Torch Coral Retracted – We Found Out Why It Happens

torch coral retracted

Has your magnificent torch coral retracted? Obviously, that is normal for some part of the day, but not if it hasn’t shown its lively tentacles for days, right? Are you worried if your corals would be back or what caused the issue? Here’s the article to help you find an answer.

  • Why should your coral be dancing?
  • Reasons for torch coral retraction
  1. Pests/Flatworm
  2. Water Flow
  3. Magnesium Level
  4. Salinity
  5. Lighting
  6. Angelfish
  7. Torch coral’s death

Beautiful torch coral

Torch corals are beautiful creatures, dancing in a slow rhythmic movement with tentacles to make you their great fan. Even if it is your first interaction with the torch corals, you’ll feel attached to it within days, if not minutes, of having it in your tank.

These corals show a pattern in their opening and retraction. Usually, they are closed at night while dancing in the morning. And this is what makes them super unique.

Torch coral retracted

If there is a change in the pattern or your corals have just retracted suddenly for long hours, you must be a bit worried. Because with everything else, they shouldn’t change their behavior; if they have, you must have made specific changes, or there is a problem in the torch coral’s tank. You can find an answer for torch coral’s behavior here in this article.

Why do you need your torch coral open?

torch coral open

This isn’t intended for the pun; instead, it is a genuine question that will help you be cautious with your torch coral and not take them for granted.

Dancing torch coral is beautiful

The first and the most straightforward answer to this question is that you need a dancing torch coral because it looks beautiful. This would be the only reason for most of you out there to get this creature for your aquarium, wouldn’t it? Not establishing that you don’t like your torch coral or aren’t in love with it, but this would have probably happened later when it would already be in your home.

Opening tentacles is good for your coral’s health

You might have compromised on the beauty of your torch coral, but what if we tell you that opening tentacles and moving them back and forth ensures that the bacteria doesn’t grow on your favorite pet. The longer your torch coral will remain retracted, the higher the chances of bacterial growth and perishing of your torch coral.

Why does your torch coral retract?

why torch coral retract?

Now, when we have the basic idea about why the torch coral needs to remain open and keep dancing, let’s look into some of the reasons for retracting your torch coral.

We believe none of it is challenging to find a solution. So, you don’t have to worry; stay calm and go through these probable reasons for your coral retract.

Pests could be residing on the base

Your torch coral might have flatworm residing on the base. It means that it is draining your pet out of all energy and harming it in a way that would make your torch coral retract.

To check if your torch coral explicitly has this issue, you’ll have to look at the base. Upon concentrating, you’ll find a flatwork within seconds as it is not hard to find once you know you are looking for it. If it is there, this has what made your torch corals like this. Remove it, and there could still be a chance that your pet could survive.

Wouldn’t it be better that your torch coral wouldn’t have to suffer that altogether? Dip the corals before you add them to your tank or aquarium. It will ensure no unwanted guests (or enemies) for your torch coral, and it can remain healthy, making you excited all the time.

The flow of the water

You might be surprised, but the changes in the flow can be one of the reasons for your retracted torch coral. Too much flow means that the tentacles of your torch coral would be on the random move lose the beauty of the dancing tentacles. Similarly, too little flow means that they won’t even come out.

So, if you have made the recent changes to the flow or tank in any way, this could be the cause of your retracing torch coral. Luckily, this isn’t serious and would only require a few adjustments.

It is better to leave your tank on the random mode. It will pick up the changes in the tank’s environment and will make the adjustments accordingly without you having to worry about it.

Magnesium levels

Suppose the above two points have not provided a solution for your retraced torch coral. In that case, there must be a magnesium deficiency in the water. Magnesium is one of the minerals that all coral types enjoy. The movement of the torch coral’s tentacles is governed by it.

So, regular checking of the water magnesium levels is a must if you have torch coral in your tank.

The optimum magnesium level that you must maintain for your torch corals is 1500 mag. You can go above the level but cannot expect your torch corals to live happily if the magnesium level is below it.

So, buy a few magnesium testing kits and keep checking the water magnesium level from time to time. If you find it lower than the recommended one, then you’ll have to add the mineral. Doing so will make your torch coral dance again.


Salinity levels are also essential to maintain when discussing the maintenance of the torch corals in the most efficient way. What optimum salinity level do you have to maintain for the maximum life? 1.025 or 1.026 points!

To manage an optimum salinity level in the tank, you’ll need a refractometer. It can help you measure the salinity in your water. However, you must not rely on it single-handedly. It is important to calibrate it with fresh water to ensure that your refractometer measures the water salinity perfectly and you are not misguided by it. Because if that is the case, you’ll be creating problems for your torch corals.


If your torch corals have retracted, you might want to look at the lighting. A lower light could be the cause of their behavior.

If your tank has built-in lights, make sure it is a bit above the water not to affect the coral badly. Besides, it must not be too dim to make the corals consider nighttime. One of the recommended lighting options for the torch coral tanks is Radeon 5 in blue color. Placing it a few inches above the water level in the tank would provide the optimal amount of lighting for your tank, and you’ll see your torch corals dancing.


Do you have an Angel Fish in the tank? Well, this could be the reason why your torch coral has retracted. But this should only happen if you have recently introduced the angelfish in the tank or the torch coral is new to this environment.

Usually, angelfish eats the torch corals. So, if you have placed both of them together, you can’t expect your torch corals to sustain for a long time, and this might be the cause that your torch corals have stopped dancing. They could be dying.

The coral may be just dead

This one is unfortunate, but let’s discuss it so you can have all the reasons listed for retracting your torch coral. Your torch coral might be dying or dead already if it is not spreading its tentacles. There could be several reasons for it, including the ones mentioned above.

But if it has already started perishing, it is complicated to revive it, and you cannot even expect it without an expert’s help.

How can you know if your torch coral is dead? If there are only one or two heads of your torch coral and there is only slight movement in the tentacles, this is often a sign that you’ll have to let it go.

If you buy a new one, be sure to adjust the factors mentioned above correctly, so your new torch coral wouldn’t face the same fate.

Summing up

Torch corals are sensitive and can retract if any factors vary. You can observe the tank and the recent changes to find the sudden change in the coral’s behaviors. We are sure you’ll find a reason and see your torch coral dancing again.