Pectinia originates from the Indo-Pacific. However, the frags sold here are aquaculture by ORA. Instead of being collected from the ocean, these corals are grown in aquariums. They are well adapted to aquarium life and overall easier to keep than their wild-caught counterparts. You can learn more about the benefits of aquacultured corals below.
Pectinia is often categorized as a large polyp stony (LPS) coral. It has a fairly fleshy body and similar care requirements to other LPS corals. Though not the most difficult coral, there are certain conditions to meet to keep this coral happy and healthy.
First, you should place Pectinia in low to moderate light. It typically does best in lower light, around 50 micromoles of PAR. While it can be placed in lighting higher than that, the risk of bleaching the coral is usually not worth it. If you must place it in more moderate lighting, at least acclimate it to the light first. Start the coral under dim light and slowly move it into higher light over a period of a few weeks to a month. Although you cannot completely remove the risk of bleaching, acclimation will decrease the chances significantly.
Provide low to moderate water flow for Pectinia coral. You only need to provide enough flow so that detritus does not settle on the coral. Too much flow may cause the tissue to recede, which can quickly result in the death of the entire colony. While it is possible to provide too little flow, hobbyists are more likely to provide too much flow. If you notice that the coral is often retracted or sucked in, this is a sign that there is too much water movement. If there is waste settling and remaining on the coral, you likely need to provide more flow. Observe the behavior of the coral closely, and adjust the water movement accordingly.
Although Pectinia are not as sensitive to water chemistry as corals like Acropora or Montipora, you should still aim to keep the parameters as stable as possible. Large fluctuations in calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium will cause dangerous amounts of stress. If you are supplementing these ions in your aquarium, test regularly to ensure you do not overdose or cause fluctuations.
Keep the nitrates around 1-5 ppm and the phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. Maintain a stable temperature between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pectinia does not need to be fed because of the photosynthetic zooxanthellae within. However, it may benefit from external feeding of live phytoplankton, copepods, or amino acids. Feeding can improve growth rate, coloration, and overall health.
One final note about Pectinia is its aggression. Pectinia can release potent sweeper tentacles that will harm other corals on contact. Avoid issues with aggression by creating plenty of space between this coral and others.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: Bottom to middle.
Lighting: Low to medium.
Flow: Low to moderate.
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
Aquacultured corals such as this Pectinia from ORA are well adapted to aquarium life, making them hardier and easier to care for than corals collected from the ocean. Aquacultured corals are also far less likely to carry pests and diseases, though you should still quarantine or dip them to be safe. Because they are not collected from the ocean, these corals are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Help protect our beautiful, yet fragile natural reefs by choosing aquacultured corals, fish, and inverts.