The reef aquarium world has been perpetually infatuated with showy large polyp stony corals as showcase centerpieces, or at the very least a very expensive flex. Trachies have long been celebrated, Acanthos are conspicuous consumption at its finest and only in the last few years have reefers even started recognizing the difference between a Cynarina and an Indophyllia.
The taxonomic distinction between Cynas and Indos is tenuous at best but both ‘categories’ of these fleshy single polyps are incredibly showy, interesting, with a very dynamic state of inflation of the bubble coral-like vesicles. Lately the lion’s share of the attention has shifted towards the more ostentatious Indophyllia but there’s a whole wide range of classic Cynarina that are completely flying under the radar.
Cynarinas with translucent vesicles have been around and available for years, usually in translucent green or cherry red, rarely in the combination pictured above, or the crazy one that Blue Seas Aquarium has been conditioning for most of this year. But if you look hard enough and at enough specimens you’ll some across some polyps that are bright yellow inside, or sometimes even orange!
We recently hand picked a particularly large polyp of classic clear Cynarina lacrymalis while visiting Ultra Coral Australia and we were drawn to how bright yellow the vesicles of this polyp appeared. Seeing it on location was one thing but once we finally got it back to the Reef Builders Studio and under the most ideal rich blue lighting we could finally appreciate this yellow Cynarina in its full glory.
The transformation of this LPS coral from fresh-collected to conditioned aquarium resident was a really quick journey, and it got us thinking about how many of these clear-style Cynarina are completely being slept on by the reef aquarium community. Even the cheapest, mostly brown Cynarina will eventually develop some degree of coloration and we haven’t even started discussing how hardy and easy to keep they are, thriving in the most mediocre of aquarium conditions in a way that few other showy stony corals would entertain.