Sinularia is a type of octocoral or soft coral. This genus is represented by such terminology as leather, cabbage, finger or knobby leather coral. Their is such a diverse amount of sinularia species in the wild that hail from just as many locations world wide. Sinularia coral represent one of the mainstays in many reef locations that often times are the major contributors of soft coral patches in the shallow water regions where they are most abundant. Their many sclerites and ability to withstand the rigorous tide and wave action enable this form of coral to thrive under such harsh environmental conditions regarding intense water flow and lighting.
Similar to lobophytum, and sarcophyton, sinularia is composed of strong sclerites that give the coral its ability to stand erect and give the coral its prominent stalk. All of these soft corals have a leathery appearance to the touch and consist of numerous broad, lobed or finger type branches attached to a stalk with autozoid polyps throughout the branch areas.
The coloration displayed by sinularia corals can be brown, white or cream colored with occasional green hues as well though they are not as common and command a fairly high price to the marine aquarist in search of this treasure. The polyp coloration often contrasts that of the stalk and branches offering a nice color combination. For the most part the polyps are white or cream colored, but the occurrence of yellow or brown polyps may also be observed.
Sinularia is a symbiotic coral thus it houses zooxanthellae, which provides the nourishment needed to survive through the photosynthetic process carried out by the hosts zooxanthellae. Most lighting and water flow variances are acceptable to sinularia coral. They prefer strong water flow and intense lighting, but will do just fine under less than optimal conditions. It is advantageous to the coral to avoid sediment and detritus from accumulating on the coral, thus one of the reasons to provide adequate water flow. Periodically, sinularia coral will form a mucus coat as a natural way for the coral to remove parasites, algae, detritus and other waste materials from congregating on it. During this process the coral will look like it is dying as the polyps will not be evident and the coral will shrink in size, but fear not as once the mucus coat is removed, the coral will come back bigger and better than ever.
This genus is particularly toxic to many other forms of coral, mainly hermatypic stony corals. Because of this, it is advisable to provide efficient skimming and a carbon regimen to help to remove these terpenes from accumulating in the water ultimately effecting acropora and porites corals especially. Sinularia corals are considered to be one of the most toxic corals available therefore the placement of sinularia should not be too close to stony corals. These corals tend to grow rather large in captivity as well so this will also need to be taken into consideration when placing sinularia in a tank or purchasing this coral all together.
Sinularia coral is very easy to propagate, which offers aquarists the ability to cut off small sections of the mother colony to form new colonies with little effect on the mother colony. The other nice thing regarding this coral is the fact that the collecting of this soft coral doesn’t place any stress or damage on the reefs where sinularia is grown.
A great coral for anyone to raise and the ease in which to keep this coral in captivity affords this coral the opportunity to be part of the diverse population of corals we all wish to collect, admire and enjoy.