Galaxea Coral is a salt water large stony polyp coral (LPS) that originates from the coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region and is also native to reefs in the Red Sea. This coral can typically be found in waters that are less than 60 feet deep and they prefer turbidity in their environment.
This species of coral is long stemmed and typically has a darker colored body with lighter stems and white tips; they also grow in dense clusters, resembling a starry sky or a galaxy, giving this coral its common name. Some of the other common names for this coral include Crystal, Galaxy, Starburst, and Tooth Coral. This coral is most commonly green but can also be found in variations of brown, pink, blue, red, and purple. Galaxea Corals are popular amongst aquarists due to their magnificent colors and the mesmerizing movement they bring to aquariums.
Are Galaxea Coral Difficult to Care for?
Galaxea Coral are considered a hardy species, and they require a moderate level of care, but they are not recommended for beginners. They have a high ability to endure stress brought on by changes in their environment. However, while these corals are considered to be hardy, they also tend to have delicate and fragile skeletons and should be handled with care when being picked up, moved around, and fragged. Galaxea Corals also have an aggressive temperament and long tentacles that can make choosing placement and tank mates challenging.
Galaxea Coral Placement
Galaxea Corals most ideal placement will depend upon the specific set up of your tank. Two of the biggest factors when deciding the appropriate placement for this coral will be the lighting and the placement of other species that are already in your aquarium. This species is very aggressive with long sweeper tentacles that reach out about 4 inches, sometimes longer depending on the size of the coral, so you’ll want to keep adequate space between them and their neighbors. Placing them on a rock or ledge that is a minimum of 6 inches but possibly up to 12 inches away from other animals in the tank is recommended. Galaxea Corals need moderate lighting, therefore deciding to place them higher or lower in the tank will depend on the lighting provided for them.
Galaxea Coral require low to moderate water flow. These corals rely on water flow to remove waste and provide food, but water flow that is too strong or direct may cause the coral polyps to close, resulting in a loss of nutrients and overall poor health for the coral. Strong water flow may also encourage the tentacles to stretch out, stinging and causing damage to other corals within reach.
Galaxea Corals are not as picky about lighting as other species, but it is recommended to give them low to medium lighting in their tank, somewhere between 50 to 150 PAR. If your tank set up has stronger light than that, make sure to place them along the bottom of the tank in the substrate or the light may cause bleaching in the coral. If possible, it is better to start with a lower light setting and adjust it if necessary.
Like most LPS corals, the Galaxea Corals will do well in water that emulates the warm temperatures of the tropical seas they’re native to. Keeping your tank temperature between 76°F and 81°F is ideal for this species.
The Galaxea Coral prefers alkaline waters so keeping the pH levels between 8.1 and 8.4, with a dKH of 8 to 12, is recommended for them.
The Galaxea Coral has several feeding methods, but they do rely heavily on their zooxanthellae for nutrients. Galaxea Corals can also capture live feed with their tentacles, and they can benefit from being fed soft and meaty foods that are small in size as well. Giving these corals a feeding 2 or 3 times a week is recommended. Their preferred foods include Mysis or brine shrimp, krill, small zooplankton, or small pieces of fish. Due to the small size of this coral’s polyps providing the feed in small pieces is important for them.
Galaxea Coral Supplementation
Galaxea Corals, like other corals, require certain water parameters to be maintained for them to thrive. Keeping alkaline waters that have 400 to 450 ppm calcium and moderate levels of magnesium, between 1200 to 1350 ppm, is appropriate for this coral. Keeping phosphates out of the tank and doing monthly water changes of 20% is suggested as well.
Growth Rate & Height
Galaxea Coral can grow quickly and can grow additional heads easily. These corals can grow up to 12 inches across, although in the wild they can grow up to 3 feet. Their colonies tend to grow in columnar or encrusting form. If your corals growth is slow, make sure you are providing high quality feed to the animal. This species can be fragged for asexual reproduction but, like all corals, can also reproduce sexually. The female corals will produce eggs while male corals produce sperm to fertilize the eggs. These fertilized eggs will become free swimming larvae that will attach to a surface and grow into a polyp, that will later begin to form the corals skeleton.
Fragging Galaxea Coral
Galaxea Coral are a species that is easy to propagate, however it is recommended to use a wire saw and be careful when cutting a fragment. This coral species has frail skeletons that can easily be damaged in this process, leaving the coral vulnerable to disease and infection. Once a fragment is made, you may attach it to a rock or ledge in the tank where it can heal and begin a new colony. Finding an isolated spot for the new Galaxea will be crucial for its development.
Galaxea Coral Disease
As previously mentioned, Galaxea Corals have very brittle skeletons which, if damaged, can allow infection and disease, particularly brown jelly infection, to spread into the coral. Brown jelly infection can be fatal to this coral and spread to other corals in your tank as well. If you notice this disease developing it is important to cut off the infected piece of coral and increase the water flow in your tank. You can use a UV light and an iodine dip on the coral for further protection as well.
A cracked skeleton can also tear the live tissue on these corals. Checking the skeleton for cracks after handling can help prevent some of these issues.
Keeping the areas in between the polyps clean will prevent debris from collecting on the colony and keep your Galaxea healthy as well.
One of the pros of keeping this species is that the formation in which it grows allows you to save the coral if one part of it does happen to become infected.
Galaxea Coral is an aggressive coral with long sweeper tentacle that can reach out up to 20 times its daytime length. Providing this species with adequate space within the tank will minimize aggression and prevent this coral from attacking other animals within the tank. Using a tank that is at least 50 gallons is ideal for this species. It is also best to keep this coral with fish that do not have an aggressive nature. While some people recommend keeping Galaxea corals with other Galaxeas, many aquarists have noticed that they will attack each other.
Where Can I Find Galaxea Coral for Sale?
Galaxea Corals can be found in specialty shops, on websites that specifically sell coral fragments, as well as on eBay. The price for these corals can range from $30 up to $200 dollars, depending on the type and the size of the fragment being purchased.
Galaxea Coral Types
Galaxea Corals are available in different color variations. General care requirements for the coral does not differ based on the specific color type.
- Gold Galaxea Coral has a deep purple or blue body with gold tentacles.
- Green Galaxea Coral is one of the most common color variations of this species. It is characterized by a deep brown body with green tentacles and white tips.
- Rainbow Galaxea Coral has a beautiful blend of blue, green, and orange throughout the body with white polyp tips.
- Fantasia Galaxea Coral has a deep brown or purple base with yellow and green stems.
- Neon Green Galaxea Coral has a blue or purple base with bright neon green stems.
- Battlestar Galaxea Coral have a deep red or purple body with orange and red stems.
- Orange Galaxea Coral is characterized by a deep red body with orange stems and can sometimes have green along the body as well.
- Wolverine Galaxea Coral has a deep purple base with blue and bright green stems and tips.
Are Galaxea Corals Right for My Aquarium?
If you are looking for a unique backdrop in your aquarium, these brilliant and beautiful corals will create an amazing display in any tank. Galaxea Corals have relatively simple care requirements but do need an abundance of space in their tank. If you are new to the hobby and do not have a tank large enough for this coral, it may not be for you. However, if you are an intermediate aquarist and have the appropriate set up necessary to care for this species, it is a very stunning and intriguing coral to keep.