What the heck is up with the crazy looking chalice corals we’ve been seeing around the last couple of months? For several years we’ve had a beautiful assortment of colors and patterns in chalice corals of the genus Echinophyllia, Oxypora, Mycedium, and Pectinia but now the chalice coral color pallette is getting cray-cray. The rainbow splattered Echinophyllia above was discovered by AquaSD and say what you want about photoshop, actinics, blue lights or whatever but we’ve seen these mutant chalice corals for ourselves at Reef Raft USA and World Wide Corals.
About three years ago we saw our first glimpse of a rainbow Echinophyllia with the ‘melting pot’ aka ‘acid trip’ chalice coral which was widely lauded as being photoshopped, but still grown and propagated today. Then we saw the incredible “Rainbow Crush” coral with even more incredible color and pattern than anything we’d seen before. Suddenly, the quality and diversity of mixed-color chalice corals coming in is totally off the charts and we’re not talking about a few on-offs; there’s been at least a dozen colonies of these psychedelic chalice coral freaks just in the past couple of months.
With the seemingly endless array of new colors and patterns, it’s no wonder that chalice corals have enjoyed a never ending allure, making this coral ‘fad’ one of the longest lasting and most intense coral infatuations in the history of the reef aquarium hobby. If the crazy acid trip/melting pot/rainbow chalice corals keep coming in, Echinophyllia will continue to enjoy sustained attention and propagation and they may cost an arm and a leg for booger-size “fraglets”, but anything that stimulates the coral hobby and more intense propagation is a very good thing for the hobby.