Among the large polyps fit for an aquarium are the frogspawn corals. It is rich with flowing tentacles that make it a beautiful addition to a tank. The tips are quite colorful too, creating a cool display for observation.
Scientifically, it is referred to as Euphillia divisa. The name was derived from the fact that it has polyps divided at the end. Round lobes complete this feature that helps distinguish it from the hammer coral. Their identification is mostly determined by the shape of polyp rather than the delicate skeletal.
Appearance of Frogspawn Corals
These corals are generally hardy. They also exhibit a number of colors on their tentacles. The most common ones are brown, yellow and green. At the tip of the tentacles are bright colors like pink, white, cream and lavender. The sharp and contrasting combination makes it a perfect candidate for a tank. As a caution however, always keep it away from other corals as it is very aggressive. In fact, the rule is 6 inches between it and the others.
Frogspawn corals form big colonies with existing corallite walls that form on outer edges with polyps. They have the innate ability to retract completely into their skeleton. At daytime, the polyps extend completely. During the night, they only extend partially.
The tentacles elongate when feeding. This is quite a spectacle to watch. The tentacles can stretch 2 to 3 times their usual length. Its lifespan is still not known.
Frogspawn coral is native of some parts of Asia and Australia. Countries where its roots can be traced include Philippines, Fiji, Indonesia and Australia. Natural habitat waters include Houtman Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.
In the wild, the coral is found on reef slopes in depths of about 40m (131feet) and muddy substrates. They form small colonies here where waters are turbid with gentle waves. They love the feel of bright yet indirect sunlight. For protection purposes, they have stinging cells to help them deal with predators. These stings are also used for capturing small prey.
So far, it has not been listed as an endangered species.
Polyps require sufficient water parameters. The following tank requirements should be met:
- A sizeable tank with a capacity of 30 gallons or more.
- It can do with moderate lighting. Avoid providing bright yet direct light as this affects its comfort. Strong light may also damage its polyps, causing rapid tissue necrosis.
- Maintain temperatures at 74 to 83 Fahrenheit(23-28 degrees Celsius ).
- Moderate water movement is ideal. Very turbulent water movements may lead to the polyps not stretching out properly, inhibiting their ability to capture food.
- Live rock environment is a necessity.
- Saline waters of 1.023- 1.025.
Certain supplements are a necessity too if you are considering having frogspawn corals. Some supplements that you need to have in your tank are calcium, magnesium and strontium. Calcium is definitely a must as a lack of calcium can lead to retarded growth of the coral. Magnesium should be kept at around 1200-1350. It helps keep the calcium level up. A lack of sufficient calcium can be compensated for by the availability of Magnesium. Strontium of about 8-10 is sufficient for frogspawn corals. Lastly, avoid phosphorus as corals do not like them.
Like most other large polyps, the frogspawn corals has a way of feeding. These feeding strategies are developed over time to receive their required nutrients.
In the wild, a symbiotic relationship is developed with a marine algae zooxanthellae that helps in providing nutrients. Planktonic organisms and food particles are another specialty captured by the coral. The body is also capable of absorbing organic matter.
In captivity, the coral can be fed on krill, shrimp or chopped up dice. Although hobbyists prefer to chop up its feeds, the coral can consume whole meals too. Large pieces of meat can be fed to it
The coral has numerous parts that need proper feeding. Little chopped up foods can be offered at ago so that it can reach out with its numerous tentacles. Remember, proper feeding will ensure the whole of it is nourished.
The frogspawn coral is often described as aggressive. Part of the reason it turns to be wild is when not well fed. Ensure plenty of food is available to see to its needs. If not, it is likely to harm other corals and even fish within the tank.
Breeding and Reproduction
The frogspawn coral is as unique as its name suggests in a number of ways. First, it is both female and male. Secondly, it can reproduce sexually and asexually. In its natural habitat, it reproduces sexually. From its reproductive glands, it releases eggs as well as sperms, all at once. The fertilized egg forms a free-swimming larva. Planula larva eventually settles at the bottom of the sea in a substrate. Here, they become plankters.
A tiny polyp gets formed, and begins to produce calcium carbonate before developing into a coral. The planula larva is susceptible to predation. As a result, very few actually survive.
In the aquarium, the frogspawn corals buds off small polyp groups. Little skeletons are attached to them. They can also pinch off part of their tentacles which later on attach together since they are sticky. They then form corals within a new colony.
To spawn the corals, choose a healthy one without any signs of distress. Use an electric saw to sear off at least 1.5 or 2 inch of the tentacles. Glue this frag to a rock or plug. Ensure the slime from the particular coral does not get into contact with another coral. Ensure the frag has sufficient water flow too.
It is quite aggressive when it gets into contact with other corals, more so when not well fed. When it is hungry, their tentacles (sweeper) can stretch to a length of 25cm. This can pose a real threat to other corals that are likely to earn a sting from it.
Towards members of its own genus, it is relatively peaceful. Other kinds of sea animals like the shrimp can gain some form of protection as it stretches out to attack other corals, leaving it safe and sound. The frogspawn coral is a delight to a tank. When keeping it with other kinds of fish, be sure it does not come to harm. In other words, only put it in a tank with sea animals that cannot predate upon it.