• LIGHT: LOW-MODERATE(100-200par) is what we find best. These corals are highly adaptable to lighting. You can learn more about Lighting and it's overall impact on your reef tank in our article Lighting and your Reef Tank

  • FOOD: We haven't noticed that any specific feeding strategy is required for these corals. Like most corals they capture nutrients from the water and will do best when supplied a healthy amount of food. Our method is high import, high export. You can learn more about Feeding and Filtration in our article Feeding, Filtration and your Reef Tank.

  • FLOW: MODERATE. Leathers will benefit from moderate-indirect water movement. Their polyps aren't overly sensaitive to water movement and it's important to keep detritus clear. Too much flow will cause their polyps to retract and can even kill the coral. Like goldilocks you want it to be just right. Too much flow, especially direct flow, can cause damage to the coral's tissue or an inability to capture food. You can read more about Flow and its overall impact on your reef tank in our article Flow and your Reef Tank

  • DIFFICULTY: BEGINNER. Leather corals are easy to care for can grow nicely in ideal conditions. They are not very susceptible to coral diseases like STN, RTN, and the like. Leathers are a soft coral species and do not have a calcium carbonate skeleton and therefor do not require extreme maintenance of Calcium and Alkalinity. Like with all corals, specimens have been seen to do well in captivity when the right combination of Food/Light/Flow and Filtration are achieved. 

  • PRICE: MODERATE. These corals tend to grow fairly slow. Typically they are brought in as wild specimens, conditioned to aquarium life and sold to customers although small frags are made available typically through fragging/aquaculture.  They tend to do well in captivity though and are considered difficult to kill. Because of this their pricing never gets too high. Still, for large colonies like Toadstools, Umbrella, Devils Hand and Sinularia you can still expect to pay $150 or more for large show pieces. Small toadstools and umbrella's are often available for much cheaper.

  • COLLECTION ZONE: Indo-Pacific

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Leather Corals covers a wide variety of coral species such as Sarcophyton glaucum (Toadstool Leather), Sinularia, Lobophytum (Devil's Hand), Lemnalia and others.

  • AGGRESSION: AGGRESSIVE. Some corals are just notorious for creating allelopathy (Chemical Warfare) issues. For instance, among the soft corals, various SarcophytonLobophytumSinularia, and Lemnalia species are well known for their toxic tendencies. While we have had much success keeping leather corals along side many other species or at least within the same system as other species, we are sure to employ activated carbon and adequate filtration and dwell time. We tend to keep them downwind from other more sensitive species.

  • NATURAL TEMPERATURE: 82 °F / 28 °C  although most corals can adapt and survive in temps as low as 77 degrees and as high as 84 degrees. You can read more about temperature and how it affects your reef tank in our article Temperature and your Reef Tank.

  • PH: Recommend 8.0-8.4, we tend to run around 8.2-8.3 over 24 hours. You can read more about pH in our article pH and your Reef Tank

  • NITRATE: 5-10, try to keep stable. You can read more about nitrate and our approach to maintaining it in our article Nutrients and your Reef Tank

  • PHOSPHATE: 0.05-0.1, try to keep stable. You can read more about Phosphate and our approach to maintaining it in our article Nutrients and your Reef Tank

  • ALKALINITY: While these are soft corals and are not consumers of calcium/alkalinity as they do not lay a calcium carbonate skeleton, we still recommend 8-9 dKh. You can read more about how we maintain our alkalinity in our article Alkalinity, Calcium and your Reef Tank

  • CALCIUM: While these are soft corals and are not consumers of calcium/alkalinity as they do not lay a calcium carbonate skeleton, we still recommend 400-450 Calcium. You can read more about how we maintain our calcium in our article Alkalinity, Calcium and your Reef Tank

More About Leather Corals

Leather Corals are soft corals primarily found in the Alcyoniidae family. This family consists of soft corals that are also called “Leathers.” When we talk about Leathers, there are 4 main genera of corals that we’re concerned with: the genus Sarcophyton - which contains toadstool leathers, the genus Sinularia - which contains most of the “finger leathers,” the genus Lobophytum - which contains the “devil’s hand leathers,” and the genus Cladiella -  which contains colt corals and other types of finger leathers. 

I know it seems like a lot, but the good news is that all of these corals have similar care requirements and are known to be hardy corals. There are hundreds of species of leather corals. Generally speaking, they have soft flesh covered in small polyps. Leathers are predominantly found in hues of yellow, red, green, purple, brown, and orange.

When placing your Leather coral, it's good to consider lighting and water flow. Leathers prefer low to moderate lighting. We recommend 100-150 PAR. Leathers also need moderate water flow to bring them food and keep them clean.

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 them with additional foods like microplankton or other foods designed for filter-feeding invertebrates.

Leather corals can be aggressive toward other corals. While they do not have sweeper tentacles to sting with, they can emit a toxic mucus to harm other corals that are too close. When choosing the best spot for your Leather coral, be sure to give it plenty of room to grow and thrive.

CapnellaCladiellaCoralCoral care guideKenya treeLeathersLobophytumReefReefchaserSarcophytonSinulariaSoft coralToadstool

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