Quick Care Facts
Care Level: Moderate
Placement: Middle to Top
Color Form: green, brown, tan, pink
Supplements: Calcium, Strontium, Trace Elements
Water Conditions: 72-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Origin: Indo-Pacific, Fiji
Species: SPS Hard Corals
The Cauliflower Coral also known as Pocillopora damicornis is a Small Polyp Stony or SPS coral. They go by a by a number of names including: Lace Coral, Cluster Coral and Brush Coral. They come in a variety of colors, such as green, brown, tan or pink fluorescent color forms. Cauliflower Corals are considered an intermediate level coral and require an owner with reef aquarium experience.
The Cauliflower Coral needs moderate to high lighting and strong water currents as it is photosynthetic and a filter feeder. The Cauliflower Coral requires solid water parameters, which usually means a well established reef tank. They will grow quickly in aquariums with adequate lighting and filter feeding opportunities.
Filter feeding species like the Cauliflower Coral should be kept in mature reef aquariums that have ecosystems capable of supporting the micro-plankton organisms on which most filter feeding species feed. The Cauliflower Coral should be placed in a location on the reef to ensure that it receives plenty of moderate to high intensity lighting and so that it is well situated within the water column to filter food from the passing currents.
Water flow should be strong and intermittent, not directly focused on the coral so that it does not create a constant pounding on the coral. Cauliflower Corals will spread onto nearby reef rock and will grow upwards and outwards, but do not extend larger sweeper tentacles that would damage nearby neighbors.
They are considered to be a semi-aggressive coral species, which means that they do not have long sweeper tentacles but do grow outward towards their neighbors. They should be placed in an area on the reef where their “hairs” do not touch their neighbors and where their neighbors tentacles do not touch the Cauliflower Coral. As they use calcium to build out their skeletal structure, Cauliflower Corals will need calcium levels to remain steady between 400 – 440.
Consistent high quality water with low nitrates, phosphates and silicates is crucial to their long term health, along with proper water changes and replenishment of trace elements from time to time as their levels decrease. Once acclimated into the aquarium, the Cauliflower Coral is considered one of the more hardy SPS coral species.
Feeding & Nutrition
Cauliflower Corals are a filter feeding species, that in the wild catch plankton and other small organisms from the water column using their hair-like tentacles. In the aquarium environment, they will need to be provided with plenty of strong in-direct water flow from which they can filter plankton, micro-organisms, baby brine shrimp, cyclopeeze and other foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates.
Well established reef aquariums may contain enough naturally occuring micro-plankton to satisfy the needs of the Cauliflower Coral; however, most reef aquariums will require supplemental feedings twice per week. Cauliflower Corals also receive a good portion of their nutrition from the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae hosted within their body, so they will need moderate to strong lighting.