Plerogyra sinuosa

Commonly known as the grape, bladder, pearl or branching bubble coral Plerogyra sinuosa is a species of “bubble coral” that is distributed throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans, ranging from the Red Sea to the West and Central Pacific Ocean. P. sinuosa’s bubbles will vary in size and will increase/decrease depending on the amount of light available. With them being larger during the day and smaller at night, as it will make room for its tentacles to reach out to capture food.


Animalia-Cnidaria-Anthozoa-Scleractinia-Caryophylliidae-Plerogyra-P. sinuosa

Image: RevolverOcelot

Coral Profile: Plerogyra and Physogyra, Bubble Coral

Great for Beginners and experts alike 


Like many inflatable corals, there is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde nature to Bubble Corals.  During the day they are peaceful bubbly light gatherer and at night, they are ferocious stinging tentacle wielding plankton hunters.  The corals come in a variety of pale colors.  

Feeding:  Bubble corals naturally feed at night but if they taste food in the water during the day, they will extend their feeding tentacles.  They like meaty foods such as plankton or tiny particles of mashed shrimp, fish, or other frozen foods.   Regular daily feeding will help them thrive and grow.  

Lighting:  Bubble corals are naturally found in shallow water to deep water and like medium to bright light.  That said, new high wattage metal halide bulbs may burn it.  They do well under a high concentration of T5s or deep in a tank with metal halide or similar output LEDs.  New, high wattage, metal halide bulbs may burn it if they are too close or directly under them.   

Water Flow:  The coral is covered with a layer of thin water balloons.  Too much current could damage their tissue.  A gentle current is all that is needed for them to be happy. 

Placement: They do well when placed with their base in substrate.  They could be placed on a rock too, as long as they are placed in a spot where they cannot fall or have other corals fall on them.  

Propagation:  After some growth the corals can be fagged. 

Aggression: Bubble corals don’t grow very fast but they do have powerful stinging tentacles.  Give them enough room so they can’t sting a neighbor. 

Other Information:  Bubble corals are sometimes sensitive to the encroachment of algae on their skeletons.  If you see algae growing on them, scrub it off with a brush.  Both algae and corals fight each other for space using chemicals.  You can give the coral an upper hand by adding the brush.  Having tangs or foxface in the water is also a help. 

It is recommended that you wear latex gloves when handling bubble corals.  They can pack a powerful sting. 

Cover photo: A purple bubble coral during the day with a green one in the back ground.

           Above: with the scent of shrimp juice in the water the bubble coral has sent out its feeding tentacles but has kept its bubbles inflated to continue capturing sunlight.  It’s in a dual feeding mode here. 

       Above: The same purple bubble coral at night.  

To see other corals in this series click the link in the side bar that says, A Guide to the Corals and Other Reef Inhabitants