By Bob Goemans
Site Supported in Part by:
Polyp Lab 

Family Alcyoniidae

Cladiella australis

(Macfadyen, 1936)

Colt Coral, Finger Branching Soft Coral, Cauliflower Coral

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean

Natural Environment: Inhabits turbid, back reefs, reef slopes and reef flats experiencing moderate water flow with occasional surges at depths between 30 to 65 feet (10 - 20 m) where it can attain 16 inches (41 cm) in height.

General Husbandry: Require moderate to bright lighting, moderate water movement, and will somewhat tolerate hair algae. Needs sufficient space between its neighbors, and can be stung by mushroom coral, however, it can sting gorgonians.

Quite slimy and feels very slippery.

A good coral for beginners.


    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Cnidaria

    Class: Anthozoa

    Subclass: Octocorallia

    Order: Anlcyonacea

    Suborder: Alcyoniina

    Family: Alcyoniidae

    Genus: Cladiella

FYI: Be aware there is a white nudibranch, probably Tritonopsilla alba, sometimes associated with this species. They feed on the coral mostly at night and often leave powdery deposits at the coral's base. Sometimes these deposits are so excessive the coral separates from its base. Viewing your aquariums at night with the aid of 'moonlights' is a good way to view for nighttime predators. Remove these frilly looking nudibranchs with tweezers when seen.

There are numerous species, with all looking quite similar; therefore exact identification is extremely difficult. Yet all require the same aquarium husbandry.

Easily trimmed/pruned to make new colonies.

Mariculture specimens available in the trade.

Experience Level: Beginner

Diet: Photosynthetic/Absorption of nutrients

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Coral Safe:With caution

Fish Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: Yes

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy

Calcium (Ca): 380 - 430 mg/l

Alkalinity: 2.5 - 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 350 - 450+

Water Movement: WM 1 - 2

Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025

pH: 8.0 - 8.4

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

 Cladiella australis (Colt Coral, Finger Branching Soft Coral, Cauliflower Coral)
Photo © Bob Goemans
 Cladiella australis (Colt Coral, Finger Branching Soft Coral, Cauliflower Coral)
Photo © Bob Goemans
Site Supported in Part by: