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Lobophytum

Lobophytum is a genus of soft corals and is classified as a leather coral. It is also called finger leather coral because it forms an irregular umbrella with several thick-fleshed, finger-like outgrowths on a short stalk. Without its outgrowths, it bears resemblance to Sarcophyton, from which it is also sometimes difficult to distinguish. It is found throughout the Indo-Pacific. Accurate species identification of Lobophytum is possible only by microscopic examination of its sclerites - calcareous needles that give structure and support to its tissues; it is almost impossible on live animals. More than 60 species are described.

As with all leather corals Lobophytum are very robust corals, which are interesting especially for the newly setup tanks or for beginners of marine aquariums. Almost no demands are made on the water quality, even extreme nutrient values are tolerated. However, the colorful variants remain colorful only with moderate nutrient values, with too high nutrient supply they become brown. Popular variants are those with green skin, mainly from Indonesia, or with green polyps, mainly from Australia. Propagation is easily done by fragmentation with a sharp (ceramic) knife, the frags can then be impaled on stone with a syringe neddle, clamped in a stone crevice, or pierced with a toothpick and attached to the fragrock with rubber bands. It is important that only moderate pressure is applied to the frag, otherwise the attachment will easily tear. Alternatively, place the cuttings in a tray with coral rubble and wait until they attach to it; they can then be glued to frag rocks. Glue does not adhere directly to the tissue.

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