Candy Cane Trumpet Corals - Spotlight Guide, Aggression, Feeding & More

The Candy Cane Coral is a Large Polyp Stony coral also knows as LPS Coral. It is considered a great beginners coral and a popular coral found commonly in hobbyists aquariums. Candy Cane Corals seem to be the name they this coral is referred to the most, but it is also known as Candy Corals, Trumpet Coral, Cat’s Eye Coral, Bullseye Coral, and even a Torch Coral (not to be confused with a Euphyllia Torch coral which is a completely different species that is also popular).


The Candy Cane coral can grow in two different way, almost like a dome where the new polyps grow from the bottom and continue to push the coral upwards and the more commonly found in the hobby is the branching Candy Cane coral. As the name states this version of the Candy Cane coral branches out and as it does it will develop new polyps.


In the proper conditions, Candy Cane corals will grow well.


Candy Cane Coral Care Guide

The Candy Cane Coral can thrive in many different conditions and can tolerate some swing in water parameters which is one of the reasons it is a beginner coral.


Candy Cane Water Flow Needs

Candy Cane Corals enjoy moderate to mild water flow and have been known to survive in even low flow. The key here is feeding, the lower the flow that the Candy Cane gets, the more reliant they will be on you feeding them. Higher water flows allow the food to flow by them and helps remove the mucous coat of the coral, the lower the flow, the less food that comes to them.


Also, try not to apply too much flow to the Candy Cane coral, they have large fleshy polyps, and if you have too much flow pointing at them, you can cause them damage. The flesh could start to peel off the skeleton. 


Candy Cane Lighting Needs

Candy Cane corals get some of their food and energy from lighting through zooxanthellate. Moderate to low reef lighting is acceptable. Overexposure to high light can irritate the polyps and cause them to retract.


Calcium and pH are essential parameters for Candy Cane corals due to their stony skeletons.


Suggested Water Change Schedule for Candy Cane Corals

A 20% water change per month or a 10% water change bi-weekly or a 5% water change per week are all acceptable schedules for water changes.


While everyone should try to provide excellent water quality for all of the species in your tank, Candy Cane corals can tolerate swings in water parameter. While they may not die from large water parameter swings, they will complain. The fleshy polyp will contract, they will stop opening and showing the sweeper tentacles as well retract to the point that you can see the skeleton behind the polyp.

Are Candy Cane Corals Considered Aggressive?

Candy Cane corals do have sweeper tentacles which could sting a coral. With that said the Candy Cane sweeping tentacles are very short and could only affect corals located extremely close to them. For the Candy Cane coral to have any chance of stinging a nearby coral, the other coral would have to be close enough that it was touching the Candy Cane flesh. For the most part, most people do not have to worry about the stinging tentacles of Candy Cane corals, and I would claim it is not aggressive.


Keep in mind, the type of Candy Cane growth pather that you have so that you can give them the proper space to grow.


Candy Cane Coral Placement

Due to the Candy Cane coral ability to thrive in a low light environment, placing this coral at the bottom of your tank is fine. You can also put them in the middle of your tank but try to avoid placing the coral at the top of the tank or in an area with too much flow.

Candy Cane Coral Feeding

With a good enough flow, during your normal feeding cycle, your Candy Cane corals will take in nutrients. During your normal feeding cycle, you do not know exactly how much food will get to them if any. If you are a light feeder, then it's fair to assume that not much if any of the food is getting to them. Even if you are a heavy feeder the amount of food that they get is hit or miss. They will enjoy small sized food like mysis, krill, brine shrimp to micro-plankton. They will also take prepared food like Formula One pellets food as well.


While it is suggested to feeding Candy Cane corals, I know many people who suggest that it is not needed. My observation is that the people who do not spot feed them and have a healthy colony of Candy Cane corals typically feed heavily. With the proper flow and heavy feedings, more often then not they will also get feed.


To achieve optimal growth and keep them healthy try to target feed them once to three times a week. Keep an eye on the Candy Cane coral after feeding it to make sure no one is stealing the food from the coral. In some cases, after you feed them fish, shrimp and hermit crabs may see it as an easy meal and will try to take the food from the Candy Cane coral. Some species will learn that if they irritate the Candy Cane corals enough the will spit out the food they already injected. So if you are target feeding keep an eye on them for a little while after you feed them to make sure that someone else is not stealing the food from them.


I like to provide a diverse diet for my aquarium, and I usually add Reef Chilly to the food I feed my fish and broadcast feed the tank. When I target feed corals, I like to use a Reef-Roids paste, about 2:1 ratio. Two parts water and one part Reef-Roids, this will make a thick paste that will sink after it comes out of the syringe making it easier to feed corals. I like to mix it in a small container, and after I suck it into the syringe I rinse the container in the tank water, and the small amount of Reef-Roids goes into the tank. That usually tells my corals that it’s time to eat.


All of the corals will start to puff up, and everyone tentacles will begin to come out. A few mins after the container was cleaned out I will turn off all of the flow in the tank. I will first feed the fish a small amount (tiny) you may have to feed your fish a few time to keep them distracted. Then I start target feeding my coral. For my Candy Cane corals, I try to feed a small amount to eat polyp. I don’t always get them all, next time I try to get the ones that I missed the time before.


While you should maintain proper water parameters all around, make sure to keep up with your Calcium and pH levels, your Candy Cane corals should continue to thrive.


Candy Cane Propagation

The Candy Cane growth comes from their polyps, where a single polyp will grow a second mouth similar to a soft mushroom coral. Unlike mushrooms, the Candy Cane corals are attached by a hard skeleton. So once the second mouth appears they start to split and separate into two V-shaped branches.


The dome species will continue to grow outwards with each polyp split increasing the diameter of the colony.


Candy Cane Fragging

Due to its skeleton and large polyps, fragging Candy Cane corals is relatively easy. You can see the skeleton and the fleshy polyp. The skeleton interconnects with another skeleton that has its polyp.


Where the skeletons interconnect is far enough from the polyp flesh and an excellent place to cut a frag. You want to cut the branch, not the polyp. Cutting the polyp will most likely result in the loss of the head or frag. The best tool I found to cut the coral is a simple bone cutter, sure you can use a fancy band saw and if you have one, you should, but it's not needed.


Once cut you want to glue the branch to a frag plug to provide it some stability.

Candy Cane Coral Signs of Trouble

If you are noticing multiple corals showing signs of stress the first thing you should do, is preparing for the next step. You should start to get saltwater ready to do a significant water change, depending on your situation it could take a while to get RO/DI water available, or you may have to go out a get water. There could be a chemical solution to fix the problem which may prevent you from doing a water change, but if you see multiple corals stressed out, I always do a water change and then try to adjust using chemically.


The fleshy polyp contract and never seems to get large, they will stop opening as well retract to the point that you can see the skeleton behind the polyp.


A healthy Candy Cane coral will extend its tentacles. It will generally do this while feeding or at night time. If your Candy Cane coral is not extending it sweeper tentacles while feeding, take a look at them late at night to see if it’s tentacles are exposed.


If the Candy Cane coral extends in tentacles at night but not when you feed them during the day, it could be a sign that something is picking at it and it does not feel safe enough to extend its tentacles.


If you do not see any tentacles, this could be a sign that it's stressed out. If it is not an issue where it is getting too much flow, you should start to test your water parameters starting with Salinity, pH, and Calcium. If none of these are off, then you should keep checking your other water parameters.


Dipping Candy Cane Corals

Candy Cane corals are fairly hardy corals, and you usually do not have to worry about a pest that attacks Candy Cane corals. You should still quarantine Candy Cane corals to make sure they do not introduce a pest that could affect a different species in your tank.


What are some common dipping methods used for Candy Cane Corals?


Freshwater Dip Candy Cane Corals

Placing you Candy Cane Corals in fresh RO/DI water for 5 min can kill off some invertebrates, the Candy Cane coral may be a little upset for a day or two before but should recover fine.


Candy Cane Hydrogen Peroxide Dip

Due to the branching growth of Candy Cane corals, if you tank experiences hair algae outbreak algae tends to grow on the skeleton part of the Candy Cane coral making it a real pain to remove. Hydrogen Peroxide can get rid of this algae but instead of spraying the coral in the tank and possibly upsetting other coral in your tank. Another option is to dip them in a Hydrogen Peroxide Dip.


I usually suggest putting high-grade Hydrogen peroxide in your tank but how this will be a dip I recommend using the standard 3% that you can pick up at the grocery store. I suggest using a 3:1 ration so for every 1 part of Hydrogen Peroxide you add three parts tank water.


Add the Candy cane Coral to the dip for 5 min and then remove it and add it back to your aquarium. It's going to be mad at you for the next 3-4 days but it will start to turn around, and you should see all or most of the hair algae dead within a week. If still present wait two weeks and then dip it again. Continue the cycle until it is all gone. If you did not see any change in the hair algae after the first dip, don’t dip it again (Note other coral can instantly die from a Hydrogen Peroxide dip such as SPS corals).

Candy Cane Known Diseases

As mentioned many times Candy Cane Corals are quite hard from time to time every once in a while we come across a Candy Cane Coral getting Brown Jelly which is extremely contagious and can spread quickly to other LPS corals in your tank.


If your Candy Cane Coral shows signs of Brown Jelly, I suggest fragging off the peace that is infected as well as possibly the nearest heads to it to prevent it from spreading further. Most people will toss the infected peace. The next time I encounter it, I will try to do a Hydrogen Peroxide dip and then quartine the infected coral to see if it helps.


The key with Brown Jelly is to get it out of your tank as soon as possible.


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About author

I got into the aquarium hobby in 2004 after I went diving for the first time I knew I wanted a small piece of the ocean nearby to admire at home. I have a tech background, so I enjoy gadgets and automation. I plan to do a planted freshwater tank and play


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