Common Names: Meat coral, wrinkle coral, lobed brain coral, brain coral, open brain coral, flat brain coral, red brain coral, modern coral, large flower coral
Range: Indo-West Pacific and Red Sea, including western, northern, and eastern coasts of Australia east to Tahiti, and north to southern Japan
Natural Environment: This attractive photosynthetic stony coral is usually found in the clear waters along protected upper reef slopes and fore-reef slopes, and is sometimes found covering extensive areas, e.g., 5 to 10 meters across.
Water Requirements: Calcium 380 to 430 ppm, alkalinity 3.5 meq/l, pH 8.1 to 8.2, specific gravity 1.024 to 1.026, NO3 <15 ppm, Mg approx. 1272 ppm, phosphate < .015 ppm, and a temperature range of 75° to 83°F (24° to 28°C).
This is a hardy and disease-free stony coral that is commonly available, often in different shades of color. It is also a very good coral for those fairly new to reefkeeping, as its care requirements are quite simple. This species should be placed where water movement is slow to moderate, and lighting, either from metal halides or fluorescent lamps in the range of 3 to 5 watts per gallon, is directly available. Also, since it is somewhat non-aggressive, it should be placed where other, more aggressive corals will not come in contact with it.
If placed high in the aquarium, it should be so situated that bulldozing critters will not dislodge it. Falling injuries do not seem to heal very well and can lead to infections and/or microalgae infestations that cause tissue recession. However, when placed in the correct environmental conditions, growth is quite fast.
Feeding tentacles are usually displayed during evening hours, but sometimes they are seen throughout the daytime. Should increased growth be desired, direct feeding during the time periods when feeding tentacles are displayed can be attempted. Zooplankton-type products such as rotifers, newly hatched brine shrimp, or cyclops can be offered, yet I would recommend limiting feeding attempts to no more than once every few weeks. Specimens I’ve fed more often have taken on odd shapes, with tissue expanding and hanging/drooping loosely in some areas. When feeding stopped altogether, this tissue regained its original shape. In fact, I’ve found this oversupply of foodstuffs to cause similar shape changes in some other species.