doing water changes also helps keep the toxins down. Running ozone is another way to deal with this.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: You can place the Long Polyp Leather coral anywhere as long as its lighting and flow needs are met.
Lighting: Medium to high.
Parameters: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 32-35 ppt
This Long Polyp Leather coral is maricultured in the Marshall Islands by ORA. The benefits of maricultured corals is they come with the lower cost of coming from the ocean, while not actually being taken from real reefs. Instead, they are grown in controlled environments offshore.