Acropora are one of the most common corals in the world. While most species come from the Indo-Pacific, Acropora are found all over the world. This is also one of the most well-loved corals in the hobby.
Joe the Coral has a very similar appearance to the Blue Voodoo, but it has a more irregular growth pattern, less polyp extension, and a bright green base color. Joe the Coral has a turquoise-green base coloration with a prominent blue coloration at the end of the branches.
Some hobbyists regard Acropora as one of the most difficult to keep corals. For this reason, it is not recommended for new hobbyists. No one is stopping you, but you will likely get frustrated and discouraged. In case you’re unfamiliar with Acropora, let’s go over the basic care requirements to help you decide if this coral is right for you and your aquarium.
To start, let’s talk about lighting. Acropora are notorious for being light loving corals. Some species receive 700 micromoles of PAR in the wild. In an aquarium, a good range to shoot for is 200-300 micromoles of PAR. You may see better coloration under even higher lighting, but this should only be done with caution and experience. Before placing your Acropora under strong lighting, make sure you acclimate it first. Do this by starting the coral in more moderate lighting and gradually moving it into higher light during a month or a few. This will greatly reduce the risk of bleaching and color loss.
Moving on, let’s discuss flow. Acropora are also flow loving corals. These are some of the most flow demanding corals there are. You should provide these corals with strong flow. When the coral is only a small frag, moderate flow might be acceptable, but the coral will need more as it grows. Ideally, the flow should be irregular and random. This prevents dead spots and promotes proper growth. Water movement is important because it keeps the coral clean while giving access to needed nutrients and essential elements.
Speaking of essential elements, let’s talk about water chemistry. The three most important ions for stony corals are calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity, which is not technically a specific ion, but we won’t get into that. There’s a list of other elements that are needed but not as important. Acropora require elevated levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium that are also stable. Stability is important, as large enough fluctuations can be devastating for this coral. You will likely need to implement a calcium reactor, dosing system, or kalkwasser to keep your levels up.
For nitrates, keep it around 1-5 ppm, and keep the phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. Maintain a stable temperature between 72-78 degrees.
Lastly, let’s discuss feeding. Acropora have tiny polyps, but they can be fed if the food particles are small enough. It is important to practice restraint, as over feeding can cause dangerous nutrient spikes. A safe food source is live phytoplankton and amino acids.
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 far less likely to carry pests and diseases, which is particularly important with pest and disease prone Acropora. Still, you should dip and/or quarantine it to be safe. Aquacultured corals are overall hardier and better adapted to aquarium life than those collected from the ocean. To top it off, these corals are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.