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What's your gauge on coral health after adding to your tank


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Hey folks, here's one for ya.

What would you say your average time is for being able to tell if a coral is healthy and doing well after adding it to your tank vs. the coral merely surviving or possibly not doing as well as it could (without obvious visual signs). Some personal experiences would be great to hear. 

I recently added a "tester coral" (Caulastrea) to a newly setup system. All parameters are stable and within my target ranges and the coral seems to be doing great. After a peroxide dip it was closed up for a day or two and is now acting like a normal candy cane coral and readily extends feeding tentacles when the lights go out and looks otherwise great.

So, when would you consider this coral thriving and start adding more? Wait for actual growth? Wait a "recommended" amount of time? What is this time based on? 

These may sound like questions to get around being impatient.......and they are. I'm impatient. But I'm also curious and I want to know the reasons behind some common things we do in this hobby.

Thanks in advance!




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If corals are going to react poorly, they often do so soon after adding them.  It sounds like it's doing fine (it'll be quite some time before I'd use the word thriving).  I'd say that your test case was successful and you could try a few more.


2 hours ago, Koleswrath said:

All parameters are stable and within my target ranges

Still, I'm curious just what your parameters are (specifically phosphate and nitrate).

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4 minutes ago, seabass said:

 I'd say that your test case was successful and you could try a few more.

I would agree 😁


5 minutes ago, seabass said:

Still, I'm curious just what your parameters are (specifically phosphate and nitrate).

These are yesterdays tests: 

A bit higher than they’ve been running typically (dosed a bottle pods on Sunday that we’re questionably “alive”) but still not bad and easy to cut in half over the next week. 



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Weird that NO2 is elevated.  While it shouldn't be a problem, it's normally undetectable.  The cycle must have recently become established.


Nitrate is high, but that should be alright too.  As you indicated, you can bring nitrate down with water changes.  10ppm would be better.


Phosphate is also slightly elevated.  Your coral should be enjoying the extra nutrients, but I'd feel better if it were 0.10ppm.


Your tank's parameters aren't really anything to worry about.  I was actually concerned that they might be too low.

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Yes, cycle is still finishing up. Wasn’t too worried about the Nitrite as you mentioned. Yes, I’m happy with around 1/2 of my current Nitrate and Phosphate so a nice 50% water change is coming up this weekend. 
Thanks for your thoughts! 

I’d love to hear when everyone else feels comfortable that a coral is doing well and you consider it a success.

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On 1/13/2023 at 9:49 AM, mcarroll said:

Usually it's not that mysterious with most corals.   Zoanthids are very moody though – hard to tell anything with them IMO.

Thanks! I’m finding this as well. After a week of being somewhat contracted this guy is really puffing up now and still extending tentacles every night and eating mysis readily. 
I’m much more confident now that he’s less contracted. Zoa’s are next to go in so we’ll see how that goes….


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