Blastomussa Merletti

Purple Blastomussa Merletti colony.

Blastomussa Merletti are  a very pretty and hardy LPS which makes this coral a good choice for both beginner and experienced reef keepers combined.  In my opinion, this coral closely resembles Acan corals. While not offering the variety of color combinations, it is a hardier coral and more tolerant of less than perfect aquarium conditions.

Common Names:  Blastomussa Merletti, Blasto Coral,  or Pineapple Coral

Skill Level: Beginner

Light Level: Moderate

Water Flow: Moderate

Disposition: Peaceful

Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025

The most common colors for Blastomussa Merletti are purple with a green center or red with a green center. I have seen purple and red Blastos with blue mouths as well, however I do not currently own any of these colors.  I was once shown a very light blue Blasto but truthfully, I am not entirely convinced it was fully healthy.

Frag of a red blasto with green mouth.

2nd picture Frag of a red blasto with green mouth.

When placing your Blastomussa coral in your tank, moderate lighting is best. If you place the coral too high in the tank with too much light, you will notice that the fleshy part of the coral will not extend.  This also occurs with too much flow.  Make sure the coral gets a moderate amount of flow but not too much or you could literally blow the fleshy pieces of the coral off its skeleton.  A very general guide would be put your Blasto halfway in the tank if you are running T5’s or 250W MH.  Place them on the sand bed if you are running 400W MH.  With LEDS I would start at the bottom of the tank and move them up as needed.

I often recommend when placing corals to give your corals lots of room to grow but that is more for the fact that the corals can sting each other and fight.  The Blastomussa Merletti however is a non-aggressive coral so if you need to place some corals close together this would be a good choice.  If you’re not forced to place it next to another coral, then great, give it a few inches to spread out and coat your live rock.

When I was comparing Blasto corals earlier to Acanthastrea corals, I was mainly referring to the fleshy bodies and also the way they catch food in their tentacles and drag it toward their mouths.  Blastomussa Merletti  do contain zooxanthellae within their bodies to provide for some of their nutritional requirements through photosynthesis. This basically means that they have the ability to get some of their food from the lights on your tank. However, for a much faster growing and happier coral, it is recommended that you feed this coral every few days. I feed my Blasto corals every two days and have seen great polyp extension and color. I take raw shrimp bought from the grocery store and blend it into very small pieces. Then I suck it up in a turkey baster and shoot the small pieces onto the Blastomussa. The coral catches the small pieces of food in their tentacles and draw it into their mouth.

Picture of Blastomussa Merletti tentacles extended.

Picture of purple Blastomussa Merletti colony with tentacles extended.

I have noticed that the growth rate on Blasto corals seems to be slow.  Here is a picture of a purple and green blast I purchased on 09-22-2010.

New Frag purchased on 09-22-2010

Here is the coral almost exactly one year later.  There are several new heads but I would still call this growth rate rather slow.  If I had not been feeding this coral it would have been even slower.

Same coral colony on 09-19-2011

Propagation of this coral is handled the same way you would an Acan coral which is unfortunately more difficult than most other corals. The ideal propagation technique is to use a band saw. This way you can move the coral through the saw while attempting to minimize the damage to the polyps as much as possible. However if you do happen to cut one, in most cases it will heal up just fine, or often will cause the polyp to split and create another Acan coral. The reason a band saw is needed is that in most cases the corals will encrust over a rock creating less skeleton than if it was left to grow on a tank bottom or sand bottom. Since you can seriously damage the coral by ripping it off the rock most people choose to cut through the rock as well. The second choice for a propagation tool would be a Dremel tool, the action  is the same but it’s harder to use.

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