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Do you have a Frogspawn Coral in your reef tank? If so, congratulations, you have one of the most beautiful and beginner friendly LPS corals available in the hobby. They are typically hardy corals, but it’s important to know how to care for them if you want your tank to thrive. This blog post will cover everything you need to know about caring for this type of coral including light requirements, water flow preferences, feeding habits, and more!
A Brief Overview Of The Frogspawn Coral
|Scientific Name||Euphyllia divisa (wall) and Euphyllia paradivisa (branching)|
|Common Names||Frogspawn coral, less commonly known as the wall coral, octopus coral, grape coral, or honey coral|
|Origin||Indo-Pacific, mainly around Australia and Southeast Asia|
|Common Colors||Greens, Purples/Pinks, Browns, Oranges/Yellows|
|Lighting||Moderate (50-150 PAR)|
|Tank Placement||Bottom, Middle|
|Temperature Range||76-82 degrees F|
|pH Range||8.0 – 8.4|
|Salinity||1.025 or 35 PPT|
|Alkalinity||8 – 12 dKH|
|Calcium Level||350 – 450 PPM|
|Magnesium Level||1250 – 1350 PPM|
Origins And Habitat
Frogspawn coral can be found in large colonies around reef structures of Southeast Asia and Australia. There, they can be found in indirect sunlight at depths of about 130 feet.
Interestingly, these corals seem to prefer more turbid waters with gentle currents and muddy substrates, which is a very different environment from the aragonite-sand and clear water we strive for in our home reef aquariums.
As a species of Euphyllia, frogspawns have sweeper corals that are full of stinging nematocysts that can be used to catch planktonic organisms and attack nearby corals that might outcompete the colony for resources. Because of this, there is usually some space between frogspawn coral and the next coral species on the reef.
There are believed to be at least two unique species of frogspawn coral present in the aquarium hobby, Euphyllia divisa (wall) and Euphyllia paradivisa (branching). However, the aquarium hobby has created many hybrids of Euphyllia that have made placing frogspawn into an exact taxonomic categorization difficult.
The common name ‘frogspawn’ comes from their unique bubble-tipped appearance that resembles frog eggs.
What Do They Look Like?
The frogspawn coral is one of the most popular types of large-polyp stony coral (LPS) not only because of its easy care but also because of the flowing movement it can provide in a display.
As mentioned before, frogspawn coral looks like a bunch of frog eggs; these corals have many tentacles with different-colored tips along them. These tentacles can range in color with greens, pinks, oranges, and browns, while the tips can contrast with darker or lighter greens, pinks, purples, yellows, and oranges.
Of course, the brighter and more eye-catching the color, the more expensive the frogspawn coral will be.
In general, most frogspawn corals you come across will be the branching variety. This means that each polyp will have its own calcium carbonate skeleton base. Branching frogspawns can grow very quickly by forming new heads at the base of the polyp which will then mature within several months in favorable conditions.
This is in contrast to wall frogspawns, which are pretty rare to come across due to their slower growth rate and more difficult care. Instead of having defined polyps, wall frogspawns grow along a solid calcium carbonate skeleton, making the coral much more compact in appearance.
Like other Euphyllia, frogspawn corals have been hybridized with each other and with other species. This has resulted in some spectacular colorations, but also some very unclear common names and designer brands.
Here are some of the most common frogspawn colors you’re likely to come across:
- Golden peach frogspawn coral. These corals are one of the more expensive types of frogspawn due to their pink coloration; their tentacles are dark purplish-pink while the tips are light pink with some yellow fluorescence under certain lights.
- Purple tip frogspawn coral. Probably the most common coloration you’re likely to come across, the purple tip frogspawn is easy to confuse with a hammer coral due to same coloration. These corals have bright green tentacles with electric purple tips. While not the most desirable color combination, these corals can still bring movement to the tank and accent other Euphyllia.
- Toxic green frogspawn coral. A common and less in demand type of frogspawn, the toxic green frogspawn glows neon under certain lights. These corals have dark green tentacles and light green tips that look like a highlighter pen.
Both the purple tip and toxic green frogspawn coral are featured in the video above by Elite Reef Denver.
Placement And Temperament In The Aquarium
Frogspawn coral is often used as a centerpiece coral in the reef aquarium. They can quickly fill up a rock island, gently swaying in the flow.
While these corals can generally be placed anywhere throughout the reef tank, there are some things to keep in mind before gluing down that frag. The most important factors to consider are light and water flow.
Frogspawns do not require a lot of light and are naturally found in indirect sunlight. While replicating indirect sunlight in the aquarium can be difficult, placing your frogspawn in the middle to lower water column with moderate lighting (50-150 PAR) will recreate those conditions.
Hobbyists agree that there is no true benefit to keeping these corals in higher lighting and can risk the health of the coral instead. If your coral starts to bleach and lose its color, then it might be getting too much light.
Similarly, frogspawns do best in moderate flow. The amount that their tentacles extend largely depends on the flow they are placed in; higher flows equal more retracted tentacles while lower flows result in more extended tentacles. Because of this, many hobbyists keep their corals in just enough flow to keep algae away and to keep the frogspawn fed. Flow can be provided either with return pumps or wavemakers.
Unlike other Euphyllia, like torch corals, frogspawns do not do well when placed on the substrate. This is because their tentacles fall over the sides of their skeleton, which can easily start to rub against sharp surfaces and invite injury.
Frogspawn coral should also not be placed next to other corals due to their sweeper tentacles. If placed too close to another coral, be prepared for some chemical warfare to break out in your tank. This is true for all coral species except for other frogspawns and hammer corals (Euphyllia ancora, Euphyllia parancora, etc.). Keep them away from other aggressive Euphyllia like bubble corals.
Interestingly, frogspawns can be placed next to similar species (except torches) with little to no ill effect. They will continue to grow in and out of each other, which can make for a beautiful colony of many colors.
Successful – Water Quality
Frogspawn coral is very easy to keep and one of the best LPS coral species for beginner enthusiasts. As with any coral, stability is better than chasing numbers, though your water still should be testing within a given range.
Euphyllia is not demanding in regards to nutrients, but will not do well with higher nitrates. At the same time, they also won’t do well if the tank is too clean and if there are limited nitrates and phosphates.
Since the frogspawn coral tends to be the first LPS coral for many, it is our introduction to reef aquarium water parameters. Frogspawn corals should be kept in nitrates below 40 PPM with phosphates below 0.1 PPM. They do need 1200-1350PPM magnesium, 350-450 PPM calcium, and steady alkalinity at 8-12 dKH; these nutrients are fundamental for growing new skeleton and maintaining vibrancy.
As with any coral, frogspawn coral does best in stable conditions. While hobbyists have successfully kept frogspawn at values above and below those listed, consistency is more important.
Dosing is not necessary for frogspawns unless the tank is filled with many LPS corals and small-polyp stony corals (SPS) that quickly deplete reef elements; if you have large colonies of Euphyllia, you may also want to consider dosing alkalinity, calcium, and other trace elements for healthy skeleton growth. ESV B-Ionic is a great choice for first time dosers. It works really well with dosing pumps while being easy to use for manual doing.
Great For Beginners
ESV B-Ionic is a great 2 part solution that works for all levels. Approachable for a beginner to use and can be used for all reef tank builds.
Testing Water Conditions
Frogspawns are very forgiving when it comes to parameter swings, but that doesn’t mean that you can allow your tank to have daily changes in conditions. Because of this, LPS corals should only be added once the tank has fully established after several months.
If dosing additional nutrients, water should be tested immediately after dosing and right before the next dose. This will allow you to trace how nutrients are being cycled throughout the tank.
Frogspawn coral does not require any special filtration and can be kept in setups with a hang on the back filter, canister filter, or sump filtration. A protein skimmer is also not necessary and might even be harmful to systems with low nutrient input.
Instead, focus on getting the placement of your coral correct. Nutrients should constantly be flowing in and out of your coral with moderate flow.
What Are Good Tankmates?
Frogspawn corals can be kept with a variety of fish and invertebrates. However, their soft fleshy polyps can be appetizing for some species, so it is important to have a truly reef-safe community. Some ideal tankmates would be:
- Select wrasses – like the Yellow Coris Wrasse
It should be noted that some clownfish may attempt to host a frogspawn coral as it would with an anemone. Though some corals may tolerate this symbiosis, others will retract and could even begin to die back.
Some invertebrates, like hermit crabs, emerald crabs, and shrimp, may also pose a threat to frogspawn as they are not entirely reef-safe. Even though you might have an invertebrate that has never touched any of your other corals before, it is possible for them to develop an appetite for frogspawns overnight.
Likewise, fish species that are known to pick at corals should also be avoided. This includes:
What Do They Eat?
While frogspawn might look hungry with all those tentacles reaching for food, they’re actually best kept without any additional target feeding.
Trying to feed your frogspawn coral larger foods, like fish and shrimp, can actually do more harm than good. This is because the polyp will see this food as a threat, which can cause it to retract.
If your coral does accept the food, then your fish and invertebrates will also most likely steal it before the frogspawn has the chance to move the food into its mouth; either that or your coral will spit it out entirely!
If really wanting to feed your frogspawn coral, then it is best to broadcast feed brine shrimp, zooplankton, and coral foods, like Reef Roids.
Feeding your LPS corals will promote good health and growth. Reef Roids is the best in the business for coral food
How Much And How Often To Feed
If you do choose to feed your frogspawn coral, you should only feed once a week. This will not only help prevent nutrient buildup in your tank but there’s also no real benefit to overfeeding Euphyllia.
More importantly, light, flow, and water quality will determine the growth rate of your frogspawn coral.
Health And Disease
The frogspawn coral is a hardy lps species but can die back very quickly once subjected to disease. The most important factor in keeping these corals is protecting their delicate tentacles.
If their tentacles are scraped against rock or placed in high flow, they may succumb to stress or brown jelly infection or disease, which can kill the coral in a matter of days.
To help prevent diseases from entering your reef aquarium when purchasing new corals, it’s recommended to do an iodine or coral bath and to quarantine the piece for a couple of weeks.
Of course, you will have to be mindful of bringing pests into the aquarium with any new corals you bring into the system as well. A coral dip and quarantine will help, but it’s still possible for these pests to slip by:
How To Propagate
Frogspawn coral is one of the fastest-growing species of Euphyllia, and you will probably have to frag your colony at some point. Don’t worry, this is easier than it sounds. First, you need to know if you have a branching or wall variety.
If you have a branching variety, then your chances of success are very high. You will need a bone cutter or electric saw that can cleanly cut through the skeleton. Remove the coral from the tank and use the instrument to cut underneath the flesh of the frogspawn coral and before the branch. Dip the coral in iodine and place it in a low-stress environment until it recovers.
This Coral Fragging Kit by DR instruments has everything you need to get started with basic fragging
Wall frogspawns are harder to frag and success is not guaranteed. This is because you will need to cut through a good majority of flesh with a saw; a saw will provide the cleanest cut, increasing chances of success.
There is no clean way to do this, but once the wall has been divided, dip the coral in iodine and place it in a low-stress environment. Monitor recovery and move the coral to its final place in the tank once fully healed.
Where To Buy
Because frogspawn coral is fast-growing, it is usually more available than some other Euphyllia, like torches. They also ship very easily, which makes them good online buys. However, expect to pay at least $50 for one frag with more colorful variations fetching closer to $200 and over.
A readily available, hardy, and beautiful LPS coral. Great for beginners and forgiving
Are They Hard To Keep?
Frogspawn Corals are not hard to keep. They are one of the easiest LPS corals you can keep and also one of the easier corals to keep in the saltwater aquarium trade. They are tolerate of less ideal conditions and do not respond as quickly to swings in parameter. Nevertheless, the more stable your tank is the better!
Where Should I Place Them?
You should place your frogspawn coral in the middle of your tank. They prefer moderate flow. In reef tanks setup for LPS corals, they can be placed near the top of the water flow is lower and on the bottom and away from other corals in a mostly SPS coral configuration.
Do They Grow Fast?
Frogspawn corals do not grow fast. They are one of the slower growing corals in the aquarium trade. Because of this however, they will not demand a lot in terms of two part solution for dosing. You can increase the growth rate by better spectrum lighting, moderate flow
Frogspawn corals are one of the best Euphyllia to have for beginner, intermediate, and advanced hobbyists as they are easy to care for, come in a variety of colors, and resemble an anemone without any of the aggression or over-splitting.
These corals need moderate light and moderate flow, but will quickly start to grow new polyps once established. Feeding is not required and the coral can easily be cut as needed. I hope you’ve learned a lot about caring for your Frogspawn Coral in this blog post and that it has answered any questions or concerns you may have had. If not, please leave me a comment below with anything else on your mind!
Mark is the founder of Aquarium Store Depot. He started in the aquarium hobby at the age of 11 and along the way worked at local fish stores. He has kept freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks for over 25 years. His site was created to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale. He has worked on making aquarium and pond keeping approachable. Mark has been featured in two books about aquarium keeping – both best sellers on Amazon. Each year, he continues to help his readers and clients with knowledge, professional builds, and troubleshooting.