The Purple Bottle Brush Gorgonian,Muriceopsis flavida has an interesting formation, looking almost like a bottle brush. Depending on water movement, they can form different shapes. A bushy appearance occurs in turbulent waters. A flat fan shape occurs when the water current sways the gorgonian back and forth. It is a branching coral that is closely related to hard corals. It is beautifully branched, forming feather-like colonies and has a beautiful purple coloration. A pretty little gorgonian although it is a rapid grower, will only reach a maximum of about 12 to 14 inches in height, making it one of the better gorgonian choices for the moderately small reef aquarium. It is also quite durable when provided with the necessary light and water movement, making it a good selection for reef enthusiasts.
The Purple Bottle Brush is a photosynthetic gorgonian found in the Western Atlantic near Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. In the wild, it forms tall colonies with round branches that point up and are pinnate. Pinnate means it has "pinnules" on small side branches of the polyp tentacles, giving it a more gentle "feather-like" appearance. With its feathery look it has a number of descriptive common names. These include Purple Bottle Brush, Purple Frilly, Purple Plume, Purple Sea Plume, and Purple Feather Gorgonian. It can be attached to rockwork using underwater epoxy.
Good for a dedicated beginner, its fairly hardy, as long as the Bottle Brush is fed and the water is kept clean and stable. They are easier than other photosynthetic gorgonians as long as you provide the necessary light and water movement. These gorgonians will shed their outer layer, and at times the branch tips will look like a dead twig. Do not throw it away! This is common and will occur fairly regularly in reef tanks due to sediment and detritus build up.
Aggressiveness Very peaceful, poses no threat to any other corals or gorgonians. However, other gorgonians can over take the Purple Bottle Brush Gorgonian, so they will need to be kept at a distance. Adequate space should be provided between them and other corals that can extend sweeper tentacles as well.
Requires a moderate to strong level of water flow.
Since they take nutrients from the marine algae, zooxanthellae, they share a symbiotic relationship with, they will need moderate to strong Reef lighting. It has been shown that lighting that has 350 to 550 nm , which is the blue phase, is the most beneficial.
Place anywhere which provides the required water flow and good lighting level.
Diet and Feeding
Omnivore - These gorgonian corals have developed several feeding strategies. They capture planktonic organisms and microscopic food particles from the water column, and can absorb dissolved organic matter. Unlike a lot of other Gorgonians, the Purple Bush M. flavida has a symbiotic relationship with a marine algae known as zooxanthellae, where they receive some of their nutrients.
In captivity, the Purple Bush can be fed enriched Artemia nauplii, rotifers, dust-sized pellet food, copepods, daphnia, and other similar sized foods. Marine Snow is also a good food source. Stirring the substrate to suspend edible particulates is helpful, along with the presence of fish which can also help nourish it. Feed every other day depending on appearance.