Chalice Coral Care: Fragging, Feeding, Tank Light & Flow

A flat looking Miarmi Hurricane Chalice Coral in a saltwater aquarium

Hey there, welcome to our care guide about the amazing Chalice Coral! If you are looking for a colorful and entry level coral you won’t be disappointed. 

This coral is among the best and if it wasn’t because it lives in water, we would’ve had it all over the house! (we already have some coral posters on the walls #coralnerds). The Chalice Coral is very popular because it is hardy and it does not take too much space due to its flat shape. In fact, some aquarists even call it “plate coral”.

In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to succeed from setting up your tank, water parameters, feeding tips to propagation and a step-by-step guide to frag your Chalice Coral. Enjoy!

Quick Facts

Scientific Name:Family: Pectiniidae. Genera: Echinophyllia, Echinopora, Oxypora, Mycedium.
Other Names:Miami Hurricane Chalice, Hell’s Eye Chalice, Pink Floyd Chalice
Water Flow:Moderate water flow or 20 to 40 times
Compatibility:Brain Corals, Blonde Naso Tang, Kole Yellow Eye Tang, Pink Skunk Clownfish, Pink Streaked Wrasse, Snowflake Clownfish, Torch Corals
Size & Growth:1 foot wide in captivity (1/4 inch growth per month)
Care:Easy to Intermediate
Feeding:They are photosynthetic. You can add frozen foods, pellet foods, and Reef Roids
Water Parameters:72-78F, 8.1-8.4pH, 8-12dKH, 1.023-1.025SG, Calcium 400-450ppm, Magnesium 1250-1350ppm, Phosphate 0.05-0.1ppm, Nitrate 5-10ppm
Tank Size:40 gallons
Lighting:Low to moderate 80-100 PAR
Propagation & Fragging: Intermediate difficulty 

Species Summary

The Chalice Coral is a wide collection of corals under several genera, including Echinophyllia, Echinopora, Echinomorpha, and occasionally Lithophyllon. 

It is part of the Pectiniidae family and the E. aspera species. This coral is also known as the Miami Hurricane Chalice, the Hell’s Eye Chalice, and even the Pink Floyd Chalice.

These corals can be found on reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific, including Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, and Vietnam. As for the specific oceans, the Chalice is found in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Red Sea.

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Chalice corals come in detailed patterns and dazzling colors such as purple, pink, blue, and green. They are known for their bright, eye-shaped mouths and flat bodies. The tentacle length and skeletal thickness vary by coral.

You can choose from several types of Chalice Corals for your tank, with the following being the most popular species.

  • Jellybean. The Jellybean coral got its name from the bean-shaped spots on its body. It comes in various color schemes, such as yellow spots on a pale pink body with dark yellow edges.
  • Red Lava. This coral lives up to its name with its bumpy body in dark red and a hint of blue. The Red Lava coral also adds a fun vibe to your aquarium with its unique shape (see image under Size & Growth Rate).
  • Mummy Eye.  The Mummy Eye is ideal for adding vibrant colors to your aquarium, especially with its green, blue, and purple body. Its pink, eye-shaped mouth is sure to stand out from the other corals in your tank.
  • Watermelon. With its red body and green edges, it is no wonder this species is known as the Watermelon Coral. Its body also features a beautiful gold mouth to complete this bold look.
  • Ludicrous. Ludicrous is the perfect species for adding a range of rich colors to your tank, including red, green, blue, purple, and orange-gold. Its bumpy body makes it easy to add texture to your aquarium.
  • Hollywood Stunner. The Hollywood Stunner is gorgeous with its blue body and lime polka-dotted mouth. When placed under blue LED lights, this coral is certain to take center stage in any aquarium.

Chalice Coral Care

It is easy to take care of the Chalice, making it the ideal coral for beginners and experienced hobbyists alike.

Tank Size

You want to provide plenty of space for your Chalice to grow, which is why a 40-gallon tank is the suitable size for this coral. It is especially important to offer ample space if you are housing more than one species because they need a safe environment.

Water Parameters

Chalice Corals thrive in the usual coral-friendly conditions and can adjust to the specific range of each parameter.

Water temperature: 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit, and most corals can even adapt to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • pH levels: 8.1-8.4
  • Water hardness: 8-12 dKH
  • Specific gravity: 1.023-1.025
  • Calcium: 400-450 ppm
  • Magnesium: 1250-1350 ppm
  • Phosphate: 0.05-0.1 ppm
  • Nitrate: 5-10 ppm

Tank Setup

You have the option of adding rock work or substrate to your coral’s tank. If you are placing your coral on the substrate, be sure to keep the particles off its tissue to prevent damage.

Placement

You can place your coral at the bottom of the tank for safety or on an elevated rock to enjoy the view. The primary concern is providing your coral with enough room to grow.

Author Note: It is vital to place your Chalice Coral at least 3 inches away from its tank mates, including other Chalice corals, to keep it from stinging them with its sweeper tentacles. 

You also need to ensure your coral is in a spot that provides the correct flow and lighting.

Lighting

Chalice corals are photosynthetic, and sticking to low to moderate lighting is essential for preventing starvation and encouraging growth. You also want to keep the lighting consistent because a dramatic change can lead to stress.

It is recommended to use a lighting range of 80 to 100 PAR, and you can add in T-5 supplemental lighting. LED lights are also a great option because they enhance your coral’s appearance.

Filtration & Water Flow

A low to moderate water flow or 20 to 40 times turnover is recommended for your Chalice Corals. With the right flow, your corals can draw food and supplements toward their mouths. It also washes leftover food, waste, and other debris from your coral’s body.

Author Note: If the water flow is too low, waste builds up and forms dead spots on your colonies, especially on corals with bowl-like bodies. A flow that is too high can cause damage to your coral’s tissues.

You also need to consider the direction of the flow to ensure their stinger tentacles are not released near their tank mates.

Acclimation

The acclimation process for your Chalice Corals depends on whether they are placed on a dry rock tank or a live rock tank.

It is better to wait three to six months before placing your Chalice on a dry rock tank. This way, you can ensure the water parameters are stable enough for your coral.

Author Note: You do not have to wait as long to place your Chalice on a live rock tank because the parameters are already stable. You just need to add them slowly and pay attention to how they respond to their new environment.

Size & Growth Rate

In the wild, Chalice coral colonies can reach over 2 feet wide. With the right care, the colonies can grow up to 1 foot wide in captivity.

The growth rate of the Chalice depends on the thickness of its skeleton. A coral with a thick skeleton only grows 1/4 inch per month. Your coral will grow faster if it has a thin skeleton, doubling in size every four months.

A red lava chalice coral enjoying the saltwater flow

Why Is My Chalice Coral Bleaching?

There are several issues that can result in your Chalice coral’s bleaching.

The most common cause is inaccurate tank conditions, such as intense lighting that causes your coral to lose its color.

Another issue is high water temperatures, which may eliminate your coral’s zooxanthellae. This causes your coral to lose its ability to create proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. You also need to ensure your tank’s nitrate and phosphate levels are not too low.

The presence of parasites can also lead to the bleaching of your coral.

Feeding

Chalice corals are photosynthetic and use the zooxanthellae in their bodies to create the elements they need to feed themselves, including oxygen, sugars, and fats.

If you want to enhance your coral’s health and growth, you can add frozen foods, pellet foods, and Reef Roids to their diet. You want to use target feeding and an accurate flow to feed your corals. The corals use a mucus coat to capture and draw the food closer to their mouths.

As for their feeding schedule, many Chalice corals prefer to eat at night.

Compatibility

Your Chalices can be placed in the same tank as certain corals and fish, as long as there is enough space to keep them at a safe distance.

You also need to avoid placing fish that like to nibble on corals in the same tank as your Chalices.

Propagation and Fragging

It is not difficult to frag most Chalice Corals as long as you are careful. Some corals frag better than others, so you may want to play it safe by using a specialized tool rather than attempting to break off a piece. 

These tools include a tile saw, a Dremel, scalpels, and even stainless steel coral snips. The tool you choose for the process depends on your coral’s skeleton thickness and your personal preference

Author Note: You can start with this fragging kit and be ready to use more than one tool for the procedure.

You also need coral glue or superglue gel, an instant set spray, and an iodine solution or a special coral dip. Finish it off with one container of tank water and another container of saltwater. 

Do you have everything ready to go? If yes, then let’s get started with the following step-by-step fragging guide.

  1. Start by making a clean cut through the skeletal structure, avoiding the tissue as much as possible and the eyes completely. You do want to ensure there is at least one eye on your fragged piece.
  1. It is not uncommon for your coral to sustain injuries during the fragging process, so you want to dip it in the iodine solution or coral dip to promote healing and prevent infections.
  1. After you dip your coral in the solution, rinse it off in the container of tank water.
  1. Glue your coral to a new rock or substrate, and spray it with the instant set solution to keep it from coming off the surface.
  1. Rinse the piece in your container of saltwater to help with the healing process.
  1. Place the coral in its new spot in your aquarium, and be sure to give it several weeks to heal.

If you are planning to frag more than one piece of coral, it is important to thoroughly clean your tools or use new tools altogether. You also need to replace the water and iodine or coral dip in each container. 

Author Note: Your coral’s chemicals, such as mucus, are released during the fragging process, and your next coral may sense these chemicals and become aggressive.

In Conclusion

By now you should be ready and eager to add a Chalice Coral to your aquarium due to its vibrant colors and intermediate care requirements. Also, who wouldn’t want a coral that goes by the names of Miami Hurricane and Hell’s Eye?  

It would’ve been awesome if the Chalice Coral could live on dry land to place a few around the house and impress the neighbors. Well, we can at least do this in our aquariums. 

If you liked this coral then you will love the Scoly Coral since its colors are out of this world! It even goes by the name of War Paint (we love peace but that name is quite cool). Don’t forget to tag us on Facebook when sharing nice photos of your coral and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you and best of luck!

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