Photograph by Blane Perun

Blastomussa Care

The blastomussa is extremely sensitive to light; care requires understanding even slight variations to the regular levels of light are enough to agitate the coral significantly. When light is too strong, the heat can cause the polyps tissue to recede, when water flow is too strong the colony can not expand.

It is unavoidable that the light in a home tank is going to be in need of adjustment for the blastomussa coral, so the recommended approach is to originally place the coral in a low area of light. Slowly, the coral can be moved closer to the light source until the most desirable level is attained for proper care. Because the coral originates in deeper waters, they are used to indirect light, and as close environment as possible should be staged within a home tank for the best care. We tend to forget the typical aquarium in 18 inches deep, and adjusting the depth a few inches make very little impact compared to natural conditions on the reef of 1 to 50 feet.

To counteract any damage the coral may have incurred during shipping and from previous owners, blastomussa should be spot fed for the first week in a new tank. Some of the food that is well liked is shrimp (mysid shrimp, gamma shrimp or brine shrimp), small pieces of silversides, or shell fish. Another bonus to choosing this type of food is they are sized appropriately for the corals digestive abilities.

One of the reasons blastomussa reside in deep waters is so that they are naturally sheltered from turbulent waters, which can also cause tissue recession. Therefore, imposing a low to medium water flow within the tank will be most beneficial for the colony. Water levels that are ideal for the healthy growth of a coral include a sg of 1.020-1.025, pH between 8.0-8.4, and a temperature of 78-84F.

Since blastomussa grow so slowly, tank owners do not have to worry about the coral encroaching upon neighboring creatures or damaging other corals. However, sting-celled corals can inflict significant damage upon close colonies, and therefore they need to be placed at a distance. In addition, the blastomussa will not fight back against corals that are territorial or faster growing, so may lose space if put in a competitive environment. Although not technically considered predators, butterfly fish and angelfish frequent feast on its meaty branches. Before placing the coral in a tank, existing corals should be researched extensively to ensure that chemical warfare will not be deployed onto one another, which could lead to death. Chemical warfare does not always mean direct touch, corals can release chemicals & waste into the water column that are deadly to other inhabitants.

Because the blastomussa has a slow growth rate, there will not be many opportunities to propagate this coral throughout the first year. This coral reproduces asexually through fragmentation, and this process can be easily duplicated in captivity. Using a sharp tool (a razor blade will work fine), the skeleton should be divided resulting in a severed piece that contains at least one polyp on the segment. A point about propagation is that any coral colony only grows around it’s perimeter. The total radius of ten polyps in a colony is less than the radius of each of the ten polyps independently. So by fragmentation of the 10 polyp colony into ten individual polyps you will essentially grown the coral more rapidly.

Blane Perun

Diver - Photographer - Traveler

Whale in Ocean