Yellow Sun Coral

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Tubastraea aurea - (Quoy and Gaimard, 1833)
Yellow Sun Coral

Tubastraea aurea.jpg

Common in the Indo-Pacific, but a coral that needs hand-feeding to survive and thrive in the aquarium. Janine Cairns-Michael


These glorious corals are best reserved for more advanced aquarists willing to feed them regularly. When well-fed, they appear “bloated,” the polyps increase in size, and new polyps form.

They need brisk currents and regular targeted feeding to survive. (With proper feeding they are not particularly hard to keep, but do not buy a Sun Coral unless you are prepared to squirt plankton-type foods its way at least every other day.)

Their polyps are normally retracted during the day, but the animals can be acclimated to feed during the day and remain open.

Family: Dendrophylliidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: Usually encountered on reef slopes, often in caves and under overhangs.

Maximum length: 13 cm (5 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 38 L (10 gal)

Lighting: Prefer dim lighting. Too much light results in overgrowth by algae.

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)


Carnivore. Will greedily grasp and ingest meaty plankton delivered within reach of its tentacles. Mysid shrimp and reef plankton are excellent foods, as are enriched brine shrimp (live or frozen) and other reef carnivore rations. Shoot the food gently into the colony with a pipette, syringe, turkey baster or the like.

Hobbyists report that the naturally noctural Sun Corals can be trained over time to feed with the lights on.

Soaking foods in reef supplements and vitamins before feeding can help maintain a high level of nutrition.

Aquarium Compatibility

Not suitable for most community tanks, where insufficient food or too much light is provided.

Special Care

Must be hand-fed. See Feeding above.


If in good condition, they reproduce by the use of asexual planulae. When this occurs, small yellow polyps appear in various areas around the tank. They prefer high-current areas.

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Invertebrates
Image credit: JCM
Text credit: RLS