Chalice Corals: Adding Color, Dimension and Beauty
Over the last 20 years, I have seen many new species of corals come into the aquarium trade. Long gone are the days where green star polyps, xenia, mushrooms and frogspawn are the defining coral species of reef aquariums. One of the most overlooked LPS (large polyp stony) and misunderstood corals in the hobby is the beautiful, colorful Chalice Coral!
Until fairly recently, little was known about Chalice corals and still there are mixed reviews on the ideal placement, lighting and flow of these corals. As an avid collector of Chalices, I have found that Chalices thrive with the following conditions:
- Placement: Horizontal and low to middle placement in the aquarium. Leave ample room for growth as they can be aggressive towards neighboring corals. Do not place directly on the sand bed as damaged tissue can occur if substrate settles on the chalice.
- Lighting: Low to medium light. These corals will show vast color variations based on lighting. I have a Mummy Eye Chalice that is generally beautiful shades of green, orange and pinks. The higher the light, the more dominant the orange becomes; as lower light accents the vibrant greens instead.
- Flow: Chalices require low, indirect flow. Too much flow can damage tissue and inhibit growth.
- Growth: This is highly dependent on water parameters and feeding. Like many other LPS corals, Chalices thrive in a higher nutrient aquarium. SPS dominant systems are sometimes too “clean” for Chalices to grow. Target feeding with meaty foods or other filter feeding foods can stimulate faster growth.
So if you are looking for a unique coral with unmatched color combinations and patterns to add to your LPS collection, don’t overlook the beautiful Chalice coral.