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Related FAQs: Dendrophylliids, Dendrophylliids 2, Dendrophylliid Identification, Dendrophylliid Behavior, Dendrophylliid Compatibility, Dendrophylliid Selection, Dendrophylliid Systems, Dendrophylliid Feeding, Dendrophylliid Disease, Dendrophylliid Reproduction, Stony/True Coral, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral PlacementFoods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Growing Reef CoralsStony Coral Behavior,

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 IV

Part 1 Part 2, Part 3,


By Bob Fenner  

Turbinaria peltata (Esper 1794), Cup Coral to aquarists (aka Octopus, Platter, Saucer, Turban, Vase in the trade). Indo-Pacific; east Africa to Samoa. A hardy species that often produces copious mucus that is perhaps a double mechanism to clean itself of detritus and possibly feed. Aquarium and N. Sulawesi images. 

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Turbinaria reniformis Bernard 1896. Yellow Scroll to aquarists (aka Yellow Turbinaria, Yellow Lettuce to the trade). A hardy aquarium species. Typically yellow with distinct colored margins. Pictured here in aquariums at right (one a frag/production set-up), below in Cebu, Philippines, a circular colony in captivity , and at night feeding in Fiji, north of Latouka. Below, second row: N. Sulawesi and two large colonies in the Red Sea. 

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    Do pay special attention during the initial inspection and quarantine phases of acclimating new specimens for the presence of predaceous pests. Small, cryptically colored Nudibranchs (e.g. the Aeolid, Phistella melanobrachia) and Wendletrap Snails are often accidentally imported with wild-collected specimens. 

A very pink dyed Tubastrea IZOO 2010


    For Azooxanthellates species should include the application of juice and bits of meaty foods sprayed with a turkey baster in the colonies direction at night time (when their polyps are typically open), even if their tentacles aren't evident.


    Both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic species can/should be placed in areas of good lighting... the latter to assure adequate water flow. Further, to prevent covering by detritus Dendrophylliids should not be placed on the bottom but anchored up and on rocky points to facilitate water flow around their colonies. 

Reproduction/Captive Propagation:

    Tubastrea has been reproduced by asexual budding, breaking as well as (sexual) planula release. Turbinaria are easily propagated by the breaking off of pieces from a well-adjusted, healthy colony. This genus has also been observed to release planula larvae in captivity.   


      Tubastrea need daily feedings to all polyps to stay healthy... a regular regimen of turning off filter pumps during these times (on timers best... so you don't forget to turn them back on) for fifteen minutes or so (with other, recirculating pumps running) is optimal. Photosynthetic Turbinaria can get by on foods manufactured by their endosymbiotic algae, but are better fed (small zooplanktonic items or mashes of larger items) a few times a month. 


    Without regular food offerings, Azooxanthellates species will not open... begin tissue recession, and eventually succumb to algal overgrowth. 


    The lack of success with this family is principally due to two factors, for the Azooxanthellates Tubastrea et al. genera, a lack of feeding (or provision for the consequences thereof), and for the photosynthetic Turbinaria, a general lack of "promotion"... they're easily kept, as long as maintained off the bottom and swept/blown clean of detritus and mucus. 

Bibliography/Further Reading:

Coral Search

Borneman, Eric H. 2001. Aquarium Corals, Selection, Husbandry and Natural History. Microcosm/TFH Charlotte, VT. 464pp. 

Fossa, Svein A. & Alf Jacob Nilsen. 1998 (1st ed.). The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium, v.2 (Cnidarians). Bergit Schmettkamp Verlag, Bornheim, Germany. 479pp.

Hoover, John. 1998. Hawai'i's Sea Creatures. A Guide to Hawai'i's Marine Invertebrates. Mutual Publishing, Honolulu HI. 366pp. 

Humann, Paul. 1993. Reef Coral Identification; Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL.  239pp.

Veron, J.E.N. 1986. Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. U. of HI press, Honolulu. 644 pp. 

Veron, J.E.N. 2000. Corals of the World. Australian Institute of Marine Science. Queensland, Australia. three volumes. 

Part 1 Part 2, Part 3,

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