Sun Coral Tubastrea are one of the most versatile and beautiful marine aquarium additions on this planet! These stunning ocean creatures get their name from their vivid yellow tentacles that rise out of the polyp like the sun at dawn when it is time for them to feed. Several guides online claim that these corals are hard to maintain and are not suitable for beginners. We at Aquarium Depot believe that this is completely wrong. Using our method you can make your sun coral bloom at the same time every day, giving your tank a radiant display of life at the bottom of the ocean.
Sun Corals are non-photosynthetic corals that usually have an orange to pink polyp body and bright yellow tentacles that come out during feeding time. They live in small to medium clumps and grow on a shared tissue base.
These corals are extremely popular with coral farmers and marine aquarium enthusiasts. We at Aquarium depot love them too. Their shape and size are perfect for aquariums of any size and add a lot of color and aesthetic beauty to your aquarium.
Since they are non-photosynthetic, they do not multiply within the aquarium. This makes it easy to confine them to a base. They are not unruly and will stick to the rock back you provide them. Having them multiply all over your aquarium is not a concern because of this. This makes them very beginner-friendly as there is not much maintenance required in that department.
As for feeding, this is where the true spirit of these creatures comes to light. Like an obedient pet, they are used to feeding at the same time every day in their natural environment. This is seen as a problem for many but a simple hack will save you a lot of trouble.
Using our Polyp Booster is the secret to this process. Turn off the pumps in your aquarium and dust a little polyp booster over these corals. This entices them to feed and the tentacles extend looking for food. Repeat this process over the course of the next few days, and voila! By the third or fourth day, you will notice the tentacles extending at the same time, even before the polyp booster. Their internal clock goes off to let them know it is feeding time, causing them to bloom in anticipation.
Sun Corals are extremely robust too and show a remarkable ability to regenerate. A small mishap could prove fatal to more delicate coral species but not the sun coral. In fact, this article shows how these beautiful creatures have taken over the Brazilian coast.
Sun corals are classified as smallmouth corals and hence the best food for them would be a diluted mixture of our reef roid powder and water. This forms a wholesome and nutritious meal for them. They could also be fed the water of defrosted shrimp using a turkey baster.
Coral Food: Easy recipe & guide – how the pros do it every day.
Coral Food – What they need, what they like & how to make it!
Coral Food: We know that corals eat in the wild and yet some forget that corals eating in captivity is the job of the caretakers. We must take responsibility for directly providing coral food daily. Target feeding or supplying a large amount of free swimming foods are your best options.
Target feeding coral food requires patience, dedication and preparation of the food source. You can buy premixed frozen foods or you can make your own by following the recipe at the bottom of the post. Typically it is best when targeting feeding to turn of the pumps so that the animals have the best possible chance of catching their dinner as it goes by, but it is critical to remember to turn the pumps back on within an hour. Unless proper, well functioning skimmers and clean up crews are in place, any leftover food will quickly breakdown into waste and cause excess algae growth.
Supplying a buffet of coral food will frustrate the perfectionist as this approach almost insures excess algae growth etc. It is an easier approach by simply adding phytoplankton, pods, rotifers etc to the system on a daily/weekly basis but the excess load can encourage excess algae growth. Once again – proper well performing skimmer and clean up crew do go a long way in nutrient export and will assist in keeping the algae growth to a minimum in most cases.
There are issues with both options as with anything. Remember – we are attempting to house a closed eco system within our living room, replicating nature will increase our success substantially.
Typically I examine the oral area of the coral. If it looks big, chances are strong it will eat BIG food particles. You can start with smaller food and work up!
LARGE MOUTHS: ie ANEMONES, OPEN BRAINS
APPROPRIATE CORAL FOOD SOURCE: THAWED SILVER SIDE FISH, KRILL, MYSIS SHRIMP
MEDIUM MOUTHS: ie: HAMMER, TORCH, FROG SPAWN, CANDY CANE, SUN CORALS, SHROOMS
APPROPRIATE CORAL FOOD SOURCE: MYSIS SHRIMP, BLENDED MIXTURE (RECIPE BELOW)
SMALL MOUTHS: ie: ZOANTHIDS, PALYTHOA
APPROPRIATE CORAL FOOD SOURCE: BLENDED MIXTURE (RECIPE BELOW), ZOPLANKTON
MICRO MOUTHS: ie: ACROS, GORGONIAN
APPROPRIATE CORAL FOOD SOURCE: PHYTOPLANKTON
Prepare your food based upon what they need.
BLENDED FOOD SOURCE:
In kitchen blender, add thawed mysis shrimp, krill, blood shrimp, cyclopeze, vitamins, HUFA. This mixture can be stored by freezing in slabs or kept in refrigerator in a airtight container turkey baste it on to them with the pumps OFF. I usually leave the pumps off for about 1-1.5 hours.
I like the ZoPlan and PhytoPlan by Two Little Fishies. Other people swear by DT’s Phytoplankton- Find a source for phytoplankton and your filter feeders will be forever grateful! Many large mouths corals love Copepods. Below is a photo I took several years ago of my dendrophyllia eating amphipods & copepods. It doubled in size in less than a month by enjoying these yummy treats! I have also fed Live Pods to Anemones, Blastomussa, Scolys, Chalices & Lord Acans just to name a few.
Dendrophyllia eating pods
I have included a handy guide for preparing coral food below. Enjoy!
A Helpful Guide to feeding Corals
Sun Corals are NON photosynthetic – meaning that they do not need sunshine for life – but they must have meaty foods & flow.
Sun Corals are some of the coolest corals available within the coral market because they will eat and eat, and once they are in the habit of eating at an exact time, they will extend their “fingers” at the exact time EVERY day!! It is easier to train a sun coral than some children!!
My sun coral is pretty accustomed to eating every day around 9:30pm. However it will extend whenever you put any food in the tank. I blend up some mysis shrimp, krill, blood shrimp, cyclopeze, vitamins, HUFA and turkey baste it on to them with the pumps OFF. I usually leave the pumps for about 1-1.5 hours. Just don’t forget to turn them back on! 🙂
You can also feed them defrosted mysis shrimp with the turkey baster or pieces of silver sides. They LOVE to eat.
Please remember when you are feeding sun corals, anything that is not eaten will break down into YUCK – which if left in your tank will raise your nitrates, phosphates and cause issues. So… make sure you have a good protein skimmer and plenty of clean up crew to remove leftover food & waste.
Here are the easy steps to follow:
1. Tempt the coral with a VERY diluted mixture of mysis shrimp (just the liquid from the shrimp) no actual shrimp. Defrost the mysis shrimp in saltwater and then using a turkey baster gently blow the liquid around the sun coral. Do not remove the coral from its place in the tank – which is why I say dilute the liquid mysis very heavily. Do this every day at the same time for 2-3 days.
2. By the third day, you should see the coral beginning to extend it “fingers” – they are sticky and will catch meaty substance for eating. You can begin to add some pieces of mysis into the water mixture – I generally slow the current down so that the coral has ample opportunity to catch the food.
3. Feed daily at the same time – if you want the coral to be active and pretty in the day time – make it a noon feeding time.
Position in the tank: they like moderate flow (to catch stuff as it goes by) and LOW light. On the reef they are under ledges, etc….
Check Out this Neat Guide we put together:
Love Your Sun Corals – Feed Them