The Frogspawn coral (Euphyllia divisa) is a crowd favorite when it comes to saltwater corals for reef aquarium. It is a large polyp stony coral owing its name to its multiple polyps resembling that of a mass of fish eggs or frog eggs. Frogspawn polyps stay out 24/7 which makes it great for viewing in a home tank.
They are also referred to as the Wall, Octopus, Grape or Honey Coral with regards to his multilocular polyps that form its surface. They exist in green,brown or tan colors and are visible during the day time as well as the night time.
Frogspawn coral is a species that can be found in a variety of places around the world. Australia, Fiji, Southeast Asia, the Soloman Island, and the Ryukyu Islands are all spots where Euphyllia divisa can be commonly found.
At the end of the day they raise their tentacles to up to 6 inches beyond its base, attacking the neighboring corals in the aquarium. It is for this reason that these corals are kept away with ample distance between the neighboring corals.
As much as it adds beauty and value to your reef aquarium, maintaining and tending to it is quite a task, especially if you are someone who isn’t well –versed with the corals.
This article aims to help you with How to maintain your Frogspawn coral under optimum conditions, the Do’s and the Don’ts of it:
How to care for frogspawn
Here are 3 main points one needs to keep in mind about taking care of your Frogspawn coral:
- Proper light and water flow
- Water composition and conditions
Light and water flow
Before we begin one should know that the ideal tank size for frogspawn coral is at least 30 gallons.
In a saltwater aquarium or any artificial setup for that matter ,it is essential to recreate the light and warmth ideal for coral growth. Out in the sea and oceans, the sun provides ample light and warmth and the currents of the sea bring in nutrients and washes away the waste.
To recreate this on an artificially built reef aquarium isn’t an easy task but nevertheless important to ensure proper growth and sustenance of the corals, Aquarium pumps and power-heads are used to create an almost-natural water flow in aquariums, while LED lights are used to help with the replacement of sunlight.
The Frogspawn coral will require a moderate water flow for its survival, for a high flow of water flow will cause the coral polyps to retract leading to tear or damage of it. On the other hand too slow a flow will deprive the coral of adequate oxygen supply and subsequent disintegration of the coral.
Moderate to heavy lighting is considered ideal for growth of Frogspawn. Intense lighting may cause the coral to bleach, while low lighting leads to its starvation. Under a strong reef lighting, it is advised to place your Frogspawn at the bottom of the tank , or on the outer perimeter of the aquarium light, make sure it is not placed directly under the strong light. If you have a small nano aquarium with relatively weak LED lights, you may need the coral to be closer to the middle, to receive adequate light.
As mentioned earlier, since Frogspawn tend to extend their “sweeper tentacles” and attack neighbouring corals, an ideal coral placement is to ensure adequate space between your Frogspawn coral and other corals in the aquarium. To be on the safer side it is said to have a minimum of 6 inches of distance on either, side between two adjacent corals. This is commonly referred to as the “6 inches rule” and need to be strictly adhered to.
Yet another point to remember is to not place the Frogspawn coral in areas with high water flow if you want to keep down the growth of the sweeper tentacles. High flow leads to stimulated growth of these tentacles.
Acclimation is the key to sustain the corals, one cannot expect to have a perfect placement and lighting for the coral right away.
It is suggested that it is best to scale back your aquarium lights and gradually increase the intensity to help your coral better acclimate to the conditions in your saltwater aquarium. If there is significantly more or less intense lighting ,more or less water flow, the change might stress your coral hence make sure to be careful while setting them up.
Water composition and conditions
It is a no-brainer that the corals need a clean, optimally conditioned water to survive. What are these optimum water conditions we keep talking about? Here’s what it is:
- Temperature: 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5-27.8 C)
- pH: 8.2
- Alkalinity: 8-12
- Calcium: 400 ppm
- Salinity(measured as specific gravity): 1.025
- Ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites = 0
It’s always recommended to use a reliable water test kit on a regular basis to ensure that the water parameters stay within recommended levels. This will allow you to take care of any unexpected level shifts in the parameters, so that they can be rectified before it causes some serious damage.
In their natural habitat, this coral gets its nutrients from organic matter and food particles that get caught. It also utilizes algae as another great source of nutrition.
The Frogspawn coral houses tiny organisms within its body called zooxanthellae. These zooxanthellae are essential to provide nutrition for the coral by means of harnessing the light power to sugars (basically does the photosynthesis for the coral). But one cannot complete dependent on these zooxanthellae for its nutrition.
A technique called ‘spot feeding’ is followed where you take a device like the Sea Squirt or Julian’s Thing and drop some small, meaty foods on the polyps. The key or the ‘trick’ here is to match the food particle size with what the coral wants to eat For continued good health, it will also require the addition of calcium, strontium, and other trace elements to the water. It will also benefit from additional food in the form of micro-plankton or brine shrimp.
Propagation of coral is something all aquarium owners try to understand in order to grow their corals naturally at their home aquarium. Before you begin, it’s important to understand the kind of Euphyllia divisa you have. If you have the wall type then this will be a bit more challenging (though not impossible). The branching type is usually more receptive to this process.
To start, identify a healthy piece of coral with solid coloration, good polyp visibility, and no visible damage.
Take a saw and remove a couple inches from the healthy piece. Make sure your saw is sharp and easy to use. Bad tools often lead to unnecessary damage during the cutting process.
Next step is to pick a proper location to place the harvested piece a medium to high spot in the aquarium with light and buffer space is ideal. Anchor the piece to a rock or plug and make sure it gets adequate light and water flow!
Possible problems to look out for with Frogspawn coral
- Aggression between coral species make sure to have adequate buffer space between corals to avoid any untoward aggression between the two corals.
- Polyps being nipped resident saltwater fish
- Polyps not opening-up this indicates that something is wrong with the coral and requires immediate action.
- Check your water levels, parameters and lighting.
- Physical damage due to handling physical damage during handling or moving them may make them weak.
- Always handle them with extreme caution.
- Brown jelly infections The Frogspawn coral is prone to brown jelly infections. A brown jelly infection tends to be the result of two factors: physical damage to the coral, followed by the opportunistic infection with a protozoan or other disease agent that causes the rapid loss of polyps, and often, the entire colony
- Bleaching when placed directly under the white-hot aquarium lights, the corals may undergo bleaching–which is where the coral expels the photosynthetic symbiotic zooxanthellae. Depending on how serious the bleaching and stress are, the coral can sometimes be nursed back.
Adding the stellar Frogspawn coral to your aquarium sure does add a dash of mesmerizing effect and beauty to your set-up. At the same time, it is important to spend enough time and energy to taking care of the coral to ensure its healthy and long-surviving. As long as you follow the basic care guidelines and stay consistent, you’ll be enjoying its stunning visual appeal for quite some time.