By Bob Goemans
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Psammocora contigua

(Esper, 1797)

Cat's Paw 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 southern Japan

Natural Environment: This is a fairly common photosynthetic stony coral found in most shallow reef environments, especially where soft sand accumulates. It tends to form massive colonies with mixtures of flattened branches, columns and/or irregular nodules. Sometimes found encrusting areas or forming plate-like structures. Generally brown to somewhat gray in color, yet occasionally shows up in the trade with a green or pink to purple tinge.

General Husbandry: This occasionally found species in local shops is often misidentified simply as a Porites species (Porites sp.). Even though rarely seen in the trade, it’s a good find as its easy to maintain as its not overly fussy about water quality, available light, or even that of water movement. In fact, its one of the stony corals that can do very good under average fluorescent or metal halide lighting. And its also a slow grower and makes for the ideal coral to fill in lower areas in reef aquariums.

Even though not overly colorful, this species requires no special care other than not being placed too near aggressive corals. If increased growth is desired, direct feeding during daylight hours when its polyps are visible can be attempted with zooplankton-type products such as rotifers, newly hatch brine shrimp, or Cyclop-eeze.

 Psammocora contigua (Cat's Paw Coral)
Photo © Bob Goemans
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