Getting starting in the aquarium hobby can be difficult, especially for saltwater tanks.
Learning how to establish coral colonies, finding the right tankmates, and monitoring your water parameters can be a challenge, but if you have green star polyps, then you’re probably wondering how best to take care of and manage the population of this soft coral. How fast do green star polyps grow?
Green star polyps are great beginner corals that provide nice aesthetics to a tank. Consisting of eight soft tentacles, they grow very quickly and will need to be trimmed back every now and again to slow their expansion.
There’s a lot to learn about green star polyps, but thankfully, they are very beginner friendly and don’t take much in the way of caring. The rest of this article will cover how fast they grow, how big they get, and how to trim them back.
How Fast Do Green Star Polyps Grow?
Green star polyps are fast growers among species of soft coral and can quickly become invasive if you’re not careful. You can place them just about anywhere in your tank, and they’ll thrive perfectly well.
They can easily crowd out hard corals and live rocks, growing right on top of non-aggressive corals.
They will also try to encroach on semi-aggressive or aggressive species of coral. Stinging coral will defend their turf, and having the two encroach on each other is detrimental to both.
Not only does it wear out your green star polyp and wash out their beautiful color, but it also tires out the defending coral from all that stinging.
As such, due to how quickly green star polyps proliferate, you’ll want to isolate this species, or it will take over whatever space you give it.
They don’t need much to survive and grow, but if you want your green star polyps to look their best, then you’re going to want to monitor the parameters of their tanks to ensure that you’re giving them ideal conditions to make those colors pop.
They can grow in temperatures of 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, but research suggests that they can survive cold waters for a short period of time.
Hardy as they are, they’re not as likely to die out as hard corals if your calcium levels dip a bit too low or your salinity is off; however, their growth will slow dramatically if your water conditions are off.
You’ll want to abide by the following parameters for best results with your green star polyps:
- Dkh: 8-12
- Hardness: 8.1-8.4
- Salinity: 1.023-1.025
- Calcium 420-500 ppm
Water flow is another important factor in the growth rate of green star polyps. Put simply, when faced with too strong a current, their tentacles will retract, defeating the beautiful wavy look of these polyps. You’ll want a moderate current for best growth conditions.
Because green star polyps photosynthesize to create all their food, they need access to lots of light. Fluorescent or LED lights are best.
Too little light and your polyps will die. Too much and you’ll get algal blooms that can smother your corals. Performing regular water changes is another great way of keeping your water parameters in ideal condition, both for your fish and for your polyps.
The exact percentage and how often you should change your water depend on your targeted parameters, but you should at least do 20% every month. Water changes add beneficial things to the water that can help your polyps as well.
How Big Do Green Star Polyps Get?
Green star polyps grow up to two inches in diameter. Their colony size, however, can be unlimited, and they will continue to propagate until they’ve filled all available space.
How Do You Stop Green Star Polyps from Spreading?
The first and best way to stop green star polyps from spreading is to isolate them by planning out your tank layout. If you have a suitable live rock in mind, make sure it’s isolated from other live rocks so that the green star polyps can’t spread.
They will also spread to substrate, so make sure you are prepared to prune them back. They may even tip-toe up the side of your wall, but you can simply take a razor blade and cut them back.
You can also surround your green star polyps with other aggressive species, but you should consider that this will impact the aesthetic of your polyps.
There are also materials like Aiptasia-X that prevent corals from growing past a line that you mark, although this is only a temporary solution.
Should I Feed Green Star Polyps?
Green star polyps do photosynthesize their food, and as long as your light is bright enough, they should be able to handle their nutrient needs; however, supplementing their diet every now and again is beneficial.
A weekly diet of small frozen food like cyclops, rotifers, or mysis work perfectly. Make sure to drop the food directly on the coral. If you don’t your fish may gobble it up or it won’t reach your corals.
Green star polyps are a great beginner coral, offering fast growth and a beautiful aesthetic without requiring stringent water parameters or conditions.
Keeping your coral isolated can be a challenge, however, since they grow quickly (up to two inches in diameter) and spread to other rocks and even to the substrate.
You’ll need to stay on top of trimming, restraining, or controlling your green star polyps to make sure that they don’t bother other coral species in your tank.
As far as corals go, green star polyps are a great option to make a grassy sea-bed look in your tank and are suitable with a bunch of tankmates.
As long as you keep your parameters in suitable ranges, give your coral plenty of light, and sprinkle some food every now and again, you can look forward to the vibrant coral that is the green star polyp freshening up your saltwater aquarium