Branching Favites complanata is a LPS (Large Polyp Stony) coral also known as Darwins Branching Favites, Darwins complanata, and Larger Star coral. Our beautiful specimens come from Australia, but the coral can be found from the Indo-Pacific regions and its range extends from the Red Sea and Indian Ocean to the western and central Pacific Ocean. Branching Favites is found in shallower water where it receives more light and water flow and subsequently grows into unique branching coral shapes. The Darwin branching Favites is extremely bright and colorful with the colonies we've seen so far having neon green oral discs.
Difficulty Moderately easy to care for.
Aggressiveness The Branching Favites coral has potent sweeper tentacles that it will extend out well past its base, keeping other corals from growing too close and will sting anything within reach with its nematocysts. Because of this, you should take care to ensure that your coral has enough room both now and in the future, once the corals in your tank have begun to fill-in the available space.
Like most large polyp stony corals, the Favites coral benefits from moderate water flow. .
The Branching Favites coral requires moderate lighting levels (from PAR 150-250). T5's, Metal Halides, or LED's can all grow a healthy Branching Favites coral when the proper PAR levels are provided. We recommend a 14-20K color spectrum for best coloration. If it will be exposed to brighter lighting it needs to be kept within a shaded rock area to cut back the lighting levels.
A mature, well-fed live rock/reef environment is what is needed for your Favites Coral, along with some fish for organic matter production, and dissolved organics. As a general rule, caution should be used when mixing leather coral. Large polyp stony corals protect themselves by wielding their sweeper tentacles. Many of the leather coral species, by comparison produce and release toxic chemicals, called terpenes, into the water to stunt the growth of other species.
Diet and Feeding
It is not necessary to feed a favites coral, although they are capable of eating fairly large (by coral standards) meaty foods. The fact that they are biologically able to consume rather large, meaty meals, suggests to me that feeding should be strongly encouraged. However favites could be kept successfully in a reef tank without any feeding at all, as long as adequate lighting is provided, because their symbiotic zooxanthellae will sustain them. If you want to feed, they will eat mysis, fortified brine shrimp, rotifers, Cyclopeeze and other similarly sized meaty foods. Larger pieces than a typical mysis is not digestible, and although the animal "accepts" it, it will regurgitate it up later in the night.