Seasoned reef enthusiasts view the Red War Coral (Favites pentagona) as the perfect aquarium filler. It is a relatively abundant and hearty coral, and this gem has a rich velvet color on the outside and the inner head oozes with a rich turquoise.
The Favites Corals are a large polyp stony (LPS) corals that closely resemble the human brain and therefore often referred to as Brain, Closed Brain, Pineapple or Honeycomb Coral. The Favites Corals are known to be extremely aggressive, expanding their sweeper tentacles at night that journey well beyond the base of the colony.
They are the most common and prolific coral in the world, and are very similar to the genus Favia, sharing some of the same common names, and this at times makes it difficult to differentiate between the two unique species. Favites Corals are found in a variety of color forms and polyp shapes.
The Favites Coral require moderate lighting combined with moderate water movement within the aquarium. For continued good health, calcium, strontium, and other trace elements should periodically be added to the water. This precarious species of coral would benefit from the addition of supplemental food in the form of micro-plankton or brine shrimp, fed twice per week in the evening while its tentacles are visible.
The Favites Coral tend to be submassive to encrusting, sometimes forming irregular columns within the colony. When the tissue is recessed at night, on the Favia corals you can see two "sets" of walls between the calices (centers). Being fused, the walls of Favites Corals are also higher and they are shaped more polygonal and uneven.
Most species of Favites Coral have considerable prey capture ability. All have feeder tentacles to be reckoned with. Just like all species of coral, they do take time to get situated unto a new environment and would take as long as a few weeks to settle in to a new home.
They should be fed at night since this is when they will usually extend their feeder tentacles. There instances in which, after several weeks, your coral is still not extending feeder tentacles, then you should try to encourage a feeding response with night-time target feeding. When doing this, wait at least one hour after lights go off before attempting to feed the coral. Turn water flow off so that the food can fall and rest onto the coral. Give the coral an hour or two to "grab hold" of the food, then turn water flow back on. It is suggestible to continue to do this until the feeder tentacles extend regularly in anticipation of feeding. After your coral has gotten comfortable with its new environment and readily extends its feeding tentacles, it will be able to catch food from the current without any assistance. Lighting (Level 4 to 7): These corals can adapt to a range of light intensities. Like any coral, they can bleach if not properly acclimated to a sudden change in lighting.
The primary food source for the Favites Coral is the marine algae, also known as zooxanthellae, from which they receive the majority of its nutrition. Please note that the Favites Coral does need to be fed at the once a week, at the least, and grow quite well with regular feedings.
In order to keep your colony healthy and prosperous, it is essential to periodically change the water in your aquarium by 20 % a month, 10 % biweekly, or 5 % weekly. It has been noted that 5 % weekly water changes replenish many of the needed additives and it is ultimately cheaper than purchasing additives for the water. With higher concentrations of coral with calcareous skeletons though, there may be a need put in additional additives to maintain proper levels for good growth.
Be aware; the Favites Coral species does not play well with other coral species. The Favites Coral are extremely aggressive towards other coral species. They need to have a lot of distance between themselves and other species of coral, otherwise they will use there long sweepering tentacles to attack other corals.
The average Favites Coral colony is the most successful when it is able to colonize a sharp rocky surfaces. It is advised that you place the coral onto lowest lit point of your tank and move them to brighter areas over time to see, after they've had some time to get comfortable with their environment.