Fun Candy Cane Coral Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 03, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi
Candy cane coral facts are both fun and interesting!

The candy cane coral is a type of marine coral in the shape of a trumpet. The candy cane is a large polyp stony (LPS) coral.

LPS corals are immobile and can simply grow out of one place, like a tree. As LPS corals, candy cane corals have a central disk, from which they branch out in all directions with a larger inflated disk at the top.

This disc has ridges alongside its curves, a distinguishing feature of this large polyp stony coral.

They are generally found in clusters containing up to a dozen corals. These corals grow on sandy or rocky and hard substrate, but some clusters may break off and travel along with the water flow to become loose.

Candy cane corals, known by their scientific name Caulastrea furcata, are a type of hardy corals and can survive as long as they are not covered by sand. In fact, they are often sold as easy-to-keep, low-maintenance plants for aquariums.

Caulastrea furcata is a type of autotroph, which means it can create its own food by synthesizing sunlight. However, these LPS corals have also been known to feed on algae and zooplankton.

Their name comes from their spiny and ridge-like appearance which is similar to the stripes on a candy cane. Due to their appearance and central disc, they are also known by their common name- trumpet coral or bullseye coral.

If this is of interest, then check out other similar animals like vampire squid facts and Atlantic cod facts.

Candy cane coral Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Candy Cane Coral?

Candy cane corals are a type of large polyp stony coral.

What class of animal does a Candy Cane Coral belong to?

Candy cane corals belong to the class of Anthozoa, which includes other animals like sea urchins, sea anemones, and jellyfish.

How many Candy Cane Corals are there in the world?

There is no exact estimate regarding the total number of candy cane corals around the world. However, they are not in any danger of extinction.

Where does a Candy Cane Coral live?

The Caulastrea candy cane coral is found in the Indo-Pacific region. Its habitat includes places from Fiji to Australia. It is mainly found in shallow waters.

What is a Candy Cane Coral's habitat?

This LPS coral is generally found in marine waters in shallow zones, stuck on sandy substrate or rock. Their optimal water parameters would be a moderate flow and bright water. Water parameters must include optimum sunlight, as the corals use them to synthesize food.

Who does Candy Cane Coral live with?

Sometimes, the growth covers large areas across 15 feet, other times they are found in small bunches of dozen corals. Other times, they occur freely across sandy bottoms.

To date, this LPS coral growth has been found to a depth of 100ft (30 m). They prefer surging water movement with less flow, as they are not strongly tacked on the rocks and sandy bottoms.

How long does a Candy Cane Coral live?

Polyps like candy cane coral can live a long time. Generally, polyps are hermaphrodites that reproduce asexually. Hence, a single coral keeps growing, elongating, and dividing. Hence, corals in the wild can live up to 900 years, after which they begin to die off.

How do they reproduce?

Known by the common name of trumpet coral, these corals are asexual and tend to contain both male and female genders within a single unit - that is, they are hermaphrodites. They grow by forming new heads on top, which may elongate in both directions.

Sometimes, a single head may split into multiple heads, which will then grow and branch out leading to discs that are 10 cm wide.

Sometimes, a small part may split off and float freely to a new location and grow there. Corals are immovable and depend on moderate water flow to keep them grounded or carry them.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the Trumpet Coral as an animal of Least Concern. The Coral Caulastrea is found across the Indo-Pacific zone and is also sold in plenty at the markets for aquariums. Their natural habitat is being slowly destroyed by humans, due to water pollution and land reclamation activities.

Candy Cane Coral Fun Facts

What does Candy Cane Coral look like?

Candy cane corals have ridges around their inflated tops.

This species of coral bears a close look to both trumpets and candy canes. They have a central body or disc from which other heads branch out. At the top, each head inflates around a central disc to give a trumpet-like appearance.

The inflated portion has ridges similar to a candy cane. They are found in colors like bright orange, yellow, greenish, or brownish. These corals are made up of multiple polyps with sweeper tentacles.

Each polyp has a single short tentacle. These feeding tentacles catch algae and sweep them toward the mouth of the corals. The tentacles cannot sweep far and depend on moderate water flow to deliver food.

How cute are they?

The candy cane coral looks similar to bright candy and is a cute addition to fish tanks. Moreover, they are bright, and rounded, and offer a friendly vibe.

How do they communicate?

Corals communicate based on chemical signals. When distressed, they may release certain chemicals that attract other fishes to come to eat them. Alternatively, even a touch of certain algae can cause corals to die off due to chemical exchange. Stress is the main cause of the death of corals.

How big is a Candy Cane Coral?

A candy cane coral is usually small in size, with a single unit having an average width of 10 cm. Vendors may sell large units of corals that are half a foot across and supported on a reef. They are the same size as Siamese fighting fish.

How fast can a Candy Cane Coral swim?

Coral is immobile and cannot move. A coral colony will live and die in the same place. A colony will leave behind a hard, calcium substrate when it dies.

How much does a Candy Cane Coral weigh?

The average weight of a single polyp of a candy cane is not known.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The candy cane coral species are hermaphrodites; hence, there is no separate name for the genders.

What would you call a baby Candy Cane Coral?

There is no specific name for the baby of the species, as candy canes reproduce asexually into fully mature heads.

What do they eat?

Trumpet corals feed in the dark by using their tentacles. Apart from photosynthesis, they feed on single-celled organisms, like algae and zooxanthellae. General candy cane coral care should include both enough light and pellets for plankton.

Are they poisonous?

Trumpet corals are not an aggressive species. However, if one reaches within the swing of their sweeper tentacles, they might very well feel a sting!

The coral bullseye uses quite a powerful sting when sweeping the water with its feeding tentacles at right. Anything within the range of these feeding tentacles will receive the sting. However, these tentacles are very short and would require one to touch them directly.

Moreover, is it not dangerous for humans? Still, handling or feeding of corals by hand should be kept to a minimum as aggressive or even normal touches can stress them out.

Do humans eat them?

Corals on the reef leave a stony, hard, calcium layer. Hence, humans do not consume them. However, they are eaten in some Hawaiian Islands.

Would they make a good pet?

Candy cane polyps make great pets as they are not aggressive and the care level required is minimum. Among pets, they are level easy to take care of.

The general care level for these polyps includes timely feeding and cleaning of the saltwater tanks. They should not be kept in low lighting conditions as they depend on sunlight.

The candy cane coral feeding habits are extremely simple. While they can depend on aggressive compact fluorescent lighting, one should also feed them saltwater and meat pellets, when they are kept in aquariums or tanks.

The water should not have a fast flow. Corals can be kept in polyps-only tanks or paired with fish.

One can buy their feed online or look for replacements, like octopus feed if their food is not available. They are saltwater creatures and thus, the optimum saltwater level for them is between 1.023 % and 1.025 %.

Do they bite?

The saltwater coral Caulastrea does not bite. However, its feeding tentacles contain a sting, which it delivers to anyone or anything that comes close enough to its reef including fish, human hands, and plankton.

Did you know...

Under actinic lighting, trumpet corals can take on a variety of colors, including neon green and purple. The most common species sold for an aquarium is the green candy cane, which comes from the Tonga region. This coral candy cane is the least expensive variety as well. Its bright color also earned it the name torch coral.

When keeping them in an aquarium with fish, one must ensure that the fish do not eat corals. It is best to keep them in a reef aquarium that only houses corals, plankton, and the like.

While these corals need good light, one must offer a dark and shady environment at night. This is because they mainly feed at night or when the lights are low.

Low to medium lights are the best. One can introduce them to a shady environment, while slowly increasing the lights to an optimum degree.

How fast do Candy Cane Corals grow?

The candy cane coral growth rate is extremely slow, as they can live for centuries.

What type is Candy Cane Coral

The Caulastrea furcata has been given many names like trumpet coral and candy cane coral. It is easy to confuse the type of animal it is. Despite its common names, the Caulastrea furcata bears no relation to either, apart from a minor visual similarity.

It is a hard, stony, multi-polyp coral, that grows in optimum light and medium flow water. Corals are invertebrates with a calcium exoskeleton.

They are very hardy creatures. Candy cane coral care is very easy, making them a commonly sold item for aquariums. The low complexity required for candy cane coral care renders them an ideal gift for children.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other Anthozoa including black coral facts and mushroom coral facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable candy cane coral coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi

Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Oluwapelumi Iwayemi picture

Oluwapelumi IwayemiBachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Iwayemi is a creative content writer and editor studying for a Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering from the University of Lagos. He is skilled in research and has experience writing and editing content for different organizations.

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