Bubble Corals | The Ultimate Care Guide


Common NameBubble Coral
Scientific NamePlerogyra sinuosa
OriginIndian Ocean, Pacific Ocean
Temperature72F to 78F
Water pH8.1 to 8.4
Growth Rateup to 4 inches per year
DietCarnivorous

Bubble Coral Facts 

  • You can find Bubble Corals in 4 different types, but they are fairly easily distinguished from one another by looking at them.
  • Bubble Coral can sting other corals in their tank if they are not placed far enough apart. Bubble Coral can sting people too, but it is usually mild and irritation will clear up on its own.
  • Bubble Corals are quite delicate, and they can be injured easily if not anchored correctly.
Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa)
Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa)

Bubble Coral

Bubble Corals can be found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, and they are often mistaken for fish eggs or even soft coral. Bubble Corals are a type of LPS. This means that they are large, polyped, and stony. Bubble Corals are delicate, and can be easily damaged by heavy water flow. They are found in habitats that are protected, and have low flow. If you are looking for them, you will most likely find them wedged in places with murky waters.

Bubble Coral Types

There are 4 main species of Bubble Coral that look and act similarly, but they can be distinguished from one another if you know what to look for.

Plerogyra Simplex

This type of Bubble Coral is also known as Branching Bubble Coral. The branches of this type of Bubble Coral all connect to one base. Each Branch that grows off of the base has dozens of smooth, pillow shaped vesicles. This type of branching allows this type of Bubble Coral to grow into a rather large colony.

Plerogyra Discus

Plerogyra Discus is a type of Bubble Coral, and it is also known as Fox Bubble Coral. The vesicles on this type of Bubble Coral can be inflated or deflated. This can vary from each specimen.

Plerogyra Sinuosa

Plerogyra Sinuosa is type of Bubble Coral that has smooth and rounded vesicles that almost resemble long grapes. They can be found in larger sized colonies or even smaller ones. When the vesicles are deflated, they have a greenish tinge to them.

Physogyra Lichtensteini

Physogyra Lichtensteini is type of Bubble Coral, and it is also known as Pearl Coral. It is known for its small round, pearl shape. It can be difficult to identify this type of Bubble Coral as it can also be found with longer, or more grape shaped vesicles. This type of Bubble Coral is smaller and shorter than the other types of Bubble Coral, but it can grow in thick plates.

Where are Bubble Coral Found in the Wild?

Bubble Coral are found in the Western Indo-Pacific Ocean and also the Red Sea. You could find them in protected and shady areas with mid to low water current. It is illegal to harvest Bubble Corals directly from the ocean as they take a long time to regenerate.

Can Bubble Coral Sting You?

Bubble Coral have tentacles that can sting their neighbors and also sting humans. At night, the Bubble Coral shrinks and retracts slightly, and they send out their sweeping tentacles. These sweeper tentacles can be anywhere from 3 to 4 inches long. You will want to make sure that you are mindful of where they are placed in the aquarium for this reason.

Bubble Coral have tentacles that are out during the day, but these are mostly harmless. It is the night tentacles that contain nematocysts. Nematocysts are stinging cells like the ones in jellyfish tentacles that contain a barbed or venomous thread that are slightly projected to capture prey, or defend themselves.

Keepers of Bubble Coral that have touched the polyps of the coral on accident say that you will not notice the skin irritated right away but a few hours later. The irritant can cause an allergic reaction, and swelling. If the symptoms of being stung by Bubble Coral do not alleviate after some time with over the counter medications, a person experiencing this might need to seek hospitalization.

Bubble Coral Care

It can be tricky to keep Bubble Coral in the home aquarium setup. This is due to their stinging nature. You have to be careful when handling Bubble Coral and placing it in your aquarium so that you do not get stung. It is also important to place the Bubble Coral far enough away from neighboring corals so that they do not sting them with their tentacles. The fleshy vesicles are very fragile, and they can easily become damaged.

Bubble Coral Placement

When deciding on a placement for Bubble Coral in your tank, you must keep in mind how delicate they are. It is best to place them into the substrate. This will help anchor them in place. They can sometimes be set in crevices of decorative rocks, but Bubble Corals are top heavy when inflated, and it is possible for them to fall down and get injured. It is not advisable to attempt to place Bubble Coral just anywhere in your tank unless you are sure that they are secure and stable.

What to Feed Bubble Coral?

It is important for the growth and health of Bubble Coral that they receive the correct diet. Bubble Coral mostly feed at night, but they will occasionally feed during the day as well. Bubble Corals are carnivorous, and they can be fed directly via dropper or turkey baster. You will want to make sure that you are offering your Bubble Coral finely chopped, meaty foods at least once a week. You can use the dropper to squirt the food directly over top of the coral. Bubble Coral will readily accept mysis shrimp or other seafood.

Bubble Coral Lighting Requirement

Bubble Coral requires a medium level of lighting. Giving them a day and night cycle is important for growth and they should be offered light for 9 to 12 hours per day. The lighting helps the Bubble Coral with photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process of converting light into energy, and it is where the Bubble Coral gets 8o to 85% of its energy.

Bubble Coral Water Parameters

Bubble Coral requires a water temperature of 72F to 78F, and you will need to make sure that you have purchased a quality heater for their tank setup. Bubble Coral also requires 8.1 to 8.4pH. Make sure that their water parameters are regularly monitored. This will ensure that you can catch any problems to correct them as they occur. Due to the sensitivity of Bubble Coral, a small problem can very quickly become a large one and the health of your Bubble Coral can quickly diminish.

Bubble Coral Growth Rate and Size

The growth rate of Bubble Coral seems to be largely dependent on the coral itself. Owners of Bubble Corals report them growing anywhere from half an inch up to 4inches per year. Some owners of Bubble Corals have said that their Bubble Corals grow even more than this, up to 8 inches per year. This growth rate is most likely affected by the conditions in which they are kept. The happier the coral, the more it will grow. Bubble Corals keep growing for the entire duration of their lives.

How to Frag Bubble Coral

Coral fragging is the process of breaking the coral itself into smaller pieces called colonies and then anchoring those pieces into the substrate so that they grow into independent coral. These pieces are called Daughter Colonies. Fragging is a way to propagate the coral.

Why is my Bubble Coral Dying?

There are many reasons that Bubble Coral may not be thriving in your home aquarium setup. You will want to make sure that you are monitoring your water parameters regularly to make sure that they are correct for keeping Bubble Coral. This is one of the most common reasons why a Bubble Coral may not be doing so well. Another reason Bubble Coral may not be doing well is unjury. Bubble Corals are easily injured, and an injury greatly disrupts the processes of the Bubble Coral. Make sure that they are receiving low water flow as well so that they are not damaged by faster moving currents.

Why is my Bubble Coral Not Opening?

Bubble Coral not opening up is an indicator that something in the tank parameters are not correct. Bubble Coral will not open if the water is not filtered correctly. Make sure to monitor the water quality often as it is essential for the health and happiness of Bubble Coral.

Are Bubble Coral Compatible With Shrimp?

It is not a good idea to keep shrimp with Bubble Corals as they are carnivorous and will mistake them as food.

Where Can I Find Bubble Coral For Sale?

If you are looking to purchase Bubble Coral for your home aquarium setup you will be able to find it for purchase online. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 for a piece of Bubble Coral. Make sure that you are purchasing your Bubble Coral from a reputable seller online so that you ensure that you are getting healthy coral.

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With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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