Symphyllia: So Stunning, Yet Success Eludes Me!

Symphyllia spp. coral

Symphyllia spp. coral

Symphyllia are some of the most colorful large-polyp stony corals out there. Their bodies resemble Lobophyllia in many ways, but unlike lobos, they have a much more diverse color arrangement. I’ve seen them come in just about every color imaginable, and it is very common for them to have large bands of colors.

Unfortunately, I don’t do very well with Symphyllia. As colorful and amazing as these corals are, they’re a no-go for me until I learn more about why they might be struggling in my system.

Symphyllia coral

I’ve done some research online about Symphyllia, paying special attention to the tank parameters maintained by people who are successful keeping them. So far, I haven’t been able to pin down what it is that is causing their decline. I’ve tried all sorts of lighting and flow as well as feeding different types of food. Almost invariably, they seem to shrink tight against their skeleton and recede after a few weeks.

This is really a shame because some of the Symphyllia I’ve seen online actually get more colorful as they get settled into a home aquarium. Symphyllia are sort of like Micromussa in their ability to change colors. They can undergo a complete color shift, where one might start out red and blue only for the red to turn yellow, and then pick up a couple extra colors.

Symphyllia coral

Usually I have some good care tips when I feature a coral on my channel, but unfortunately, this is one of those corals that I don’t have all the answers for. If you have had some luck with Symphyllia, please share your story in the comments below and hopefully we can all learn something from your experience.


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About Than Thein

Than Thein is the owner of Tidal Gardens and Advanced Reef Aquarium. Than's love for all things underwater began early on when dogs and cats were strictly off limits, but a fish tank? Sure! What started with a 10-gallon goldfish tank eventually turned into a 5,000-gallon greenhouse coral propagation system. In addition to coral aquaculture, Than's other hobbies include scuba diving and underwater photography and videography.


  1. Hi Than.
    Any recent luck with symphyllia? I noticed that this video is 3 years old. I just bought one in Australia and have started researching them.

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