The Long Polyp Leather Coral is an aquacultured leather coral of the Sarcophyton family. The polyps of different Leather Coral varieties can have different length tentacles, with stalks of different lengths, or no stalks at all. The Long Polyp Leather Coral is a mushroom shaped leather coral with VERY long flowing polyps. The body is various shades of brown, with long flowing polyps topped in either white or golden. This is a fast growing hardy coral that will adapt quickly to most tank conditions. The Long Polyp Leather coral is cultured by cutting off a piece of the parent's crown and attaching it to a frag plug with thread, string or glue.
We aquaculture the Long Polyp Leather Corals here at Aquarium Creations, by cutting off fragments of our mother colonies. As they grow they change shape from first a round shaped mini leather that looks like a mushroom then as it grows it takes on a more oblong shape with a more wavy appearance to the leather. After fully opening the top of the leather coral will be covered with very long polys topped by either white or golden starlike polyps.
Lighting & Flow Requirements
Long Polyp Leather corals require a moderate level of water flow and a low to moderate level of lighting. Lighting can be Power compacts, T5's, LED's or even Metal Halides. All lighting can grow Leather Corals as long as the proper level of light is provided. If a Par meter is available the appropriate lighting level is anywhere from a Par 100 all the way to a Par 250. Which is a wide range of acceptability. For lighting spectrum use between a 14-20K color spectrum for your bulbs for best coral coloration.
First allow two weeks time for the Long Polyp Leather coral to adjust itself to its new reef aquarium. If desired you can mount your leather coral using a gel supper glue or a marine aquarium epoxy putty (which is the same as plumbers epoxy putty found in hardware stores). When deciding placement only consider a location providing moderate water current and low to moderate lighting level. Also be certain to leave enough room around your corals that they have room for growth without infringing on another corals growing room or lighting.
Diet and Feeding
Leather corals receive the majority of the nutritional requirements through the process of photosynthesis, which simply means their lighting creates symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae in the body of the leather coral which provides its nutrition. We do recommend providing supplemental food such as micro-plankton, baby brine shrimp, or foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates.
Most leather corals go through a natural process of cleansing, once in a while. Leather corals will shrink smaller and the outer skin will look strange as it sloth's itself off, shedding the top layer as it cleanses itself. Leathers may remain closed from just a few days to even a week or longer depending on the aquarium flow and other conditions, but they will reopen larger and even more beautiful than they were before.