By Bob Goemans
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Herpolitha limax

Houttuyn, 1772

Tongue Coral, Slipper Coral, Mole Coral

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific and Red Sea, including western, northern, and eastern coasts of Australia east to Tahiti, and north to Ryukyu Islands

Natural Environment: This is a fairly common elongated free-living photosynthetic stony coral and 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. It 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.

General Husbandry: As with all species in this family it should be located on the bottom sandbed where it will receive bright light and gentle water movement. And because of the large size of this species, its best in aquariums having a lot of open sandbed surface as this species is capable of moving itself. This non-aggressive species should be kept away from touching other corals simply because its susceptible to damage from those that are aggressive.

This photosynthetic stony coral requires no direct feeding, as it will under the right conditions generate all its own nutritional needs. Nevertheless, some feeding can be applied if growth appears to be stagnating by placing small pieces of enriched marine fish/shrimp flesh near its centrally located mouth. If that does not trigger a feeding response, remove the offered morsel before it negatively affects water quality.

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