Bubble Coral

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Queen TI
Sep 18, 2006
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Forest of Bowland, Lancashire
Common Name – Bubble Coral / Octobubble

Scientific Name Plerogyra sinuosa

Family – Caryophylliidae

Location – Indo-Pacific

Temperament – Highly Aggressive

Tank Placement – Bottom or Central

Water Flow – Low to Moderate

Light – Moderate


The bubble is one of the hardiest and most resilient Large Polyped Stony (LPS) corals. Shallow water specimens can easily adapt to lower light conditions however those that are accustomed to moderate light can be shocked if the lighting level is increased. Specimens grown under lower light and lower flow conditions tend to have larger vesicles.

The flow rate is important and must be low to moderate to allow allow the vesicles to expand. Care must be taken to avoid damaging the vesicles which are zooxanthellae (symbiotic algae) sacs that are capable of increasing light exposed tissue by 500% when fully expanded. Careless handling leading to damaged vesicles can leave the coral susceptible to “Brown Jelly” infection. More about Brown Jelly

Plerogyra are also susceptible to flatworm infestations which in larger numbers reduce the light available to the zooxanthellae causing decreased photosynthesis and therefore decreased available food for the coral. Flatworms are clearly visible and can be removed by a short freshwater dip. Salifert Flatworm Exit can also be used to rid the tank of flatworms, repeated treatments may be necessary.

Water parameters are typical of other tropical caryophilliidae, 72-78 °F, SG 1.024-1.026, pH 8.0-8.4, dKH 8-12 and Calicium 350-450ppm. note Of all these major properties, bubble corals are most sensitive to low carbonate/alkalinity, or high salinity.

Flatworm on Frogspawn


The bubble coral has symbiotic zooxanthellae and therefore obtains nutrients via photosynthesis however they do welcome feeding. Food placed onto vesicles or directly into the tentacles will be eagerly captured by the tentacles which are packed full of Nematocysts. The nematocysts may digest the foods themselves or may pass to one of the many mouths of the bubble coral. Bubbles will readily accept brine or mysis shrimp, krill, cyclopeze, phytoplankton or food made specifically for filter feeders. If a decision is made to feed, which is not necessary due the zooxanthellae presence, care must be taken not to overfeed as this has been known to cause bubble corals to go through odd shape changes that can affect longevity of the specimen. If you feed, feed sparingly.


Occasionally bubbles can reproduce by budding, whereby a smaller colony will separate from the mother colony.The bubble does not lend itself to simple propagation techniques due to the skeleton not branching. Invasive techniques are required which is not recommended for the faint at heart.
Bone shears have been recommended however this step by step procedure detailed in the link below appears to be a safer option.

Propagation of Bubble Coral

Plerogyra has stinging sweeper tentacles that emerge at night, these can be up to 4” long. There are short tentacles that can appear in the day time although these do not contain nematocysts and so will not sting. Keep away from other corals as its larger sweeper tentacles will damage/kill most nearby corals.

Bubble corals have a commensal shrimp Vir phillippensis which is exclusive to Plerogyra sp..

Bubbles come in a variety of colours ranging from ivory to cream to green. They often have translucent streaks which makes the vesicles appear to have fingerprints, this can be seen better on the more expanded vesicles.


Under White Light

Under Whit and Actinic Light

Night Time Feeding Stinging Tentacles

The Mouths are Visble

Bubble Coral Feeding

Mouth Open During Feeding


Marine Fever
Mar 11, 2007
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here's two other color morphs that i hold that are more commonly seen in trade,



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