Cynarina Coral Care Guide

Cynarina lacrymalis, commonly known as “Doughnut corals,” “Button corals,” or “Cat’s Eye Corals,” are large polyp stony (LPS) corals. A Cynarina coral secretes its own little stony cup base and exists as a single polyp nesting in the corallite cup. This is one of the largest, single-polyp corals out there. A Cynarina can grow up to 6 inches in diameter.  These corals are often mistaken for Scolymia. They usually have a single oral opening present in the center. Some species may have more than one.  A Button coral can grow up to 6 inches in diameter. Cynarina can be found in a range colors from bright red, pink, green, brown, or gentle pastels. The center can be the same or a contrasting color. Another cool thing about Button corals is their ability to change the surface of their polyps from dull to glossy.


When introducing a Cynarina coral into your reef, location is very important regarding lighting and waterflow. Button corals prefer moderate lighting. We recommend between 100-150 PAR. Bear in mind that many corals can be gradually acclimated to lighting beyond their normal range. Low to moderate water flow is also recommended. Higher flows could cause damage to your Cynarina coral's tissue. Lower flows also provide more opportunities for your Button coral to catch a meal, so take that into consideration. Most reef keepers will choose a place on the bottom of the tank for their Cynarina corals.


Through their symbiotic relationship with a photosynthetic algae, known as zooxanthellae, they receive many of their nutrients. They also filter-feed on the nutrients in the water column. It is a good idea to provide your Button coral with additional meaty foods like brine shrimp or krill. To maintain good health, calcium, strontium, and other trace elements should be monitored and added as needed.

Cynarina corals are solitary corals. While not an outwardly aggressive coral, they need their own personal space.  At night, stinging sweeper tentacles will emerge from this coral and insure nothing is encroaching on that personal space, so make sure to give your Button coral enough room to grow and thrive.

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