Yellow Turbinaria Light Requirement?

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Well-known member
Nov 6, 2003
I have a large frag (3"by3") of bright canary yellow, thin, turbinaria Yellow Cup Coral with small polops. I know each type is different, so i'm looking for recomendations on light requirement. It seems to open its polops more in fairly low light and much more under dim actinic lighting. Is this because this type of turbinaria is a deep water, lower light specimen, or because it opens its polops at night, and low light is almost night. Does anyone know? I've had the coral for about 2-3 weeks, is it still sensitive to light? What do u guess is going on?


Reef Keeper
Jul 5, 2003
Matt I have grown these corals under all sorts of different types of light. Dont worry to much about the polups, corals use thier polyps for to many different things. I would suggest medium light and moderate flow, but I am not sure what your lighting is, so adjust based on what you have.



Jul 1, 2003
Spokane Valley, WA
Turbinaria are quite adaptive to different light levels. From VHO/PC's to 400W Iwasaki's. They tend to turn more brown and grow slower under lower light levels and brighter/lighter yellow under higher light levels. The most important factor for this coral is flow. Since they are a flat or cupping growth form they tend to accumilate detritus on them. This will cause the area covered to die off. If you cannot place it in an area that receives enough flow a blast with a turkey baster 3-4 times a week or so will do the trick.

In regards to polyp extension for this coral. Most SPS corals in the wild only extend their polyps at night to prevent them from being nipped at by the day crew. In the captive environment they learn to extend during the day if unmolested.
Mine is occasionally nipped by my Blueface angel so it extends it's polyps when the actinics are on and even more after lights out. Check yours after the lights go out.

Here's a picture of mine in the daytime:

And another in the evening:



Well-known member
Dec 10, 2003
Mill Creek, WA
Yes, I agree, they will let you know if there is too much light as they will start to bleach, I have found that mine doesn't extend it's polyps much during the day either...I wouldn't worry about it too much as long as it appears otherwise healthy.


Dr B

Well-known member
Jan 9, 2004
Is the turbinaria your frag came from growing horizontally, or more upward?
It is said that if they were growing more horizontally they came from a lower light region. If they are growing upwards and have lots of like ruffles etc that it came from higher light.

Mine when i purchased it was all horizontal growth. It has in the bottom of my tank grown upwards since ive had it. I dont think that this particular coral needs to be at the top with intensive lighting. My piece is about 18'' from the surface under a 250w HQI DE 10k Bulb.
Also when i got this piece the polyps didnt come out during the day. After about a week of feeding rotifers/baby brine it started comming out. If you dont have a coral nipper, you can train the polyps to come out during the day with feedings. It is not something to worry about though.
I really love this coral, it is so beautiful, and when i got it I ended up getting some comensal starfish that lives in it. It is pretty neat.