Montipora are one of the most popular corals in the hobby, second only to Acropora. It’s one of those corals that are always popular despite rarely being the hot coral. Montipora are also common on the reef. They can be found all over the Indo-Pacific, but the frags of Montipora sold here are aquacultured by ORA. Instead of being collected from the ocean, these corals are grown in aquariums and then fragged to be sold to hobbyists such as yourself.
Montipora are generally not as difficult to keep as Acropora, but they are slightly more difficult than other SPS such as seriatopora and pocillopora. Montipora can be suitable for the dedicated beginner, but it requires some knowledge first. Let’s go over the basic care requirements for keeping the ORAnge Montipora Setosa.
Lighting is incredibly important for keeping corals like Montipora. Montipora require strong lighting, though they will tolerate moderate lighting if that’s all you can provide. Ideally, you should provide 200-300 micromoles of PAR. Arguably more important than reaching a specific amount of lighting, is acclimating the coral to the lighting. Start the coral in low or moderate light and gradually move it into higher light. Doing this will greatly reduce the risk of bleaching. If you keep this coral in very intense light, over 300 micromoles of PAR, the orange tends to appear pink even if it is acclimated properly. In case you’re wondering, the best lighting spectrum for this coral is 14,000-20,000 Kelvin, though that is what most common LED fixtures put out anyway.
Next, let’s discuss flow. Montipora, like most SPS corals, enjoy lots of flow. They like strong flow, but usually not to the degree Acropora enjoy flow. Moderate to strong flow is best, just not too strong as the thicker growth can act as a sail for the water, potentially pushing the coral of the rock if the flow is too strong. Provide enough flow to keep the coral clean of any waste or detritus. Ideally, the flow should be irregular and random to avoid dead spots and to promote proper growth. Flow is important because it gives the coral access to needed nutrients and base elements while keeping it clean.
Speaking of base elements, let’s talk about water chemistry. Montipora are not as sensitive to fluctuations with calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium as Acropora, but the more stable you can keep these levels, the better. Keeping lots of stony corals usually requires the implementation of a calcium reactor, dosing, or kalkwasser, which require knowledge and experience to use correctly. Something to note is that Montipora are particularly sensitive to low magnesium, so if you’re having issues, test your magnesium levels.
As for some other ideal parameters levels, keep your nitrates around 1-5 ppm and your phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. The temperature should be 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable.
Lastly, let’s discuss feeding. Montipora contain an algae called zooxanthellae which provides most of the coral’s nutritional needs via photosynthesis. However, the coral can benefit from broadcast feeding. Dosing phytoplankton and amino acids is particularly beneficial because it will feed your corals without causing nutrient spikes.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: Bottom to middle.
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
Aquacultured corals such as this ORAnge Setosa are better adapted to aquarium life and overall hardier than corals collected from the ocean. They are also far less likely to carry pests and diseases, though you should still dip and/or quarantine them to be safe. On top of all that, they are more sustainable and more environmentally friendly!