Australian Duncan Coral (Duncanopsammia axifuga), often referred to as the Whisker Coral commonly found in the depths of Northern and western Australia and the South China Sea. Previously uncommon to the United States, this beautiful coral specimen is now captive-grown in our Aquaculture Coral and Marine Life Facility. They have been described as a bizarre oddity combination of euphylliad and zoanthid coral. The Australian Duncan Coral are Large-Polyped Scleractinians of the genus Duncanopsammia. Although they have been a stable of salt water aquariums all over the world they are a relatively newcomer to the hobbyists here in the US. A large colony can fetch a premium price, a single head is more affordable and can quickly grow into its own new colony.
Colonies that are formed from long, tubular corallites with stunning neon green oral discs. This coral boasts lively purple tentacles that retract when disturbed, but otherwise remain extended day and night. The brood supply for these frags were acquired from a few of the first imports of Australian corals shipped to the United Sates.
The Duncan Coral tentacles are equipped with rows of stinging cells called nematocysts, that produce a clammy sensation when touched. Each individual polyp resembles a miniature sea anemone, particularly the giant green anemone, even though the coral's diameter can only reach a diameter of roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm). The polyp can open and contract depending on stimuli; for example, creating a strong current will stimulate the polyps to close, and leaving the polyp under the correct lighting and temperatures will generally encourage it to open.
This coral is very easy to care for, and requires a feeding 3-4 times a week, it thrives with a consistent diet of enriched mysis, reefroid, brine and cyclopeeze shrimp. It is also beneficial to add calcium, strontium and other trace elements to the water column.
The coral stands tall, growing columnar skeletons with terminal polyps. On the top of each coral head, each polyp has a single mouth set in the center of a fluorescent green oral disc. Below the tentacular crown, which is roughly one inch in diameter, the Duncan coral features a velvety-looking coenosarc that connects all the heads of the colony.
As the colony of Duncan Corals grow, it takes on several looks throughout its lifespan. As the coral grow it takes on a domed, bushy appearance, somewhat similar to the Hammer Coral in that the tentacular crown fills in the space between themselves with new heads and densely packed tentacles.
Given time to mature and grow, the Duncan Coral branch out forming a visually stunning display providing an appearance of a continuous aquatic mat, much like an underwater meadow.
The Duncan Coral generally prefers to inhabit an established salt water aquarium. The ideal a temperature for the Duncan Coral is between 75 to 80 Â° F (24 to 27 Â° C). These corals, like most LPS corals, need moderate to high lighting to support proper photosynthesize.