Frogspawn and Hammer corals – Euphyllia sp
Genus: Euphyllia sp
Common species and names:
E. anchora (non-branching): Hammer coral, anchor coral
E. cristata (branching): Grape coral
E. divisa (non-branching): Frogspawn coral, Octopus coral
E. glabrescens (branching): Torch coral, Branching hammer, Branching anchor coral, pom-pom coral
E. paradivisa (branching): Branching frogspawn coral
E. parancora (branching): Branching hammer coral, Branching anchor coral
Hardiness: Generally easy. However, they ship poorly and may become damaged. Non-branching species are slightly hardier in the aquarium. E. glabrascens has been reported to be the most fragile.
Aggressiveness: They expand large and have sweeper tentacles that extend several inches at night that can sting other corals or anemones. Should be given plenty of room to expand.
Colors: Commonly available in shades of green, brown and pink. The tips of the tentacle sometimes have a contrasting color.
Light Needed: Prefers bright indirect lighting. Medium to high florescent light or medium strength metal halide lighting works well. Strong (Metal Halide) direct lighting can cause a marked retraction of the polyps. Sometimes, this is an adaptive response, but they can also become light shocked and die.
Curent Needed: Random current seems to allow for the best growth and expansion of the different species. A strong and linear current will prevent the polyps from fully opening and frequently leads to tissue recession, bacterial infection and death. Not enough current will not allow for full expansion either.
Diet: Photosynthetic and Carnivorous. Target feed most Euphyllia species a couple times a week by offering small pieces of meaty seafood (e.g., raw table shrimp, scallop, etc.). Supplement with Calcium, Trace elements Calcium, Strontium, and Trace Elements. The addition of strontium is beneficial to keep the tissue from becoming detached from its skeleton.
Many of the most popular corals for both beginning and experienced marine aquarists belong to the family Caryophylliidae. Euphyllia is often considered as a good choice for aquarist willing to give a first try to stony corals. The reason for this is obvious; they are hardy, beautiful, interesting and provide a lot of movement. They also grow well in captivity, and may become substantially larger in just a few years. While it is rare in nature, clown fish will often host Euphyllia and some aquarist will purchase this coral for that for that reason.
They have relatively thin skeletons, fully retractable polyps, and long sweeper tentacles with powerful stinging cells. Euphyllia corals are commonly available in shades of green, brown and pink. The tips of the tentacle sometimes have a contrasting color, and, unlike many corals, species identification is often easily accomplished by the average aquarist simply by observing the polyp shape. Actinic lighting will help bring out their color.
Long term success with Euphyllia specimens has a lot to do with proper placement in your aquarium. Random current with bright indirect lighting seems to allow for the best growth and expansion of the different species. In order to not photoshock your new Euphyllia coral, begin by placing new specimens near the bottom of the aquarium or use plastic screening to initially shade the coral.
Like any stony corals, Euphyllia corals will need a high calcium content water. The addition of strontium is beneficial to keep the tissue from becoming detached from its skeleton. This happens fairly regularly with these corals.
As said before, Euphyllia corals ship poorly and may become damaged. In branching types, it is not unusual for one branch to die after shipping, but since the branches are not connected, the others will be fine.
Euphyllia corals can be the subject of white bacterial film and what’s known as brown jelly infections (protozoan). In most case, it happen shortly after shipping and is a sign that the coral was injured somewhere in the collector process or during shipping.
Most fleshy corals seem especially prone to these infections. When that happens, it is best to siphon off the jelly. Some hobilist will also procede to a freshwater dip. If you try this, the dip should be quick since these corals have thin tissue layers that are easily damaged by freshwater. Alternatively, you can use a broad spectrum antibiotic like Neomycin sulfate. The antibiotic should be mixed with a small amount of water to make a paste which is then lightly brushed along the affected area. When using antibiotic, it is best to move the coral to a hospital or quarantine tank. Finally, the easiest and often more effective mothod of treatment is to cut out the affected area.
Branching Euphyllia are easy to propogate by simply cut the skeletal branch anywhere below the visible tissue that surrounds the top of the branch. Many use a wire cutter to frag branching Euphyllia. Although this sometimes works, there’s the very real possibility of cracking the skeleton lengthwise. Non-branching Euphyllia corals are more difficult to fragment. The best tool to use when fragging this coral (branching or not) is a Dremel with a diamond bit blade. When handling the coral, keep it submerged whenever the polyps are extended and only handle it by its hard skeleton.
Before to frag Euphyllia coral, I invite you to read Propagating Euphyllia sp. (Frogspawn).
Euphyllia corals are killers. Their tentacles (called sweeper tentacles) can extend further than the other normal feeding polyps of a coral. Sometime they can extend to up to 8 inches! Their tentacles have more numerous and powerful nematocysts, which makes them very aggressive. If these tentacles come in contact with other corals, the nematocysts will cause significant damage to the coral and anemone. Finally, you will also have to protect yourself from Euphyllia corals. First thing I did when I got my first specimens was to touch it with my finger. I got burned really bad so I now wear gloves everytime I work in the tank. Why do I always have to learn the hard way?
The best way to avoid problems is to place any Euphyllia corals out of contact range with any other corals. However, it has been reported that Euphyllia corals (with the exception of E. glabrascen) may be placed near each other, as they do not seem to have any negative interactions between species.
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