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How to care for Cynarina Donut Coral in Reef Tank

Find out how to properly care for your new Cynarina Coral with this "how-to" guide on the requirements for healthy Cynarina Coral

Read along to find out the Lighting, Water Flow, Feeding, Placement & more when it comes to the care of your new Cynarina Coral

by scott Shiles • February 24, 2023

LPS Coral Care, All Corals

Cynarina donut coral, also known as five common names associated with this coral species: "button coral," "meat coral," "doughnut coral," "cat's eye coral," and "tooth coral," is a popular species of LPS (Large Polyp Stony) coral in the reef-keeping hobby. It is loved for its unique appearance and colorful patterns, which make it an excellent addition to any reef tank. This coral can serve as an indicator of water quality due to its ability to expand its polyps. When water parameters are nutrient-rich, there is a noticeable increase in polyp expansion. This correlation suggests that the coral responds to improved water quality by flourishing and growing in a healthy manner. Therefore, by observing the extent of polyp expansion in this coral, one can infer the overall health and quality of the surrounding water.

However, like any other living organism, Cynarina donut coral requires specific care and attention to thrive in an aquarium environment. The natural habitat of this particular species of coral is predominantly found in the Tropical Indo-Pacific region, which includes areas such as the Red Sea, making it an inhabitant of these warm and tropical waters. It is predominantly found on outer reef slopes and drop-offs. These areas often experience turbulent water conditions, although it does not have a direct impact on this coral species. The coral itself is generally circular in shape and photosynthetic, with a single large fleshy polyp. In this blog, we'll discuss the necessary steps to care for Cynarina donut coral in your reef tank.

Water Quality:

Maintaining stable water conditions is the most crucial aspect of caring for Cynarina donut coral. The water parameters should be stable and within the following ranges to achieve the ideal environment for Cynarina donut coral. It is recommended to maintain a pH level between 8.1 to 8.4. Additionally, the salinity should be maintained within the range of 1.023 to 1.025, while the alkalinity levels should be kept between 8 to 12 dKH. Adequate calcium levels are also essential, with a recommended range of 380 to 420 ppm, as well as maintaining magnesium levels between 1200 to 1350 ppm. In order to sustain these optimal water parameters, weekly water changes of 10-20% can help maintain stable water parameters and ensure that the coral receives the necessary nutrients and conditions for its growth and overall health.


Cynarina donut coral requires moderate to high lighting levels to thrive. The recommended PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) for Cynarina donut coral is between 100-250. It's important to acclimate the coral to new lighting gradually to prevent it from experiencing photodamage.


Cynarina donut coral prefers moderate water flow, which will help it filter nutrients and debris from its surface. Place the coral in a spot with moderate water flow, ensuring it's not receiving too much or too little flow.


While Cynarina donut coral can obtain nutrients from photosynthesis, it also requires supplemental feeding. Feed the coral small pieces of meaty foods like mysis shrimp or brine shrimp once or twice a week. Do not overfeed, as this can lead to poor water quality and other problems.


Cynarina donut coral requires adequate space to expand and contract. Avoid placing the coral too close to other corals or the tank's glass walls, as this can lead to abrasions and tissue damage. Also, ensure that the coral is not in direct contact with the substrate or rocks, as this can cause damage to the coral's underside. When handling or removing a specimen of this coral, it is important to exercise caution to ensure the well-being of the coral. One crucial precaution is to avoid removing specimens with highly inflated tissue directly from the water. The weight of the water contained in the polyp can potentially cause damage or tearing to the coral's flesh. To prevent such harm, it is advisable to gently shake the specimen, allowing the flesh to retract somewhat before attempting removal.


Observing the coral's behavior and appearance regularly can help detect and prevent any problems. Check for any signs of tissue recession, discoloration, or unusual behavior, as these could indicate a problem with the coral's health. If any problems arise, take action immediately to prevent further damage. By following these specific guidelines, you can provide the best possible care for your Cynarina donut coral, ensuring a thriving and vibrant addition to your marine aquarium.

Caring for Cynarina donut coral requires attention to water quality, lighting, flow, feeding, placement, and observation. With proper care and attention, Cynarina donut coral can thrive in a reef tank, adding beauty and diversity to your aquatic ecosystem.

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