Knobby Sea Rods in the genus Eunicea sp are a fairly common, shallow water gorgonia found in South Florida and throughout the Caribbean. I don’t have the exact species of this particular specimen and it’s difficult to distinguish between several species in this genus that look like this, so I’m just calling it a generic “knobby sea rod” in the genus Eunicea. This is a particularly hardy species that I have sold for a long time that seems to do especially well in most reef tanks. The tan brown color of the body of the colony gives way to a deep chocolaty brown color when the polyps are extended, and the whole colony becomes fat and fuzzy. The individual polyps themselves are really big and it’s a cool gorgonia to look at when it’s opened up. Most of the colonies we sell are single stalks like this that are about 6″ to 8″ tall. Some will be branched, but most have not started to branch yet. Adult colonies can grow to over a foot long with multiple branches. If yours starts to get too big, it can be safely pruned and the cuttings can be planted elsewhere.
As with most shallow water gorgonia, all the species in this genus are photosynthetic, so good lighting is recommended to keep it in optimal health. Supplemental feeding with some sort of planktonic, small particle food is also required to maintain this gorgonia. If you gently “dust” the open polyps with food they will catch and eat the little bits of food and it’s pretty neat to watch them feeding on the little particles that land on them.
The colony will do best if mounted onto a rock in your tank so that they don’t fall over and rub against things. I have used a variety of quick setting epoxy putties in the wild and at the shop nd have had good luck with them, and have also used gel super glue with equally good luck. They like currents and they like light, so keep that in mind when you pick a spot to mount it.
We have started to also get frags from colonies in the ocean which means it is possible that you will get a gorgonian on a frag plug. It just depends where I went diving and what was available.
Nano: 2 to 4 inches
Normal: >4 to 8 inches
Large: >8 to 12 inches