Coral Reef Keepers
1381 Plank Road Suite 98
Duncansville, Pa 16635
Thursday and Friday 3 to 7PM
Saturday 12 to 5PM
Sunday 12 to 5PM
All other hours by appointment.
|Acropora Coral Care|
|Tuesday, 21 February 2012 05:55|
Class Anthozoa, Subclass Hexacorallia, Order Scleractinia, Family Acroporidae, Genus Acropora
Common names: staghorn coral, table coral, branching or plating
Natural origin: Indo-Pacific, Caribbean
Sensitivity (Level 3 to 4): Acropora species are relatively
intolerant of unstable and less than ideal conditions.
Sensitivity varies widely depending on the particular species and
whether wild or aquacultured. To increase chances of success, do
not attempt to Acropora them in tanks less than a year old.
Significant fluctuations in temperature and/or water quality can be
Feeding: These corals have small polyps and poor prey capture
ability. They consume foods of very small particle size. For
example, oyster eggs, with a particle size of about 50µ, are a good
food for these corals. In a well fed tank with a variety of food,
additional feeding might not be necessary.
Lighting (Level 7 to 10): Though adaptable, Acropora spp. tend
to grow faster and fair better under more intense lighting. The
ideal lighting for any particular coral will depend on the species
and/or the depth and clarity of the water where it was collected or
cultured. As with any zooxanthellate coral, coloration can change
in response to changing lighting conditions. And as always,
sudden changes in lighting conditions can result in bleaching. Be
sure to acclimate properly.
Water flow: Acropora spp. need strong, turbulent water for
effective feeding, good health and to prevent sediment damage.
Place these corals in the highest area of water flow in the tank.
Placement: Place safely away from aggressive corals and be
careful of fast-growing encrusting corals that will compete for
General: Acropora spp. are often vulnerable to disease and
predation by certain species of coral-eating flatworms,
nudibranches, and tiny crustaceans called "red bugs." To prevent
an infestation, carefully inspect and quarantine all new corals for 2
to 3 weeks before allowing them into the main tanks. Steady,
healthy calcium (400 to 450 ppm) and alkalinity (3.0 to 4.5 meq/L)
levels are important for coral health and growth.
Level 1 - These corals are easy to care for, good for
the novice aquarists.
Level 2 - These corals require slightly more attention
than level 1 corals, but are generally tolerant and
Level 3 - These corals require stable, established
aquariums and care by an
Level 4 - These corals should only be kept by the
most experienced aquarists.
Level 5 - These corals are not known to be able to
survive in aquariums even when under the care of
the most experienced aquarists
Note that this scale is not set in stone, but based on
the numerous experiences and reports of
professional and hobby aquarists. The sensitivity
and tolerance of any given coral in your tank will
depend on species, health when collected/purchased,
how long it's been in captivity, and other factors that
may or may not be knowable.
Lighting Scale (approximations):
Level 0 - no light
Level 3 - one foot below modest VHO or T5
Level 5 - two feet below extensive VHO or T5
Level 6 - one foot below extensive VHO or T5
Level 7 - two feet below 250 watt single ended MH
light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)
Level 8 - one foot below 250 watt single ended MH
light (or 150-175 watt MH with HQI ballast)
Level 10 - one foot below 400 watt single ended MH
(or 250 watt MH with HQI ballast)
Note that this scale is quite crude and only meant to provide a
rough idea of the different levels of light intensities. How much
(and what kind of) light actually reaches the corals in your tank
also depends on the type of reflector in the light fixture, the
temperature of the bulbs/lamps, the clarity of your tank water,
It's also important to note that different individual corals, even of the same species, can have very different lighting requirements and
ideals. Often times, the same types and species of wild caught corals come from different depths and different water clarities. It's nearly
impossible to know what kind or how much light was getting to your coral when it was first taken from the wild. One advantage of
aquacultured corals is that you can know what light they were grown under. Beyond health, the color of any given zooxanthellate
(photosynthetic) coral will change and adapt in response to the lighting it is placed under. All corals are vulnerable to bleaching if not allowed
to acclimate to a change to more intense lighting. If your coral begins to bleach, move it to an area of lower lighting and feed it especially well.
Please, always take the time to acclimate new corals.
Step 1: Float the bag with the coral in the aquarium water (away from lights!) for about 20 minutes.
Step 2: Open the bag and test the salinity of the bag water.
Step 3: Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tank water to the bag every 10-20 minutes until the bag water and tank water
are approximately the same salinity. You can add less water over longer periods of time to acclimate more slowly
for more sensitive animals (or when the bag water and tank water have substantially different salinity).
Acclimation can also be done in a bucket (rather than the transport bag). However, the bucket water temperature can get closer
to room temperature than tank water temperature (especially for slow acclimations). Insulating the bucket in a Styrofoam box
or cooler during acclimation should help.
To acclimate to new lighting conditions, first place the coral in a less light intense area of the tank. Every few days, move the
coral towards more direct lighting until it is where you want it to be. If it begins to bleach at any point, move it back to a less
light intense area. After the coral recovers, commence moving towards more direct light more slowly.
These care sheets are a brief presentation of the needs and characteristics of a variety of commonly kept aquarium
corals. Though there's a lot of science in reef keeping, the hobby itself has always been and continues to be an imperfect
science. Much is still unknown and there is often more than one way to do things. Please take what's written here as a starting
point, but always keep an active and curious mind.