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coral ID, please...

G Han

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I put some star polyps in my tank and haven't been able to ID a hard coral which came along for the ride. It's not a particularly nice looking coral, is hard like rock, has a finger-like protuberance, and is a mystery to me. Any one know what I'm looking at?

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I'm having troubles putting the pic in...

I don't know why it was cut in half, but anyway, the coral I'm trying to ID is in the top part. You just can't see the star polyps for a size comparison, but pictures of star polyps are everywhere.

I'll try one more time though. Wish me luck...

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Actually when I look at that coral I see a guys head. He has two eyebrows and a mole on his left cheek and a really big nose.


I was going to post the exact same thing, when I scrolled down and saw that you already did!

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It's Heliopora - aka blue ridge coral. It will put out small polyps if the conditions are just right but more often than not will continue to slowly encrust like its doing in your tank. It's actually an octocoral not a scleractinian if I remember correctly.


Also you may notice it looks kind of shiny sometimes too - this usually seems to occur when moving tanks, a large water change or other situation which stresses the coral - overall very hardy. The skeleton of this is beautiful it's a dark cobalt blue.



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Techno.do you know how RARE it would be to get a peice of "endangerd species" blue ridge coral on a rock as a hitch hiker? I still stick with some form of encristing montipora. Blue ridge lives in deep water too ie semi colder water then that of a normal reef. I woulnd tthink it would be this but hey . you never know.

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Heliopora/Blue ridge is not banned for importation or endangered in the wild - it creates huge reef structures in areas like the Maldives and much of the Indo Pacific. No idea what you are referring to but it is a relatively common hitchiker coral on indopacific rock and other corals.


Are you thinking of black corals (Antipatharia) most likely which are deep water and were/are used in the jewelry and ornamental trade. These are protected in most Carribean/Tropical atlantic waters and can be found worldwide in deep water. Black corals are subject to CITES protection due to overharvesting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

technoshaman is correct, that's blue ridge coral, and yes, it one of the few reef-building octocorals. Although it looks beige from the outside, the skeleton absorbs a type of iron-rich salt that causes the blue color. I thought I had a pic of mine on this computer, but no dice.


The neat thing to do with this coral is to get it to grow in the glass, which will allow one to view the blue skeleton through the glass. Also gets very cool looking fuzzy appearance.






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