The Purple Corky Finger (Briareum asbestinum), often called the Corky Finger, has a beauty all its own. In the wild it is normally seen in multiple erect, finger-like rods rising from it. When not open the fat fingers are purple with slightly raised calyces that are more of a nub than a tube. Long, grass-like tan to golden polyps extend from the calyces, giving it a striking "furry" appearance. The Corky Sea Finger is durable and very easy to care for, its only requirement is a moderate to strong water flow.
Purple Corky Sea Fingers are found in the Western Atlantic Ocean. They inhabit all areas of the reef in conditions with both pristinely pure waters as well as nutrient rich waters. They are the most collected gorgonian species since they are commonly found in shallow waters only knee deep. Some other common names they are known by are Sea Stalk Briareum, Deadman's Finger, Caribbean Corky Finger, Moss Coral, Corky Finger Gorgonian, and Encrusting Gorgonian.
Purple Corky Fingers are moderately hardy and easy to care for, making them great for beginner aquarists.
Aggressiveness Very peaceful, poses no threat to any other corals or gorgonians. However, other gorgonians can over take it, 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.
They have a high tolerance for both turbidity and a wide range of water movements. However, they grow most rapidly with moderate water movement.
The Corky Sea Fingers are happy with low level fluorescent lighting and can handle acclimation to Metal Halides as well. One of the most adaptive corals in the wild. Though they are photosynthetic, they need less light than many other corals. They are about as forgiving as any coral can get and still be considered symbiotic. 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 lighting level.
Diet and Feeding
An Omnivore - The Purple Corky Finger in the wild captures planktonic organisms and microscopic food particles from the water column, and can absorb dissolved organic matter. Unlike a lot of other Gorgonians, the Purple Corky Finger has a symbiotic relationship with a marine algae known as zooxanthellae, where they receive a portion of their nutrients from.
In captivity, the Purple Corky Finger 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.