By Bob Goemans
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Ocean Nutrition 


Blastomussa wellsi

Wijsman-Best, 1973

Pineapple/Open Brain Coral, or simply 'Blastomussa'

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Range: Western Pacific Ocean, South China Sea north to southern Japan, and the Red Sea

Natural Environment: Usually found on lower reef slopes and in turbid waters. Even though it has a wide distribution in the wild, it is infrequently found and often difficult to locate in murky waters. This photosynthetic stony coral is also a suspension feeder, and will accept zooplankton when its feeding tentacles are displayed. It has fleshy polyps with a diameter that can approach 4 - 5 inches (10 - 12.5 cm). This species forms a more mound-like structure, similar to mushroom corals, where its separate corallites extend from a common center. The colony increases in size by asexual budding of the marginal polyps. This differs from the only other species in the genus, i.e., B. merleti, which have much smaller polyps, about one-third the diameter, with each individual polyp forming at the ends of tubular structures that extend outward from a common base.

General Husbandry: This is a very hardy, non-aggressive coral and it’s better to locate it in areas receiving low to moderate water movement and low light. Often, specimens located in aquarium areas where there is swift water movement and an abundance of light experience poor growth! In fact, I’ve found side areas of aquariums and/or rock the best location for this species. And also keep in mind that it is very susceptible to aggression from other corals, even mushroom corals!

Can be handfed when feeding tentacles are displayed by directly dosing the polyps with meaty foodstuffs, e.g., fortified brine shrimp, mysis, products containing Cyclop-eeze, and/or other marine finely diced/graded meaty foods.

Fragging this species is quite simple by separating existing corallites! The specimen in the photo is in my aquarium, and I consider it quite rare as it has three differently colored polyps, all existing on the same structure.

 Blastomussa wellsi (Pineapple/Open Brain Coral,  or simply 'Blastomussa')
Photo © Bob Goemans
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