In this comprehensive guide, you will learn everything you need to know about keeping Torch corals in your saltwater tank.
The Torch coral (Euphylia Glabrescens) is an LPS or long polyp stony coral and is considered a beginner coral. They are not difficult to keep providing you maintain proper water parameters and tank conditions they require.
Torch corals are also known as the Pom Pom coral and are one of the most commonly sought after corals. These Euphyllia have been kept in home aquariums for a long time and are popular for their long and flowing polyps. They are known to reach into the water flow where they are more comfortable.
In moderate water flow areas of the tank, they tend to resemble a torch and therefore known as the Torch coral.
Torch Coral Appearance
Torch corals are available in a variety of colors and sizes. These corals are unique to other Euphyllia types as they have long sweeping tentacles. It is a branching coral and can have different colors for tips. White, green, pink, and beige, are commonly seen in aquariums.
These corals look amazing under blue actinic light as their green color really stands out and “pops”.
Torch coral heads can grow to be quite large (up to 10″) and are known to split. Their appearance on the tips helps distinguish them from many other Euphyllia corals like Hammer corals.
During the daytime, their tentacles will be expanded and then retract at night. They have sweeper tentacles that can come out at night to search for food and protect itself from other corals. Torch corals can be aggressive and sting other corals if they are placed to close by.
How To Feed Torch Corals
Like most corals, Torches require adequate lighting and supplements to stay healthy and grow. You can also supplement their feeding by spot feeding them a variety of meaty foods which is easy to do. You can use something as simple as a turkey baster or I recommend using the Ice Cap coral feeder.
Torch corals will appreciate Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and other coral foods like Polylab reef roids.
Simply using the feeding tool, you can squirt the food onto the coral and the polyps will take it from the water column.
Feeding Torch corals is important for proper coloration and growth rates. It is not required to spot feed Torch corals but they sure will appreciate it.
How Much Water Flow Is Required For Torch Corals?
Torch corals are one of those amazing corals that love to sway with the water flow. Although they don’t require high water movement, you should aim to have low to moderate flow rates. A varied flow pattern is better than constant flow. You can use a controllable wavemaker that is able to provide variable flow rates and patterns. It’s not a great idea to point a powerhead directly at the Torch coral. They can naturally extend their polyps and flow much better with varied flow patterns.
Lighting Requirements For Torch Corals
Torches are a member of Euphyllia corals like Hammer corals and Frogspawn, and they do not require high lighting to thrive. Low to medium lighting is suitable for them. Placement in your tank will be important as you will want to keep them in the lower to mid sections of the tank. This will avoid high lighting conditions causing them to bleach and preventing their tentacles to extend.
How Fast Do Torch Corals Grow?
Under the proper tank conditions, Torch corals are known to grow at faster rates than others. They will grow new heads and can easily grow from small frags into full colonies. Once the coral is settled in your tank and comfortable, you will most likely see 4-5 new heads form each year.
Ideal Water Parameters For Torch Corals
Like many corals, keeping proper and stable water parameters will be the key to success with Torch corals. They are a hardy coral so pristine water conditions are not required but normal reef tank water conditions are a must.
Consistent levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium are important for carbonate skeleton growth.
Why Are Torch Coral Tentacles Not Extending?
There are a few reasons why your Torch coral may not be extending out as much as they should. Not only should your water parameters be within limits, but they need to remain constant. When water quality or parameters frequently change, this will become stressful to the coral and it will show it’s stress by not opening up.
Another issue could be the water movement. As mentioned, Torch corals do not like high water flow. Too much flow can cause them to retract and their tentacles will not extend. It can be tricky at first to find a place in the tank where they are comfortable with the right amount of water flow. You may need to try various locations and determine which area works best.
Also, you may have a certain fish or invertebrate that is bothering the coral. It’s possible that a fish could be nipping at it or certain snails or shrimp crawling on it can cause their tentacles to stay retracted.
Torch Coral Splitting And Fragging
Torch corals are commonly known to split and form new heads fairly quickly. Since Torches are a branching stony coral, they are easy to frag. Once they are fragged, they will grow into colonies on their own. A single frag can grow into a multi-head colony within a year.
Fragging can be done by using a saw, dremmel, bone cutters. It’s best to use a proper propagation kit when fragging corals. You can use the snapping technique which is best for branching type corals. Read more on how to frag corals here.
Torch Coral Bleaching
If your Torch coral is bleaching and losing color, there are a few things that can cause it to happen. As mentioned, they do not like high lighting. If you have a Torch coral that is subject to high lighting, you should reduce the lighting cycle and intensity. Move the coral to a lower part of the tank where the lighting is not so intense.
Torch corals require a certain amount of nutrients in the tank to maintain coloration. Check your water parameters to make sure your tank is being deprived of essential nutrients. Carbon dosing can reduce nutrients in the tank to lower levels than what is required.
Torches are also known to be aggressive and they need adequate space in the tank to avoid stinging other corals and also avoid being stung. This can be a cause of why they are losing color.
Where To Torch Corals And Cost
Most Torch corals can be purchased at your local reef shop. They are a common coral to see in stores. If not available there, you can purchase them online at various places. There are so many different types of Torch corals available and they can be expensive. But for the common Torches that are not considered rare, you can expect to pay around $20 per head. Most stores will sell frags and multiple head colonies. A 4 or 5 head colony will cost around $80-$100.