Candy Cane Coral Care Guide – Trumpet Corals

There’s no denying where the Candy Cane coral gets its name – from the striped pattern that is found on its polyps.

Sometimes called trumpet corals, these stripes can come in a variety of different color combinations including brown, green, and cream with white stripes.

Under blue moonlights, these stripes become fluorescent, making them a beautiful addition to any tank.

In terms of taking care of Candy Cane corals, this LPS (Large Polyp Stony) coral is quite easy and is often recommended as a good starter coral.

But what exactly does go into taking care of this beautiful coral?

In this Candy Cane coral care guide, you will learn everything you need to know about caring for your Trumpet Coral!

About Candy Cane Corals

The Candy Cane Coral is a type of Large Polyp Stony species. While some LPS corals can be considered aggressive, Candy Cane Coral is not one of them.

This species of coral is considered to be very mild-mannered and only has short tentacles. In return, they do well in tanks with other corals, even when placed close by.

If you are looking for a Candy Cane Coral in-store and are having difficulty finding it, it may be because it also goes under several different names.

These names include trumpet coral, bullseye coral, or torch coral.

The lifespan of these corals is highly dependent on their environment and care. Like any other animal, Candy Cane Coral generally lives longer in the wild than it does in captivity.

In fact, Candy Cane Coral in the wild can live up to an astonishing 900 years! With that being said, though the lifespan of Candy Cane Coral in captivity is not even nearly as long as it is in the wild, it is still quite impressive.

If properly taken care of,  most Candy Cane coral in captivity can expect to live between 50-75 years, making it a very long term commitment.

Where is Candy Cane Coral typically found?

Aside from in the tanks of many aquarists, Candy Cane Coral is often found in sandy areas and can grow on any coral reef or rock bed. Having said that, they are most commonly found in the waters of Fiji.

Great video from Tidal Gardens explaining how to care for your Candy Cane corals.

Feeding your Candy Cane Coral

In the wild, Candy Cane Coral typically feeds on marine algae, planktonic organisms, and other food particles within the water. In captivity, their food of choice is minced seafood, mysis, or microplankton.

For additional nutrition, Candy Cane Coral also requires trace elements of calcium and strontium within the water. These Corals need to be fed at least twice a week, but regular feedings are recommended for maximum strength and growth.

Candy Cane Coral prefers to feed in the morning before the lights come out. During this time they will expand their tentacles in an attempt to search for food.

Water pumps should be turned off before feeding this coral. I mention in my article, Zoanthids coral care guide, that I use Reef Roids for feeding corals.

Candy canes will appreciate this food.

Lighting for your Candy Cane Coral

Unlike some other corals, Candy Cane Corals often get a lot of their energy from lighting. For this reason, proper lighting is extremely important when caring for Candy Cane Coral.

For healthy coral, Candy Cane requires low to moderate reef lighting. If they are exposed to too much high lighting, their polyps can become irritated and, in return, they will retract them.

In my experience, they don’t do well in high light conditions. Depending on your tank requirements, an LED light such as the AI Prime is more than suitable.

They are fully controllable and can be adjusted to suit your candy cane coral’s needs.

Water flow for your Candy Cane Coral

Candy Cane Coral relies a great deal on water flow to help them feed. They typically require mild to moderate water flow, but the key is to make sure the flow is high enough to bring them their food but not so high that they are blasted with the flow.

If the flow is too high, it can actually blast the skin off of the skeleton. Lower flows are okay, but in this case, the Coral may become more reliant on you for feeding.

The key is finding a balance of flow where the Coral isn’t disturbed but is receiving an ample amount of food.

Aim for a moderate flow that is not pointed directly at them, and they will be happy.

Tank Positioning for your Candy Cane Coral

Because Candy Cane Coral thrives in low-moderate lighting, they do well when placed in the bottom of the tank.

They can also do well in the middle of the tank, but should never be placed at the top. Placing them at the top of the tank can overpower them with lighting, thereby affecting their health.

Unless you have low lighting, avoid positioning them at the top of the tank.

When positioning Candy Cane Coral, also keep in mind water flow. Never place them in direct flow or you could cause damage.

Tank Requirements for your Candy Cane Coral

Candy Cane Coral requires a Nano tank or larger to thrive. The water should be kept between 23-28 degrees Celcius, and the salinity should always be between 1.023 and 1.025. They require a regular water change schedule, so as part of your maintenance routine, check for signs of deteriorating health.

If you notice anything off, you may need to perform a water change to keep things in check.

Candy Cane Coral also requires an Alkalinity between 8-11 dKh, as well as Magnesium levels of 1200-1350. Because most corals do not like Phosphates, these levels should stay at 0 or as close to it as possible.

Growth Rate

Candy Cane Coral grows when a polyp grows a second mouth. Once this mouth appears, they start to split and separate into branches. Unlike some corals that spread rapidly, Candy Cane Corals take a little longer to start the budding process.

Having said that, once they begin to bud, it won’t take long before they bust out. You can promote growth by keeping the Coral still, as well as by providing the proper water and lighting conditions.

I have had Candy Cane corals that start from a few heads, grow into a full colony in a short amount of time.

Small Candy Cane frag – can grow into a full colony over time

candy cane growth

 Image credit:


Candy Cane Corals are considered to be relatively non-aggressive and peaceful. Having said that, they can become semi-aggressive when placed close to other corals.

Luckily, the tentacles of Candy Cane Coral are short, and therefore it can co-exist in an aquarium with other Corals as long as there is some distance between.

How much distance? In order for Candy Cane Coral to be able to cause harm to another coral, the other coral would have to be close enough to touch the flesh.

This is why, for the most part, it is considered non-aggressive.

How to tell if your Candy Cane Coral is stressed

Like any other type of animal, Candy Cane Coral can show signs of stress when they are not doing well. The main sign of stress in Candy Cane Coral is the unwillingness to extend its tentacles.

When Candy Cane Coral is healthy, it will extend its tentacles to feed. Sometimes they will also extend their tentacles at night time, or in the morning before the lights are turned on.

If you are feeding Candy Cane Coral and they are not eating, monitor them at night to see if they are extending their tentacles at that time. If not, they could be stressed out.

In such a case, check to see how much water flow your Coral is receiving. If water flow is okay, start checking the water perimeters like salinity, pH, and Calcium levels.

If you notice that the Candy Cane Coral is extending its tentacles at night but not during the day when you feed them, then it could be a sign that it does not feel safe. In such a case, check your pairings.

Something in your tank could be picking at the corals, causing them to feel unsafe and stressed out.

If multiple corals are showing signs of stress you may need to do a major water change. If you are still seeing signs of stress after a water change, check your water parameters and adjust as necessary.  

Candy Cane Corals can be an absolutely beautiful addition to your saltwater aquarium – especially when it brings out its fluorescence at night time. It is relatively easy to take care of and is not considered overly aggressive. In return, it makes an excellent choice for beginners. They have always been one of my favorite corals and I know you will enjoy them as well!