Lace Stick Corals are often confused with SPS corals because of their hard exoskeleton, however, the Lace Stick Coral belongs to an entirely different family, Hydrocoral. It is sometimes referred to as the Lace or Ember coral. It comes in a variety of colours such as purple, yellow, orange and red. Like hard corals, its body is made up of calcium carbonate and it has lacy, fan-shaped branches. It has tiny, clear polyps that will emerge from grooves in the branches. It grows in a classic branching fashion and will also spread at the base as it grows.
Lace Stick Corals are found in the Indo-Pacific region, especially the waters off Tonga. Since they are non photosynthetic, they are found at deeper depths than many other coral types. They do, however, prefer areas with high levels of water movement. In a home aquarium, they are often placed under ledges or in other low light areas, as they will not thrive in areas of high light. They can be glued like hard corals and are generally attached to the rockwork.
Lace Corals prefer an interesting combination of low light and high flow. High levels of light may bleach the coral and strong levels of waterflow are required to bring food particles to its polyps. They make a good choice for filling in lower light areas under overhangs or at the sides of the tank.
One of the things that make Lace Stick Corals somewhat challenging to keep is the fact that they are not photosynthetic and must be regularly fed. They can be spot fed with the flow turned off and microplankton make a good choice for feeding. They are incredibly brittle, which can make fragging a challenge.
Provided that they can be provided with a low light, high waterflow, environment and their feeding needs can be met, Lace Stick Corals make a beautiful and unique addition to a home aquarium.