Write-Up Wednesday: Meat Corals (Acanthophyllia deshayesiana)

Meat corals (Acanthophyllia deshayesiana) are a large polyp stony (LPS) coral that I love – even if they don’t sway in the current of your tank.

Sold as doughnut or button corals and often confused with Scollies (Scolymia australis), meat corals are usually much larger than Scollies, have more flesh and prefer to live solely on the sand bed. Inflating to double their size during the course of the day, meat corals are impressive to watch especially if you have time lapse photography skills. Unlike other LPS corals that can throw out sweeper tentacles, meat corals will only sting another coral if the coral touches the center part of the meat coral. Therefore, you can please several meat corals close together and not worry about aggression issues. You’ll still want to give them ample room on the sand bed to inflate so if you have empty sand bed space you need to fill, a meat coral or two will do the trick.

Like most LPS corals, meat corals are easy keepers that are happy with medium intensity lighting and low flow. Too high of flow can blow the flesh of the meat coral around and cause the coral to not fully inflate. Feeding meat corals is also not necessary so don’t waste your time or money thinking they need coral food.

striped meat coralColor is the big reason I love meat corals. They come in solid colors such as green or red and the most striking ones have a variety of colors such as the one pictured here from one of my client’s tanks. (Here’s a similar one for sale). The streaks of colors will turn heads and add variety to your tank.

Unfortunately meat corals rarely survive fragging so please don’t try it. Pick one or more, enjoy them and leave them be.

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Comments for this article (7)

  • jason says:


    You mention they do not survive fragging. Are there ways to propagate through hobbyist means or aquaculture?

    I try to stay away from coral when it is a 1 coral out of ocean : 1 coral dead in tank ratio.



  • Jason…I have not heard of a way to propagate them.

  • Mike says:

    I would like to pick up a coral for my fish only tank, but I have put it off due to I don’t like to run my tank lights all da (gets too hot). More like 5 hours a day. Also the bigger issue is when I go on vacation I leave the lights off and it can be for a week or two but only a few times a year. Do you recommend any coral or this meat coral that would survive this?


  • Mike…a week is a long time for a photosynthetic coral to go without light. I recommend 4 days at most. Also..depending on what fish you have in your fish only tank, the fish may nip, or eat the meat coral

  • Emily says:

    They are beautiful! Do they do well with hair and/or bryopsis algae and questionable yet improving water parameters? ? Seriously, how sensitive are they to phosphates and a little too high nitrates?

  • Mike says:

    Thanks Mark for your response,
    I picked up a couple Percula Clownfish (was on the label when I purchased). One small and one larger that were in the tank at the fish store together. I purchased both for my kids about 9 months ago.. AND……. they are still alive!! lol..
    But now my daughter really wants to get them an Anemone, cause she has read about them being attracted to them as a safe place. I just dont think it will survive while we go on vacations. Was thinking then of just adding something in the tank that could survive and look nice.

  • Anthony says:

    My meat coral has slowly faded it’s colors over a three week course and now I see brownish gray streaks is it to much lighter or to little?

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