Goniopora Coral Not Opening- 5 Reasons + Solutions

Goniopora coral – resembling a flower, is also known as flower pot coral. They belong to the large polyp stony coral type. 

Getting collected from the wild to the indoor facility, sometimes these wide-ranged color variant corals appear a bit tough to maintain. However, they have an expiration time of 3 to 6 months, and then without proper assistance, they refuse to open up.

The most common fact for your Goniopora coral to close is the changes in water parameters. Other reasons might be inappropriate temperature, improper lighting, lack of nutrients, or any aggression from other creatures. Keep calcium at 430 ppm, pH 8.1-8.4, ammonia at 0 ppm, temperature 73-84 F, and lighting at 75-125 PAR. Feed your coral regularly to keep them healthy and open.

Here we are to help you out regarding Goniopora Coral not opening. Go through this article and get the necessary understanding to apply to that coral.

How to Make and Keep Goniopora Coral Open-DIY Methods

Goniopora coral is referred to as flower pot coral because of its appearance similar to a flower. They have amazing coloration. However, the very purpose of having this coral in your tank remains unserved if they don’t open up and take the expected shape.

Here we’d be discussing the possible and responsible factors that hinder your Goniopora coral to open. And on top of that, you are going to get a proper direction for the measures to take to deal with those factors.

5 Reasons that Make Your Goniopora Coral Close

Shrinked Goniopora coral? It’s better to have none than to have them in such poor condition. You need them open like they are blooming as a flower. But due to some unwanted and unintended reasons, they might refuse to open up.

The most likely reason for the trouble is related to the tank environment prioritizing the water parameters. Apart from that, there might be some other less usual reasons related to the comfort zone of the coral itself.

1. Water Parameters

The very first thing to disturb your Goniopora coral is the rapid change of water parameters in your tank. For this, even an active acclimation process might be affected due to the instability.

Since this coral you have, is likely prone to react a lot to the changes in water parameters, it might get stressed for even a small change. And that will cause them to suffer their health, ultimately resulting in them being closed up.

The rapid change in the water parameters might happen due to an accident or any water change exceeding 50% of the tank water at once.

Unstable pH Level

The pH level is something that requires your constant attention. Any affecting factors to it might cause you considerable damages without any prior indications.

The very first concern is with your pH meter. If it fails to show you the accurate count, you are in trouble. Use a better device for assurance. (Our Pick: VIVOSUN pH and TDS Meter Combo)

Then it comes to the frequent fluctuation of the pH level. They will appear hostile toward your Goniopora coral. The coral might close up for that and consider this as a warning that something serious requires your attention to be fixed.

The Ammonia Cycle

This ammonia cycle is a natural process for all fish tanks. However, if you ignore the ammonia ppm level in your tank or choose not to keep track, that can be dangerous for your coral. Might be lethal in some cases as well.

Through this ammonia cycle, it’s supposed to be a rise in the amount of ammonia in your tank water. If you don’t mitigate the issue and let ammonia increase, your Goniopora coral will shut down and eventually die leaving you a white skeleton.

You need to use a water test kit that ensures you the exact reading. This will give you an idea of whether the ammonia is the reason for your coral to shut down. (Our Pick: API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT)

Both nitrites and being a part of the ammonia cycle, keep track of them as well.

2. Lack of Nutrients

Though Goniopora coral is not so demanding compared to some other corals, they need a good supply of nutrients to remain open and healthy. On top of that, without experience of years, you can’t expect to establish your fish tank on your own in a way that the tank becomes self-sufficient to provide your reef with the required nutrients. 

On the other hand, if you fail to feed your coral with good quality, there’ll certainly be nutrition deficiencies among your Goniopora corals.

As a result, the lack of nutrients and improper feeding causes the coral to abstain from opening up once they shut down.

3. Water Temperature

Water temperature is something that you can’t ignore for your aquarium. It has a larger effect on all living beings in a fish tank facility. Any sudden changes in any of the creatures might make them suffer terribly.

The same goes for Goniopora. Since they are not something that welcomes a wider range of temperature, you need to keep an eye on the tank water temperature cautiously.

They will eventually react if the water temperature is lower or higher than their preferred range. You need to have your thermometer giving you the exact reading.

The main issue occurs when the tank water temperature starts fluctuating randomly. There might be something wrong with your heater or chiller. But you need either one of these if you haven’t had one for your aquarium already.

4. Placement of Goniopora Coral

When you have a reef tank and getting Goniopora coral for your tank, like other living parties, you must consider the proper placement of the coral. And it must be maintained in accordance with the suitable measurement of the coral itself.

The required lighting, water flow, feeding, fertilizing, and even safety from probable threats are related to the placement of a coral. You won’t be having the same or expected responses from your Goniopora coral unless you ensure them a better position.

Light Intensity

Goniopora coral doesn’t appear as a demanding coral when it comes to lighting. Yet it requires some to grow. Moreover, they have dinoflagellates living in their flesh. This zooxanthella is a photosynthetic organism and your coral collects nutrients from the process as byproducts.

Though Goniopora coral has the intention to adjust to large light intensities, they must be maintained accordingly. Any sudden changes in the lighting intensities will affect your coral vividly. They might turn discolored or have any other color on their own due to the changes.

If you choose to ignore the issue, they’ll stop looming or thriving!

Improper Water Flow

By keeping your Goniopora coral in such a place where it faces such a water flow that doesn’t suit it, it’ll suffer to remain open and healthy. 

Goniopora coral prefers moderate water flow. And you need to place them accordingly. This helps them to remain intact (healthy and open). They may work fine in low-water flow setups as well.

But facing a higher water flow than necessary, your Goniopora collar will close up quickly. They will remain so until the situation is stabilized or set back to the previous condition. Therefore, you need to place them carefully.


Though it was believed that this coral needs no external feeding, it has been proved that better results can be acquired through supplementary feeding. And this feeding is related to the placement of the coral as well.

Let me tell you how! It has been observed that Goniopora coral is not that active in capturing food like other corals. Rather they prefer acting in a shy way while consuming food or nutrients through their skins rather than their mouth.

Now while feeding them, either with liquid amino acids or dry powdered plankton, if they are placed in such a place where it’s difficult for you to feed them properly, or they don’t find a friendly (calm) environment, they’ll be deprived of the supplements. The foods make a cloud in your tank! And that might sum up to closing them.

5. Nipping the Coral by Others

If you host any such fish or inverts that appear aggressive for your Goniopora coral, the coral is going to suffer anyway.

This coral is not okay with such attacks or nippings. On top of that, by facing frequent damage, they might die eventually.

However, friendly nipping is fine. Otherwise, as a symptom of discomfort, your coral will close due to such hostile behavior.

5 Measures to Take to Make Goniopora Coral Open

While facing difficulties in opening your Goniopora coral, apply the following 5 measures. Thus, you won’t even have to bother about Goniopora getting shut down after opening it. 

1. Water Parameters

Water Parameter for Goniopora Coral

Since Goniopora coral is sensitive to changes in water parameters, firstly you need to know the perfect water parameters for them. Check out the list given below.

  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Calcium: 400-450 ppm
  • Hardness: 8-12 dkH
  • Nitrites: 0 ppm
  • Nitrates: 0 ppm
  • pH: 8.1-8.4
  • Salinity: 35 g/L

Now your job is not only to maintain these but also to ensure that there is no sudden change in the water parameters at the same time. Use your water test kit to keep track.

If you notice any sudden change, you can try to adjust it. Refrain from frequent water changes to keep your tank water parameters stable. Water change over 50% at once is not recommended at all unless the water is totally spoiled.

Give your Goniopora coral a while, like a week or so, to open up on their own after taking care of the sudden change. Do a 20 to 30% water change to mitigate any rise in ammonia levels in your tank.

However, don’t forget to keep your tank water clean! 

2. Nutrition

You must deal with the lack of nutrition to keep your Goniopora coral healthy. Being an animal, they need food for growing and nutrition. 

Feed them with liquid amino acids, phytoplankton, and zooplankton. Keep your pump off while feeding them. It helps them to consume food.

You might go for using oyster eggs, Cyclop-eeze juice as well. Keep the feeding circle about 3 to 5 times a week.

By doing that, your closed Goniopora coral should open in two weeks!

3. Water Temperature

Goniopora coral prefers a temperature between 73 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. And you need to maintain that constantly.

Don’t let the temperature fluctuate often. Don’t get this coral to direct exposure to light because that will certainly tamper with the water temperature.

Go for a heater or a chiller if needed. Get a better one to maintain the temperature constant.

4. Placement of the Coral

Placement Of Goniopora Coral

Goniopora coral placement is important as Goniopora coral prefers moderate water flow. In some cases, you might find them working fine in low water flow as well.

But definitely not high water flow. Keep your coral at a considerable distance from the tank pump to ensure so. Let your coral settle and change the distance if needed according to the strength of your pump.

Don’t place them deep down in a comparatively deep tank. That will hinder the reach of light to them. As a result, the photosynthesis of the zooxanthellae will not take place spontaneously.

Though the coral is adjustable to a wide range of lighting, yet there should be consistency. It can adjust from 50 PAR to 200 PAR. Our recommendation is to keep it stable at 75 PAR to 125 PAR.

Keep the coral away from any aggressive coral if you have one in your tank!

5. Safety from Other Tankmates

While maintaining all the other factors, you need to keep an eye out for possible hostile behaviors towards your coral from other tank mates.

If your Goniopora coral faces frequent and continuous attacks from any aggressive creature inside the tank, it will refuse to open. Even if you don’t take care of it, it might lead to the death of your coral. 

If needed, transfer your coral to another tank to save it from such aggressive creatures. It doesn’t make sense to fight for life every day and that applies to any living thing.

Read More-

  1. Why Duncan Coral Not Opening [How to Fix]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why Is My Coral Not Opening After A Water Change?

If you find your coral isn’t opening even after the water change, there must be an issue with other specifications. The tank temperature, lack of nutrients, light intensity, hostile nipping from other creatures – any of them might be a reason. Take a closer look at your coral and feed it if necessary. Know the details before taking steps. 

How To Take Care Of Leptastrea Coral Not Opening?

With a view to making your leptastrea coral open, firstly you need to check your water parameters. Change the water if required. Feed your coral to ensure nutrition, maintain the temperature, and don’t expose it to direct sunlight. Give your coral a while to settle with the preferable parameters and other environmental readings. 

What Kind Of Coral Is Galaxea?

Galaxea coral is large polyp stony coral with a variation of green. It’s an aggressive coral to have in your tank. Give it enough space. If you find your Galaxea coral not opening, try fixing the water parameters. Keep the suitable temperature constant and feed it according to necessity.


Not to get you a headache, but it took quite a while for aqua hobbyists to learn to get along with coral. It’s recommended to have a few earlier experiences with corals to make yourself comfortable while dealing with this specific coral.

However, after going through this article, you are well informed about the facts about Goniopora coral not opening. Maintain the specifications on your own and keep your Goniopora coral healthy and open. You may apply these instructions for your red and pink Goniopora coral as well. 

Howard Parker

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