Montipora originate from regions in the Indo-Pacific. Most Montipora in the hobby come from Indonesia and Australia. However, the frags of Montipora sold here are aquacultured by ORA. This means that the coral is grown in aquariums instead of being taken from the ocean. Aquacultured corals have lots of benefits that we will discuss below.
The Elkhorn Montipora has an olive green coloration with little to no polyp extension and white growth tips. The highlight of this coral is its odd growth pattern. This coral grows thin branches with intricate structures that appear crooked and contorted with large lumps and a thick base. Montipora are neither the easiest nor the most difficult SPS coral to keep. They are certainly hardier than Acropora and can withstand more fluctuations, but they still require some knowledge and skill. Let’s go over some of the basic care requirements for this coral. First, Montipora can be put in a fairly wide range of lighting conditions, at least compared to Acropora. Montipora can be put in medium to high light, though you need to be careful not to bleach this coral from too much light. This is especially important if this coral is going into an SPS system with intense lighting. To avoid bleaching, acclimate this coral to your lights by starting it low on your aquascape and gradually moving it up until it is at the ideal place. As for flow, this coral requires fairly moderate flow. The idea is to give just enough to stop detritus from settling on it. This Montipora may require more flow than a Montipora cap, but it doesn’t require nearly as much flow as Acropora. You can certainly give this coral too much flow, so put it somewhere with a moderate amount.
As for water chemistry, this coral is more tolerant than Acropora, but you should still keep your calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium elevated and as stable as possible. If you are a new hobbyist wanting to try your hand at SPS, this is a great coral because it offers a bit of a challenge but can survive and recover from some severe issues. As for other parameters, keep your temperature at 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable. Your nitrates should be 1-5 ppm and your phosphates should be just barely detectable. This coral does not need to be fed, and feeding is fairly pointless. Montipora, like most other common aquarium corals, contain a photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae, which provides the coral with most of its nutritional needs. You can try to feed this coral, but its small polyps and lack of polyp extension mean it will likely not eat any of the food. The food will just end up making your water dirty. If you feel you must provide something to feed this coral, dose your aquarium with phytoplankton as this will feed the coral without causing nutrient spikes.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: You can place this coral anywhere as long as its lighting and flow needs are met.
Lighting: Medium to high.
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
Because this coral is aquacultured by ORA, it is well adapted to aquarium conditions such as lighting, flow, and water chemistry. It is also overall hardier than coral collected from the ocean. This means it has a much higher chance of surviving and doing well in your aquarium. Aquacultured corals are also far less likely to carry pests and diseases, though you should still dip them to be safe.