Why Is My Candy Cane Coral Not Opening? (Explained)

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Your candy cane coral is not opening, and you think it’s probably dying? You don’t need to worry because, in this post, I will explain all the possible reasons that may cause your candy cane coral to close. And if that’s not enough, I will give you several tips for keeping healthy and thriving candy cane corals in your reef tank.

candy cane coral not opening

I always liked how candy cane corals look in a reef tank. I know that they don’t provide the so desirable movement in a tank, but something is fascinating about these corals that I can’t describe.

The candy cane coral was the first LPS I bought for my reef tank. It is still alive and thriving to this day. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

There were times when I had problems with this particular coral, especially in the beginning days. 

Once I found a way to solve my problems, the candy cane coral started to grow, and it had never looked better before.

Related: Toadstool Leather Coral Not Opening


Why is my candy cane coral not opening?

The candy cane coral may take time to open and adjust to its new environment. Poor water parameters, inadequate placement, and other external factors may be one of the reasons causing candy canes to close.

New tank syndrome

Candy canes are one of the hardiest LPS corals. People often recommend candy canes as great beginner corals. However, more often than not, beginners misinterpret this and place them in new tanks.

I introduced my candy cane coral four months after starting my tank, and I still encountered some problems. If you place a candy cane coral in an uncycled tank, it will not open.

In addition, these corals need time to adjust to new tanks. The conditions in your tank are probably different from the tank it used to live in. Give it a few days, and your candy cane will open.

Water parameters

Candy canes like stable water parameters, just like any other coral. I noticed whenever I have alkalinity swings; the candy cane looks poor.

Those were the early days of my reefing journey when I made every mistake I could think of. Now, my water parameters are pretty stable, and the candy cane coral is thriving and looks happy.

If you have problems with the candy cane not opening, start testing your water. Keep in mind that a water change is your friend. I can’t count how many times a small water change helped me revive my tank.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the candy cane coral love to eat. They need some nutrients in the tank, otherwise will struggle. You can also target-feed them with different types of foods.


When I bought my candy cane coral, I placed it on my main rock structure, but it wasn’t happy. 

Then, I moved it to another rock, and it still wasn’t satisfied. It didn’t look puffy and full like it looked in the store where I bought it.

The third time I moved, it opened in 24 hours, and it looked big and puffy. 

Where did I move it, you might ask? I placed it in a low light, low flow area. In my experience, candy cane corals don’t like bright light and direct flow. 

Don’t get me wrong, they still need the appropriate light to grow and enough flow to move debris off them. But moderately.

If your candy cane coral struggles to open, move it low light, low flow area, and you will see an improvement.

Related: Duncan Coral Not Opening

How long does it take for candy cane coral to open?

Candy cane corals usually open fast if the water parameters are adequate in the new tank. 

However, if they don’t like their placement, they might stay closed for days. Constant moving can also stress your candy cane coral. 

Chose one place and let the coral settle in. Consider moving it only if it does not open in a week. Candy canes are hardy corals and will adjust to a wide range of conditions.

Related: Why is My Green Star Polyps Closed

Is my candy cane coral dying?

How do you know if your candy cane coral is dying?

When your candy cane coral starts showing its skeleton, you know something is wrong. Luckily, candy canes have excellent recovery abilities.

Move your coral to a low flow area, and wait. The process might be painfully slow, but if your water parameters are proper, there is a big chance for the candy cane to bounce back.

Final Thoughts

Candy cane corals are pretty hardy and can bounce back to life after several months of struggling.

If your candy cane coral is not opening, check your parameters, make a water change, and consider moving it to another location. You’ll be surprised how resilient these corals are.

However, even these corals will struggle in unstable systems. Make sure that your tank is stable and mature enough before adding a candy cane coral.

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