The Chalice coral is one of the more popular corals (as of 2013) due to the amazing colours they have. There are all sorts of colour morphs out there and several different coral species that are commonly called Chalice corals.
Echinophyllia sp, Enchinopora sp., Oxypora sp, Pectinia, and several others. You will often find chalice frags with names like Mummy Eye, Miami Hurricane, Acid Rain, etc.
These are various colour morphs that certain frag traders and sellers have come up with as a way to keep the various colour morphs straight and there is a little bit of marketing to this as well.
If you are interested in them and want to buy Chalice coral frags be prepared to put out some serious cash.
Frags are priced based on their colours and size. I’ve seen several frags going for anywhere from £40 all the way up to £500 for a frag! Just plain crazy.
If you have a stable reef tank that has been set up for awhile, the tank has stabilized and you can provide the proper requirements this could be one coral that could help supplement your hobby, at least until prices even out as more chalice frags come into the market.
The Chalice coral is considered semi-aggressive and they may have sweeper tentacles that will harm neighbouring corals. They also will actively feed at night after the lights are out.
Wait about an hour or so after lights out and look in on them and you will see what I’m talking about. You can target feed them mysis or brine shrimp using a modified two litre bottle.
Cut the bottom out and then place it over the chalice and then using a turkey baster, gently squeeze in some food while keeping the two litre bottle there for a few minutes allowing them time to grab the food.
Don’t over feed them and risk polluting your tank, especially in smaller setups. They will get most of what they need from the water and lighting.
The more often you feed them though they faster they will likely grow.
Regarding recommended water flows, many hobbyists are having good results keeping them in moderate water flows. Make sure it is turbulent water flows (vortechs are good for this) and not one way water flows that could lead to tissue damage.
I keep mine on the bottom of the tank under moderate to high water flows in a predominately SPS reef tank.
They also will do fine under moderate lighting levels. If you have metal halides or T5-HO’s they will likely do fine near the bottom half of the tank.
Just be sure if placing them in the sand that no burrowing species are kicking up sand on them. If so, try to keep them off the sand and place them a little higher in the tank.
General Chalice Coral Care Requirements
Moderate lighting levels
Moderate and turbulent water flow
Water temperature – 75°F – 82°F (24°C – 28°C), keep a steady temperature
Very low levels of nitrate and low phosphate levels
Maintain calcium levels (400 – 450 ppm) and magnesium around 1300 (nsw levels)
Feeding them a few times per week will lead to faster growth rates.