Acropora is one of the most common corals found on the reef. It is essential for reef building and providing habitats for a huge array of marine fauna. Most Acropora originate from the Indo-Pacific, but Acropora can be found offshore of almost every continent. This Green Subulata Acropora is maricultured by ORA in the Marshall Islands. Instead of being collected from real reefs, this coral is grown on land or in controlled areas offshore, separate from real reefs. Acropora can be intimidating for anyone unfamiliar with keeping them. They tend to be more sensitive than other corals, and even if you can keep your Acropora alive, reaching good coloration is something that takes experience. However, in case you’re new or unfamiliar with keeping Acropora, let’s go over the basic care requirements to get you started. Proper lighting is crucial for achieving good coloration with Acropora. While other corals stay relatively the same color regardless of the lighting spectrum and type of lighting, Acropora can change drastically. It’s not a one size fits all thing either. Rather, it’s something that takes experimentation. Acropora typically prefer intense lighting around 200-300 micromoles of PAR, even higher depending on the color and species. It is crucial that you acclimate your Acropora to high light by starting it under more moderate light and gradually moving it up during a month or even a few months. This is done to avoid bleaching and color loss, which can easily happen if you give too much light too fast. As with lighting, Acropora prefer strong flow. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to give Acropora too much flow with common aquarium equipment. Ideally, the flow should be random to promote proper growth and to avoid dead spots. Flow is important because it keeps the coral clean and it provides access to needed nutrients and base elements. Moving on, let’s discuss water chemistry. All stony corals require at least somewhat consistent levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium that are similar to natural sea water. However, Acropora are particularly sensitive to changes with these parameters. Large enough fluctuations can cause severe bleaching and death. Avoiding this requires experience (or at least a deep understanding) with calcium reactors, dosing, kalkwasser, or all three of those methods. As for the other parameters, Acropora generally prefer clean water, but not too clean. Aiming for nitrates between 1-5 ppm and phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0, is a good target. Although, you will find conflicting opinions from people saying Acropora can handle up to 10 ppm of nitrates and those saying you shouldn’t have anything higher than 1 ppm. For temperature, keep it between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable. Lastly, let’s talk about feeding. Acropora don’t require feeding because they contain an algae called zooxanthellae, which provides the coral with most of its nutritional needs via photosynthesis. However, feeding can promote better growth, coloration, and overall coral health. Make sure that if you spot feed, the food particle size is small enough for the polyps to consume, and make sure not to overdo it. Alternatively, you can dose phytoplankton and amino acids if you want an effective method that won’t cause nutrient spikes.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: Low to middle. This coral will shade anything under it when it gets larger, so it’s best to avoid placing it above other corals.
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
Maricultured corals such as this Green Subulata Acropora from ORA tend to adjust to aquarium life better than corals collected from real reefs. They also handle shipping better and are overall hardier. Maricultured corals are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Maintaining our coral reefs and decreasing our impact on the planet as a whole is incredibly important. Do your part and choose aquacultured or maricultured corals!