Within the collective of corals classified as “Large Polyp Stony Corals”, we find what many reef hobbyists consider the ultimate collector’s corals: The Chalice Corals. Aptly named for their cup-like appearance, these corals from the family Pectinidae come from 6 different genera, and are some of the most coveted and attractive corals in the hobby. These genera include:
Echinopora (actually a Faviid, but considered a “chalice coral)
Chalice corals tend to come from deeper or sheltered areas on the reef, so they generally favor low to moderate lighting and water movement. However, many hobbyists have acclimated their Chalice Corals to higher lighting conditions in their aquariums with much success. Although they derive much nutrition from their zooxanthellae, these corals may be easily target fed at the “eyes” (feeding polyps) using phytoplankton,
Cyclop-eeze,oyster eggs, and even finely chopped mysis.
Although relatively easy to maintain in an aquarium once acclimated, these corals may be a bit touchy at first. Careful acclimation to water conditions and lighting seem to be the critical steps to initial success with these corals. Light, in particular, is very critical. If these corals are rapidly exposed to very high light intensities, they may bleach out rapidly, with tissue detaching from the skeleton in the process.
Chalices are very easy to fragment for propagation. Encrusting/plating specimens can simply be cut or have pieces snapped off where the “eyes”, or feeding polyps, are located. Handle the fragments carefully at the bottom of the piece. This is a very slow growing group of corals, however, so it could literally take years to grow a respectable sized specimen from a small fragment. However, the patient hobbyist can be rewarded with incredibly colorful, uniquely shaped corals.
Morphology of the coral is, at least in part, dictated by water movement. Specimens in lower flow situations develop thinner, evenly-encrusted skeletal structures, and those exposed to stronger water movement have thicker skeletons and a more compacted growth pattern.
Chalice corals may be considered among the more aggressive corals, as they do put out rather large sweeper tentacles, which can sting neighboring corals It is important to provide enough physical space between Chalices and their neighbors to avoid these potentially fatal interactions. Many Chalice enthusiasts maintain large collections of fragments, starting them off in smaller aquariums to highlight their unique beauty. Regardless of what size aquarium they are placed in, with patience, care, and proper conditions, Chalice corals may be some of the most beautiful and interesting corals kept in reef aquariums.
- Be the first to review this product