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Related Articles: Large Polyp Stony CoralsStony or True Corals, Order Scleractinia, Dyed Corals

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Pagoda, Sun, Cup Corals and More, Family Dendrophylliidae, Part II

Part 1 Part 3, Part 4


By Bob Fenner


Genus Heteropsammia Milne Edwards & Haime 1848: /WA Corals:  free-living with keeled base that anchors into soft substrate • one or a few corallites >2.5cm diameter


Genus Rhizopsammia Verrill 1870. From Joe Fish on FB: "Note how the polyps are seemingly disconnected from one another. They bud off via stolons, which eventually become overgrown with benthic organisms once the coenenchyme dies back. Tubastraea are far more cohesive... basically built the same way as Dipsastraea."

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Genus Tubastrea Lesson 1829: Azooxanthellate branching, tree-like corals found in many places in the tropical and Indo-Pacific. /WA Corals: distinctive dark green- black branching colonies • large tubular corallites • can grow >1m in height • azooxanthellate
Due to feeding nature they require little light (non-photosynthetic), but the aquarist must take care to see that each polyp is individually fed as they are separate.  About their biggest downside is the mess keeping Tubastrea can entail. With heavy feedings of meaty foods comes concurrent high nutrient levels. Often found in the wild in caves, but also in direct sunlight. Most species are palm-sized, composed of tubular polyps, with T. micrantha being the large exception. Easily encouraged to produce new polyps by regular feedings, especially when these foodstuffs are pre-soaked in a vitamin preparation (like Selcon, Microvit...).

Tubastrea coccinea Lesson 1831, Orange Cup Coral. Western Atlantic (introduced) and Indo-Pacific including the Red Sea to Madagascar.
Told apart from T. faulkneri by having its polyps more closely situated.  Right: Closed, open colony pix in the Bahamas. Below, close up of a colony under an arch off of Kailua Kona and exhibit images shot at the Waikiki Aquarium.

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Tubastrea  faulkneri Variously sold as Sun, Orange Cup/Turret, Sunflower, Sun Polyps... Circumtropical distribution. Told apart from T. coccinea by having its polyps more widely separated. A can-be kept species if you constantly feed it, and can keep up with concurrent water quality maintenance from the feeding. Shown at right in an aquarium and the Red Sea by day. Below in Australia's Great Barrier Reef during the night, Bunaken/Indonesia by day and Mexico's mid Sea of Cortez at night. Predated by Epitonium billeeanum (see below)

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Epitonium billeeanum (DuShane & Bratcher 1965). Distinctive yellow body and shell color... matching their prey, the ahermatypic Dendrophylliid genus Tubastrea. Tropical Indo-Pacific. N. Sulawesi pix. Snail, eggs, acoel flatworms... on Tubastrea.

Part 1 Part 3, Part 4

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