Care Level: Easy
Lighting: Moderate to High
Waterflow: Medium to Strong
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
The Colt Coral Cladiella sp. is a popular and easy care leather coral that is readily available for the reef aquarium. It has projections resembling fingers that are round to cone-shaped, and stubby. These thick finger-like projections branch upward from a very short, pale white stalk. They will fork and grow more projections, which grow out in all directions. They have polyps that are fully retractable, yet when extended are well tufted, giving it a very fluffy appearance. All total these characteristics give a "thicker" look to their colonies.
The Cladiella sp. are hardy and fast growing, making them an excellent starter coral. Most specimens are generally cream to gray-white in color, and can have contrasting greenish brown to brown polyps. A distinction of this genus, is that it is slimy to touch rather than having the dry, leathery feel most of the leather corals are known for. Yet they are not as sensitive to handling as many soft corals, and are easy to propagate.
The most common name used for soft corals in the Cladiella genus is Colt Coral, but they are also found under a number of other descriptive common names. Some of these are Finger Leather Coral, Stubby Finger Leather Coral, Blushing Coral, Finger-Tip Cladiella, and Seaman's Hand Coral. Because it is similar in form to other leathers, many of the same common names are used interchangeably such as Leather Coral, Finger Leather, Soft Finger Leather Coral, and Knobby Leather Coral. When ordering this or any other leather coral, its best to make sure you use the scientific name.