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Green Star Polyp Coral | Pachyclavularia violacea Care

If you’re a beginning reef keeper or just looking to keep things simple, you’ll want to go for easy-care corals. And it just so happens we’ve got one for you that fits the bill perfectly! Meet the green star polyp coral, also known as GSP. This species is hardy and tolerant – in fact, it sometimes has a tendency to grow a bit too vigorously!

Keep reading for everything you need to know about growing green star polyp coral and how to make sure it doesn’t overgrow your aquarium. 

Name (Common, Scientific)Green star polyp coral, GSP, star polyp Pachyclavularia violacea, also sometimes Clavularia viridis
Temperature75-82 °F
TemperamentPeaceful but very vigorous
Difficulty levelEasy

Green star polyp coral appearance

Well, the name kind of sums this one up! Green star polyp coral is a soft coral that features eight long tentacles on each polyp. Its almost fluorescent coloration tends to be a mix of brownish and greenish, with the green being more prominent in the higher-quality frags.

Long-tentacled soft corals like the green star polyp make for a decorative addition to the aquarium. They sway softly in the flow and because they’re such vigorous growers, they can actually end up covering entire aquarium panels. Quite beautiful!

Green star polyp coral care

If you’re interested in growing a green star polyp coral, you’ll be happy to know that they’re among the least demanding species out there. Normal reef parameters are recommended, but really, as long as things don’t get too extreme your GSP should be fine. High light conditions or strong water flow aren’t necessary for this one either. That’s what makes this species so suitable for beginners!

The biggest problem you’ll likely run into with a green star polyp coral isn’t that it won’t grow well. It’s that it will. The species doesn’t possess stinging tentacles that can bother other corals, but it’s just an incredibly quick grower, and it can form dense mats that choke out your other beloved corals.

Ensure your aquarium doesn’t turn into a one-coral tank: keep these on a more isolated rock in your aquarium, one that’s at least a few inches away from other objects. Scrape it off surfaces using a razor blade if need be, or frag it to give away or maybe even sell to your local aquarium store.

Feeding green star polyp coral

Green star polyp corals contain zooxanthellae, photosynthetic algae that help supply them with a source of nutrients. That being said, you can still regularly feed your GSP if you want to ensure optimum growth. It’s not a must, especially if you have livestock in the tank that’s fed regularly, but it’s an option.

If you do choose to target feed your green star polyp coral, you can do so using small (thawed) frozen foods like cyclops, rotifers or mysis.

Green star polyp coral | Pachyclavularia violacea in the aquarium

How to frag green star polyp coral

Well… just cut it into pieces and it’ll be fine. Seriously, this is one coral that doesn’t give a darn! If you’d like to multiply yours, just place some pieces of live rock next to the existing colony. It’ll usually quickly grow over the pieces, after which you can separate the polyps in question from the main population. This is done by cutting the stolon, basically the base mat that the polyps grow from.

If you cut pieces that aren’t attached to a small rock or frag plug yet, you can attach them using coral-safe superglue or rubber bands.

Keep in mind that GSP might react by closing its polyps rather dramatically when being disturbed like this. No worries: give it some time and it’ll open back up.


A beautiful reef tank filled with corals like the green star polyp coral, gently swaying in the flow, is quite a sight to see. However, even though this species is considered beginner-proof, setting up and maintaining an aquarium is still pretty time-consuming! FantaSEA Aquariums can help by designing, building and maintaining your tank so all you have to do is enjoy it. Contact us here with your ideas!

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Marijke Puts

Hey! I'm Marijke, FantaSEA's resident blog writer. I'm a full-time pop science author, part-time PADI diver and snorkeler, and have been keeping fish since I was a kid. When I'm not writing fish care guides, you can usually find me underwater or trying to figure out how to fit more tanks into my house.

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