A Chalice of a Less-Medieval Kind

Over the weekend I acquired a new coral specimen for the reef.

13E27 Chalice 1

The blue, knobbly coral center at frame is a type of chalice (Family Pectiniidae), a colonial stony coral that grows in flat, plate-like shapes. Pectiniid corals grow well in reef aquariums. Most require moderate light and water flow, and although they benefit from “target feeding” of the individual heads (each of the lighter, almost yellow-colored, dots is a separate colony mouth) many can survive and thrive without such special care.

Mine, of course, is in the process of “retraining” to eat in daylight rather than at night, and so far it’s less intelligent than most in this regard. Still, perseverance leads to success, and I’m confident I’ll have it eating out of my hand (in this case, literally) within a month or so.

13E27 Chalice 2

Pectiniids do have stinging “sweeper tentacles” which they extend at night in search of food, so it’s important to place chalices in open areas. Otherwise, the neighboring corals may end up stung. The photos make it look as though this one sits directly on top of the faviid to its left and a cluster of green zoanthids on the right, but that’s a trick of the eye. In reality, this specimen sits several inches away from any others. I’ve never seen it extend its sweepers (they often don’t, if they’ve been fed) but there’s no point taking unnecessary risks.

I have a second Pectiniid, of a different species, on the opposite side of the tank, though that one looks quite different. It’s Latin name is Echinophyllia sp. – but I normally refer to it by its trade name (which is based on color): Miami Hurricane:

13E27 Miami Hurricanes

Do you prefer the bumpy blue with yellow spots or the colorful green with orange? If you have a reef (or if you’d like one) would you keep chalices in it?