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Frogspawn Coral Guide: In-depth Information for Beginners

Frogspawn Coral Guide: In-depth Information for Beginners

In this article, I share crucial information about frogspawn coral. Water quality, lightning, biggest threats dealing with frogspawn, fragging, etc. This in-depth guide is created for beginners to become frogspawn professionals.

Basic Information

Scientific name: Euphyllia divisaCommon name: Frogspawn СoralType of Coral: LPS 
Average size:up to 10 inches in widthOptimal Spacing: 8 to 10 inchesСomplexity: Moderate

Further, I speak about water and light parameters to keep the frogspawn coral (exact numbers), compatibility with other species, placement in the tank, and the best way to frag the coral. Read on, as this is the only article you need to store frogspawn coral.

Natural habitat and appearance

The usual habitat for Frogspawn coral is in southeast Asia and Australia. Most corals in this family inhabit areas near the Philippines, Indonesia, and off the coast of Australia (part of the Great Barrier Reef). The greatest number of species live in water depths of up to 40 meters. Usually, colonies populate coastal slopes and clay formations.

Frogspawn corals are very fleshy and display a great deal of motion similar to soft corals. They are divided into two major groups: wall type and branching. Wall frogspawn corals have a skeletal structure while branching corals have a tree-like structure with a couple of “heads” Both have long tentacles that are capable of doubling or even tripling in length if necessary (e.g., to grab food or attack the enemy).

As for color, tentacles usually come in yellow, green, and brown, with brightly colored tips. Pink, purple, white, and even orange tips combined with the paler colors of the tentacles themselves create a wonderful contrast — one reason to place such a coral into your aquarium.

Placement in a Reef Tank

Frogspawn corals are not very capricious in terms of placement. Most often they are placed in the central part of the aquarium, somewhere in the center or at the edge. It is very desirable that the tank has live rocks inside. They are often part of the habitat of this species. Also, be sure to allow 6 to 10 inches of space when you place the frogspawn coral.

Water Quality

Water is essential as the corals eat, breathe, and sleep in the aquatic environment. What exactly is the quality? It’s a combination of crucial parameters forming a balanced system for corals to live in. The most important parameters are Calcium, Alkalinity, pH, temperature, water flow. Some people also consider magnesium as it’s tightly connected to calcium. But if you keep these 5 parameters in balance, you have nothing to worry about.

Calcium

Frogspawn coral thrives with calcium levels of 390ppm to 460 ppm depending on other parameters. Start with the lowest number and gradually increase up to 460 ppm if coral feels bad. Normally you want to add 5ppm every other day.

Alkalinity 

Stick with 420 to 460 ppm for Frogspawn corals. Again, start with the 420 and experiment. Look at the reaction of your corals and fish. Depending on the size of your tank and the number of animals living inside, the optimal alkalinity number may vary.

Useful info: more than 75% of aquarists use 8 to 9 meq\L Alkalinity (the equivalent of 400-450 ppm) Here is a conversion calculator

pH (power of hydrogen)

Remember I mentioned the balance-of-the-water concept? Well, pH is a very pillar of high-quality water. You want to keep the pH level around 8.2 for frogspawn corals. The nosedive value is 8, the ceiling level is set at 8.5. Keeping the pH in the range of 8 to 8.5 is just about perfect.

What if your pH is broken? The answer is in the next paragraph

To raise pH — add baking soda. To lower it, consider adding vinegar or lemon juice, or “pH down” products. The key point is to adjust pH gradually. If you add too much soda, scaling pH from 7.5 to 8.5 your fish and corals may suffer to death.

Useful tip: You can recover pH naturally. Schedule 25% water change once a month and consider 10% small changes once a week, or every other week.

Temperature and Flow

Frogspawn Coral requires low to medium water flow and a temperature of about 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of the species live in warm water with low water flow. That is why you want to keep the same conditions in the tank. For older species (they tend to be darker and more fleshy) put a weak circulation in the tank. Otherwise, stick to the golden mean rule.

Lighting

Stick to the medium to intense lightning. The range from 130 to 200 PAR is great for frogspawn corals. These corals live in the coastal area (max depth is 40m) where the sun is сonstantly illuminates the reef. Therefore, moderate or even intense light is excellent for frogspawn coral. Stick to the values considering the needs of the other inhabitants of the aquarium

As for the spectrum of the light, I suggest 410-460nm. T5 is the best as long as you don’t overdo the light(directly affecting frogspawn with strong light may cause necrosis (= tissue death). Expose corals to light for about 16 hours a day and then give them either total darkness or very low light (like the moon)

Frogspawn Coral Threats (Based on the Frequency of Complaints)

Bleaching & Opening

Poor quality of water is the most common reason for bleaching (excessive stress causes the coral to expel the algae, resulting in loss of color) To avoid that, consider weekly water changes, and supplies such as calcium. Also, don’t overdo the light, as it may cause stress as well.

Useful tip: Here is a detailed article about water changes. Make sure to read it!

Another way to have a headache is to see a freshly bought frogspawn coral that is not opening up… This happens due to stress. The first time you put a newcomer into a tank, it’s normal if the coral doesn’t open up for 2 or 3 days. If the time frame has passed the 3-day mark, check key water and light indicators. Do a water change and purification if necessary.

Brown Jelly Infection

Brown jelly is a wanted-dead-or-alive in terms of frogspawn infections (as well as for other LPS corals). It is a destructive disease, which appears as a brown mass resembling jelly. The thick layer coats the coral on all sides and leads to death. The disease can be noticed both visually and by the characteristic smell of rot.

The best way to fight it is to cut off the rotten parts of the coral and immerse the healthy tissue in a solution of iodine to disinfect it. During this period it is best to put the potentially dangerous corals in a separate container with conditions like in the main tank.

Next, I will talk in detail about other problems. Such as compatibility and fragging of the frogspawn corals.

Compatibility with Other Species

Frogspawn corals are not pushovers as some corals may be. They totally dominate the territory by using sweeper tentacles (specialized tentacles with nematocysts to sting and burn other species)

That is why you should think twice before neighboring fish and other corals. Two aggressive corals near each other guarantee a war to the death. In the best-case scenario, the coral will survive, but it will be permanently stressed, which increases the chance of bleaching, etc.

As a rule, corals from the same family will not be hostile to each other. In the case of frogspawn coral, this is the Euphyllia family. This also includes hammer and torch corals. You can safely put these species next to each other. For all other corals, keep a minimum distance of 6 inches.

As for fish and invertebrates, frogspawn is friendly for clownfish, or cardinals. While some attention is required if you have dwarf angels. Here are some popular species in the table form:

FriendlyMay Cause Problems
Banggai CardinalfishDwarf Angels
Clown FishButterflies
Green MandarinFilefish
BassletsFoxface
DamselfishPuffer

Never put parrotfish and frogspawn in the same tank

Based on this compatibility table

Fragging Frogspawn Coral

First and foremost, you will need eye protection. Corals like Frogspawn are usually pretty forgiving in this regard, but they can still chip and get some nasty bits in your eyes. You wish to avoid that. Get all the protection first. 

Preparations

Here is what you going to need to be protected :

  • Latex gloves (glue and slime protection)
  • Protective eyewear

Frogspawn corals have one of 2 distinctive growth patterns: branching or wall. This difference is meaningful because it reflects on its growth rate and suitability of propagation. Wall varieties tend to be slower growing and more tricky to propagate. Let’s focus on the propagation of branching variety first.

Branching Frogspawn Propagation

I prefer using a dremel, however other methods are just fine. For example, the saw is basically the same thing. The benefit to using a dremel is that you can get a very clean straight cut and it makes it easier to glue the cutting onto a frag plug or frag disc later. Branching varieties remind a tree. Buds form at the base of the polyp and grow into new heads over time. It’s entirely possible for one to grow from a single polyp into a very large multi-head colony in about 12 to 18 months. 

Note: if you have bone cutters that work as well. However, you are unlikely would want to put the coral under additional stress

After the cut, to help the healing process I prefer using Iodine disinfectant if the coral was damaged well. It’s easy to use: just pour a little solution into the water with a pipette or by hand, and then stir until the iodine has dissolved completely. If you didn’t break any of the flesh while cutting, iodine might be overkill.

After petting the base of the new cutting with a paper towel to try it out you should superglue the frag to a disc. This will help both in organizing and keeping the coral standing upright. The glue takes a little time to set (it can fully cure under the water after a few minutes of setting).

Now that we’ve talked about branching affiliates, let’s address the wall varieties. 

Wall Frogspawn Propagation

Unlike the branching affiliates, you should rely on the saw(or dremel) method solely. Wall type requires a very clean cut. The harder your disc — the better for the coral. Make sure to use salt water to cool the blades. As this reduces the stress on the coral. 

What makes wall varieties tricky to propagate is that there’s rarely a convenient place to make an easy cut. The first thing you want to do is to spot the darkest area possible. Start fragging from the darkest spot as it’s the oldest (older parts tend to be darker than young ones).

Although propagation techniques are constantly improving, there is still a risk of losing a wall colony. Every time a propagation attempt is made you deal a lot of damage to the flesh. I would say more than half of the corals survive but still… There are about 20-30% of the colonies that can not recover the damage dealt (= death)

To increase the survival chances for wall type, make sure to dissolve iodine disinfectant as well. Let the coral chill in the iodine bath for a while. Then place the cutting back into the tank. At the moment, you can’t really be sure whether the coral is doing fine. Simply wait and hope that your frogspawn is going to bounce back.

Useful Tips

  • I recommend using diamond cutting discs. As they leave no trace, unlike black reinforced cutting discs which tend to leave a mess of black dust that has to be cleaned from the coral. Some corals may react negatively to this dust
  • The Dremel method is less stressful than using bone cutters or pliers

Feeding Frogspawn Coral

There is no need for targeted feeding. Frogspawn corals take all the required energy via algae living inside the coral. The algae convert the sun’s energy into food. All you have to care about is water quality and light. If you have other corals that have to be fed, then it’s okay to feed frogspawn as well. But there is no need to focus and deliberately feed this particular coral.

Remember, feeding any coral means more contamination in the tank. You have three options:

  1. If you do not regularly clean the aquarium, there will be perfect conditions for bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms that reduce the pleasing appearance of your tank.
  2. Overcleaning the aquarium means a risk of upset balance. Thus, you will put all inhabitants under stress. For example, by setting a brand new powerful filtration system, or purification chemicals.
  3. Keep the balance and be just fine. However, you had it that way before you decided to feed the coral. Are you sure all the extra effort is worth it to get the same result? (Many aquarium owners say that there was no difference in coral growth before and after feeding)

If you still want to feed your frogspawn, be sure to use meaty food as brine shrimps, copepods, rotifers, krill, ancefis, etc. You can also consider amino acid supplements and pre-made food products.

Stick to these notes while feeding:

  • Thin the food out in a special container. Get a separate container filled with tank water and dissolve the food.
  • Turn off the water circulation in the aquarium
  • Apply the nutrient mixture to the polyps with a transfer pipette. You can also drop the food on the coral but that’s not preferable
  • Watch the fish, as they may steal coral’s food

Once you decide to feed, install a protein skimmer and active filtration system ( those with carbon). Contamination with protein or acids is the last thing you want inside the tank.

Frogspawn coral takes a little bit of attention to details. But if you provide that attention, they can stay in your tank for a very long time causing almost no problems ( if any, open this article once again and watch the threads section).