Heliofungia actiniformis

Common Names: Plate coral, long tentacle plate coral, mushroom coral, disc coral

Phylum: Cnidaria

Class: Anthozoa

Order: Scleractinia

Family: Fungiidae

Range: Indian Ocean: Southeastern India to Tropical Western Pacific, and from Australia north to Ryukyu Islands

Natural Environment: This is a free-living photosynthetic stony coral (except for juveniles) and is usually saucer-shaped. It is a single-polyped coral with one central, striped mouth and long anemone-like tentacles, which remain extended day and night.

Water Requirements: Calcium 380 to 430 ppm, alkalinity 3.5 meq/l, pH 8.1 to 8.2, specific gravity 1.023 to 1.026, phosphate <0.015 ppm, Mg approx. 1272 ppm, and a temperature range of 74° to 83°F (23° to 28°C).

Captive Care

Locate on sandy or coarse substrate in areas receiving bright light and moderate water movement. Even though photosynthetic, it should be fed at least once per week with meaty foodstuffs, e.g., fortified brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, products containing cyclops, and/or other marine diced/grated meaty foods. Its long tentacles are a good indicator that hand-feeding is important to the long-term health of this species. Feeding should be at times when tentacles are the most prominent, which normally is somewhat more during nighttime hours, but if that’s not feasible, any time the specimen takes the food will suffice.

Even though this coral is considered quite safe when it comes to damaging other corals it may come in contact with, it is itself rather sensitive to injury from other corals. Therefore, place in areas where other corals will not come in contact with it, and never place it on ledges where it can fall and be injured, as their recovery rate from injuries is somewhat dismal. And because of that, always look for a healthy undamaged specimen when shopping for an addition to your aquarium.