Montipora are one of the most common corals found in the ocean and one of the most popular corals in the hobby. They are great for hobbyists that want to taste the challenge of SPS without being overwhelmed with all of the pests, diseases, and sensitivity of Acropora. Montipora are found all over the Indo-Pacific, but the Lantana Montipora is maricultured by ORA. This coral is grown in aquariums or offshore in a controlled area separate from real reefs in the Marshall Islands. This comes with benefits that we’ll discuss later.
The Lantana Montipora is mostly yellow with blue polyps. The coloration can vary depending on lighting and other aquarium conditions. Sometimes the coral will appear more green, and the polyps may appear more purple. Don’t be surprised if your frag doesn’t look exactly like the picture. This Montipora is a branching and encrusting Montipora with bumpy branches that end in a point. It’s an uncommon growth form for Montipora that more closely resembles Acropora, a close cousin of Montipora.
Montipora takes more care and attention than other more beginner friendly stony coral and soft corals, but they look amazing when they become a large colony. With some knowledge and experience, you can have great success.
Montipora are light loving corals. They prefer medium to high light, around 200-300 micromoles of PAR. You can put them in slightly dimmer light, but the color may not be as vibrant. Before placing this coral in high light, acclimate it first. Start the coral in dim light and gradually move it to the desired location. This will reduce the risk of bleaching significantly.
Montipora requires moderate to strong flow. When the coral is only a small frag, moderate flow will be adequate. As the coral grows more branches and grows larger, more flow will be required. Flow is important because it keeps the coral free of waste and detritus while providing it with access to needed nutrients and base elements. Ideally, the flow should be irregular and random.
As with all stony corals, especially fast growing ones, maintaining elevated levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium is essential. There is a wide range of acceptable levels of base elements. While the upper end of these ranges may result in faster growth, it is more important to keep the levels stable. This often requires the use of a calcium reactor, dosing, or kalkwasser, which can cause terrible swings if not used properly. So, be careful and test your parameters frequently!
For nitrates, keep it at 1-5 ppm and keep the phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. Keep the temperature between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable.
Finally, let’s discuss feeding. The small polyps make it hard to determine if Montipora actually take in food when spot fed powdered or frozen coral foods. Arguably the best way to feed Montipora is by dosing foods such as live phytoplankton and amino acids. However, feeding is not required because the coral gets most of its nutritional needs from the products of its zooxanthellae.
Purchase Size: 1″
Placement: This coral can be placed anywhere as long as its lighting and flow needs are met.
Lighting: Medium to high.
Flow: Moderate to strong.
Parameters: 72-78° F, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 32-35 ppt
Calcium: 350-450 ppm
Alkalinity: 8-12 dKH
Magnesium: 1,250-1,350 ppm
Corals maricultured by ORA are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Along with that, they are much hardier and better able to handle the stress of shipping than corals collected from real reefs.