Although the members of family Faviidae make up the second largest group of stony corals, few people outside the aquarium hobby (and SCUBA divers) recognize them on sight.
Brain corals are faviids, as are many other, less quickly recognized species. They tend to be colorful, slow-growing, and fairly easy to raise in captivity (under proper conditions) which makes them ideal specimens for reefkeepers like me. Beaked fish, like triggers and parrotfish, frequently chew on stony corals, but since my aquarium hosts no coral eating species, I can indulge in a faviid or two.
One of my very first corals was a faviid (the species’s common name is “Pot of Gold”). Rare faviids can be expensive, so I bought only four “heads” (the faviid is the bluish/pink splotch below and to the right of Max):
Two years later, the colony has grown substantially larger (it’s the one on the right in the photo below), and shares its rock with two other faviids. The purple and chartreuse beauty in the center is “Dragon’s Revenge” and the blue and red one to its leftone of my favorites – but I can’t remember its name!
Here’s a closer shot of the blue and red:
Last weekend I noticed a beautiful new faviid colony at Your Reef (the local reef store where I buy all my corals and fish). The coloring reminded me of a watermelon, greenish around the colony walls and pink in the center (where the coral’s mouths are located). As it turned out, the store’s owner had never seen the species before either – but he sold it to me on the condition that I bring him back a “frag” (the term for a piece of a colony) when it had grown out enough to split.
I gladly agreed, and now I have a new favorite faviid:
My tank may be getting crowded, but there’s always room for something new and special on the reef!
What’s your favorite coral? Did you know about faviids? Would it surprise you to know that the skeleton underneath those colorful mouths is actually hard and razor-sharp – capable of cutting a diver’s hand like a razor?