With its long tentacles and intricate nervous system, the Green FlowerPot Coral (Goniopora sp) is a marvel of nature to be revered and enjoyed.
Just like its name suggests, the Goniopora Flower Pot Coral has large polyp stony or LPS coral, that, when open, this stunning and delicate coral mimics the appearance of a bouquet of daisies. The appearance of this beautiful coral conceals its aggressive behavior, many individual coral polyps, (anemone-like animals that secrete a skeleton), form colonies which join together at the base of the skeleton.
These corals also go by the colorful names of Sunflower Corals and Ball Corals. Another interesting fact about the Flower Pot Coral is that their nervous system is very elaborate. As a defensive mechanism, if one side of the coral is touched, it sends impulses to the rest of the coral, and the other parts will pull in their tentacles.
The Flower Pot Coral is a very popular import from Indonesia, were it is quite common. Because they have similarly elongate polyps with daisy-like heads, this distinctive coral are often grouped together by aquarists.
All species of Goniopora are a challenge to care within a reef aquarium. This type of coral is not recommended for novice aquarium hobbyist.
Through evolution, the Goniopora Corals, like other large polyp stony (LPS) corals, have developed intricate feeding strategies. Which includes; having a symbiotic relationship with marine algae, known as zooxanthellae, from which they receive much of their nutrients, and the Goniopora Corals capture planktonic organisms, food particles from the water column, and absorb dissolved organic matter. One also must beware that this species of coral are infamously finicky eaters that sometime require direct target feeding.
Reef building hard corals such as the Flowerpot Coral require proper calcium carbonate levels in the tank in order to build a strong skeletal structure. Zooxanthellae supply the Goniopora Coral's polyps with needed oxygen and food, and are responsible for the color of the corals In return, the corals provide a protected living area for the zooxanthellae.
In captivity, these corals benefit from liquid nutrients like Marine Snow, Phytoplex, as well as, lipid-rich phytoplankton substitutes. The Goniopora Coral would also consume Zooplankton, but it is not a good idea to serve that as a main food source. Phytoplankton could provide this coral 1/2 of its daily nutritional requirements.
People are often drawn to Goniopora specimens because of this coral's long, exquisite and stunning polyp, which guarantees to make this species the centerpiece in any aquarium.