What Are Torch Corals?
If you are looking for a coral that will light up your reef tank with its stunning colors and graceful movement, look no further than the torch coral. This LPS coral is one of the most popular and eye-catching corals in the hobby, and for good reason. Torch corals have long, thick, flowing polyps that emerge from a hard, stony base. Each polyp is tipped with a ball-like structure that gives them the appearance of a torch or a trumpet. Hence, they are also known as torch or trumpet corals. Some people even call them pompom corals because they look like fluffy balls of fun.
Torches come in a variety of colors, from green to gold to purple to rainbow. They can add a lot of beauty and drama to your reef tank, especially when they sway in the current. But before you rush to your local fish store or online vendor to get one of these beauties, you need to know how to care for them properly.
Torches are not very difficult to keep, but they do have some specific needs and preferences that you should be aware of. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about torch coral care, feeding, placement, compatibility, and more. We will also show you some of the most amazing types of torch corals you can find today. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all about these fascinating corals.
Torch Coral Care:
Now that you know what torch corals are and why they are so awesome, let’s talk about how to care for them in your reef tank. Torch corals are not very demanding, but they do have some specific needs and preferences that you should be aware of. Here are some of the most important aspects of torch coral care that you should pay attention to:
- Lighting: Torch corals do not like bright light. They prefer moderate lighting that mimics their natural habitat in the Indo-Pacific reefs. Too much light can cause them to bleach or lose their color. You can use LED lights, T5 lights, or metal halide lights to provide adequate lighting for your torch corals. The ideal PAR range for torch corals is between 100 and 250. You can use a PAR meter to measure the light intensity in your tank and adjust it accordingly. You can also use dimmers or timers to control the light cycle and duration.
A quick word about PAR meters: They are not all created equal, and when you need accuracy, it matters. The Apogee MQ-510 is widely used by aquarists and reef keepers because it is specifically designed and calibrated for underwater use.
- Water Temperature: The ideal temperature for a torch coral is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate a range of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, but they do not like sudden changes or fluctuations. You should use a heater and a thermometer to maintain a stable temperature in your tank. Avoid placing your tank near windows, vents, or other sources of heat or cold that can affect the water temperature.
- Water Parameters: Torch corals need clean and stable water conditions to thrive. They are sensitive to high levels of nitrates, phosphates, ammonia, and other pollutants that can harm their health and growth. You should test your water regularly and keep the following parameters in check:
- pH: 8.1 to 8.4
- Specific gravity: 1.023 to 1.025
- Alkalinity: 8 to 12 dKH
- Calcium: 400 to 450 ppm
- Magnesium: 1250 to 1350 ppm
- Nitrate: less than 10 ppm
- Phosphate: less than 0.03 ppm
You can use additives, supplements, water changes, and filtration systems to maintain these parameters at optimal levels.
- Diet: Torch corals are technically a self-sufficient species that do not require feeding. They have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, which are microscopic algae that live inside their tissues and produce food for them through photosynthesis. However, torch corals can also benefit from supplemental feeding once or twice a week. They have stinging cells called nematocysts that can capture and ingest small prey items such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill, plankton, or coral food. You can use a turkey baster or a pipette to target feed your torch corals when their polyps are fully extended. Be careful not to overfeed them, as this can cause water quality issues and algae growth.
- Torch Coral Placement in a Tank: Torch corals are best placed in an area of moderate flow and light. They usually do well in the middle or lower regions of the tank, where they can receive enough light but not too much. They also need enough space around them to avoid contact with other corals or fish. Torch corals are aggressive and will sting any neighboring corals that come too close. This includes other Euphyllia corals, such as frogspawn or hammer corals. You should leave at least 6 inches of space between your torch coral and any other coral species in your tank. You should also avoid placing your torch coral near powerheads, pumps, or filters that can damage their delicate polyps with strong currents.
- Fragging Torch Corals: Fragging is the process of cutting or breaking off a piece of coral and attaching it to a new substrate to create a new colony.
Torch Coral Varieties:
If you are already impressed by the beauty and elegance of the torch coral, wait until you see some of the amazing varieties that are available in the market today. Torch corals come in a range of colors and patterns that can make your reef tank look like a rainbow. Some of these varieties are rare and more expensive than others, but they are all worth a look. Here are some of the most stunning types of torch corals that you can find:
- Indo gold torch: The Indo gold torch is one of the most sought-after and pricey types of torch coral. There are many variations of the Indo gold, some of which have their own names, like the Holy Grail or NY Knicks. Basic Indo golds have yellow-gold and purple tentacles with lighter green tips that contrast beautifully with a purple base. This torch coral is named after its origin in Indonesia, where it can be scarce and hard to find. Depending on the size and quality, it can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per frag.
- Aussie gold torch: The Aussie gold torch is similar to the Indo gold torch but has orangey-gold tentacles with bluish-purple tips. It originates from Australia and, unfortunately, tends to be more uncommon than its Indonesian cousin. It still has a high demand and a hefty price tag, so be prepared to pay a premium for this gorgeous coral.
- Black torch: The black torch is another rare and expensive type of torch coral that has a striking appearance. It has intense dark purple tentacles with neon green tips that look almost black under certain lighting conditions. This torch coral does not require special care but needs moderate to high lighting to bring out its best coloration.
- NY Knicks torch: The green mouth gold and purple tentacled torch is a hybrid variety that has green tentacles with gold tips and a green center. It is a type of Indo gold that was named due to its above-average appearance. It has a unique and attractive look that can add some diversity and flair to your reef tank.
- Dragon soul torch: The dragon soul torch is another Indo gold variety that has purple and gold tentacles with green tips and a purple base. It has a vibrant and eye-catching coloration that can make it stand out among other corals. It is not as rare or expensive as some of the other types of torch corals, but it is still highly desirable and sought-after by many hobbyists.
We hope you enjoyed this article and learned a lot about torch corals and how to care for them in your reef tank. Torch corals are truly amazing and beautiful corals that can add a lot of color and movement to your aquarium. They are not very difficult to keep, but they do require some attention and respect. If you follow the tips and advice we shared in this article, you should be able to keep your torch corals healthy and happy for a long time. You should also be able to find some stunning varieties of torch corals that will make your reef tank look like a masterpiece. Torch corals are definitely worth the investment and the effort, as they will reward you with their stunning appearance and graceful behavior.
If you have any questions or comments about torch corals or any other coral species, feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you and help you out with your reef-keeping journey. You can also check out some of our other articles and resources for more information and inspiration. Thank you for reading, and happy reefing!
Q: How do I know if my torch coral is healthy?
A: A healthy torch coral will have fully extended and inflated polyps that sway in the current. It will also have bright and vibrant colors that match its variety. A healthy torch coral will also grow and encrust over time. Some signs of an unhealthy torch coral are retracted or deflated polyps, bleached or faded colors, tissue loss or necrosis, brown jelly disease, or pests such as flatworms or bristle worms.
Q: How often should I feed my torch coral?
A: Torch corals can survive without supplemental feeding, as they get most of their nutrition from their symbiotic zooxanthellae. However, they can also benefit from the occasional feeding of meaty foods such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill, plankton, or coral food. You can feed your torch coral once or twice a week when its polyps are fully extended. Be careful not to overfeed them, as this can cause water quality issues and algae growth.
Q: How do I frag my torch coral?
A: Fragging is the process of cutting or breaking off a piece of coral and attaching it to a new substrate to create a new colony. You can frag your torch coral by using a sharp and sterile tool such as a wet band saw, dremel, or bone cutters. You should cut off a branch or a head of the torch coral near the base. You should then dip the frag in a coral dip solution to disinfect it and prevent infections. You should then attach the frag to a frag plug, rock, or rubble using glue or epoxy. You should then place the frag in a low-flow and low-light area of your tank until it heals and is ready to move into a more permanent location.
Q: How do I deal with pests and diseases on my torch coral?
A: Pests and diseases can affect your torch coral and cause damage or death. Some common pests and diseases that affect torch corals are flatworms, bristle worms, brown jelly disease, tissue necrosis, and bacterial infections. You can prevent pests and diseases by maintaining good water quality, avoiding overcrowding or overfeeding, quarantining new corals before adding them to your tank and inspecting your corals regularly for signs of trouble. You can treat pests and diseases by removing the affected coral from your tank and dipping it in a coral dip solution such as Coral Rx, Revive, or Lugol’s iodine.
You can also use medications such as antibiotics or antifungals if needed. You should always follow the instructions on the label and consult a veterinarian if you are unsure.
Q: What are some compatible tank mates for my torch coral?
A: Torch corals are aggressive and will sting any neighboring corals that come too close. The same applies to other Euphyllia corals, such as frogspawn or hammer corals, which will often be stung by torch corals indiscriminately. You should leave at least 6 inches of space between your torch coral and any other coral species in your tank. You should also avoid placing your torch coral near powerheads, pumps, or filters that can damage their delicate polyps with strong currents.
Torch corals are generally reef-safe and will not harm most fish or invertebrates. However, some fish or invertebrates may nip at their polyps or irritate them with their activity. You should avoid keeping fish such as angelfish, butterflyfish, pufferfish, triggerfish, filefish, or cowfish with your torch corals.