Acropora are one of the all-time most popular corals in the hobby. They are fast growing and display amazing colors. At the same time, they are also challenging to keep, which is part of the appeal for many hobbyists. Usually this coral is recommended only for experienced hobbyists or hobbyists who have been able to grow other stony corals successfully. In case you’re unfamiliar with Acropora, we’ll go over the basic care requirements to help you determine if this coral is right for you and your aquarium.
Acropora are one of the most common corals in the ocean, found off the coasts of every continent except Antartica. Most Acropora frags are collected from the Indo-Pacific. The Blue Bottlebrush Acropora is maricultured in the Marshall Islands by ORA. Instead of being collected from real reefs, these corals are grown in aquariums or in controlled area offshore, separate from real reefs. This comes with benefits that we will discuss later.
Acropora are light loving corals. In the wild, some colonies receive 700 micromoles of PAR. In an aquarium, you should provide around 200-300 micromoles of PAR. This particular Acropora is found in lagoon areas with water as shallow as 1 foot. For this reason, you may want to provide even higher lighting. It is absolutely vital that you acclimate your corals to high light especially if you want to place them under particularly strong lighting. Do this by starting the coral in lower light and gradually moving it into higher light over a month or a few months. This significantly reduces the risk of bleaching and color loss.
Next, let’s talk about water movement. Acropora do best with strong water movement. Moderate flow might be acceptable when the colony is small, but more will be required as the coral grows. Ideally, the water flow should be indirect and irregular. This will ensure proper growth and prevent dead spots. Water flow is important because it keeps the coral clean while providing it with needed nutrients and elements.
Speaking of base elements, let’s talk about water chemistry next. Acropora require elevated and stable levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. When keeping fast growing stony corals like Acropora, maintaining elevated levels often requires the use of a calcium reactor, a dosing system, or kalkwasser. Although these methods are effective, they can also easily cause dangerous swings if they aren’t used correctly.
What about feeding? Acropora contain zooxanthellae which provide the coral with most of its nutritional needs via photosynthesis. For this reason, feeding is not required. However, feeding can improve the coloration, growth rate, and overall coral health. It is important to make sure the food particles are small enough and to not over do it. A safe and effective method of feeding that won’t cause spikes is feeding live phytoplankton and amino acids.
Keep your nitrates around 1-5 ppm and your phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: Middle to top.
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
Maricultured corals such as this Blue Bottlebrush Acropora are hardier and better able to handle the stress of shipping than corals collected from real reefs. These corals are also more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Do you part to decrease the impact the hobby has on the ocean by choosing aquacultured and maricultured corals.
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