By Bob Goemans
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Family Tubiporidae

Pachyclavularia (Briareum) violacea

(Quoy & Gaimard, 1833)

Green Star Polyps, Starburst Polyps

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-Pacific Ocean

Natural Environment: Found in shallow to moderate depths along upper reef edges.

General Husbandry: Shows up in the trade quite frequently and this photosynthetic green or brown encrusting soft coral is very popular and easy to maintain.

Under the right conditions it can spread at a rate of about one-inch (2.5 cm) per month or more. As it spreads, one can see tiny pin points of white in the purple looking layer of matter that slowly extends outward and over the adjoining surface of rock or even the sides of the aquarium. These "points of white" quickly develop into new polyps in the coming weeks as the expansion continues.

Requires good water movement to keep the cluster of polyps free of detritus. Can overgrow corals and kill them. In fact, I've had it completely cover a small leather coral within a few months. Color is greatly enhanced under lights that are high in the blue spectrum. Growth seems slowed when calcium levels fall below natural seawater levels and alkalinity falls below 3.0 meq/l.


    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Cnidaria

    Class: Anthozoa

    Subclass: Octocorallia

    Order: Anlcyonacea

    Suborder: Stolonifera

    Family: Tubiporidae

    Genus: Pachyclavularia


    Experience Level: Beginner

    Diet: Photosynthetic/Absorption of nutrients

    Temperament: Peaceful

    Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

    Coral Safe:Yes

    Fish Safe: Yes

    Invertebrate Safe: Yes

    Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

    Aquarium Hardiness: Moderate

    Calcium (Ca): 380 - 430 mg/l

    Alkalinity: >3.0 meq/l

    Phosphate (PO4): <0.05 mg/l

    Magnesium (Mg): approx. 1350 mg/l (relate to specific gravity)

    Strontium (Sr) 8 - 10 mg/l

    Temperature Range: 72 - 82°F (22 - 27°C)

    Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

    Lighting: PAR 400+

    Water Movement: WM 2 - 3

    Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025

    pH: 8.0 - 8.4

    Iodine/Trace Elements Monitor/as necessary to maintain quality seawater.

 Pachyclavularia (Briareum) violacea (Green Star Polyps, Starburst Polyps)
Photo © Bob Goemans
Subergorgia sp. Tubipora musica
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