First described by William Saville-Kent in 1893, the Catalaphyllia jardinei, known as the Elegance coral (also called the Wonder coral), is a member of the Euphylliidae family. Elegance corals are large polyp stony (LPS) corals. I believe the Elegance coral inspires "love at first sight" with a lot of Reef Chasers. Elegance corals are typically a shade of fluorescent green with green or contrasting tentacles of tan or white, often ending in pale pink, blue, or lavender tips. Elegance colonies can grow up to 12 inches in length and 8 inches in width. Their tentacles can extend an additional 4 inches in all directions.
When adding an Elegance coral to your reef, there are a few things to consider regarding location. Elegance corals prefer moderate lighting. We recommend 100-200 PAR. Moderate water flow is also preferred. Water flow that is too high could damage the large, delicate polyps. As we noted, this coral has very large, visible polyps. These polyps develop on a large, branching corallite skeleton that has a wedge shape. The shape of the skeleton is perfectly shaped for sitting in a sandy substrate - which is where they like to be in your aquarium. Placing an Elegance coral on a rock can easily tear the delicate polyps, which can lead to infection and possibly death.
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 Elegance with additional foods like brine shrimp or krill. These corals like to eat and would benefit from targeted feeding. To maintain good health, calcium, strontium, and other trace elements should be monitored and added as needed.
Be sure to provide ample space in the aquarium between your Elegance and other neighboring corals - taking into consideration that an Elegance coral can expand to twice its usual size during the day, is aggressive, and will sting other corals that touch it. Elegance corals have sensitive polyps and do not tolerate contact with other corals or algae. It's worth noting that, while the Elegance can sting, Clownfish may accept this coral if no anemone is present to host them. Use caution when handling this species, as it is very fragile and can release a toxin that could irritate your hands.