Cyphastrea Coral Care
Cyphastrea are one of the hottest corals in reef keeping right now. Just a few years ago they were relatively unknown and not widely available for purchase but that changed in recent years as more and more people successfully propagated the various color morphs. For years the prevalent color morph was the red and blue meteor shower variant, but now there are so many that you could make an entire reef out of just different types of Cyphastrea and have your bases covered for color and growth patterns. It isn’t difficult to see just why Cyphastrea captures the heart of so many reef keepers. They are an attractive coral with uniquely spaced polyps, and the fact that they are being aquacultured has all kinds of benefits for both overall sustainability and robustness of the individual corals. Please see below for additional care tips for Cyphastrea 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.
If there is one coral you do not want to put in strong light or even moderate light to begin with it is a Cyphastrea because it takes a long time for them to adjust to high intensity light. We recommend lighting intensity under 100 PAR to start and if you want to move them into higher light conditions, do so very slowly. There are not a lot of benefits to giving this coral an over-abundance of light and it introduces substantial risk of overexposure. When in doubt, go with dimmer light and if you want to try and acclimate them to a brighter area of the tank do so slowly, and be prepared to move it back to shadier areas at the first signs of trouble for example if it starts to bleach or the polyps remain tightly closed.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.
They require a moderate, indirect flow to ensure that no detritus builds up on their body. As they grow however their shape can become more of a detritus trap and you may have to change things up to keep them clean. If the detritus is allowed to build up it will over time kill the coral underneath.
Cyphastrea relies heavily on the products of their zooxanthellae. I will be the first to say that most hobbyists do not target feed Cyphastrea and it may be more effort than it is worth. If you turn off the flow and provide them with appropriately sized food, they do take in a fair amount and slough off the rest. If you do decide to target feed them, there are a couple sources of food that work well, amino acids and small zooplankton.
When it comes to sustainability, Cyphastrea are a bright spot for Propagation and Aquaculture. Cyphastrea make an excellent choice for both commercial aquaculture and to home propagation due to their exception growth rates. All the different color morphs available in the hobby today are a result of successful propagation because Cyphastrea are relatively infrequently imported so most of the frag sized pieces you see available are likely farmed.
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.