Montipora are found all over the Indo-Pacific. They are one of the most common corals, second to Acropora. This particular Montipora is aquacultured by ORA. Instead of being collected from the ocean, this coral is grown in aquariums and then fragged to be sold to hobbyists such as yourself. This comes with benefits that we will discuss later.
There are many growth forms for Montipora. Montipora is either branching, encrusting, plating, or a mix. This Montipora is plating, which develops satisfying structures. It has a purple or blue base with turquoise polyps. The coral has a pleasant bumpy texture as well.
Montipora aren’t the easiest corals to keep, but they are not the most difficult either. They are generally less sensitive than Acropora but more sensitive than some LPS corals. In case you’re unfamiliar with this coral, we’ll go over the basic care requirements to help you decide if this coral is right for you and your aquarium.
Let’s start with lighting. Montipora require high lighting to display the best coloration. You will be able to keep the coral alive with moderate lighting, but the colors will be less attractive. It is recommended that you give Montipora 200-300 micromoles of PAR. Before you place your Montipora frag under high light, you need to acclimate it first. Do this by starting the coral in dimmer light and gradually moving it into higher light. This will significantly reduce the risk of bleaching and color loss.
Moving on, let’s talk about flow. Montipora requires moderate to strong flow. It is important to ensure that no debris or waste can settle on the coral. Strong flow is best, but there is such thing as too much. When plating Montipora grow, the plates can act as a sort of sail for the water flow, causing the coral to lift of the rock. Avoid this by not providing too much flow and securing your coral well. Water movement is important because it keeps the coral clean while providing it with needed nutrients and essential elements.
Let’s talk about water chemistry next. For stony corals, especially fast growing ones like Montipora, it is important to maintain elevated levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. If you have a decent amount of stony corals, you will likely need to implement a calcium reactor, dosing system, or kalkwasser. These methods work great, but there is a risk of dangerous swings if they aren’t used correctly. Large enough swings can be devastating for this coral, so be careful!
Regarding other parameters, keep the temperature around 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable. Keep the nitrates at 1-5 ppm and the phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0.
Montipora are considered photosynthetic corals. Because they get most of their nutritional needs from light, you do not need to feed them. You can try feeding small foods, but Montipora don’t have an apparent feeding response. You might be increasing your nutrient levels more than anything when feeding this coral frozen or dried foods. It is best to simply dose amino acids and phytoplankton. This will improve the coloration, growth rate, and the overall health of the coral.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: Middle to top.
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
Because this coral is aquacultured, it is hardier and better adapted to aquarium life than corals collected from the ocean. Aquacultured corals are also far less likely to carry pests and diseases, but you should still dip and/or quarantine them to be safe. On top of all that, these coral are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.