Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Stony Coral Identification 1

Related FAQs: Stony Coral ID 2, Stony Coral ID 3, Stony Coral ID 4, Stony Coral ID 5, Stony Coral ID 6, Stony Coral ID 7, Stony Coral ID 8, Stony Coral ID 9, Stony Coral ID 10, Stony Coral ID 12, Stony Coral ID 13, Stony Coral ID 14, Stony Coral ID 15, & Cnidarian Identification, Stony FAQs 1, Stony FAQs 2, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, PropagationCoral CompatibilityStony Coral Behavior,

Related Articles: Stinging-Celled Animals, Phylum Cnidaria, LPS Corals ( Caryophyllidae, Fungiids, Oculinidae... ), SPS Corals ( Acroporidae, Pectiniid Corals, Pocilloporid Corals ), Coral System Set-Up, Coral Placement, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Selection, Growing Reef Corals, Stony Coral Feeding, Stony Coral Disease, PropagationGrowing Reef Corals, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

Also, one last identification question I had this piece of what I thought was some kind of dead coral (see attachment photos) that came with the live rock that I acquired. I have notice in the last few weeks some growth on the tips that looks fascinating. I could not ID the coral in any books. What is this and is the growth from the base coral or a parasite growth? Thanks again... Don Ouimette <Neat... am sending to Anthony Calfo here re identification. Bob Fenner> <<No pic was attached in this/my cc'ed message... but I see a pic in the WWM crew mailbox (diff name "Coral ID" but similar description): It appears to be a recovering Caulastrea AKA "Candy Coral". If/when you begin to see feeding tentacles (at night) start feeding fine zooplankton substitutes. Cyclop-eeze, flying fish eggs (from Asian groceria)... DTs Natural Diet (oyster eggs)... all good starters. Recovery will come fast. best of luck! Anthony>>

Anemone ID  Hey crew- You guy collectively rock! With only 1 year marine experience under my belt, I was fortunate to discover WWM early...and have been saved many times by your content.  <Thanks for the compliment! Glad you have found the site to be beneficial.>  Question: what is the this anemone (see attached)? I thought it was Aiptasia/glass, but he has been hanging around for about 9 months, no aggressive growth, etc. and seems OK. Should I preemptively strike or nurture? Thanks, Cliff  <I don't think it is an anemone, but rather a non-photosynthetic stony coral. You could sent a pic with the animal retracted to be sure, but you should be able to recognize a skeleton yourself. It is nothing to worry about, and is one of those serendipitous discoveries that often come with live rock. Best Regards. Adam>

Could you ID this (live rock hitch hiker) Several of these are growing on my live rock. Any idea what they are? Thanks for your help. <They are non-photosynthetic stony corals. They are probably of no danger to any typical reef tank inhabitants, and will not reproduce fast enough to become a problem. They will require a fair amount of food to survive, so you may want to target feed them bits of chopped meaty food. Nice find! Best Regards, Adam>

ID Corals hi can you tell me where I can get info on a yellow goniopora and a green goniopora I am trying to id the ones I got, so I can help them I really don't know what they are, so I don't know what to do, that was a close of a guess to what they are as I could find, thanks << To me the best pics and description of Goniopora are in Corals by Eric Borneman.  I would swing by a LFS and check it out.  I'm looking at it right now on page 239.  I'm sorry you have goniopora, unfortunately it does not do well in home aquaria, and should be avoided.  Blundell >>

Coral ID 1/21/04 I've sent this three times in the last three days without reply so I figure something might be amiss with the mail and am trying from a different source.   <got this one... not sure if it was a virtual glitch or a dropped ball on our part. Here now though :) > At any rate, I apologize if they suddenly start to pour in. My questions concerns a small coral on a piece of live rock (either Tonga or Marshall...they were mixed).  I know you prefer pics but I'm hoping to get your best guess without one.  The coral has a hard, rigid structure suggestive of a stony skeleton and is arborescent in form.  The flesh is smooth with no visible corallites or polyps (naked eye) and is a deep but vivid purple with white (skeletal?) tips on the branches.  The specimen is about the diameter of a dime with branches the diameter of a pencil lead. I would have sworn the LFS called it Stylophora, but they also said to place it in an "unlit" location which doesn't make sense if it is indeed Stylophora...correct?  Any thoughts what it might be?   <absolutely... I am almost certain (description and locales... Tonga the likely source here) that the animal is the hydrocoral - Stylaster. It is a non-stinging and azooxanthellate (no-light/non-photosynthetic) fire coral> If you can throw out a few possibilities for me to research I would be grateful.  I've reviewed the scleractinian corals on one of the coral database sites but didn't find anything similar.  Maybe I'm on the wrong track?  Thanks for your assistance.  Eric <pics of Stylaster here on our website and many others abroad... a rather common and beautiful incidental import... although very difficult to keep alive for even a year. The good news is that the corallum will retain color long after it dies. Anthony>

Coral ID 1/21/04 Hello Crew!  I know you prefer a pic when trying to ID a specimen and I apologize for not having one but maybe you can give me your best guess anyway.  I picked up some Tonga and Marshall Island rock from my LFS and they told me one piece had some Stylophora on it, at least that's what I think they said (should have been paying more attention but was busy studying the rocks).  The LFS told me to place the rock in an unlit sump and the coral would grow.  Now...what I understand about Stylophora it is a highly photo-synthetic coral requiring high light levels and very good water flow so something is not jiving here.  The coral is very hard and rigid with a smooth and finely branching structure.  There are no visible (naked eye) corallites or polyps and the color is a vivid and very deep purple with white branch tips.  Any guesses?  Could this be an aposymbiotic stony?  Or is it truly Stylophora with some misguided care instructions?  Any thoughts are welcome.  Thanks, Eric. <Hi Eric, you hit on one of those few ID's that I will even take a stab at without a picture.  You almost certainly have Stylaster or Distichopora.  Both are finely branching, often brightly colored and non-photosynthetic.  Both are likely doomed to die from lack of food.  I have seen a couple survive and grow in tanks heavily fed with phytoplankton, but the typical home aquarium will not support them.  Also, FWIW, neither of these is a true coral, but rather hydrozoans.  Best Regards!  Adam> Still a Goniopora: Coral ID 9/29/03 I have begun to add corals to the reef part of my multi-tank system now that it is stable. I would appreciate your assistance with ID of the two corals in the attached pix. The one in the upper left was sold as "like a flowerpot, but easier." <the salesman was acting "like well-intended" but still lied or was misinformed. You have a flowerpot. And even if you had been sold Alveopora (easier) instead of Goniopora.. they are both still very advanced and difficult species. There is almost no prayer of this coral surviving in your tank. They are in need of enormous aged refugiums (sand beds in excess of 6" and 1-2 years old minimum) to produce food (epiphytic matter, nanoplankton, etc)> It was thriving in the LFS nano-reef for several weeks. <they all can/do... this one still will not live to see a year if even 6 months. My advice is to put it in a DSB refugium and preferably with seagrass (Thalassia or Syringodium... very nutritious micro-environment)> The one in the lower right was sold as a Blastomussa, but I'm wondering if this is really true. What do you think? <quite correct... a Fijian import. Common, hardy and pretty> Also, is there a way to speciate brain corals based on the pattern of ridges. <yes... between the two most common Favia and Favites, look for septa that share walls (Favites) versus distinct corallites (separated septa... not fused: Favia)> I have a "maze coral" that I would like to better identify (picture attached). This whole business of popular versus scientific names seems to be even more unclear with corals than it is with fishes. <'tis why its best to always use scientific names foremost... your brain coral is in fact a Platygyra species. Do consider buying Veron's excellent set of references on scleractinians.> Thanks, Steve Allen <kind regards, Anthony>

Coral ID 9/22/03 Hi crew; <howdy> I am trying to id this coral but not having a lot of luck. I'm thinking Pagoda or Merulina or Pachyseris but I'm not sure. <holy cow... these are very different corals... not even remotely similar> It is roughly 9" x 6". Small polyps. Here's a pic. Thanks for the help. Mark & Heidi Vacca <the pic did not come through my friend... please resend as a web-sized (low/med res) jpeg. Thanks kindly, Anthony>

Coral ID Hi <cheers> I bought a sps yesterday and the seller wasn't sure of the ID, so I thought I will like the pros to verify what I thought. I have attached the photo of the coral. I think it is a Stylophora pistillata. Presently, the coral is sited 15cm of air, 10cm of water away from PC lights. A direct PH current on a rotating output will sweep it direct for a very short time every 1 second cycle. Other times when the PH is not directed at it, the random current are bounced off a glass located about 30cm from the coral. Thanks in advance Edwin Lam <Edwin... although the image does not give a clear visage of the polyp structure, this specimen does indeed look like the Pocilloporid, Stylophora pistillata. It will need strong random turbulent water flow and stable water quality as one would provide for most any scleractinians. They are believed to mature sexually at a young age (just several years old) and may produce planulae asexually if fed well. A fishless upstream refugium is highly recommended here. Best regards, Anthony>

Trying to ID something... Robert, First I wanted to extend my thanks to your friend who stood in your place while you were on a diving trip a few months ago, and I love his straight forward advice, and he gave good advice on my zebra lion. <hmmm... that would have been Steve, Jason or myself, Anthony. You are quite welcome at any rate> I bought some live rock from petwarehouse.com, Fiji rock in specific which I ended up recurring, and last week I noticed something that I think is a coral, but am not sure. The pics I have of it are too blurry. What I have looks like either Pocillopora verrucosa or Pocillopora damicornis cropping up,  <P damicornis is very common...what a pleasure for you if it is!> but I am not sure. Whatever it is, it is encrusting, it has irregular shaped lobes or polyps, a clear membrane over it, and quite aggressive in spreading. It spreads over live rock where there is little on it as opposed to where coralline has grown over old skeleton. <hmmm... the Pocilloporids would not encrust very far without raising branches. Perhaps another reef invertebrate it is> I have noticed various colonies of this stuff in cream, one in a pinkish brown, and one I am not sure if it is pink coralline or the same thing in pink. The largest of the colonies is about half the size of my palm, and about 1/4 inch thick or better. It has some pores like verrucosa but it also resembles damicornis with the membrane that is over it, so I am not 100% certain. As of thanksgiving or so, this large colony was not there, then all of the sudden, BAM! I thought it was some man eating fungus from area 51 or something; I had never seen anything like it. It does not move, it has no shell, it is not a sponge for sure. It is not porous like a sponge, and the smaller colonies have some sort of structure to it where you can see through the membrane clear enough. The polyp structures or lobe looking things are in no specific pattern, all variant in size, and ranging from a few millimeters to 10-15 mm. How do I know for sure that it is a coral, and if it is, how do I know what the likelihood is of it being a pocilloporid or not? I also have some other things that look like another variety of a pocilloporid. <do forward a picture when you can... I suspect I will be able to ID it to your satisfaction. Kindly, Anthony Calfo> Joe Szweda

Marine livestock (coral identifications) hi bob... hope all is well... <Yes my friend, thank you> I'm a retailer in Florida of marine livestock...I'm familiar with a lot of the fishes and corals out there, but on occasion, I do come across 'new' items.  Just wondering if there is a good reference book illustrating the many acroporas, etc...  Thank you for your assistance. kind regards, Hoang Bui <Ah, a timely question (am in the middle of finishing up the slides from last month in Sulawesi... the hardest for last, the stony corals)... THE best overall source for scleractinian ID is Veron's three volume "Corals of the World". I would get/use a copy of these (and if you can afford them a set for your store, customer perusal. I do use other "popular" references to get slide identifications down to family, most genera level (like Eric Borneman's work). Bob Fenner>

Coral ID Hi, the live rock in question is cured Fiji rock. Both corals have some sort of stony base and the polyps are only expanded (or inflated) in the daytime. They seem to engulf pieces of frozen brine shrimp and detract quickly to the touch.  <it does not help much my friend.. there are thousands of possibilities. At best it sounds like a large polyped stony coral bud. Do know too that brine shrimp is a woefully hollow and inadequate food for most any animal. Its almost tragic that its still sold and popular! Do compare the single digit protein of brine shrimp to the 69% protein of PE mysis shrimp instead!!! So many better frozen foods (Gammarus, minced krill, Pacifica plankton)> I hope this helps as I cannot take a picture. <do reference Eric Borneman's book Aquarium Corals for further help if possible... else continue to browse online for a photo ID. Best regards, Anthony>

Coral ID Hi, I hope you can help me with a couple of unidentified corals. After purchasing some pieces of live rock and placing them in my tank I have discovered two strange looking corals. One 3cm diameter 'bunch' of purple bubble like things with one tiny curl on each bubble pointing toward the centre. And also what seems to be an anemone type (definitely not aiptasia) 1cm circular orange base with tiny white tipped transparent tentacles (polyps?) which are about 2/3mm long poking out. Is it possible to have anemone hitchhikers on live rock?. <easily> I have only 1 blue actinic bulb and 1 marine white fluorescent bulb. Will this be sufficient for these creatures for the time being (gathering funds for additional bulbs. Any help is greatly appreciated. <we can't comment on the lighting before we know what the animals are and what their respective needs are. To help you ID these creatures we need some more information. A picture would be best (close-up). If not... we need to know the type of rock (where collected) and some more details about the creatures. Do either appear to have a stony base? Do they expand or contract at night? etc. Do work on providing a picture, my friend... it will be easiest and most helpful. Kindly, Anthony>

Coral I.D. (actually a red algae) Hi The Crew, <Howdy> Hope you guys enjoyed the hot summer. I have this thing growing out on one of my live rocks about two months ago, now it grew to about 4" around. It feel soft at touch, and the appearance like Japanese maple tree. Would like you guys to identify it for me. As always appreciate your expertise. <It's a species of Red Algae. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redalgae.htm> PS: Just thought you might interest to see this picture: One of my tomato clown in a purple tipped Condylactis anemone. SWEEEEET. <Very nice as well. Bob Fenner> Wayne

Algae/Coral I.D. Hi The Crew, <Hi the fellow fish nerd> Hope you guys enjoyed the hot summer.  <I'm thinking about shaving my entire body... heat index is over 100 here in Pittsburgh with serious humidity. Sneeze and it triggers a thundershower> I have this thing growing out on one of my live rocks about two months ago, now it grew to about 4" around. It feel soft at touch, and the appearance like Japanese maple tree. Would like you guys to identify it for me. As always appreciate your expertise. <it is clearly a red algae species... very attractive to me. Enjoy it!> PS: Just thought you might interest to see this picture: One of my tomato clown in a purple tipped Condylactis anemone. SWEEEEET. Wayne <with kind regards, Anthony>

Coral ID Help WWM Crew- I was wondering if someone knows what type of coral this is. The picture isn't the greatest but, it was the best I could get. The coral in question is still very small. The entire group of 6 or 7 branches is only like 3/4 of an inch. Any ideas? Thanks! Ann <Sorry Ann, but the best I can do from the picture is a wild guess. It does appear to be some sort of large polyp stony coral, but I cannot be sure. -Steven Pro>

Atlantic Corals ID?!? Hi guys, I've been trying to ID these critters with no real success. Can you help me? Thanks a lot, Mike <easy one, bud... the first image is of the scleractinian known as Star or Starlet coral. Either a Stephanocoenia or Siderastrea species. They are extremely hardy! The second image is of an "Ivory Coral" (can't explain the name)... an Oculina species, though. Not at all easy to keep long term (more than a year) without almost daily feedings. Both are protected species of coral from the Atlantic/Caribbean. The starlets do commonly come in on live rock. The Oculina almost never does. Interesting possessions... please take VERY good care of them... it is rare to have them and it would be such a shame to lose them. That means a spacious tank with a proper mix of corals (avoid/resist soft corals, zoanthids and mushrooms) and no anemones. Best regards, Anthony>

Coral ID, Mandarin Sexing and more hi Anthony......is Robert back yet?  <Yes and no... Bob is back in the country, but is quite busy right now. You see...he was making a batch of his most heinously excellent fish food (described in his most heinously excellent book "Conscientious Marine Aquarist") when something went wrong. Frankly, he was drinking a little bit as he was making the recipe (actually, he was lit up like a Christmas tree) and inadvertently used his favorite microbrew (preservative free of course) in place of water for the fish food. And so, he is presently laughing his but off while taking pictures of the fish that he fed it to... shouting, "Look at me, look at me... I'm the Emperor of Tinsel town!!!"> I just purchased your book from Amazon. I'm looking forward to reading it.  <very sincere thanks... read it in good health and pass along what you learn to others in kind> I have not received the book "Fishes for the Invertebrate Aquarium" yet, so Simon (the spotted mandarinfish) is still an "it". :-)  <actually, "her" name is Simone...your pictures came through fine this time> I got some Selcon....will let u know how it works. <an excellent elixir...keep refrigerated> since u are an expert with corals....would u identify this coral for me. it came with the rock, not realizing there was a coral on it. it is absolutely my favorite. <hmmm...good pics, but not close enough on the polyps for a definitive ID. If you can, send a close-up of a polyp and another picture of the polyps fully retracted into the corallites for a likely specific ID. In the meantime, it looks from gross anatomy to be a Poritid (Goniopora). But a better picture will help.> I look forward to hearing from u. Janelle p.s. how is it working for the mob? is it a lucrative job? ;-) <I could tell you that, but... <wink> Anthony>

Very strange coral Hi there, Thought you might find this little coral interesting. I was visiting a friend in Charleston over the weekend and came across this in his fossil display case. It's recent though, and he says it's called a "crawling coral". He bought it at a shop and says it was the only one they had, and the only one they ever had. Sorry there's no scale - the disc is about 1.5cm across. Know anything about it? Cheers,
<No... neat and bizarre. Will send around. Bob.F>

Can we ID this coral? - Does a bear bring a copy of Reef Invertebrates into the woods?!? 9/13/03 Hey gang at WWM, Top 'o the day from Denver.  Anthony, I know I should've researched before buying this piece____<---(insert slap here!) at any rate, I can't remember what the LFS called this stony coral, any thoughts? Thanks for your time, Scott in Denver (Stormbringer) <no worries this time, mate... you have a very fine, hardy sps coral there ... a Hydnophora (AKA Horn coral). Frags easily, tolerates a wide range of light... and easily eats larger zooplankton. Best regards, Anthony>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: