The Elephant Ear coral is a large mushroom or toadstool coral with interesting folds on the cap, giving it a ruffled look once it has matured. This interesting coral does not have long feeder tentacles, rather it has short tentacles arranged radially along with many mouths. The Elephant Ear coral is one of the most prized leather corals and one of the largest corals of its type. It is spectacular looking and is usually colored brown or green. Because it can reach 40 centimeters in size, this coral is an impressive showpiece for bigger aquariums.
The Elephant Ear coral is a carnivore. When they live in the wild, these corals usually feed on small crustaceans and fish. Like most other corals, they are also equipped to feed off of zooxanthellae. Elephant Ear corals are able to warp their surfaces so as to direct particles from the water flowing over them to be absorbed by their mucus centers. In captivity, this type of coral can be fed tiny pieces of crustacean flesh and fish. The coral should be settled in a location where there is low water velocity. If the food is whisked away before the corals close in on it, the water flow is too fast for their needs.
To keep the Elephant Ear coral happy and healthy, it is important to make changes to the water of around 10% twice a month or 20% once a month. These corals enjoy a reef environment and benefit from good levels of magnesium in the water. Some hobbyists believe that putting a bit of extra iodine in the water will do Elephant Ear corals well. Strong water movement is not good for them, however, so intake nozzles and powerheads should be directed away. When introducing these corals into the tank, it’s usually a good idea to cover pumps as the corals float around in search of a good place to settle.
This type of coral is disease resistant and has few predators, if any. The only real possible issue could be that the conditions in the aquarium are not suitable for them. This could mean water quality, lighting, feeding, and water movement. A sign of this happening is when the coral begins to detach in search of improved conditions in which to settle.
Elephant Ear corals are semi-aggressive near other corals. They could cause their neighbors to lose tissue and may even kill them, especially if they’re not also mushroom corals. Another potential compatibility issue is that they could consume small, slow-moving fish and shrimp. It’s important to leave around 15 centimeters to 20 centimeters of space between them and other corals and not to house marine animals that are smaller and slower in the same aquarium unless they are intended as food for your Elephant Ear coral.
In the wild, Elephant Ear corals lure small crustaceans and fish into a balloon-like partial enclosure. As the tiny creatures are fooled into thinking that the space makes for good shelter, the coral will close them in and begin consuming them.