Disc corals are some of the most recognizable corals on the reef, and some of the most popular coral animals for the home aquarium. Disc corals in all their various forms are easy to keep, come in a bewildering array of colors, and being a single free-living polyp they inhabit an interesting niche both in captivity and in nature.
There’s still too little differentiation between the larger, more robust Fungia and the smaller, more delicate, and wildly colored Cycloseris. Knowing the distinction is not only important just because we should know what our corals really are, but they also have fairly different care requirements.
Fungia are more often found on the reef, in and among other stony corals, in higher light, higher flow, they grow much larger and are much more conducive to resprouting miniature polyps through the “Phoenix Effect”, sometimes culminating into cool living crop circles. Also, knowing the difference between Fungias and Cycloseris is not only erudite, it also lets you know whether you’re looking at a show piece of Fungia klunzingeri, or a bite size Cycloseris.
Cyclos on the other hand, are the real darlings of the aquarium world, and some of the most ‘chromatically gifted’ colorful corals known to man. Save for some strains of Scolymia australis and Acanthastrea species, no corals can come even close to the incredibly vivid nature of Cycloseris with wild colors and patterns.
Currently in the marine aquarium hobby, there is a tendency to oversaturate photographs and passing these off as ‘naturally lit’ images. We’ve railed against this practice in the past, but today we push the slider in the other direction. Since we’re currently on-location in Bali and practically living on-site at Bali Aquarium, we’ve had incredible access to their amazing wealth of coral selection.
Recently we put an amazing crop of Cycloseris from all over Central Indonesia in the cross-hairs of our fluorescence-imaging equipment from NightSea. Through the help of targeted spectrum for exciting fluorescence, and a type of filter to capture only the light from fluorescent pigments, we’ve imaged an incredible portfolio of some of the best Cycloseris we’ve ever seen, in person or in pictures.
In a way the full fluorescent imaging of these disc corals masks the chromatic colors and therefore their full beauty, so it’s just a sneak peek at the glorious Cycloseris that will be shipped to aquarium stores all over the world in the coming weeks from Bali. We hope to make “Fluorescent Friday” a semi-regular contribution to the Reef Builders coral fodder in the future, and we can’t think of a better group to start with than the amazingly colorful Cycloseris.