By Bob Goemans
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Dr Gs Marine Aquaculture 


Physogyra lichtensteini

(Milne Edwards & Haime, 1851)

Octopus Coral, Pearl Coral, Grape Coral

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Red Sea, East Africa, Maldives, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, to the Solomon Islands and Australia.

Natural Environment: Inhabits shallow reef environments and usually seen at depths between 3 to 65 feet (1 - 20 m).

General Husbandry: Somewhat similar to Bubble Coral and is sometimes referred to as "poor man's bubble coral." Yet, there is a dramatic difference with light requirements and water movement between them. This photosynthetic species, which has smaller bubbles, does much better in an area that receives intense light and very good water movement.

Placement must not be near other corals, especially those downstream; as its tentacles are extremely powerful/dangerous to anything they touch!

Can occasionally be fed small pieces of fresh fish flesh/clam/shrimp/baby/adult brine shrimp.


    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Cnidaria

    Class: Anthozoa

    Subclass: Hexacorallia

    Order: Scleractinia

    Family: Euphyllidae

    Genus: Physogyra

FYI: Colonies form large thick plates covered during daytime with small, grape size bubbles/vesicles, which retract at night when tentacles are displayed and is generally pale grey, sometimes dull green in the wild.

Do not remove a specimen with highly inflated tissue areas from the water as the weight of the water in the polyps may damage or tear its flesh lose from its skeleton material. Gently shake the specimen and allow the flesh to retract somewhat before removing.

Photo of this species in the wild is provided free via the courtesy of Wikimedia.

Experience Level: Intermediate

Diet: Photosynthetic/Plankton feeder

Temperament: Aggressive

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Coral Safe: With caution

Fish Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: Yes

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Hardiness: Moderate

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: 74 - 83°F (23 - 28°C)

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Lighting: PAR 350 - 450+

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.

 Physogyra lichtensteini (Octopus Coral, Pearl Coral, Grape Coral)
Photo © Bob Goemans
 Physogyra lichtensteini (Octopus Coral, Pearl Coral, Grape Coral)
Photo © Wikimedia
Site Supported in Part by: