Blastomussa Merletti Coral (Blastomussa Merletti) are an attractive hardy LPS, which is why its such a must to any serious reef aficionado.
The Australian Big Polyp Blastomussa Coral is commonly referred to as the Pineapple, Branched Cup or simple as the Blastomussa coral. This is a very passive coral, that does not have long sweeper tentacles and, which once established, is a moderately hard coral, this has given the Blastomussa Coral a great reputation for doing well in established reef aquariums that already has established coral colonies of other species.
The fact that this coral requires a low water current and a moderate light level make it an ideal species for a home salt water aquarium.
The body of the Blastomussa Coral contains the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae from which it receives the majority of its nutritional requirements through photosynthesis. It does not require additional food to maintain its health in the reef aquarium, but it will feed on zooplankton or foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates. Note that the Blastomussa Coral benefits greatly from the addition of calcium, strontium, and other trace elements of the water.
This coral is a large polyp stony (LPS) coral that will form round, swollen discs when it grows. Due to its resemblance to mushroom anemones, Blastomussa corals are often confused with other brain and mushroom corals. The purple variety of the species has a unique purple coloration that surrounds each polyp's vibrant green. The red variety of the species has a unique red coloration that surrounds each polyp's vibrant green center. Both of these corals will create a visual appeal in any home aquarium. This coral also benefits from the addition of calcium, strontium, and other trace elements to the water column.
The Blastomussa Coral colonies are phaceloid to plocoid, and consist of a few to large numbers of corallites. Corallites that are less than 7mm diameter without long sweeper tentacles.
Note that this Australian beauty has extraordinarily large polyps, and grows in fused, tubular clusters in a similar manner to its close relative Blastomussa merletti. The majority of these corals were harvested in Australia, quarantined and given a health inspection before being exported into throughout the rest of the world.
Within the Blastomussa family there are only two subspecies, Blastomussa merleti and Blastomussa wellsi. The main difference in these two corals is the size of their polyp. B. wellsi has a a good deal larger polyp much like a mushroom or a ricordia. B. merleti has a smaller polyp much like a zoanthid. Both of these subspecies are very passive and have very short sweeper tentacles.
It is very much of an undemanding coral, it has been known to grow as many as 5 additional heads within a 2 month period. All by applying a lot of tender loving care.
The Australian Big Polyp Blastomussa cover vast aquatic regions throughout the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Rim they are rarely found within American waters. The species is not endangered but does face moderate threat. This is mostly due to; coral bleaching, ocean acidification, climate change, habitat and over-fishing damage. Trade in the Australian Big Polyp Blastomussa was halted by the European Union in 2000 when the scientific basis of the export quotas for this species was questioned and is currently on review by regulators.
The fossil history of the Blastomussa genus dates back to the Pleistocene period which occurred approximately 1.8 million years ago. Molecular analysis of the Australian Big Polyp Blastomussa by Fukami et al. (2008) placed it in a clade with members of the Faviidae family (genus Plesiastrea) and Euphyllidae family (genus Physogyra and Plerogyra).