The Jack O Lantern Leptoseris is one of the most well known and sought after colour morphs in the Leptoseris family. Since orange is a fairly uncommon colour for corals, this is a great way to add a splash of orange to a reef tank. They are also known as wrinkle corals due to their unique folds. The Jack O Lantern morph has a striking orange base colour with bright green eyes. Like all leptoseris, they are generally an encrusting coral, but they will also grow in tiers under certain conditions. They are relatively fast growing for an SPS coral provided appropriate tank parameters are maintained. Like all corals they do not have an “off switch” so care should be taken with their initial placement to ensure that they do not encrust where they are not wanted.
While Leptoseris are found throughout the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific region, Jack O Lantern specimens are aquacultured due to their very specific colour patterns and how easy they are to grow and frag. Leptoseris generally grow vertically on reef walls but will grow in any direction in a home aquarium.
In the wild, leptoseris are found at deeper depths than many other SPS corals. This means that they are not particularly light demanding. They should be placed in the lower half of the tank and slowly acclimated to higher light levels. The Jack O Lantern morph may require slightly higher light levels than other Leptoseris but this is debatable. A coral that appears brown may not be receiving enough light, and one that appears white may be receiving too much. Leptoseris require a moderate to high level of flow to ensure that they remain free of detritus and to bring food to the coal.
Like all SPS corals, leptoseris are photosynthetic and receive the vast majority of their energy needs from aquarium lighting. They can, however, be spot fed a phytoplankton solution if desired. This should be done with the water pumps off and when the tank’s lighting is off so the coral’s tentacles are extended.
Like most encrusting corals, leptoseris is fairly easy to frag. An overhanging piece can be cut off and glued to a frag plug or the coral can be encouraged to grow over a plug or a piece of rubble rock, which can then be removed from the tank. Like all SPS corals, stable water parameters are required for this coral to thrive.
For a hobbyist looking for that elusive splash of orange the Jack O Lantern makes an excellent, easy to keep choice.