Green Star Polyps How to Care for the Green ‘Carpet’

If you are thinking about growing corals, you can consider having Green Star Polyps for your option. The coral may look simple and plain for some people, but they are actually pretty cute – and somewhat adorable. They may look similar to the regular grass, and yet they are super hardy and straightforward for care. After all, there are several good reasons why this type of coral is likeable and favorable for many hobbyists and aquarists.

Green Star Polyps metalic

Green Star Polyps Coral Introduction

If you are into soft corals and you want to have something easy, then Green Star Polyps would be a perfect option. If you are a beginner, this coral would be an ideal pick because of the easy (and simple) care and maintenance. The corals themselves are hardy and they are pretty tough. The corals are the fast growing type which is pretty tolerant to different kinds of water conditions. As it was mentioned before, this coral is pretty tough and sturdy. Another cool thing about the coral is that it doesn’t require a lot of light! It’s so easy and fuss-free to have them.

Also known as the GSP, the Green Star Polyps has its own scientific name, which is the Pachyclavularia Violacea. As it was mentioned before, the coral is about easy care – which makes it ideal for beginner aquarists. The coral itself is quite peaceful but if it is able to reach out to anything, it will definitely grow over it. The soft corals have white center, green polyps, and purple mat (or stolon). Such a coral requires 8.2 pH level, 8 to 12 alkalinity, 400 ppm of calcium, 78 to 82 degrees of Fahrenheit (or around 25.5 to 27.8 degrees Celsius), and 0 for nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia.

Perfect Conditions

The Green Star Polyps will do well in standard and regular water parameter for home aquarium. You need to keep the water temperature within a stable condition – around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to use a high-quality and premium reef salt mix with specific gravity in 1.025 level. Place LED lights on top of the tank, using moderate to strong consistency. Make sure that the water flow is low to moderate level.  You’ll see that your coral would grow happily. You may even have to trim your GSP so they won’t dominate the entire aquarium. The cool thing about this type of coral is that you don’t need to do anything special to care for it. It’s truly a fuss-free type of soft coral.

This coral only needs a simple combination of water quality, water flow, and enough light. Once you have met them all, you are good to go. However, many expert aquarists state that the best placement of the GSP (within a reef tank) is on a spot with moderate lighting and water flow. The coral will survive quite well in areas under the lights and directly within the flow. Many say that the impressive growth is caused by the light and its total amount. You can always make experiments with the lighting intensity. It’s quite fun to observe what’s going on when the light is low (lower than normally advised) or when the light is high.

Nutritional and Feeding Requirements

Green Star Polyps are (partially) photosynthetic – they get their nutrition from their zooxanthellae. They will absorb the essential nutrients from water columns. Their polyps are functional to capture and then pull food particles – from the water column. The coral will grow quite well within normal reef water tank – without you having to perform any supplemental feeding. However, target-feeding can increase the coral’s growth rates. It’s up to you whether you want to keep it under normal condition or perform special supplemental feeding.

If you are a beginner in this business or you want to check your own success rate in growing the GSP, then it’s advisable that target feeding would be your best option. It will make the growth go faster – you can expect some empty substrates to be filled with the lush living corals. However, you should bear in mind that this coral is naturally a fast-pacing growth. If you perform a target feeding practice on it, it may end up colonizing more (surface) areas than what you have expected.

Keep in mind that GSP is a type of animal – all corals are. That’s why you need to feed it. with the combination of proper feeding, enough light, correct water flow, and the right placement, your coral should be healthy and happy.

The Lighting Requirements

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In the event that you are growing Green Star Polyps, you need to know that they can be the hardiest types of corals – at least for hobbyists. But it doesn’t mean that you need to set the lighting intensity to be extremely high. Here are some things you need to know about this GSP:

  • The lighting requirements are quite direct – even for beginner aquarists
  • You should avoid extreme levels in the lighting – which means too high or too low intensity
  • If you have a powerful and strong LED lights for the aquarium, you may need to acclimate the coral first
  • Once you have placed your coral, don’t move it around – especially to different areas with different water flow and light intensity
  • Some aquarists may have actinic or blue lighting to make the polyps look visually pleasing and aesthetic, but you don’t necessarily need it. Such a lighting is optional – not a must.

Green Star Polyps Troubleshooting

When they are disturbed, polyps will go to protection mode by retracting fully into their stolon. The most common reasons are:

  • It’s a form of response to trimming back, fragging, or cutting of the coral
  • It typically happens at night
  • It can happen when the coral is stressed out (such as during the power failure)
  • When the salinity level is somewhat off

Fragging the GSP

Fragging the coral isn’t difficult at all. It’s actually the easiest type of frag. You only need to cut the stolon (the purple mat) with a scissors or a knife. By doing so, the frags would be free and they will grow quite well.

Aquarium Care for GSP – Special Considerations

This coral adapts well to the environment within a home water tank – and they grow quite fast too. If you are a beginner aquarist, this would be a great pick for you. You can basically place the coral on any substrate – or be creative in the display. This soft ‘grass’ will definitely grow the aquarium overflow or glass up and they will encrust tubes or wires too. It is a great option if you want to turn the inside of your water tank into a fussy, lush, and living mat.

As it was mentioned before, the coral would grow on any surface of the aquarium – and that includes live rock, plastic, glass, and even other corals. They are fast to grow and you should see the result right away. Be advised, though, that this type of coral has its own recession and growth cycles. But once they are doing fine – and they are happy – they would grow over anything, including the glass, rocks, and other corals.

Some people are wondering whether Green Star Polyps are poisonous or not – or whether they share similar trait as the Zoanthid polyps. Whereas Zoas (Zoanthid) polyps are poisonous, GSPs aren’t. Some of the Palythoa Zoas species will produce the so-called Palytoxin (a type of toxic chemical) whenever they are stressed out. GSP won’t give you the same issue.

However, you need to remember that GSP isn’t for human consumption.

They are different from certain kinds of algae that can be consumed by humans – GSPs aren’t. It would be a good idea to keep GSP alone. If you put another coral inside the aquarium (alongside with your GSP), your GSP will definitely cover it – which means that your GSP will damage those neighboring corals. They may not have any Palytoxin or such a thing, but they can cause serious damage to their growth.

Green Star Polyps can be easily found in lagoons and reefs rubble areas. It’s quite common to find the GSP with Clavularia and Xenia. Find nutrient-rich areas having low water flow and you should be able to find this coral in those areas.

The GSP is different from other coral species because it doesn’t have any nematocysts (or the stinging or dangerous tentacles). This what makes this coral quite harmless and peaceful – they are pretty compatible with other (coral) species. But considering that the GSP can encrust or cover other areas, including other corals, you want to separate it from others. There should be rock separation so the GSP won’t take over the connected rocks.

Buying Green Star Polyps

Since this coral is basically a water tank staple, you can actually find them at online stores and local stores. The frags aren’t expensive – you can get one for a few dollars – and then try to grow them yourself. In short, you should be able to grow Green Star Polyps quite easily and effortlessly – even when you are only a beginner.


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