Why Is My Goniopora (Flower Pot) Coral Not Opening?

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Your Goniopora coral is not opening nor extending, and you think it’s dying? If so, you are in the right place. In this article, you will learn about all the reasons causing flowerpot corals to close. In addition, you will find out what it takes to keep healthy and thriving Goniopora corals.

goniopora coral not opening

The Goniopora, also known as a flowerpot, is a beautiful-looking LPS coral that captured the attention of many hobbyists.

This coral comes in a wide variety of colors, sways in the current, and resembles a flower. What could you ask more from a coral?

These corals used to be almost impossible to keep alive in home aquariums. Goniopora corals were imported from the wild and brought to local fish stores, where they looked fantastic.

Often hobbyists would pick up those corals and take them back to their homes, not knowing that these corals had an expiration date.

Around the 6-month mark, these beautiful corals started to close for no apparent reason. Soon after, they would start dying.

As the years have passed, the hobby progressed, and today there are a lot of successful stories of keeping these corals alive for a lengthier period.

However, even today, the success of keeping Gonioporas has been a hit or miss.

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Why is my Goniopora coral not opening?

Gonioporas are sensitive corals and might take time to open while adjusting to new tank conditions. Other reasons that might cause flowerpot corals to close up are inadequate placement, poor water quality, and improper lighting.


All corals need time to adjust to new tank conditions, especially corals like the Goniopora. You don’t need to stress over this. Give it time, and your Goniopora will settle in the new tank. 

Of course, this will depend on the water parameters, the placement, and the flow in your reef tank.


It’s essential to find the best placement for your Goniopora coral if you want to see it open. 

Goniopora corals prefer low to moderate lighting and moderate flow. People often have success with placing flowerpot corals on the sandbed in medium-flow areas. 

You want your coral to have enough flow but not to be direct. If the water flow is short-range and too strong, your Goniopora might struggle to open.

These corals are adaptable to a wide range of lighting. If you want to keep them in a higher light, acclimate them gradually.

Related: Why Is My Montipora Coral Turning White

Water parameters

Gonioporas are large polyp stony corals. Keeping the alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium stable is essential for keeping these corals healthy. Any sudden and large changes can irreversibly harm the flowerpot corals.

Nitrates and phosphates are also important when it comes to keeping Gonioporas. These corals might struggle in low nutrient systems. 

According to tidalgardens the nitrates should be between 10 to 20 ppm and phosphates around 0.05ppm.


For many years hobbyists believed that Goniopora corals don’t need feeding. However, people often struggled to keep these corals alive in the past. 

Today, more and more hobbyists practice regular feedings and keep happy and thriving Gonioporas. The consensus is that these corals need frequent feedings to survive in captivity.

They don’t eat like other LPS corals because they have a smaller mouths. You can broadcast feed them with foods like live phytoplankton or reef roids.

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How long does it take for Goniopora to settle?

Goniopora corals take time to settle in your tank. You can expect a couple of days to open and one to two weeks to fully extend. 

Of course, the conditions in your tank will dictate the time the Goniopora needs to settle in. 

If your water parameters are on point and you bought a healthy specimen, you should not worry at all.

Why is my Goniopora coral not extending?

Goniopora corals are temperamental and might open but not fully extend. If your coral is not losing tissue, you don’t need to worry.

Sometimes strong lights can cause Gonioporas not to extend. Reduce the lights, and observe how the coral reacts.

Related: Why Is My Elegance Coral Not Opening

Is my Goniopora coral dying?

Gonioporas are notorious for dying after several months of keeping in home aquariums. 

They are often hit and miss, and you can’t know for sure whether they will stay alive in your system. 

If your Goniopora starts losing tissue, it will probably die. It’s hard to save dying flowerpot coral.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of horror stories about Goniopora corals not living long in home aquariums. Those stories are true, but that shouldn’t discourage you from keeping these beautiful flowerpot corals.

Goniopora corals are hard to keep, indeed, but they are worth the trouble. It is hard to find such beautiful coral that sways in the current, grow big and has fantastic colors.

If you are a beginner reefer, I wouldn’t recommend keeping these corals in your tank. 

However, if you are an experienced reefer and you want some challenge, I would suggest trying to keep the Goniopora corals. You won’t regret it.

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