Convict chalice corals are specimens of Echinophyllia plating colonies with a very distinctive series of stripes running usually from the edge of the oral disc (mouth) to the colony's edges. The lines of convict chalice corals can be very dark, or very bright, but either form gives these uniquely colored corals a very startling appearance and makes them very desirable among chalice coral collectors.
Chalice Corals are a broad collection of corals that are loosely jumbled together. Several different genera of corals are represented ranging from Echinopora, Oxypora, Mycedium, and even Lithophyllon. As such, care requirements are going to be generalized more than other corals because these are very different corals that all get lumped in together. Please see below for more care tips for Chalice Corals as well as checking out our Top 5 Tips for setting up a reef.
Moderate lighting is recommended for best coloration and overall health. Metal Halide lighting or a large bank of high output fluorescent can sometimes be tolerated but typically these corals do not fare well under extremely intense light. If not provided proper lighting, the colors may fade. Chalice corals tend to have some of the most impressive fluorescence in the reef keeping hobby which can be best viewed under actinic LED's. The Chalices we grow here at Tidal Gardens look best in the winter when light is less intense. In the summer they tend to brown out considerably but will return to more attractive coloration once in a stable home reef aquarium.
Low light translates to about 30-50 PAR
Medium Light is between 50-150 PAR
High Light is anything over 150 PAR
Lighting is a loaded topic, so for a more in-depth discussion of lighting, please see our Deep Dive article.
Moderate water movement is recommended. Flow that is too low can allow detritus to settle on the colonies which creates dead spots. Flow that is too strong may knock a chalice over because the shape of the colony acts as a sail that can catch the water current.
Chalice coral relies heavily on the products of their zooxanthellae, but are surprisingly one of the most aggressive eaters. We have tried feeding it a number of different types of food ranging from frozen foods to pellet foods. Chalices do not have pronounced polyp extension so it never appears that they are eating however in our time-lapse videos we can see that they eat large amounts of food. If you are curious about making your own food for both fish and coral, take a look at our Home Made Food Article!
This genus for the most part has been propagated extensively in captivity and is an excellent candidate for aquaculture. Chalices are diverse and some varieties propagate better than others.
Proper acclimation is extremely important considering the stress imposed on the animals by the shipping process. Please take a moment to review our Acclimation Guide.
The images were taken with a Canon 5D mk II and 100mm macro lens under T5 Fluorescent lighting. Quite a lot goes into how we go about shooting the corals and anemones you see on Tidal Gardens. For an in-depth look at our methods, check out our comprehensive Reef Aquarium Photography FAQ.