Saltcorner
By Bob Goemans
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Herpolitha

Herpolitha limax

Houttuyn, 1772

Tongue Coral, Slipper Coral, Mole Coral

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Widespread.

Natural Environment: Inhabits fairly shallow soft sand and coral rubble zones on reef slopes and lagoon flats, and interconnected sandy reef areas protected from strong wave motion and usually seen at depths between 3 - 100 feet (1 - 30 m).

General Husbandry: Occasionally seen in the trade.

Best placed on sandy or course substrate in areas receiving bright light and gentle to moderate water movement. Since they are not aggressive corals, they can touch other corals without inflecting damage. However, the same may not be true for the species it is near or touching! Therefore, provide sufficient distance between it and possible aggressive corals in the aquarium. Keep in mind this coral is capable of moving by itself, so keep a wary eye as to its location in your aquarium.

Since this is a photosynthetic stony and very capable of generating its own food supply, there are no special feeding requirements. Nevertheless, small pieces of marine fish/shrimp flesh can occasionally be offered this species, and should be placed near its centrally located mouth. If this does not trigger a feeding response, remove the offered morsel. Occasional feeding would be once a week, however, I've personally found it not necessary to hand feed, as this coral seems to do very well without any special assistance from the hobbyist.

Taxonomy:

    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Cnidaria

    Class: Anthozoa

    Subclass: Hexacorallia

    Order: Scleractinia

    Family: Fungiidae

    Genus: Herpolitha

FYI: Normally takes a somewhat flat 'tongue-like' shape with rounded ends, however, is sometimes found in Y, T, or X shaped forms due to regenerating areas from damage. Tentacles are only extended at night. Can attain a meter in length, and has numerous centrally located mouths along its length. Depending upon location the species can be pale to dark brown, sometimes a greenish color.

Depending upon the origin of the specimen, it can be pale to dark brown, sometimes a greenish color.

Experience Level: Beginner

Diet: Photosynthetic/Plankton feeder

Temperament: Peaceful

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Coral Safe: With caution

Fish Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: With caution

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: 74 - 83°F (23 - 28°C)

Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons

Lighting: PAR 300 - 400+

Water Movement: WM 2

Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025

pH: 8.0 - 8.4

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

 Herpolitha limax (Tongue Coral, Slipper Coral, Mole Coral)
Photo © Bob Goemans
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