This strain of Acropora originates from Australia. ORA purchased the strain from LiveAquaria.com in 2009. Now, ORA produces aquacultured frags, which means these frags are grown on land in aquariums instead of being collected from the ocean. The Shortcake Acropora forms a dark red base with red corallites and polyps. Extending from the base are somewhat smooth, green and white branches with pink and red polyps and corallites.
Acropora are known for being tedious to care for, though this coral has proven to be hardy, at least for an Acropora. ORA has determined that this coral displays the best coloration under moderate lighting, which is great news for those who want to keep Acropora but don’t have the most intense lights. However, it can be placed under high lighting as well. Regardless of where you decide to place this coral in your aquarium, make sure you acclimate it to the light slowly overtime. You can do this by starting the coral on the bottom of the tank and slowly moving it up, or by making your lights dimmer and gradually brightening them. As for flow, this Acropora does not differ from others. Provide moderate to strong flow. Generally, you should provide as much flow as you reasonably can. It is best to make sure the flow is random and irregular.
The Shortcake Acropora contains a photosynthetic dinoflagellate (a type of algae) called zooxanthellae. This algae provides the coral with most of its nutritional needs. You can, however, feed some corals with observable benefits. Although, because of their small polyps, Acropora don’t readily consume coral food, even if it is very fine. It is more important to ensure your nutrients are in a good place. Your nitrates should be 1-5 ppm and your phosphates should be just barely detectable. Most hobbyists understand that high nutrients are bad, but some don’t realize low nutrients can also be bad. In systems without any detectable levels of nutrients, corals tend to lose their color. This is why maintaining proper nutrient levels is important. If you really feel like you need to add something to the aquarium to feed this coral, you should dose phytoplankton. Your corals, including this Shortcake Acropora, will eat the phytoplankton, but it doesn’t foul your water like other coral food does. Another important aspect of keeping this coral is maintaining the calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium levels. Huge spikes, whether they are up or down, will cause lots of problems for your Acropora and even kill them. So, make sure your parameters are in a good place and stable.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: Middle to Top.
Lighting: Medium to high.
Flow: Moderate to strong.
Parameters: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 32-35 ppt.
Calcium: 350-450 ppm.
Alkalinity: 8-12 dKH.
Magnesium: 1,250-1,350 ppm.
Aquacultured coral, such as this Shortcake Acropora, tend to do better in an aquarium than corals collected from the ocean. This is because they are already adjusted to aquarium conditions such as lighting, flow, and water quality. Aquacultured corals have a much higher survival rate in aquariums, and they tend to flourish much earlier than some wild collected corals. Possibly the best part about aquacultured coral is that they are less likely to carry pests and disease. Although you should still dip aquacultured corals, this greatly decreases the chances of pest getting into your aquarium.