By Bob Goemans
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Echinophyllia aspera

(Ellis & Solander, 1788)

Plate Coral, Scroll Coral, Chalice Coral, Flat Lettuce Coral

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Widespread.

Natural Environment: Inhabits lower reef slopes and fringing reef areas and usually seen at depths between 25 - 100 feet (7 - 30 m).

General Husbandry: Even though a naturally fairly common species, it is only occasionally available in the trade. And when found in local shops, is often misidentified. However, the species in the photo was specifically ordered as this particular genus and species from a noted collector.

Should be placed where it will receive moderate water movement to remain healthy. It also tends to keep its original coloration even under varying amounts of light in captivity.

In the wild it can form massive tiers of plates and cover wide areas, sometimes meters across. It is said those in this family can develop sweeper tentacles therefore can be quite aggressive. Nevertheless, have personally never seen sweeper tentacles on this specimen, whether that is during the day or at night. Yet do advise sufficient space be given, as this species under the right conditions can be quite fast growing and can quickly shade any species below it. It also is capable of chemical aggression; therefore some thought should be given to its 'downstream' neighbors and the use of activated carbon in the system.

And since this is a photosynthetic stony coral, it does not require direct feeding, yet can be fed with Cyclops when its feeding tentacles are displayed during the nighttime hours. Nevertheless, for adequate growth, monitoring water quality is a must. The coral in this photograph has been in several different tanks over the past three years. In a well-monitored tank, it grew quickly. When moved to a local shop where water quality, i.e., calcium and alkalinity, was rarely ever monitored (if that), its growth slowed considerably. And when moved from there to a customer's tank with carefully monitored and adjusted as needed water quality, its growth greatly accelerated, though appears to be quite fragile around its outer plate edges. Therefore, highly recommend keeping the calcium and alkalinity within a balanced state, along with the proper level of magnesium in relation to the existing specific gravity.


    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Cnidaria

    Class: Anthozoa

    Subclass: Hexacorallia

    Order: Scleractinia

    Family: Pectiniidae

    Genus: Echinophyllia

FYI: Form encrusting plates and folds, with its surface having rounded ridges. Its corallites are slightly raised and warty in appearance. Depending upon location the species can be brown, green, or shades of red and/or orange.

Experience Level: Intermediate

Diet: Photosynthetic/Plankton feeder

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: 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: 72 - 82°F (22 - 27°C)

Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons

Lighting: PAR 350 - 400+

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.

 Echinophyllia aspera (Plate Coral, Scroll Coral, Chalice Coral, Flat Lettuce Coral)
Photo © Bob Goemans
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