Surely everyone has an idea in their head when someone says coral, and that image for me is undoubtedly brain coral. Since diving the Caribbean as a kid, I’ve had brain coral stuck in my head as the benchmark for what a sessile invertebrate should look like, and no matter how much I see them brains still catch my eye when shopping for my next purchase. At the heart of this category for me is the wellsophyllia brain. with their huge fleshy extensions and broad range of colors, they never cease to amaze my senses and make me want to max the credit card. They truly give some of the best bang for the buck out of all corals coming mainly in large colonies that are ready to be show pieces of any aquarium. They are also one of the easiest to care for of all the corals I’ve had experience with and need almost nothing more than soft coral conditions to thrive.
Wellsophyllias are easily recognized by their large fleshy lobes with short feeding tentacles in each opening. They may also extend longer sweeper tentacles into the current to feed on meaty foods. Wellsophyllias comes in a huge range of colors from greens to reds to blues, and all variations fluoresce beautifully. They are easily confused with the very similar tracaphyllia brain, but may be easily sorted by a quick look at the base skeleton. Wellsophyllias have a flat base while tracaphyllias have a pointed conical base. Under the fleshy exterior lies a sharp ridged skeleton that sometimes may be seen when the flesh retracts.
Caring for wellsophyllias is relatively easy. They are very tolerant of a big range of flow patterns, light and don’t need additional feeding to survive. Wellsophyllias should always be placed on the sand away from rock-work to reduce the chance of flesh being damaged in the current.
Wellsophyllias are in the large polyp stony group and must have adequate calcium levels to grow. As with most LPS corals, they also need stable alkalinity to maintain their best health.
If asked what level of difficulty they are to keep, I would place them in the easy to medium category making them attainable for even the novice reef keeper. They do require a fairly large amount of space, so may not be feasable to the nano reefer.
If you’re like me and love the classic look of a brain coral in your reef, the wellsophyllia brain may be the perfect place to start. They are commonplace and usually fairly priced considering their size, s