The torch Coral is a large polyp stony (LPS) coral that is extremely popular among reef keepers. Torch corals have a calcified skeleton base with large fleshy polyps extending from the head complete with long flowing tentacles. Below we will share interesting facts about these torch corals as well as how to care for them in your home reef aquarium.
Quick Facts About The Torch Coral:
- Common Names: Torch Coral, Pom-pom, trumpet.
- Scientific Names: Euphyllia glabrescens (Hammers, frogspawn, and grape (cristata) torches are also members of the Euphyllia Genus)
- Care Level: beginner - intermediate
- Light Level: Medium
- Flow Level: Medium
- Aggression: Torches will tolerate other torches quite well but will sting other Euphyllia corals in most cases. They can sting any other corals as well so make sure you pay attention to location and what they may be touching, in our experience though it mostly happens toward other Euphyllia.
Torch Corals require the same basic conditions as almost every other coral we will cover.
Salinity: 1.024-1.026 specific gravity
Temperature: Around 78F
Alkalinity: Between 8-12 dKH
Lighting and Water Flow:
Torch Corals generally need medium light and medium flow. Light in the100-150 Par range seems to work best for us, but they can adapt to a little lower or a little higher. Water flow is trickier to get right but easy to tell when it is. Medium indirect flow is what we shoot for. You can also have lower direct flow as well. What you are looking for is that the tentacles are fully extended and swaying back and forth like a dancer. If the tentacles are whipping or snapping around, you know it is higher than you want. Torch tentacles are also more prone to ripping, tearing, or other damage from water flow that is too high and will oftentimes close up to protect themselves.
Torch Coral Feeding:
Torch corals are photosynthetic, they will get most or all their necessary nutrition from your aquarium lights. Feeding is not necessary to keep them happy and healthy, but it is recommended. Feeding tends to make their colors look better, increase growth rates, and keep the fleshy appearance full and healthy. Our go-to food selection is Phytoplankton, Mysis shrimp, baby Brine Shrimp, and powdered/pellet LPS food. Sometimes Torches can be finnicky eaters but don’t worry and try again another day, their food response is easy to see and fun to watch once they start eating.
Torch coral placement:
Torch corals seem to do very well down on the sand bed or in the bottom 1/3rdof your aquarium. This is of course dependent on your individual aquarium and the lighting/water flow in your location of choice. If you notice your torch not looking it’s best, it may be a point to consider moving it or adjusting the water flow. Typically, we try not to adjust lights once they are established to appease one coral and potentially affect all the others.
Torch coral aggression:
As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, torch corals can be highly aggressive toward other corals. Their tentacles are capable of stinging when they come into contact with another coral. Torches can be around and touch other torches but that is the limit to what I will say is accepted as safe. We frequently keep torches near other corals (except other Euphyllia) but you should only do so at your own risk and pay attention to any signs of problems arising. Other Euphyllia species should not be kept near Torches as it almost always ends poorly.
Torch coral pests and diseases:
There are two main things I’d like to touch on here. Brown Jelly Disease and Flatworms.
Brown Jelly Disease is a disease/syndrome that can occur with all Euphyllia. There is a lot that is misunderstood or unknown about it and I will have to write an article specifically about it in the future. For now, what you are looking for is exactly like it sounds, a brown jelly like substance on the fleshy head of the torch. Oftentimes the flesh will look like it’s melting. Removal of the affected Torch, quarantine, and cutting afflicted heads are the first steps in dealing with it and protecting the rest of the Euphyllia in your aquarium.
Flatworms will eat and irritate your torch coral to death. You can see them on any fleshy part of the torch, it is easiest at night with a flashlight and the aquarium lights off. They lay eggs below the flesh on the skeleton itself. Coral dips are going to be your first step in dealing with the flatworms and gently scraping the eggs off the skeleton. Often you may need to do multiple dips every few days because the eggs won’t die from it and it’s nearly impossible to scrape every last egg off.