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Walking Dendro

The Walking Dendro (Heteropsammia cochlea) is a truly unique oddball in the coral world. Inside the coral lives a commenal Sipunculid worm which moves it around the sand bed as it forages for food. Rarely seen and amazing to watch, this coral is roughly 3/4"+.

 Walking Dendro Coral Care

The Walking Dendro, scientific name Heteropsammia cochlea, are so called because they frequently move about the substrate. This is the action of a symbiotic peanut worm living at the base of the coral. Please see below for additional care tips for Walking Dendros as well as checking out our Top 5 Tips for setting up a reef.


Pacific - Great Barrier Reef


Walking Denro can be kept under a variety of light conditions ranging from dim to medium-high lighting. Here at Tidal Gardens, we rarely have them under bright light. Rather we keep them under very low light T5 bulbs and relatively low light LED's.

Low Light

Low light translates to about 30-50 PAR

Medium Light

Medium Light is between 50-150 PAR

High Light

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.

 Water Flow

The Walking Dendro coral likes a low to medium flow area of the reef display. Too much flow could cause this particular species to become stressed and not extend fully. Lower flow also provides more opportunities for feeding which above all appears to be a major element to keeping this coral healthy.


Walking Dendros in our opinion must be fed for long-term health. There are a variety of frozen fish foods available that make outstanding meals however we are experimenting with the Fauna Marin LPS pellets.

 A Word of Caution

The Walking Dendro gets its name from a peanut worm that lives inside it. The worm is able to move the entire coral around on the substrate. It is for this reason we do NOT recommend doing any sort of pest control dip with this coral because it would endanger the peanut worm living inside.

If you are interested in more types of symbiotic relationships, please see our video below.


Walking Dendros cannot be cut or propogated.


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.

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