This is the complete care guide for keeping Duncan corals in your saltwater aquarium.
The Duncan coral (Duncanopsammia Axifuga) is an LPS coral or long polyp stony coral and is considered to be a good coral for beginners.
They are easy to keep providing you maintain proper water parameters and tank conditions they require.
Duncan corals are commonly kept by reef keepers and they can be a stunning addition to your reef tank.
Duncan Coral Appearance
The Duncan coral somewhat resembles a button polyp with the difference being it has long fleshy polyps and a calcified skeleton. There are different colors found on this coral with the most common being green, blue, and brown. They can also have a mix of purple, pink, and white.
Duncan corals are sometimes called daisy corals with polyps that flow with the water movement in your tank. Their polyps can vary in length from 1/4″ to several inches long.
Because of the stony skeleton, which is generally white in color, it’s important to provide plenty of calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity to stay healthy. The Duncan coral’s colors will be more vibrant if you keep these elements and your water levels in check. Refer to the water parameters chart here.
How To Feed Duncan Corals
Feeding the Duncan coral is not necessary but they will love being spot fed. These corals will use light for their food and nutrients. You can feed them a variety of foods including Mysis shrimp and Brine shrimp. They will also accept quality coral foods such as Poly Lab Reef Roids and Coral Frenzy.
Spot feeding can be done easily by using a coral feeding tool. I recommend the Ice Cap coral feeder.
You can feed Duncan corals a few times per week. They have a mouth in the center of their polyps which you can drop the food into. If you decide to not spot feed them, they are great at retrieving food out of the water column. They will naturally do this if you plan to feed the whole tank powder or liquid foods.
Remember to turn off your wavemakers to prevent the food from being blown away during feedings.
How Much Water Flow Is Required For Duncan Corals?
Duncan’s don’t require a lot of water flow to stay healthy. Actually, they prefer a low to medium flow rate. I find they will extend their polyps better and show more color when placed in an area of the tank that receives a laminar flow pattern at lower flow rates.
An important note about flow rate, make sure the flow is not too low as detritus can build up around the coral or on its polyps. This will stress the coral causing it to not extend and can have serious health issues to the coral. You will need to find that right amount of flow where it’s not too strong or too low for your Duncans to be happy.
Lighting Requirements For Duncan Corals
Medium lighting is required for Duncan corals to grow and stay healthy. Like most LPS corals, they won’t do well in high lighting conditions. You should place them in a low to mid-level area of the tank where the recieve medium light levels with PAR levels of approximately 180-250.
Most LED and T5 reef lighting systems are suitable for Duncan corals. You won’t need any of the higher end lighting systems, if you are looking for a great light without spending a fortune, check out my review of the Viparspectra LED. This light is perfect for Duncan corals.
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Duncan Coral Growth Rate – How Fast Do They Grow?
Duncans are one of the faster-growing LPS corals. Many people who love to grow and frag corals love Duncans for this reason. It’s normal to see a single head Duncan coral split into two and then grow a new head each month.
If you are feeding your Duncan coral on a regular basis, you could see a couple of new heads form each month and within a year grow a Duncan frag into a full colony. because of their fast growth rate, ensure you have plenty of space for them in your tank to spread out naturally.
Ideal Water Parameters For Duncan Corals
As mentioned earlier, Duncans are an LPS coral that has a stony skeleton base. They will use up a large amount of calcium and magnesium and it’s crucial to test your water levels for these elements and supplement them as needed.
Why Are My Duncan Corals Closed And Not Opening-Up?
If your Duncan corals are closed and not opening up, there could be a few reasons why.
Check your water parameters to make sure everything is within limits. If one or more of your parameters are off, this can cause stress to the coral. Make small changes to adjust and keep an eye on the coral for signs of improvement.
The coral may not like the area of the tank where it is placed. I have seen numerous times where the coral doesn’t seem happy and an easy move to a new spot in the tank makes a huge difference. You want to ensure the coral is getting the proper lighting and water flow it needs.
Duncan corals are not an aggressive coral so there is a chance that another coral is bothering it causing stress. Stress will prevent their polyps from opening. Make sure your Duncan has plenty of space where it won’t be targeted by other corals in the tank.
Also when you introduce a Duncan coral to its new tank, make sure you acclimate it properly. Setting it into the tank without acclimation is going to cause it to be stressed.
How To Frag Duncan Corals
Duncan corals are one of the easiest corals to frag. Because of their stony skeleton and larger heads, they can be fragged by using a pair of bone cutters or Dremel tool. The branches of the Duncan coral stick out and are easy to access for fragging.
The frag piece can be attached to a piece of rock rubble or frag disc by using coral glue. Cyanoacrylate is the proper glue to use. Read more on coral fragging here.
Duncan Coral Aggression
Another great thing about the Duncan coral is they are not aggressive towards other corals. They do not have long sweeper tentacles and can’t sting others. Most times they will lose the battle with another coral. This is why it’s important to place them properly in your tank to avoid them from being bothered by other corals.
Duncan Corals In Coralife Biocube 32
I have been asked about the different types of corals that I keep in my Biocube 32. The Duncan coral is one of them. They are a perfect fit for the Biocube 32 when they are smaller in size. Although the Duncan can grow into large colonies, multi heads of these corals can be kept fine in the Biocube.
Where To Buy Duncan Corals And Cost
Duncan corals are one of the most commonly kept corals and are easy to find. Most saltwater stores carry them and they can be purchased online. They are not overly expensive but they are not cheap either. They will normally cost around $25 per head. Sometimes you can get a great deal on multi-head colonies and end up finding a 4 or 5 head Duncan coral for around $80 or $100.
Duncan corals are a great coral for beginners or advanced reef keepers. They are one of my personal favorites. They are very forgiving and easy to care for providing you maintain their requirements. You can keep these corals in smaller to larger sized tanks and they don’t need any special high tech equipment to stay healthy.
Give the Duncan coral a try, you will love them!