Cold Shoulder Coelastrea
Coelastrea is a genus of corals that often gets confused and misidentified in the marine aquarium trade. You can find these corals being labeled as Favias, Favities, or Goniastreas. There are 3 species that belong to this genus, C. aspera, C. tenuis, and C. palauensis. One of the main defining features of this genus is the honeycomb shape that the colonies take on as they grow, this is due to the deep polygonal polyps.
Coelastrea palauensis is a relatively uncommon coral in the wild that favors turbid habitats. This is the Coelastrea species most often seen in the hobby as it's sought out by Australian divers for its distinctive and often contrasting colour pattern.
These corals are an easy to keep LPS coral and are a great place for beginners to start. You can also keep multiple palauensis near each other without having to worry about aggression between the colonies. We've grown multiple of our strains together and the polyps from each colony grow into each other like a zipper.
Coelastrea are forgiving of swings in water parameters, but they should be kept in a mature reef aquarium that has stable water parameters. While we have our preferred parameters for Alkalinity, Calcium, and Magnesium, Coelastrea will do far better in your system if you just focus on keeping the water chemistry stable. If your Alkalinity, Calcium, or Magnesium is out of line, our recommendation is to get it back to your target levels as slowly as possible.
The parameters we aim for are:
It's important to understand that these are the levels that we aim for in our LPS system. However, that doesn't mean they are the right levels for your system. All aquariums are different and your system may naturally fall on a different balance. You're better off working with the balance your system tends towards than trying to force the same levels that we run.
We farm our Coelastrea strains in medium to high flow, unlike a lot of other LPS corals they don't seem to mind high flow and remain nice and puffy even under intense flow conditions. We've also kept our Coelastrea strains in lower flow, they do well in those conditions as well and there was no noticeable difference in colouration. Our recommendation is to provide these corals with enough flow to keep them clear of detritus.
These corals do not need a lot of light, while you can slowly adapt them to higher light conditions we find lower light levels of 80-120 PAR is a good range for them and keeps them happy.