Australian Fat Head Dendrophyllia - 1 POLYP with baby

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One of the most elusive and sought after coral is the Australian Fat Head Dendrophyllia Coral (Dendrophylliidae sp), commonly known as the Dendro Coral. This splendid organism is very sought after by reef enthusiasts throughout the world. The Dendro Coral is considered one of the most popular corals within the LPS (Large Polyp Stony Coral) category, which also includes Favites Corals and Goniopora Coral.
This species of coral is a non-photosynthetic, therefore will need to be fed on a regular basis and require no lighting. Experts say that you should feed your Dendro Coral a few individual pieces of shrimp two to four times per week or any meaty foods, such as small pieces of mussels, live copepods or defrosted and bite size pieces of silver sides.  For more info on feeding corals, please read this article on coral food and download our EZ to use Coral Food Cheat Sheet. 

Probably the greatest things about these LPS Corals is that they are very hardy and grow quickly. And its amazing splash of yellow and orange helps the Dendro Coral species accentuate the color within any aquatic landscape. These corals form miniature colonies (2-4cm).

The Dendro Coral has an uncanny resemblance to its popular cousin, the Sun Coral (Tubastrea micrantha), but it is very important to note that the Sun Coral and the Dendro Coral are totally different species. There are three key differences between the Dendrophyllia and Sun Coral. The first difference is that a Dendro’s tentacle/ polyps are more often than not extended during the day where Sun Corals are not. Secondly, Sun Corals polyp size is less significant than that of the Dendro Coral’s, as a matter of fact the polyps of the Dendro Coral straight out length is the longest of any coral species. And thirdly, the two different species of corals have diverse colony growth patterns.

This coral could be found throughout both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, in tropical and mild waters, and with or without zooxanthellae. Some genera of the species are more comfortable inhabiting great depths of the seas then the lush reef rich aquatic wildlife habitat found in shallow waters, and have been known to colonize deep sea shipwrecks. Because the Dendro Coral do not rely on sunlight, but rather on the availability of nutrients, they can thrive in dark waters.

Be warned that the Dendro Coral could get “too much light” and/or “too much flow”, if it does it will take a defensive stance and closed up. This would make feeding very difficult, in turn would lead to the coral’s death by starvation. These corals will do best when placed under a protrusion of rock or in a relatively deep area. The same applies with too much water flow, the tentacles will stay retracted and the coral will take on a defensive posture. By placing your Dendro Coral in a in a low light and medium flow tank, and providing a consistent feeding regiment you are all but guaranteed a flourishing coral colony.

Did you know?
As the coral reefs of the world become more endangered, addressing sustainability is the number one concern among coral growers. has been a certified aquaculture facility since 2011. Since receiving our certification, AquariumDepot has increased the number of sustainable products to the marketplace by 90 percent. We also support organizations like, who work directly with conservation groups to sustain the animals and their homes.