Saltwater Aquarium LPS Corals for Marine Reef Aquariums: Tongue Coral also called Slipper
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Tongue Coral, Herpolitha limax Australia

Picture of Tongue Coral, Herpolitha limax

Cultured: 1-1/2” to 2-1/4”, Medium: 2-1/2” to 3-1/2”, Large: 4” to 5-1/4”, XLarge: 5-1/2” to 7"

The Tongue Coral, is a large polyp stony (LPS) coral also referred to as the Slipper Coral, or Hairy Tongue Coral. The skeleton of the Slipper or Tongue Coral is a leafy shape. Colonies of this species are often long and narrow, and arched or flat in profile, hence the common name. Common one's are brown or cream color but we ship nicely colored neon green or on occasion we receive orange. Some other common names they are known by are Slipper Coral, Mole Coral, Hedgehog Coral, and Striate Boomerang Coral.

The Tongue Coral has a prominent central groove down the middle, called an axial furrow. There are mouths (called polystomatous) along this furrow and several more mouths across the surface. Their tentacles, more like inflated tissue than a tentacles, are short and widely spaced between broad septal ridges that radiate out from the furrow. Feeder tentacles come out at night.

Difficulty It is easy to maintain in the reef aquarium, which makes it an excellent candidate for the beginning through expert reef aquarist.

Aggressiveness Though peaceful with other Fungiids, this coral can be semi-aggressive toward other corals. It needs to be placed where it cannot 'walk' up to corals that are not in the Fungiidae family

Water-flow Requires low to moderate water flow.

Lighting Requires moderate lighting. T5's, Metal Halides, or LED's can all grow Tongue Coral when the proper levels are provided. We recommend a 14-20K color spectrum for best coloration.

Tank Recommendations A well-feed live rock/reef environment is what is needed for your Tongue Coral , along with some fish for organic matter production. Do NOT put the Tongue coral on rock work, a preferable location would be on the bottom of the reef aquarium, lying on a fine sandy substrate, with adequate space between it and its neighbors.

Diet and Feeding The Herpolitha corals, like other large polyp stony (LPS) corals, have developed several feeding strategies. Through a symbiotic relationship with a marine algae, known as zooxanthellae, they receive many of their nutrients. They also capture planktonic organisms, food particles from the water column, and can absorb dissolved organic matter. In captivity, the Tongue Coral needs to be fed at least daily. They also need to be fed more often under lower lighting conditions. Fungiids form mucous nets, at that time that you can put small amounts of shredded meat on this net. They can be fed shredded meat, as well as mysis and brine shrimp. With larger foods, try to feed the whole organism to the coral. For instance if you are feeding it a silverside, chop it up but feed it all, so your Tongue Coral will get the fullest nutritional benefit from the meal.

Reproduction In captivity, propagation of H. limax can be done by encouraging budding of daughter colonies by scoring the tissue in between the "teeth" of the coral. Make sure the animal has been well fed and is healthy before attempting this type of fragmentation. Simply breaking the coral in half with gloves, using a wedge and hammer is crude, but works. To get a cleaner, more precise frag, using a dremel or other motorized saw works beautifully. You can cut pie shaped frags from a whole animal if you wish and they respond quite well as long as they can recover in clean water and are well fed.

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Photos are representative of each species. All marine life will be unique and variations should be expected, color and sizes may vary.