Torch Coral: Euphyllia glabrescens
There are some species of coral that have become almost synonymous with a home reef tank. One such coral is the ever popular Torch Coral. Torch Corals have been a staple in the reefing hobby for decades and it is easy to see why they are so popular.
Torches are available in an almost endless variety of colors. From simple green and purple torches to high end, stunning morphs such as the 24k Gold and Holy Grail variations, it seems like there truly is a torch coral available in every color of the rainbow.
Torch corals grow in a classic branching fashion, meaning that specimens with a single head can split and grow into a colony in a relatively short time frame. Branching coral types also have the advantage of being fairly easy to frag. Once there is a clear separation between the heads, a dremel or coral cutters can be used to easily cut off extra heads. In this manner corals that are growing too large can be pruned and extra heads can be traded with other hobbyists or placed in different areas of the tank.
In a home reef aquarium torch corals should be placed in a location where they will receive a moderate amount of light and flow. As is the case with most corals it is best to place them initially in an area of relatively low light and slowly acclimate them to high light levels. Having said that, they should not be placed in areas of total shadow. Flow should be strong enough that the tentacles move in a constant swaying motion but not so strong that they are blown around aggressively. As a general rule, Torch Corals should be placed in the bottom third of the tank and many hobbyists choose to place them in the sandbed.
They can also, however, be attached to the rockwork as long as they are not exposed to light levels that are too high. Many reefers will place a number of different color morphs together to create the classic “torch garden”.
Regardless of where torch corals are placed in the tank, it is important to give them ample space as they pack a potent sting that can damage other corals. While some reefers claim that they can be placed in close proximity to other species of Euphyllia, such as hammer corals and frogspawn, others have reported that torches will sting these corals as well so it is best to carefully monitor for any damage if they are placed with anything other than other torch corals.
Like the overwhelming majority of other corals available in the hobby, torch corals are photosynthetic, meaning that they use aquarium lighting in order to meet their energy needs. They can, however, be spot fed if desired and this may increase their growth rate and coloration. A high quality coral food can be fed directly to the corals. When feeding corals it is a good idea to turn off the flow to allow the corals to consume the pellets without the food being sucked into the overflow.
Torch corals are generally regarded as a fairly easy coral to keep and provided that they are provided with stable water parameters and the appropriate levels of light and flow they make a truly stunning addition to any home aquarium.