Frogspawn coral care is not for the faint at heart, while not the toughest (large polyp stony) LPS coral to place in your reef tank, it is one of the most popular, and therefore many mistakes are made regarding its basic care. With a wide experience of different coral in reef tanks, we have put together an intro guide on how to properly care for your frogspawn coral.
In this article...
Frogspawn Coral Species Overview
|Scientific Names||Euphyllia divisa/paradivisa|
|Common Names||Frogspawn Coral, Octopus Coral, Honey Coral, Wall Coral , Zig-Zag Coral, and Fine Grape Coral|
|Size||Some colonies can reach ~3ft in diameter|
|Lifespan||>100+ years in ideal conditions|
|Distribution||Fiji, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia (Great Barrier Reef and Houtman Islands)|
|Color||Commonly described as fluorescent yellow or green|
|Diet||In captivity: krill, brine shrimp, mysis, diced fish, or shrimp|
|Temperament||Aggressive towards other corals|
|Minimum Tank Size||50 gallons|
|Place in the tank||Mid-to-Top|
|Care level||Easy to moderate|
|Breeding||Sexual and asexual reproduction|
Frogspawn Coral History and Background
Originally thought to be one species, Euphyllia divisa is a vibrant and hardy species that fits well in most tropical saltwater aquariums thanks to its central origin in South America.
What is a frogspawn coral?
A large polyp stony coral (LPS), they are branch-like corals that receive their name from their frog egg-looking polyps. One of the easiest, they are a popular addition to aquariums due to their low light needs and hardy nature. Often mistaken for its cousins the torch corals and hammer corals, the frogspawn coral is a beautiful addition to any saltwater tank.
Originating from the Indo-Pacific region these corals do best in sub-tropical environments with slightly alkalotic pH. Frogspawn corals are found at depths from 6-105 feets and are considered to have a status of “Near Threatened” by the IUCN because of climate change threats and unsustainable collection of species for the aquarium trade.
Regularly found near the Solomon Islands and Ryukyu Islands in the Indo-Pacific ocean, frogspawn corals need a saltwater environment, with a moderate water flow. Generally found with other corals in their own family, frogspawn corals don’t get along with other species of corals and will aggressively sting them in order to prevent territorial encroachment.
Frogspawn Coral Appearance
Often said to look like frog or octopus eggs this species provides a lively display of color to every tank it’s in.
What do frogspawn coral look like?
Frogspawn corals are large polyp stony corals (LPS) that vary in coloration from green to brown. The polyp clusters are said to look like frog eggs and will often take on a fluorescent green coloration. There are two varieties of frogspawn: wall and branching variety.
Wall frogspawn look as if they have a skeletal structure stemming from one “head” that is slowly growing wider.
Branching frogspawn have individual calcium skeleton cells (coralites) that cause it to have a tree-like structure.
Branching frogspawn corals and wall corals were originally thought to be two different species and first described as Euphyllia paradivisa and Euphyllia divisa respectively. Due to recent genetic work and discoveries in 2017 they were reclassified as Fimbriaphyllia paradivisa (branching varieties) and Fimbriaphyllia divisa (wall varieties).
How big do frogspawn coral get?
In their native habitat frogspawn corals have no internal biological mechanisms to limit growth, and will grow to the size their aquarium allows. In their minimum size tank (50 gallons) these corals will have a footprint of roughly 10 inches, but have long sweeper tentacles that can reach up to 6 inches beyond their base.
How fast do frogspawn coral grow?
Growth rate is dependent on the water parameters in your home aquarium. It can take up to 6 months for a frogspawn coral to grow to its full size in your aquarium(10-18 inches). Coral heads with dense skeletons will take longer to develop, but less dense polyps will grow faster.
Remember a frogspawn coral will grow to the size of your tank. If you have the minimum size tank your coral will likely reach its full size in less time.
Frogspawn Coral Temperament and Tankmates
You might be surprised that in reef tanks coral aggression is a large concern. While most people think of coral as a sentient being, they can actually be quite territorial. Frogspawn coral is a well-known aggressive aquarium coral.
How many frogspawn corals should I keep?
You can place one frogspawn coral per 50 gallons of water. When building coral reefs in your tank it is important to ensure neighboring corals have a 6-8 inch buffer between it and your frogspawn coral to prevent any aggression. Remember, frogspawn coral generally displays coral aggression and has sweeper tentacles that contain stinging cells (called nematocysts).
What fish can live with frogspawn corals?
You likely chose the frogspawn coral because of its vibrant and engaging colors, choosing tank mates for your aquarium is important to craft a beautiful display. For the most part, as long as you choose reef-safe species your corals should be happy, but some favorites include tangs, wrasses, anthias, and blennies.
Top 5 Frogspawn coral tank mates
- Tangs – Tangs are a popular reef tank species due to their peaceful nature and bright coloration. As long as your tang is being fed properly, it won’t try to feed on any of your corals.
- Gobies – gobies are actually one of the best kept secrets when it comes to coral due to their mutualistic relationship. Corals will provide shelter, food, and breeding sites, and gobies will deter predators, and reduce bleaching risk.
- Damselfish – coral and damselfish have a symbiotic relationship. While the coral reef will provide shelter for your damselfish, it will provide nutrients through its excrements.
- Torch Coral – torch corals make excellent tank mates as they are in the same species (Euphyllia sp.), and are not susceptible to frogspawn coral’s stinging cells. However, this coral can outcompete frogspawn coral if not managed properly.
- Hammer Coral – like torch coral, hammer coral is also in the Euphyllia sp. And is not affected by frogspawn nematocysts.
Many aquarists will put sea anemones in their aquariums, like the bubble tip anemone, but this can actually start a war of biochemicals between local corals and sea anemone.
Tank mates to avoid
Frogspawn Coral Tank Requirements
Proper frogspawn coral care starts when you begin setting up your tank. As corals are sedentary beings, it is important that you provide a pristine living environment.
Frogspawn coral tank setup
While not a challenging species, frogspawn corals provide a mediocre challenge for most aquarists when it comes to building their tank due to their semi-aggressive nature.
Where to place frogspawn coral?
Frogspawn corals should be placed in the middle or top zones of your aquarium. This allows the coral to have access to a moderate water flow and adequate light conditions.
|Tank Size||50+ gallons|
|Water hardness||7.8-12 dKH|
|Tank Setup||Substrate that provides a stable growing area, tank lighting equipment, powerhead or bubbler, filter|
|Filter||Yes, to provide water movement|
|Substrate||Live rock aquarium, no sand|
|Water heater||If your tank isn’t capable of being between 74-77|
|Lighting||Moderate to low|
What size tank do I need for frogspawn coral?
One fragment should be given at least 50 gallons of tank room. If you are building reef aquariums you will likely need a larger aquarium as you will be adding other corals and this will allow them to be properly spaced out. In fact, many aquarists will recommend beginner aquarists looking to build their first reef tank get a 120 gallon or 180 gallon tank.
The shape of the aquarium refers to the ratio of depth to height. Reef tanks should be nearly as deep (front to back) as they are tall. This shape is considered to be ideal for coral growth. This tank shape provides optimal water flow and enough light exposure for corals while also being easy to maintain.
Most saltwater plants will do fine in a tank with these corals as long as they have similar care needs. Popular reef plants include Spaghetti Algae, Mermaids Fan, and Green Finger Plants.
The filter is perhaps one of the most important aspects of frogspawn coral care, especially if you have fish or other invertebrates in your tank. While your frogspawn will be able to convert most of its ammonia to nitrate itself a filter will provide the necessary water flow these corals need.
They enjoy a high to moderate flow, depending on your aquarium and nearby corals you might find that you prefer having a stronger current to encourage your frogspawn to take a more compact shape. Be aware that too much flow can stress them out and cause health problems.
A tank water heater is not necessary if you are able to keep your reef tank within the proper temperature range, failing to do so will cause a serious problem. Corals are easily stressed which can lead to poor coloration, susceptibility to diseases, and slowed growth. Keeping your tank within the correct temperature range by using a water heater will help prevent stress and is part of proper frogspawn coral care.
The best substrate for stony corals like frogspawn is live rock. Live rock is a substrate made from aragonite skeletons of deceased sea life that contains beneficial micro plankton. It is not recommended to use sand as your substrate as it will not allow your frogspawn to properly anchor.
The best decoration for reef tanks is to create a diverse reef environment filled with many types of coral. We recommend using other types of lps coral as well as adding other varieties to add diversity to your tank. Frogspawn does best with other lps species from the Euphyllia family such as other stony corals like torch or hammer corals.
Frogspawn coral care entails a fair amount of research when it comes to lighting conditions. Too much light and they will bleach, not enough and they will starve. The ideal light conditions are 50-100 PAR.
Frogspawn Coral Care
Frogspawn coral care is similar to most other coral care, however, we do have a few specific frogspawn care tips.
Most corals have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae is an algae that provides glucose to coral. However, coral requires other nutrition that will have to be supplemented with other food.
What do frogspawn coral eat in nature?
In its natural environment sweeper tentacles are used to catch organic matter, zooplankton and food particles as they are pushed past it through the water column.
What to feed frogspawn coral?
Frogspawn corals are unique because their coral polyps remain visible day and night. This means that there are enough polyps available to capture nutrients 24/7. That being said, it might take awhile to find what your polyps will eat because they are very picky. While some will eat commercial pellets you can also offer them diced or small seafood such as: copepods, krill, mysis shrimp, daphnia, fish, shrimp, or squid.
When to feed frogspawn coral?
Corals should be fed a couple times a week by target feeding or spot feeding. An easy way to feed your corals is to take a frozen cube of brine shrimp or other food, place it in a small bowl with water and allow it to melt. When fully melted, take a small syringe (or turkey baster!) and use it to capture the food and squirt it directly toward your coral.
You don’t have to touch the coral with your syringe or baster! Place the syringe up to six inches away pointed towards the coral and release.
How much to feed frogspawn coral?
Corals are almost always hungry, but most aquarists agree that you should spot feed them 2-3x a week. While feeding frogspawn coral more often won’t necessarily harm them, it could affect your water quality if you don’t properly clean your aquarium.
Frogspawn Coral Health
Frogspawn coral health is easy to judge based on its appearance. If your coral is sick it will lose its vibrant coloring, and its sweeper tentacles will retreat closer to its main body. Altogether if your coral looks unhappy, it likely needs some close coral care.
Common diseases of frogspawn coral?
- Brown jelly infections – an infection that can be caused by poor water conditions and/or tissue damage and can infect the entire colony.
- New specimens – new coral from the ocean can bring in infectious diseases or contain soft tissue damage itself. Be sure to quarantine any new specimen you collect, if buying ask how long it has been in the store.
- Metal halides – if placed directly under metal halide bulbs. Polyps can be damaged which can lead to rapid tissue necrosis. While your reef tank needs trace elements such as Manganese, Copper, and Zinc, these metal halides will be too much.
Frogspawn Coral Lifespan
In ideal conditions they can live for hundreds of years, when purchasing your own coral it is likely you will receive a younger coral frag. Unless something kills the symbiotic algae living within your coral or it catches a disease it is unlikely that your coral will die.
Frogspawn Coral Breeding
To successfully breed, you need to be confident in your frogspawn coral care abilities.
Can you breed a frogspawn coral?
You can breed both branching and wall frogspawns, but some reproduction methods are easier than others.
How do frogspawn coral reproduce?
Coral can reproduce sexually and asexually. The asexual reproduction method is called propagation. This is when the coral divides its clusters of coral polyps or tentacles. In the wild these polyps would be swept away by the current until they find a suitable resting place and grow into a new coral themselves. In aquariums you can remove these polyps to another tank.
If you are trying to breed coral through the propagation method you could experience polyp bailout. This is where the polyps experience apoptosis, or programmed cell death, when exposed to unhealthy conditions, like bad water parameters. Polyp bailout is a very drastic stress response, but not one that can be fixed.
Corals can also undergo sexual reproduction, which is where gametes are released from reproductive glands, if the fertilized egg settles to the substrate it will form a polyp, but more often than not it is eaten.
How to breed a frogspawn coral?
While it can reproduce sexually in an aquarium it is very hard to induce those conditions. However, you can effectively breed these corals by propagating portions of the coral (also called fragging).
To propagate choose a medium sized, healthy piece of coral and use a saw or sharp blade to saw it up. After cutting, place the piece in a disinfecting bath containing Povidone Iodine to kill microorganisms and stave off infection. Then place it in a propagation tank for it to heal.
After the piece is healed you can place it in your main tank and attach it to a large rock so that it can root in place and begin to grow.
It is harder to propagate the wall variety than the branching variety, because you will have to take a larger portion which may prove fatal to the original piece.
Is the frogspawn coral for you?
Euphyllia divisa can be a rewarding addition to your saltwater aquarium and can provide food, shelter, and breeding sites for many of your tropical inhabitants. While it does have its challenges these corals can provide an enriching environment for you and your tank.
In conclusion, adding a frogspawn coral to your tank can provide a beautiful array of color providing you with hours of entertainment.