Is a Duncan Coral Easy to Care For? Get All the Facts Here

duncan coral care guide

The Duncan Coral, known for its vibrant colors and fast growth rate, has become increasingly popular among saltwater aquarium enthusiasts. But is it really as easy to care for as it seems?

In this discussion, we will delve into the facts surrounding the care requirements of the Duncan Coral. From tank size and water flow to lighting and substrate choices, we will explore the key factors that contribute to the success of keeping these fascinating creatures in your aquarium.

So, if you're curious about whether the Duncan Coral is a low-maintenance addition to your tank or if it requires more attention than meets the eye, keep reading to uncover all the essential information.

Key Takeaways

  • Duncan Coral is a popular and easy-to-care-for species of LPS coral in the aquarium hobby.
  • It requires specific water parameters, including temperature and pH levels, as well as gentle water flow.
  • Medium lighting is ideal for Duncan Coral, and it should be placed near the lighting but not in the dead center of the tank.
  • Duncan Coral can be propagated by fragging, and it is important to maintain proper calcium and magnesium levels for its growth.

General Information

overview of key details

Duncan Coral, also known as Duncanopsammia axifuga, is a species of large polyp stony (LPS) coral that is highly sought after in the aquarium hobby for its ease of care and stunning appearance.

Native to Australia and the South China Sea, Duncans are known for their roundish, disc-shaped bodies and large, portly tentacles that come in various colors. These corals have a fast growth rate, making them an ideal choice for aquarists looking to establish a thriving reef tank.

With proper lighting and water conditions, Duncans can branch out or grow in clustered forms, adding visual interest to the aquarium. Additionally, different light settings can result in varied colors for the corals, allowing for a customizable and innovative display.

Tank and Water Requirements

Tank and water requirements for the care of Duncan Corals are essential to ensure their proper growth and well-being in the aquarium environment. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Ideal tank size: A tank size of approximately 15 gallons is recommended for Duncan Corals. A larger tank allows them to grow into a sizable colony.
  • Water flow and feeding requirements: Duncans prefer gentle or low water flow to aid in feeding. They catch prey with their tentacles, so floating prey should be allowed to drift near them. They can survive without additional feeding as they get most of their sustenance from symbiont algae, but supplemental feedings can promote accelerated growth.
  • pH and temperature preferences: Duncan Corals thrive in water with a pH range of 8.0 to 8.4 and a temperature range of 75 to 80°F. Moderate water flow and lighting conditions with 70 to 100 PAR are best for their growth.
  • Water changes and trace elements: Regular water changes are necessary to maintain water quality and trace elements. Proper calcium (400-460 ppm) and magnesium (1250-1350 ppm) levels are also important for their growth and overall health.

Lighting and Substrates

lighting and growing mediums

To ensure optimal growth and health of Duncan Corals in an aquarium setting, proper consideration must be given to the lighting and substrates used.

Duncan Corals require medium lighting for continued growth, with high lighting potentially causing stress. It is recommended to use T5s or LEDs with 70 to 100 PAR for Duncan Coral lighting. Different light settings can result in varied colors for the corals.

Placement of Duncan Corals should be near the lighting but not in the dead center of the tank.

When it comes to substrates, it is not recommended to place Duncans directly on a sand substrate as it can irritate them. Instead, sand substrates are preferred for the coral to adjust and thrive.

Fertilizers and Propagation

In order to promote the growth and thriving of Duncan Corals in an aquarium environment, the use of appropriate fertilizers and propagation techniques is essential. Here are some important points to consider:

  • Calcium levels: Duncan Corals require 400-460 ppm of calcium for continued growth. Maintaining proper calcium levels is crucial for polyp formations and overall growth.
  • Propagation techniques: Corals can be propagated by removing a small segment from the mother colony. Fragging, which involves cutting a segment of a Duncan Coral to establish a new colony, is a common method. Fragging should be done gently and with the right tools.
  • Growth potential: Duncan Corals are known for their rapid growth. They can grow five new heads from one polyp in a single month, making them an ideal choice for aquarists looking to expand their coral colonies.
  • Importance of magnesium: Apart from calcium, magnesium levels also play a vital role in the growth of Duncan Corals. The recommended range for magnesium is 1250-1350 ppm.

Tank Mates, Feeding, and Health

aquarium tank mates guide

After discussing the importance of fertilizers and propagation techniques for the growth and thriving of Duncan Corals, it is now crucial to explore the aspects of tank mates, feeding, and health in order to ensure their overall well-being in the aquarium environment.

When it comes to tank mate compatibility, it is important to choose species that will not harm the coral. Good tank mates for Duncan Corals include clownfish, wrasses, tangs, and cardinals. However, it is advisable to keep them away from aggressive or defensive corals.

In terms of feeding requirements, Duncans can survive without additional feeding as they obtain most of their sustenance from symbiont algae. However, supplemental feedings can help accelerate growth. Suitable food options include nauplii larvae, brine shrimp, copepods, and mysis. Target feeding with a baster is recommended to avoid overfeeding and contamination.

Regular water changes and maintaining proper water parameters are essential for the health of Duncan Corals, preventing most health issues.



In summary, Duncan Corals are a captivating and resilient species that make a fantastic addition to any saltwater aquarium, providing beauty and interest with their colorful, disc-shaped bodies and large, portly tentacles. These corals have several pros and cons to consider before adding them to your tank.

Here is a brief overview:


  • Easy to care for, suitable for beginners
  • Fast growth rate
  • Moderate light demand
  • Can thrive in a variety of tank sizes


  • Fragile and delicate, requiring careful handling
  • Specific water parameters need to be maintained
  • May require supplemental feeding for accelerated growth

When it comes to tank size, the best option for Duncan Corals is approximately 15 gallons. This size allows the corals to grow into a sizable colony while providing enough space for other tank inhabitants.

With proper care and maintenance, Duncan Corals can thrive and create a stunning focal point in your marine aquarium.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take for a Duncan Coral to Reach Its Full Size?

The growth rate of a Duncan Coral can vary depending on factors such as lighting, water quality, and feeding. On average, it can take several months to a year for a Duncan Coral to reach its full size.

Can Duncan Corals Be Kept in a Reef Tank With Other Coral Species?

Duncan corals can be kept in a reef tank with other coral species, but caution should be exercised. Invertebrates that may harm the coral should be avoided. Duncan corals primarily rely on symbiont algae for sustenance, but supplemental feeding can accelerate growth.

What Is the Lifespan of a Duncan Coral?

The lifespan of a Duncan Coral can vary depending on its care and environment. With proper care, they can live for several years. To ensure their longevity, maintain stable water parameters, provide adequate lighting, and feed them appropriately.

Are Duncan Corals Sensitive to Changes in Water Parameters?

Duncan corals are hardy and can tolerate changes in water parameters. While they can survive without regular feeding due to their symbiotic relationship with algae, supplemental feedings can promote growth.

Can Duncan Corals Be Kept in a Tank With a High Water Flow?

Duncan Corals thrive best in gentle or low water flow, as moderate to heavy flow can cause their polyps to retract. Therefore, it is not recommended to keep Duncan Corals in a tank with a high water flow.


In conclusion, the Duncan Coral is an ideal choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists due to its ease of care and vibrant colors.

By meeting its specific tank requirements, such as providing suitable water flow, lighting, and substrate, this coral species can thrive and exhibit its fast growth rate.

With proper maintenance and attention to water quality, aquarists can create a thriving environment for the Duncan Coral in their saltwater aquariums.