Stylophora Coral Care
Stylophora are a branching small polyp stony coral (SPS) from the Family Pocilloporidae. It is commonly referred to as a Cat’s Paw Coral. They are less commonly seen than most other SPS for sale however they make a great addition to any high light, high flow reef system. Please see below for more care tips for Stylophora as well as checking out our Top 5 Tips for setting up a reef.
Indo-Pacific - Islands of the Indo-Pacific including Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef.
Medium to High lighting tends to bring out the best coloration in Stylophora. They only showed their best coloration when we placed them under intense LED’s.Low Light
Low light translates to about 30-50 PAR
Medium Light is between 50-150 PAR
High Light is anything over 150 PAR
Lighting is a loaded topic, so for a more in-depth discussion of lighting, please see our Deep Dive article.
Strong water movement is recommended. Stylophora are commonly found in the wild in very strong surge zones. As the colony grows, it is important for them to receive plenty of flow to make it into the center part of the coral that might otherwise stagnate.
Here at Tidal Gardens we try to feed most of our corals even when it is not obvious that they are eating. We like to use the cloudy supernate that forms after thawing out frozen food and using a turkey baster to spray it on the Stylophora colonies.
This genus for the most part has been propagated extensively in captivity and is an excellent candidate for aquaculture. Like many other varieties of branching SPS, Stylophora can take on completely different shapes and colors depending on their location on the reef. Larger colonies are optimized for a specific location and may struggle when placed in a new reef tank. It is for this reason we recommend starting with frags of SPS and letting them grow to a particular reef setup rather than starting with large colonies that may experience die-off once introduced in the new aquarium.
There is however a much less common method which is polyp bailout. Polyp bailout is a stress response to unfavorable tank conditions that certain stony corals can activate as a last ditch effort to save themselves. During polyp bailout, polyps are killing off their own connective tissue through apoptosis. For those that are unfamiliar with the term, apoptosis is programmed cell death as opposed to necrosis which is traumatic cell death. Apoptosis is a highly regulated and controlled process so the coral polyps bailing out due to stress are doing so in a direct calculated response to an exogenous threat. If you want to learn more, take a look at the video below:
Proper acclimation is extremely important considering the stress imposed on the animals by the shipping process. Please take a moment to review our Acclimation Guide.
The images were taken with a Canon 5D mk II and 100mm macro lens under T5 Fluorescent lighting. Quite a lot goes into how we go about shooting the corals and anemones you see on Tidal Gardens. For an in-depth look at our methods, check out our comprehensive Reef Aquarium Photography FAQ.