The Elegance Coral, Catalaphyllia jardinei, is an awesome LPS coral for the mixed reef tank. This elegant coral is an anemone look-alike and has long, flowing tentacles, although it is more closely related to the frogspawn, torch, and hammer corals than it is to anemones. Several different color morphs/varieties are available, so if you shop around, you can find the perfect individual specimen for the look you crave.
Let’s dive right in to guide how to care for the Elegance coral in a saltwater aquarium.
Table of contents
Quick care guide facts
- Scientific Name: Catalaphyllia jardinei
- Common Names: Elegance coral, Elegant coral, Wonder coral, or Ridge coral
- Minimum Tank Size: 30-gallons
- Aggression Level: Aggressive – Elegance corals will sting any neighbors within reach with sweeper tentacles
- Compatibility: Extremely compatible with other Euphyllia species (torch, frogspawn, etc.)
- Care Level: Moderate
- Lighting: Moderate
- Flow: Moderate
- Feeding recommended: yes, target feeding of small, meaty zoo-plankton-like foods is recommended.
- Calcium supplementation: yes, supplement to maintain calcium > 400 ppm
The Elegance coral may reach an adult size of 12x 8 in the wild, with tentacles extending out an additional 6 inches. Suffice it to say, this is a fairly large coral, which you should consider when placing it in your tank.
Catalaphyllia jardinei also has sweeper tentacles, which are tentacles specialized in stinging and destroying–so be sure to give it wide berth and room to grow in your tank if you want to avoid coral warfare in your tank. The Elegance Coral is hardy and relatively easy to take care of, making it an attractive addition for the average reef tank.
In the wild, these majestic invertebrates can be found in the Great Barrier Reef around Australia and some areas near Japan, Vanuatu, Micronesia, and Mozambique.
Because this coral will grow to a relatively large size, if healthy, the Elegance Coral is typically best suited to larger tanks around 90-100 gallons in size, under the assumption that you would like to keep this coral along with several other coral species. If you wish to keep this coral in a smaller tank, consider making this coral the focal point and give lots of room to grow.
For more information about recommended reef aquarium water parameters, check out this article here, or for more information about the best reef aquarium salt mixes, check out this article here.
Feeding the Elegance coral
The Elegance Coral is photosynthetic, which means commensal photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae, live inside its body tissue and provide some nutrition by harvesting the energy in the light much like a plant. They will also benefit from regular feedings.
What should you feed your elegance coral?
Your coral will greedily accept soft, meaty foods. A few notable foods are krill, mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, or small pieces of fish, shrimp, or shellfish.
Care should be given to the size of what you feed this coral–with preference given to high-quality foods that are relatively smaller in size. An Elegance Coral may greedily accept a larger food, but if the food is too large to reach the digestive tract, it may be regurgitated later.
For more information about feeding corals like the elegance coral, check out this article.
Behavior and tankmates for a stinging LPS coral
Clownfish and other species that tend to host in anemones are are excellent tank mates for Catalaphyllia jardinei. If you’re lucky, these animals may take a liking to them and make it their home. Some specimens will tolerate this well, while others may seem bothered by it.
The Elegance coral has relatively large sweeper tentacles that will sting neighboring corals, so it’s best to provide a lot of free space around it. The tentacles will extend ~6 inches around the base–and the base will continue to grow over time (hopefully), so be sure to give it ample room to grow or be prepared for your neighboring corals to get ZAPPED.
You will also want to keep this coral away from other corals with potent sweepers to prevent it from getting damaged.
Avoid keeping this coral with fish species that are notorious polyp nippers–since the Elegance Coral may be the target of their nipping desire.
Lighting requirements for a large polyped stony coral
Catalaphyllia jardinei requires a moderately high amount of light to support photosynthesis, but it does not require strong light. LEDs, fluorescent, or other reef-caliber lights will be sufficient. You want to aim for a PAR of about 80-120. PAR stands for Photosynthetically Available Radiation, which is how you would measure the quality of the light.
Elegance coral placement
Like most other LPS corals with large, fleshy polyps, EC’s tend to do best with just a moderate water flow. Higher water flows will cause the tentacles to remain retracted and small, or else they may get damaged and ripped.
It is not healthy for the Elegance coral to keep its tentacles retracted for long periods of time. An individual specimen with retracted polyps is likely to starve.
In the wild, Catalaphyllia jardinei is often found on a soft, sandy substrate, so if you are looking to replicate their natural environment, in terms of substrate and lighting, the best placement for your specimen would be at the bottom of the tank, on a sandy substrate.
Of course, that is not the only place you can keep them. Many aquarists have had success attaching them to live rock, as well.
With that said, they need to be placed in that part of your tank where they will get a moderate flow and have unshaded access to moderate-intensity light.
Water flow is important in every reef tank for every coral. Since this coral has large (remember, they’re elegant, right?) fleshy polyps, the key descriptor here is moderate. Think goldy locks and the three bears. You don’t want the flow to be too hard or too soft. Just right means the tentacles are flowing gently, like leaves in a light wind. Too little and Elegant corals will not thrive. Too much flow, and you risk tearing the delicate polyps.
Elegance coral tips and advice
If you are thinking about adding an elegant coral to your tank, here are a few Elegance coral tips:
- Look at the coral polyps carefully before purchasing and avoid buying a specimen with polyps that were damaged in transit–sometimes, these corals don’t recover from serious injuries like that.
- Don’t forget that corals are animals, not plants, and this coral likes to eat–so be sure to feed it regularly to get the best growth.
- Give it space to grow into that even a year or two from now will still be far enough away that it can’t sting its neighbors.
Want to learn more about Elegance corals? Watch this video:
What to read next
If you are looking for other LPS corals with similar care requirements, check out:
If you are looking for a hardy Large Polyp Stony (LPS) that looks great and is relatively easy to care for, the Elegance Coral (or Elegant Coral, if you prefer) is a good choice. Keep lighting and water flow moderate and give it space to grow.
Enough from me. Now it is your turn. Do you have an Elegance Coral in your tank? Show it off and post your picture in the comments below.