News / Species Spotlight / Highly Underrated Coral - Flowerpot Corals (01/14/16)

Highly Underrated Coral - Flowerpot Corals

Flowerpot Corals are pretty amazing to see in an aquarium setting, but they have a reputation for being nearly impossible to keep. A large portion of the blame for why goes to an internet absolutely full of misinformation about how to successfully keep them alive. Generally the advice goes something like this: "Provide bright light, pristine water, feed every tentacle" etc. These instructions are a recipe for disaster.

Keeping Gonipora Successfully

In the wild, flowerpots are usually collected from fairly murky lagoon settings with a lot of suspended food. Try to imitate the wild condition. Providing an aquarium environment that has a gentle random flow pattern combined with a higher than average nutrient load is a great place to start. Next, ensure that the aquarium pH is on the high end of the natural range and is very consistent, with minimal swings from day to night. Like many Long Polyp Stony (LPS) corals, Goniporas require consistent food.

The perfect methodology would be to flood the system with planktonic foods occasionally, but this can cause some pretty serious spikes in nitrogen and phosphorous in the aquarium. Unless the display has superpowered filtration that is cleaned very frequently, a better way to manage this is with targeted feedings at least twice a week. Contrary to "common knowledge" there is no need to make sure that every polyp gets food at every feeding.

The last element to keeping Flowerpots alive and happy is light. They don't need a lot of it, but it should be a high quality, full spectrum source. We have had excellent results over multiple years applying this methodology and even have a good amount of budding reproduction happening in house (see image below). In the end, there is no "one right way" to do most things in this hobby, but if you follow these instructions, you have a great chance of being able to keep one of the most Highly Underrated Corals around.

In house sources: Eli Fleishauer, Adam Mangino