Candy Cane Coral (Caulastrea furcata): The Definitive Care Guide

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There are a lot of guides available on the internet that give instructions on how to take care of the Candy Cane coral

However, most of them are filled with useless information that is not precise, incorrect or even worse, outdated. And we all know in this hobby that inaccurate and obsolete data is almost as bad as no information at all.

So, I take the liberty to write a concise and compelling article about Candy Cane coral care. In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about these corals, including finding the best placement, the correct lighting, and some tips on how to grow them faster.

Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Candy Cane Coral


Candy Cane Coral Care Tips

The Caulastraea furcata, often referred to as the Candy Cane or Trumpet coral in the saltwater aquarium hobby belongs in the LPS group of corals.

Candy Canes can usually be found in the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, and the Scott Reefs, where they inhabit sandy substrates in shallow waters.

These types of corals are very popular among beginner aquarists, and it is easy to see why. They are one of the easiest corals to take care of.
Known as one of the fastest-growing corals, the Candy Cane can quickly fill in your aquarium, forming large colonies in the process. Another reason why they are so desirable, besides their general hardiness, is their attractive appearance.

Beginners are prone to making mistakes in the early stages, often resulting in losing corals. And we all lose motivation when that happens. That’s why it is so essential to choose corals that can tolerate common beginner mistakes. The Candy Cane is one of those corals. It gives hobbyists some room for error.

These corals come in different varieties. You can choose from natural colors such as brown and yellow or lighter aquacultured, vibrant colors such as blue and green. Under actinic light, they have beautiful fluorescent colors.

Candy Cane Coral Placement & Lighting

It’s always a good idea to give corals more room for growth. In this case, like with the other LPS corals, it’s necessary. Most of the LPS corals can extend their sweeper tentacles and kill the corals near them.

Candy Canes are semi-aggressive corals. That means that even though they have shorter sweeper tentacles and consider peaceful by nature, they can still sting other corals. However, it’s pretty unlikely unless they are too close to them. That’s why they are an excellent choice for smaller aquariums such as nano reefs.

Candy Cane corals don’t require high-intensity lighting. That’s one of the best things about these corals. You don’t need to invest in high-end lighting, which is perfect for beginners. Whether you have a low or high lighting setup, they are very consistent in coloration.

However, you need to be careful. Overexposure can be harmful to candy cane corals. Place them at the bottom of the tank to avoid such problems. Candy Canes will thrive in low to medium water flow. High water flow can cause the polyps to lose their fleshiness. Make sure that you find a low flow area in your tank.

Feeding & Growth 

Candy Cane corals get most of their nutrients from the lighting, through a symbiotic relationship with marine algae, known as zooxanthellae. 

That’s the primary source of food. However, if are well-fed candy canes will grow faster. A mix of meaty foods such as brine shrimp and Mysis are a great choice.

Always target feed these corals to avoid fish (assuming you have) eating their food. 

How to Frag the Candy Cane coral 

Candy Canes are great for learning the fundamentals of fragging corals. In short, single polyp forms two mouths and eventually splits into two different separate polyps.

Propagation of these corals is a straight forward process. Cut the individual branches, and then glue them down to a plug. It’s simple as that. 

Candy Cane Coral Frags for Sale

Candy Cane corals are easy to find and available in almost every Local Fish Store. 

There are online stores too, however, you need to be careful and buy from reputable stores only. Sometimes the corals you get don’t have the same appearance as the ones in the pictures. 

And if that doesn’t work for you, then you can always buy from fellow hobbyist.


Is Candy Cane coral easy to keep?

The Candy Cane is one of the easiest LPS corals to keep. It’s a hardy, fast-growing coral which requires low to moderate light intensity, moderate flow, and periodic feeding, making it a very beginner-friendly coral.

How fast does Candy Cane coral grow?

It can take a while to start the bidding process, but the candy cane coral will replicate very fast once it begins. Regular feedings, high alkalinity, and appropriate lighting are all crucial factors contributing to the candy cane coral’s growth rate.

How big do Candy Cane corals get?

Candy Cane Corals have small polyps with an average width of 10mm; however, they can replicate and make huge colonies.

What kind of coral is a Candy Cane?

The Candy Cane Coral( Caulastraea furcata), commonly known as the Trumpet coral, belongs in the LPS group of corals. It’s found in the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, and the Scott Reefs, where it inhabits sandy substrates in shallow waters. The Candy Cane is a popular coral among saltwater aquarium hobbyists. 

Do Candy Cane corals need to be fed?

Candy Cane corals, just like any other coral, have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellate, algae living within their tissue. Through photosynthesis, the algae provide nutrients for the coral to live. However, the Candy Cane coral will benefit from additional feeding, and it will undoubtedly have a faster growth rate if more food is provided.

Are Candy Cane corals aggressive?

The Candy Cane is aggressive coral; however, compared with other LPS corals, it has shorter tentacles, making it less dangerous to its neighbors.

How much light do Candy Cane corals need?

The Candy Cane is not light demanding coral, and it will thrive under low to moderate lighting.

Are you interested to learn more about corals? If so, check our other articles on this subject:


If you haven’t got any previous experience with LPS corals, and you want to get your feet wet, Candy Cane corals are a pretty good place to start. 

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced aquarist, these corals will always be a nice addition to every reef tank. 

Before you go, I’d like to hear from you. 

Did you have any difficulties caring for these corals? If so, let me know in the comment section. 

Featured Image: Sean McGrath  CC BY 2.0

1 thought on “Candy Cane Coral (Caulastrea furcata): The Definitive Care Guide”

  1. Hi I have a green candy cane that looks like it’s not happy. It’s got brown markings on it and doesn’t have that bright green it used to have. I have moved it around to try and get a better location for it. I now have it near an Xenia coral which is blossoming really well and multiplying. I am struggling with PO4 as it is 0.0 in the tank I’m desperately trying to increase this with extra feeding and taking out any phosphate removers in my filter system. I do have a lot of algae in the tank and all other parameters seem to be good.
    Any tips would be greatly appreciated


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