The delicate Goniopora coral are often considered one of the harder corals to maintain in a marine aquarium, and are not recommended for beginners. Goniopora are typically rounded or oblong colonies with polyps that have 24 tentacles. The color most often seen is green, although the coral does come in more colorful variations such as pink and purple.
Colonies are usually branching, columnar or massive, but may be encrusting. Polyps are usually long and flashy and tentacles are normally extended day and night. Corallites have thick but porous walls and calices are filled with compacted septa and columellae. Polyps have 24 tentacles, and different species usually have polyps of different shapes and colors.
It is well known in the coral hobby community that feeding Goniopora is more of a trial and error adventure. While some choose to not feed at all (relying on photosynthesis), others have achieved success in feeding phytoplankton and other small particle commercial foods.
According to hobby experts, caring for Goniopora in a controlled marine aquarium environment is as much luck as it is skill. More colorful short tentacled specimens, such as the pink and purple, tend to be more hardy than the common greenish brown versions with long tentacles.
One of the most important aspects of keeping Goniopora in a tank situation is the availability of lighting. Even turning the lights out for 24 hours can have an adverse affect on this type of coral. The coral will retreat fully into their skeleton and often die if not lighted properly.
In general, care and propagation of Goniopora corals should be left to the more experienced reef keepers. They are traditionally difficult to feed and properly keep in an aquarium setting, although there are many success stories as more people gain knowledge about keeping corals. If kept and fed properly, they are extremely beautiful and add much color and beauty to the home or office reef community. Many hobbyists, however, have reported trouble keeping Goniopora alive more and one year at a time in a tank.