Torch (Caulastrea) Coral Care

How To Care For Torch Coral

Class Anthozoa, Order Scleractinia, Family Faviidae, Genus Caulastrea
Common Names: torch coral, candy cane coral, candy coral, trumpet coral, bullseye coral, cat’s eye coral
Natural Origin: Indo-Pacific

Torch corals are fairly easy to care for and are great beginner corals since they are able to live in a wide range of water conditions. They are a large polyp stony coral with long, flowing fleshy polyps that extend from a calcified (stony) base. Due to photosynthetic organisms that reside inside these corals called zooxanthellate which can produce a glow in certain conditions, they have a tendency to resemble a torch in lower to moderate water flow which is where they get their name.

Torch Coral Sensitivity

(Level 1 to 2): Sensitivity will depend somewhat on the individual coral but most Caulastrea (Torch Coral) are quite tolerant and forgiving.

Feeding Torch Coral

It is not necessary to feed torch corals since they have impressive prey capture ability and will usually pick up anything floating around in the flow. They should be fed a variety of meaty sea foods (chopped fish, squid, krill, brine shrimp, etc.) If the coral seems reluctant to fully display feeding tentacles, a few weeks of careful target feeding may help.

While target feeding, turn off circulation so that the food can fall onto the coral. Give the coral an hour or two to “grab hold” of the food, then turn water flow back on. Doing this for a few days should result in the he coral regularly extending its feeding tentacles in anticipation of feeding.

Torch Coral Lighting

(Level 5 to 7): Appropriate lighting depends on the species, but most prefer moderate lighting. Animals from deeper water may suffer under really intense light. If your coral begins to bleach, try moving it to a less intensely lit area of the tank.

Torch Coral Water Flow

Like most large polyp stony corals, moderate water flow is preferred. If the water current is too fast their polyps will remain under inflated and retracted since they are prone to rip and tear in higher currents.

Torch Coral Placement

Caulastrea are very aggressive corals. They can extend stinging sweeper tentacles up to several inches long and will sting anything within reach with its nematocysts. Please place with care and give them room for future growth, at least 10 inches from any other coral.

Torch Coral Growth

When healthy and well fed, these corals can grow quite quickly and reach widths up to 10 inches in an aquarium. Colonies of several polyps are especially easy to fragment and propagate. Slow tissue recession could be a sign of starvation. Regular target feeding might help if this is the case.

Common Problems With Keeping Torch Coral

Torch coral dying – Slow tissue recession could be a sign of starvation. Regular target feeding might help if this is the case.

Torch coral not opening or extending – Torch coral can be very sensitive to lighting and water flow. If you run into this situation your coral may be reacting to your lighting so move it to the sandbed in very low flow and low light.

Torch coral skeleton showing – if this is a new addition to your tank, give it some time to adjust. It is common for some torch coral to recede far back into its skeleton and then after a few day will fully extend. Also, check your calcium, magnesium, and alkaline readings to make sure your tanks is in proper range.

Torch coral spitting out brown stuff – nothing to worry about. Most likely the brown discharge is expelled waste or extra symbiotic algae that the coral is no longer using. One other cause may be stress from being too close to the lights: try setting it lower, and bringing it up gradually over several weeks.

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