The Grinch Goniopora
Goniopora Coral Care
Goniopora are possibly the most enigmatic of all Large Polyp Stony (LPS) corals. On one hand, Goniopora are some of the most intensely colored corals on the reef. They are commonly referred to as flower pot corals for the appearance of their tentacles that resemble a flower bouquet. This aesthetic also makes them highly desirable. On the other hand, reef aquarium hobbyists have struggled keeping these corals alive for years. Many species of Goniopora never seem to make the transition from the wild to our aquariums. Having said that, there is new found hope in that certain species fare much better in captivity. Please see below for additional care tips for Goniopora as well as checking out our Top 5 Tips for setting up a reef.
Islands of the Indo-Pacific including Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef.
In terms of lighting these corals, we have had success keeping Goniopora under a wide range of intensities. They will likely adjust to whatever lighting level you currently have in your home aquarium however we recommend that if you have particularly bright lights, give Goniopora time in moderate lighting to adjust.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.
Moderate to strong water movement is recommended. Goniopora are sensitive to contact, but strong flow does not appear to bother them.
Goniopora relies heavily on the products of their zooxanthellae. This coral may benefit from the addition of phytoplankton as a food source. While the coral itself may consume some phytoplankton, the real benefit is the increased population of rotifers that feed on the phytoplankton. Rotifers make a good meal to a vast array of corals. In the past, phytoplankton based foods were not commonly available but now they are easier to acquire.
If phytoplankton is not readily available, you may attempt to feed the coral finely ground meaty foods. The food should almost have a paste-like consistency before being administered.
A Word of Caution
Goniopora are among the most delicate corals available in the hobby today and have developed a terrible reputation over the years. They will appear to survive for 6 months to a year (just long enough to lull the aquarist into a sense of accomplishment) and then suddenly crash. Despite instances professional success, we cannot recommend this coral to beginner-level reef keeper.
Having said that, the challenge with this coral may be species specific. The species typically collected in Indonesia tend to fare much worse than those coming from Australia. Tidal Gardens has been propagating the Australian color morphs for years now and are more confident in their hardiness.
In terms of propagation, this genus has been successfully fragmented.
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.