Brain corals belong to the family of Faviidae, appearance of which resembles an animal brain. Read the article to get more information on brain corals...
Brain coral is a kind of stony coral that is named after its unique appearance. The channels and grooves on its surface makes it look like an animal brain. Brain corals are found in warm and shallow waters in different parts of the world. Although found in a number of oceans in the world, Great Barrier Reef in Australia (the largest reef system in the world) is where they are most notable. As in the case of other corals, brain coral is also not a single organism. It is a colony formed by individuals called polyps. These polyps come together and build a skeleton of calcium carbonate. The hard surface of calcium carbonate is what categorizes them under stony corals. This also makes them exceptional coral reef builders.
Unlike other corals of the branching variety, brain corals grow at a very slow pace. But the long duration seems to be quite reasonable as they develop strong structures that saves them from breaking up due to a storm or a hurricane. The largest brain coral is recorded to have grown up to 6 feet in height. Read on to find some more brain coral facts relating to their habitat.
Brain Coral Habitat
As mentioned earlier, brain corals are an integral part of the marine biome and they are found in shallow waters with warm temperatures. Because of its strong nature, they withstand wave actions and strong currents in the shallow waters. To be more specific they are mostly found on the upper reef slopes. The polyps of a brain coral are nocturnal in nature which means that they active in the night.
What do these brain corals survive on? What do they feed on? Just like any other marine organisms, corals also need food to survive. How? The polyp skin consists of mesentery filaments or sweeper tentacles, they stretch and extend them to capture food. The invertebrates and other small marine animals that float by fall prey to brain corals. They also gain nutrition from marine algae that grow on the grooves of the coral. These marine algae are called zooxanthellae and the corals and the algae mutually benefit each other. Brain corals have a threat from other predators floating by. In such times, they retract their tentacles to save themselves from being eaten up.
Brain Corals in Aquarium Trade
Of the many different kinds of brain corals, the maze brain coral are the common ones found in the aquarium trade. They belong to the platygyra genus. Brain maze coral requires moderate care. Brain coral care is not as simple as it may seem, and one needs to consider many factors when confining the brain corals in an unnatural environment. Some of the essential points under brain coral care includes the food, light and other factors.
Many believe that brain corals do not need food to eat as they get all the nutrition from the symbiotic relation they have with the algae. However, this is not true! They do need to be fed on other foods, be it in the ocean or in the aquarium. Although the food habits may slightly vary depending on the species, baby brine shrimp, rotifiers, mysid shrimp and feeder foods can be given to them. They also do consume zooplankton based food items. They at least need to be fed once a week for normal growth.
Brain corals also need sufficient light, and changing a certain percentage of water every month is also essential. The caring requirements may differ for different species. Therefore it is important to equip oneself with all the necessary information with regards to brain coral care.
Destructive fishing practices, water pollution, dropping boat anchors, coastal development, ocean acidification are just some of the common threats to coral reefs. This affects the brain coral habitat. In fact it not only is a threat to brain corals but also to the other coral reef animals.