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  • Candy Cane Coral October Coral of the Month

    Family: Faviidae
    Genus: Caulastrea
    Species: Furcata
    Common names: Candy Cane Coral, Trumpet Coral, Torch Coral, Bullseye Coral

    Size: Polyp size is normally around 1Ē. It is considered an LPS (Large Polyp Stony) coral. Normally only one or two polyps will be present per stalk, with many stalks combined at the base to form the complete coral.

    Required Aquarium Conditions: Low-High Light, Low-Medium Flow. C. Furcata is tolerant of low-moderate water quality. Because of this, it is considered one of the best beginners corals. It will thrive with high light, but can be successfully kept even under normal output florescent bulbs as long as it is placed very high in the aquarium. Very high output bulbs such as metal halides have the potential to overwhelm the coral if it is placed too high and in direct light. C. Furcata prefers indirect surging flow instead of a direct current that can damage it's soft tissue.

    Feeding: C. Furcata builds its skeleton out of primarily calcium. Because of this, it requires sufficient levels of calcium, strontium, and many other trace elements to be in the aquarium water. While these requirements are not as stringent as most other types of LPS, they should not be overlooked. C. Furcata receives most of its food from light due to a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, which is a strain of photosynthetic algae. For C. Furcata to truly thrive, it should also be fed a variety of meaty foods such as frozen food and mysid shrimp. C. Furcata generally feeds at night, and will greatly expand just before the lights turn on while spreading most of its tentacles in a flower like fashion.

    Location and Geographic Range: C. Furcata is widely distributed, mostly around Figi, Tonga, and the Great Barrier Reef. It is generally found in shallow sandy areas with surging water. Ironically, sand in the aquarium generally seems to irritate the polyps.

    Coloration: C. Furcata is known as the Candy Cane Coral due to it's striped peppermint like appearance. In the wild the most common coloration is brown with a blue inner center and white stripes. In the aquarium more colorful strains are usually colonized. These vary from different shades of blue, green, yellow, purple, and red.

    Coral Compatibility: C. Furcata is a relatively docile coral. It has very short sweeper cells that normally do not reach over 2Ē. It can be damaged or killed by many more aggressive corals if placed too close to them. When placed close enough for the sweeper tentacles to come into contact with other corals, C. Furcata is able to do significant damage.

    Fragging: C. Furcata is a very simple coral to frag. Using either a bone shear or bone saw, cut the coral as low as possible at the base or on one of its branches. Stay as far from the actual polyp as you can. Some people just break the coral apart by hand.

    Other Notes: Most of the common names for C. Furcata actually more accurately describe different corals, Candy Cane Coral being the exception. Zoanthids seem to live harmoniously with C. Furcata, sometimes even growing in between the polyps.

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