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LC Blog: Leptos and Stylos, Let's Talk About Them!

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Legendary Corals
Hello reefers,

So there's been a new type of coral that we've been collecting here at LC. Now this type of coral isn't as popular as say zoanthids, acroporas, or chalices. But oddly enough they still usually carry a high price tag. These corals have very thin layers of tissues that just encrust over rocks. Not sure if they're considered lps or sps, since they technically are small polyped but are fleshy like lps at times... You probably know what I'm talking about by now. Encrusters!!!

Now, there's plenty of corals that encrust (well, technically all of them do) but I'm talking about the two encrusters that are gaining the most traction: leptoseris and stylocoeniellas. These corals have been in the hobby for years, but it's only recently that nicer variants started being offered to hobbyist. It might be because it wasn't until now that hobbyist starting paying to them enough that wholesalers began to look for them, or if nicer variants simply just started appearing due to new collection zones. Both of these corals generally enjoy lower lighting and are moderate to fast growers. They're considered intermediate corals, but are definitely not as difficult as say acropora. If you can keep favias or montiporas, chances are you can keep these too.


These super thin fleshed encrusters love low light. They usually come in orange, green, and brown but once in awhile a gem comes in with unique colorations. Finding a new unique colony leptoseris is difficult, with a few of the newer pieces in the hobby coming in as hitchhikers. In my opinion, the leptoseris market didn't start gaining traction until the JF Jack O Lantern hit the scene. It's blinding colors got everyone's attention towards this species of coral, and for good reason too. I mean, who doesn't want to make a section of their tank look gold? I'm still waiting to see a bare bottom tank just completely covered with this coral. When happy, leptoseris actually get a bit puffy and at the edge of their growth rim, you can actually see a "skirt" of the flesh extending.

Here are a couple of known pieces:


JF (Jason Fox) Jack O Lantern Leptoseris, easily one of the brightest corals in all the hobby. Contrasting eyes and an all gold body.


AOA (Age of Aquariums) Molten Lava Leptoseris. This one has been around for a couple of years now. Teal body with orange eyes that get brighter as the colony matures and in lower light.


JF (Jason Fox) Klepto Lepto. Has a red underbody with creamy pink and white swirls on the top and white eyes. What sets this morph apart if the sweet yellow rim it develops. Photo credit to Cherry Corals.


A recent addition to the leptoseris family, HSF (Hobe Sound Frags) Smoldering Leptoseris. Goes by the name of JF Lunar Leptoseris too. Teal base with red eyes and rim.


Another unique leptoseris, R66 (Route 66) Dragon Skin Leptoseris. Radioactive green with black splotches all around.


WWC (World Wide Corals) Deadpool Leptoseris (similar to JF Blood Bath Leptoseris). Red body, purple and blue splashes, and a white rim. This is a newer leptoseris in the hobby and hasn't gotten to being spread around as much. This piece above it is the WWC Grafted Leptoseris.


RR USA (Reef Raft USA) Fallen Horizon Leptoseris. Gets a red-orange body in the right lighting with a lighter orange growth rim. Has a metallic sheen in person. Photo Credit: California Reef Co.


Dragon Eye Leptoseris. An oddball leptoseris with black-brown body and bright orange eyes and spotted rim. Reminds us of the JF Outer Space Psammacora, but on a leptoseris!


A uniquely colored mint leptoseris.


An all orange variant of leptoseris with a redish sheen.


Surprisingly people still don't know what this coral is. Most likely because they're relatively rare in the hobby. Best way I can describe it is a "fluffy montipora." Encrusts just like a montipora, but with longer sweepers! We love these because they're decent growers and are easy to care for. They grow a thin mat over whatever they're encrusting on unlike other encrustes which actually build their skeleton onto the surface. You can technically peel a stylocoeniella off whatever it was on. In fact, if you've ever fragged one sometimes you might find that the mat flakes right off the rock! This coral is gaining traction for the color variations being found now and I mean, who doesn't like a fluffy monti?


Jose Casas Pink Stylocoeniella. Usually has a black/ purple mat with beautiful pink polyps.


JF Sunset Stylocoeniella, known for its green base and metallic orange centers. Photo credit Jason Fox


JF Burning Banana Stylocoeniella, one of the sought after pieces among coral collectors. Yellow body with red polyps. If not in the right lighting, it can develop a slightly greener base. Photo Credit: Jason Fox


And of course there's the infamous WWC Looney Toons Stylocoeniella. Photo Credit: Paandemonium


Purple base with an all orange/red polyp. This one is called either Superman or Spiderman Stylocoeniella, the name seems to swap around. Photo Credit: le Google


Another stylocoeniella with a purple base, this time with contrasting red and yellow polyps.


Green base with minty polyps, JF Grassy Fields Stylocoeniella. Photo Credit: Jason Fox


Similar to the above, but with a purple base instead! Makes for a nicer contrast.


JF Candy Coated Stylocoeniella. A beautiful stylocoeniella with different pigmented body and polyps. Photo Credit: Jason Fox


WWC Very Pink Stylocoeniella. Odd they named it that, since it's more red than pink. Lovely blue center that gives it contrast.


JF Scarlet Fever Stylocoeniella. All red stylocoeniella with white centered polyps. Photo Credit: Jason Fox

These are just a few examples of each coral. Share some photos of yours and let's see how many other reefers are enjoying these species of corals!

All photos are given proper credit to the photographer. Any photos without a photo credit was taken by Legendary Corals.



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Nano sapiens

I'm surprised there hasn't been more talk about these great encrusters...


Leptoseris seem to be a bit hit-or-miss for me. Morphs that haven't done so well are the 'Jack O Lantern' and the 'Tyree Pumpkin'. Others like the 'Molten Lava' and 'Fallen Horizons' have done great. Doing just okay is a 'Strawberries and Cream'. So, it's probably best not to assume that they all need the same requirements (just like any other family of corals) and that some will do better than others in different reef tanks (the 'Jack O Lantern' seems to do very well for lots of reefers).


The only Stylocoeniella I have is the fast growing Pink one. I have a frag on the rock in lower flow that won't extend polyps, but encrusts well anyway. Another, in higher flow, has crazy polyp extension and fast growth.


'Fallen Horizons' (left) fighting with a A. granulosa (Lepto is winning) and a bedraggled fresh-cut frag of Pink Stylocoeniella (the thin tissue with embedded polyps is quite visible here):





'Molten Lava' Leptoseris in ~200 PAR ('eyes' stay green in higher light). Not the fastest grower or particularly gaudy, but one of my favorites nonetheless:



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