Stuff In My Tank – Blue Snowflake Anthelia

The best image I could find came from a store - if you wish to buy some, theirs look healthy enough.

The best image I could find came from a store - if you want to buy some, theirs certainly look healthy enough.

Livestock Type – Coral.  A photosynthetic sea mat likely from the Anthelia family, although some websites suggest it is from the Clavularia or the Sarcothelia families.  An image search suggests there is some agreement that it is Sarcothelia edmondsoni, but that and a bag of chips will get you a bag of chips.

Common Name – Bunches!  Snowflake coral; blue snowflake anthelias; blue clove coral; blue snowflake clove coral; blue xenia…

Care Level: Easy.  Extremely easy.

Environmental Impact: None.  This is one of the soft corals that hobbyists will be happy to give you, probably for little or no money.

Should I Put This In My Tank? – Depends on what you want to accomplish with that tank.  While beautiful and tiny – you could fit three polyps on your little fingernail – Anthelia is a semi-invasive coral and spreads like wildfire.  If left unchecked, every surface in your tank will have a dusting of blue snow.  It sounds romantic and looks quite lovely, but it will compete with your other coral.

What Do I Need To Know? – Not much.  Like most soft photosynthetic sea mat corals, it tends to fend for itself.  The Anthelia in particular seem to do well under almost any form of lighting and in all current; however, PC lighting, if used, should be intense.   Rumor has it they dislike high placement under direct MH lighting, but I have not noticed any difference in tolerance between T5 and MH.

Does It Play Well With Others?No. Imagine that clingy boyfriend/girlfriend in high school who drove you batty.  Now imagine if he/she tried to encrust you in self-propagating goo and gradually poison you while suffocating the life out of you.  Exactly like that, but with less pressure to pick out matching Halloween costumes.   Given enough time, there’s a real and serious risk that the Anthelia will encroach on your other coral, and might very well overgrow it if the first coral doesn’t have sufficient allelopathic deterrents.

How Will This Species Piss Me Off? – I would strongly recommend against putting this particular species of Anthelia in your tank. It looks nice enough but there’s no way to prevent it from growing wherever it wants.  It doesn’t just spread – it releases something (spores, small fragments, single polyps, whatever) into the current and these will seed the rock wherever they land.  And it cannot be removed through scraping or chemical treatments; I’ve been painting some stray patches with an algae killer and it recovers in a couple of days.  If the Anthelia likes your tank and starts growing, eventually all other coral will be threatened.  And it is terrifying how quickly it spreads once it has been established.  If the Anthelia wasn’t in the tank that was already overgrown with Peyssonnelia, I’d seriously consider breaking it all down and letting the encrusted live rock die before starting a new tank (gah!), but these two are in a battle for supremacy and I’m interested to see which will win (the blue Anthelia against the maroon Peyssonnelia is actually quite a stunning color combination, so I can at least pretend I ruined this tank on purpose).

What Can I Expect To Spend? – Since this coral is a fast grower and anyone with a small frag will soon have a tank full of large frags, hunt around and do some price comparisons.  If you pay any more than ten bucks for a decent-sized piece, you have not gotten your money’s worth.

Where Can I Buy It? -As the blue Anthelia is a relatively new introduction to the salt water fish trade, it won’t be as common as other fast-growing semi-invasive corals such as star polyps or xenia, but you will eventually find some.

Any Health Hazards? – Stress, but if you can’t manage the stress caused by coral it’s likely you’ve got bigger problems.

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~ by KBSpangler on September 14, 2009.

3 Responses to “Stuff In My Tank – Blue Snowflake Anthelia”

  1. Anthelia is a bloody plauge in any tank with decent lighting. It’s right up there with Green Star Polyps for invasiveness, but without that lovely tendency of GSP for peeling off smoother rocks with a little coaxing. This is to say nothing of the LFS guy who tried coating his GSP/Anth in reef epoxy… only to have both kinds burst up through the epoxy.

    I’ve progressed to Briarium Sp. (Briarium Stechi or Briarium Abestinum) it’s a mat-forming variety of photosyntheic gorgonian that can encrust or is capable of growing it’s own soft skeleton. It’s a moderate grower that has similar care to GSP, but is one helluva lot easier to remove. On the whole, a better choice for an encrusting coral if one does not have the patience for Zoathids to encrust.

  2. I’m going with spambot.

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