Scoly coral the tolerant and eye catching coral of reef tanksThe Scoly Coral is a kind of Large Polyp Stony Coral that is best known for its vivid coloration and hardiness. It is one of the LPS Corals that beginner reefers can easily raise in a saltwater tank due to its adaptability and tolerance of minor tank setup mistakes.

However, there’s a lot more to the Scoly Coral than initially meets the eye. Read this article, as you will learn the origins of this coral, how it might fit into your current aquarium setup, and how to care for it so that it serves as a live and happy addition to your reef tank.

What is a Scoly Coral?

The Scoly Coral is a small, circular LPS coral that is known for its amazing color combinations. The term Scoly is short for Scolymia, which is the name of this coral’s genus. They can be difficult to source because each of these corals is handpicked from their natural habitats.

Scoly Coral Stats

As a jumpstarter for our discussion, take a look at the information table below to learn more about the taxonomy of Scoly Corals, as well as bite-sized data on their ideal placement in the aquarium, their average size, and more. This should help you better gauge whether or not the Scoly Coral is a good match for your aquascape.

Ideal Temperature Range 73 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit
Light demands Low Lighting
Growth speed Slow
Ideal PH range 8.1 to 8.4
Ideal GH range 8 to 12
Cultivation difficulty Highly recommended for beginner and experienced aquarists alike; nano tank keepers may also find this coral to be an excellent addition to their reef aquarium

Moving on, here is the Scoly Coral’s taxonomic information. You can use the table below to have a better grasp of how the Scoly Coral is related to other coral species that you might already have.

Phylum Cnidaria
Class Anthozoa
Subclass Hexacorallia
Order Scleractinia
Family Mussidae
Genus Scolymia
Species Lacera

Scoly Coral Care

Scoly Corals are not the most delicate corals and they are quite forgiving of a beginner aquarist’s mistakes when it comes to getting water and environment parameters just right.

Nonetheless, like all corals, the Scoly deserves to be paid attention to, fed, and kept in a clean environment at all times. In this section, you will learn about all the different ways you can care for your Scoly as well as how to resolve any health problems that you might encounter during your Scoly Coral’s lifetime.

– Tank and Water Parameters

Scoly Corals share most of the tank and water parameters that other coral species require. For instance, they prefer water temperature that ranges between 73 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and a pH level of 8.1 to 8.4. The tank should have a calcium value of 400ppm, and nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia values that are as close to 0ppm at all times.

If you notice Scoly Coral dying in your tank, you should immediately check for any low or high water and tank parameters. Make the necessary adjustments to get all your parameters back within bounds and perform as many minor water changes as is needed.

Additionally, you should also double-check your lighting system as it may be stressing out your Scoly Coral and preventing them from opening to feed. Lastly, you should take note of the neighbors that share your Scoly Coral’s aquarium.

– Light Requirements

Choose an area in your tank that is not hit by direct or intense light. This is especially crucial when you are just introducing a new batch of Scoly Corals into your aquarium.

You may gradually increase the lighting in your aquarium after about 24 to 48 hours. The ideal Scoly Coral lighting level is around 100 PAR and above.

– Substrate Requirements

Scoly Corals thrive best when they are placed on the lowest level of your reef tank. They prefer lying in sandy or fine substrates.

Furthermore, be sure to keep an eye on your Scoly Corals so they do not sink or become submerged in the sand as this will make it difficult for them to feed. You should find that proper Scoly Coral placement is not as demanding or as fussy as it is for more sensitive species of corals.

– Fertilizing Requirements

Scoly Corals are photosynthetic and fully capable of keeping themselves fed in the wild. However, the same cannot be said of Scoly Corals that are raised in captivity.

The limited space of an aquarium also means that food particles are scarcer compared to the almost endless nutritional sources to be found in a natural coral reef.

Note that it is essential that you feed your Scoly Corals regularly just as you would any live animal that you keep as your own. The Scoly Coral growth rate is considered to be quite slow when compared to other LPS corals. Feeding your Scoly Coral on a regular basis can be the difference between having weak Scoly colonies and thriving Scoly colonies.

On the same notion, you should have different kinds of food on hand at all times to offer your Scoly Corals. Maintaining a regular stock of fresh, frozen, and commercial food will ensure that your Scolies won’t run out of sources for nutrition and dietary supplements.

You can feed Scoly Corals with meaty kinds of food such as Mysis Shrimp, coral pellets, and even small or medium-sized pieces of fish or scallops. Do this two to three times on a weekly basis, then adjust your feeding frequency based on how well your Scoly Coral responds and whether or not it appears to be able to ingest the amount of food you provide it.

– Trimming

In general, Scoly Corals do not need to be trimmed, they can be largely left alone once you have found a suitable place for them in your aquarium. Avoid hacking away at their layers as this might traumatize your Scoly Corals and make them more prone to illnesses.

– Propagating

You can manually propagate Scoly Corals by cutting them in half or in quarters. It is best to place them in a separate fragging tank once they have been cut. This will protect them from any nosy fish or from the chemicals of other corals. Care for your cut Scoly Corals in the fragging tank for about a week or two; you should begin to see new growth after this period.

As a rule of thumb, beginner aquarists will usually find it easy to house the different types of Scoly Corals together to make for a colorful and interesting aquascape. The challenge lies in finding all of the known kinds of Scoly Corals and being able to afford all of them at once.

There are currently three Scoly Coral color schemes: the Warpaint, the Bleeding Apple, and the  Master Scoly. The Warpaint Scoly generally has a blue or dark purple base with red, orange, or even lavender marbling. Then you have the Bleeding Apple Scoly that has a bright green base with red or orange stripes. The Master Scoly, on the other hand, has more than four or five colors displayed on the same coral body.

The Bleeding Apple Scoly and Warpaint Scoly are usually easier to find and cheaper to buy than Master Scoly Corals. The price of this coral depends highly on its color scheme and its size upon purchase.

Tank Mates

Scoly Corals make a great addition to community reef tanks. However, there are still some species of fish and corals that you should avoid housing with your Scoly Corals.

You can mix and match your Scoly Corals with other reef inhabitants as well. Read the sections below to learn more about which tank mates do best with Scoly Corals and which ones to avoid.

– Ideal Tank Mates

You can house your Scoly Coral with both LPS and SPS corals. Some examples of the species that make great Scoly Coral tank mates include the Plate Coral, Mushroom Coral, and Brain Coral.

– Tank Mates To Avoid

While the Scoly Coral can generally tolerate most coral species and reef fish species, you should still exercise great care when selecting its tank mates. Some of the aquarium members you should avoid housing with your Scoly Coral are the Starry Cup Coral, Green Hydnophora, and Galaxea Coral.


Scoly coralThe Scoly Coral is arguably one of the most beautiful LPS Corals known to the aquarium community. Here is what we discussed about this eye-catching coral:

  • The Scoly Coral is a Large Polyp Stony Coral that is known for its awesome color combinations.
  • This coral is difficult to come by and quite expensive because it is currently impossible to frag and propagate it in captivity.
  • There are three main Scoly Coral color categories: Warpaint, Bleeding Apple, and Master.
  • The Scoly Coral should be placed in a low level of the aquarium where it can receive moderate water flow and light.
  • You can keep your Scoly Coral happy and healthy by feeding it occasionally, keeping it away from aggressive corals, and ensuring that its environment is always clean.

It’s quite simple to care for a Scoly Coral. You should try your hand at raising this coral in your home aquarium if you are able to find a few pieces from your local community.

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