Skip to Content

How To Stop Your Candy Cane Coral Dying!

There has been a spike in the number of people keeping coral only tanks, reef tanks with coral and fish, and general saltwater tanks where they try to introduce some corals recently.

With the candy cane coral being considered an easier coral to care for, we have noticed a spike in the number of people reaching out and asking various questions about caring for the coral.

Although we would generally agree that candy cane coral is one of the easier corals to care for and a great way for hobbyists to try caring for their first corals, there are some very common mistakes that we see people making time and time again with candy cane coral that are very easy to avoid.

Due to this, we wanted to publish our own article going over some of these common problems that may result in your candy cane coral dying when the coral can otherwise easily be saved.

We will be covering a number of different topics about preventing your candy cane coral from dying in this article so we have added our table of contents below to try and make it as easy as possible for our readers to navigate.

Depending on your exact situation, you may only require advice on a single section of our article but if you do suspect that your candy cane coral is dying then we would highly recommend that you at least skim over the full article.

Why Is My Candy Cane Coral Dying?

The four most common reasons that your candy cane coral may be dying is due to you not feeding it, unsuitable water parameters, your water flow being too high for the coral or the coral getting too much light.

Other less common reasons that your candy cane coral may be dying include fish picking at it and bacterial or parasitic problems.

Thankfully though, the majority of these are very easy to identify and treat. With the candy cane coral being a surprisingly hardy coral, it is very common for the coral to make a full recovery but depending on how bad the coral managed to deteriorate, it may take months for a full recovery with the coral requiring more care than usual during the recovery phase.

With a candy cane coral, it is often very easy to notice early signs of the coral being in distress and having potential problems though.

This often makes it much easier for you to notice potential problems early enough where they are not only much easier to treat but the chances of your candy cane coral making a full recovery are considerably higher than usual too.

“Candy Cane Coral (Night)” by Brett Levin Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

How To Stop Your Candy Cane Coral Dying!

It is usually very easy to correct issues in your candy can coral and prevent it from dying.

The most common ways to help your candy cane coral is to feed it a suitable food, place it in a location in your tank where it does not get too much light and is protected from heavy water flow, make sure the tank water parameters are suitable for the coral, and try to keep all fish in the tank reef safe to prevent them from nipping at the coral.

Although this may look like a large amount of work when you look at the list above, the majority of it is things that the vast majority of reef tank keepers will be doing on a regular basis anyway.

More often than not, it is often only one of the factors covered above that is causing the candy cane coral problems too making it much easier to help the coral that is dying.

Depending on your level of experience of keeping corals, you may have multiple issues in your tank causing problems with your coral though, just because you presume that you have already fixed the problem that was causing your candy cane coral to die does not mean that there are not other problems.

If you do successfully identify one problem then be sure to work through the others to test for additional issues that may be causing your candy cane coral to die.

Do Candy Cane Corals Need Feeding?

Candy cane corals do need feeding a suitable food source to grow and maintain their size and health.

The more common foods for candy cane corals include various types of shrimp or krill with some people making up their own food mixes for their corals depending on what they are trying to do with their aquarium.

If you want a quick and easy way to feed your candy cane coral then reef roids are definitely one of the better options on the market right now.

It is common for people to add either brine shrimp or mysis shrimp to the diet of their candy cane coral though.

There really are a huge range of suitable food options for your candy cane coral though with the coral tending to be willing to eat a wider range of foods when its feeders are extended.

Many people brand new to keeping corals are not aware that they even have to feed their coral though with this being a very common cause of coral dying.

Where Should I Place Candy Cane Coral?

Your candy cane coral should ideally be placed in an area of your tank out of high flow water while having low access to direct light if possible.

This does tend to prevent a number of issues from occurring with the coral that are very easy to avoid in many cases that can occur simply due to poor positioning of your candy cane coral.

Due to candy cane coral being pretty hardy and not as light sensitive as some other corals, you can often place it in an area where it will get more light than it requires without there being any serious problems with the coral.

When it comes to water flow, the coral is not as forgiving though and high water flow in a tank with a candy cane coral is a common cause of the corals skeleton showing.

Prolonged exposure to high flow water is often enough to set your candy cane coral on a path to dying early, unfortunately.

Thankfully though, something as simple as reseating the coral to a new area where the water flow is not as high in your tank can be enough to cause the coral to make a full recovery over a number of weeks.

Why Is My Candy Cane Coral Turning White?

The most common reason that your candy cane coral will turn white is due to coral bleaching and although this does not mean that your coral is actually dying, it is an indication that something is wrong and needs to be corrected.

This will usually occur when your candy cane coral is in a tank with a water temperature that is far too high for it and lowering the water temperature will often fix the issue.

The candy cane coral turns white due to the temperature causing the coral to expel the bacteria from the coral that plays a large role in its color.

This will often not be an issue if you are able to lower the water temperature to a range that a candy cane coral is happy with, usually 74-83°F but there is a little wiggle room on that depending on the other factors of your tank.

Within a week you should see the color coming back to your candy cane coral provided you are feeding it enough. If the coral is not getting enough food then it can take much longer for its color to come back but the majority of the time, it will end up making a full recovery without any long term problems.

Why Is My Candy Cane Coral Skeleton Showing?

The two most common reasons that your candy can skeleton will be showing is due to a high level of water flow in the tank or the candy cane coral getting far too much light for what it actually needs.

In some situations, both of these can be causing the issue and will often cause the condition of your coral to deteriorate much quicker than it otherwise would.

As we touched on earlier in the article though, you are often able to reseat the coral, adjust your water flow levels, or tweak your lighting setup to prevent these problems from occurring in your tank.

This will depend on your aquarium setup though and may not be that easy to do in some situations so you may have to add new features to your tank to protect your candy cane coral from the water flow or light.

Although less common, high nitrate levels in your tank can also be enough to cause the skeleton of your candy cane coral to start showing too.

Thankfully, a water test kit is a quick, easy and cheap way for you to get an accurate reading of the nitrate levels and other water parameters in the tank that may be causing your candy cane coral to be dying then once you identify a potential issue, you can work on fixing it as soon as possible.


That brings our article going over why your candy cane coral may be dying as well as how to fix the more common issues to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the potential problems with your coral and how you can save it. The majority of the time, you will often be able to save a candy cane coral that is having issues due to the coral being a hardy species and often able to recover from near death conditions provided you care for it correctly and fix the problems causing the issues. We have seen some stories of candy cane corals that were very close to death make a full recovery with plenty of love can care but just keep in mind, the worse condition your coral is in, the longer it is going to take to heal.