Acropora microclados come in many different color strains and shapes, such as the ORA Shortcake Acropora. ORA’s Shortcake variety has a very interesting texture, with compact, spike-like branches and tubular-shaped corallites. Overall, the coloration of the corallites are more on the red side, and the edges of mature branches grow to carry a greenish-teal coloration. ORA’s Shortcake Acro has a lot of polyp extension, just like other varieties of Acropora microclados.
Acropora microclados is found on the upper slopes of shallow reefs in depths ranging from 20-70 feet of water. The distribution of Acropora microclados provides some clues as to what type of conditions this coral demands in captivity. Acropora microclados is typically found in the cleanest and most oxygenated water on the planet.
Acropora microclados is classified as a vulnerable species with natural populations declining. This coral is distributed in regions throughout the Red Sea, Indo-Pacific, and Indian Ocean.
The ORA Shortcake can grow well in a wide range of lighting and water turbulence. However, like most SPS, this Acropora species requires very specific conditions to thrive. To keep its color, the Shortcake Acropora needs a substantially moderate to high water flow and bright light. When the right PAR levels are given, ORA’s Shortcake Acropora can be grown with T5s, Metal Halides, or LEDs. Regardless of the fixture, a color spectrum between 14K and 20K is ideal to maintain the coloration and overall health of this Acropora species.
It’s crucial to keep the water parameters consistent for success with the Shortcake Acropora. Maintain the levels of calcium (420–440 ppm), alkalinity (8–9.5 dKH), and magnesium (1260–1350 ppm). Nitrates should be less than 10 ppm, and phosphates should also be under 10 ppm.
SPS corals are more high-maintenance than others, and the ORA Shortcake Acropora is no exception. Because of this, this coral might not be the best choice for beginners. Ensure that the water parameters stay as consistent as possible. We cannot stress enough how crucial chemical stability is for the Shortcake Acropora! Although appropriate levels of alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium are also good, the values themselves are not as vital as their stability is.
Attention to lighting and water flow is important for good placement of ORA’s Shortcake Acro. Mount the Shortcake Acropora frag with gel glue, putty, or both, on a rock or ledge that sticks out into the tank and gets direct flow and light.
Lighting: Medium to high intensity (PAR 350-450)
Flow: Moderate to strong
Parameters: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025, Mg 1260-1350, Nitrates <10ppm, Phosphates, < .10ppm
Calcium: 400-440 ppm
Diet: Zooxanthellate; benefits from regular feedings of OceanMagik Live Phytoplankton