Duncan corals, also known as Duncanopsammia axifuga, are a popular choice for beginner reef keepers due to their ease of care and striking appearance. These corals are named after their fleshy polyps that resemble flowers, and they come in a variety of colors, including green, purple, and orange. While they are easy to care for, it’s important to understand their specific needs to ensure they thrive in your reef tank.

One of the most important factors in caring for Duncan corals is their placement in the tank. They prefer areas of moderate water movement, making the middle to lower part of the tank an ideal location. Placing them in the sand bed in the lower-light, lower-flow areas of the tank is also recommended.

Another crucial aspect of Duncan coral care is maintaining proper water chemistry. These corals require medium alkalinity of 450 to 550 ppm, with 500 ppm being the desired value. Alkalinity is crucial to growth, so it’s important to keep minimal fluctuations. By understanding these basic care requirements, you can ensure that your Duncan corals thrive in your reef tank and bring a beautiful pop of color to your underwater world.

What is Duncan Coral?

Duncan coral, also known as Duncanopsammia axifuga, is a species of LPS (large-polyp stony) coral that originates from the Indo-Pacific region. It is a popular choice among reef aquarium enthusiasts due to its beautiful appearance and relatively easy care requirements. If you are looking for an easy coral that will add nice movement to your tank, Duncans are perfect!

Duncan coral has a distinctive appearance, with long, flowing tentacles that resemble flowers or feathers. These tentacles are usually green or brown, but can also be pink or purple in color. The coral’s skeleton is hard and calcareous, and can be white or brown in color.

One of the unique features of Duncan coral is that it is a colonial species, meaning that it is made up of many individual polyps that share a common skeleton. Each polyp has its own tentacles and mouth, but they all work together to form a larger colony.


Duncan Coral Care

Acropora lighting

Tank Requirements

Duncan coral prefers areas of low to moderate water movement. It is best to place them towards the bottom of the tank, even in the sand bed, in the lower-light, slower water flow areas of the tank. They can be placed on live rock or directly on the sand bed. We often use superglue gel to glue ours to the rock. Remember to always use the Gel type or it won’t stick.

Lighting and Water Flow

Duncan coral requires moderate to high lighting levels. Provide them with 8-10 hours of light per day. For more help on lighting, you can see our exact light set up and schedules on our tank lighting post. They need good flow and should be placed in a medium to high current. This is because they are very susceptible to being taken over by algae and other organisms if there is not enough flow. 

Water Parameters

The ideal water temperature for Duncan coral is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. They thrive the best with a medium flow of water. The pH should be maintained between 8.1 and 8.4, and the salinity should be between 1.023 and 1.025.

Feeding and Nutrition

Duncan coral is photosynthetic and receives most of its nutrition from the zooxanthellae living inside its tissue. It also feeds on small particulate matter and plankton in the water column. Feed them brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and other small meaty foods once a week.

Propagation and Fragging

Duncan coral can be propagated by fragging. Fragging is the process of cutting a small piece of coral and then attaching it to a new surface to grow. It is important to use a sharp, sterile tool and to cut the coral at the base of the polyp. Allow the frag to heal for a few weeks before moving it to a new location.

Common Issues and Solutions

One common issue with Duncan coral is bleaching, which is caused by stress from changes in water temperature, lighting, or water chemistry. To prevent bleaching, maintain stable water parameters and avoid sudden changes. Another issue is algae growth, which can be controlled by increasing water flow and reducing nutrient levels in the tank.


In conclusion, Duncan Corals are a great addition to any reef tank. They are easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of conditions. They are also fast-growing and can quickly fill out a space in your tank.

When it comes to placement, Duncan Corals prefer moderate to low light and moderate to low flow. They also prefer to be placed on the bottom of the tank or on a rock that is close to the bottom.

Feeding is also important for the health of your Duncan Coral. They can be fed a variety of foods, including nauplii larvae, brine shrimp, copepods, and mysis. You can target feed Ducans if would like to increase growth. We typically broad-feed our whole tank and have good growth rates.

Overall, Duncan Corals are a great choice for beginner reef keepers or anyone looking to add a colorful and easy-to-care-for coral to their tank. With proper care and attention, your Duncan Coral will thrive and add beauty to your tank for years to come.

FAQ Section

Are Duncan Coral easy to keep?

Duncan corals are generally considered to be easy to keep in a reef aquarium. They are hardy and can adapt to a range of water conditions. However, it is important to note that they do require proper care and attention to thrive.

Where do you put Duncan Coral in a tank?

The ideal placement for Duncan corals is towards the bottom of the tank, even in the sand bed in the medium light, medium water flow areas of the tank.

Are Duncan corals hardy?

Duncan corals are generally considered to be hardy and can adapt to a range of water conditions. However, they are still living creatures and can be impacted by changes in water parameters or other stressors in the tank.

How do you take care of a Duncan Coral?

Proper care for Duncan corals includes providing them with the right water parameters, including stable temperature, pH, and salinity levels. They also need moderate lighting and low to moderate water flow. It is important to maintain good water quality and perform regular water changes to keep the tank environment healthy for the coral. Additionally, feeding the coral regularly with small pieces of meaty foods can help promote growth and health.

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