When my reef aquarium journey began around 16 years ago, little did I know that my first ‘hitchhiker’ coral would eventually become one of my favorites in the hobby and workplace. I’m drawn to the oddball species of coral that don’t seem to attract much attention in the hobby, the type of corals that make people point and ask “what is that?”
The Psammocora genus covers around 9 species which can be found growing in a variety of ways including: encrusting, branching, columnar & sometimes forming thin plates. In Australia, these corals are relatively common on the reef but aren’t always easy to obtain in LFS.
In larger reefing populations like the USA & Europe I haven’t seen these corals showcased much either. Could this be due to the genus being skipped over on CITES applications when importing corals? Or perhaps it hasn’t been highlighted as a coral with aquarium potential?
My best moment with Psammocora taught me the importance of fragging corals and sharing them with other hobbyists. One day my 15-year old ‘hitchhiker’ colony of Psammocora profundacella spontaneously died. Thankfully, I was able to get the colony back twice over from the fellow hobbyists I had shared with!
The strain was later dubbed ‘Danger’s Psammocora’. The next time I saw this strain was at ReefStock, Denver 2019 – I spotted a Frag sitting at the Legendary Corals booth and it was great to unexpectedly see ‘Danger’s Psammocora (although not called Dangers Psammocora in the states). This got me talking to some vendors about Psammocora and a couple of them told me that they usually find them as hitchhikers on other corals, just like I did. They don’t see them available at wholesalers or on import lists very often.
Should Psammocora become more common and you start your own Psammocora collection, you’ll be pleased to know that they are generally an easy to keep SPS that thrives under LED and can usually handle water quality fluctuations that other SPS would fail in.