Montipora capricornis is a plating Montipora. It grows large horizontal plates with rich, vibrant colors. The Pink Polyp Cap has an olive-green base with small, pink polyps.
Montipora are found all over the Indo-Pacific, but this particular coral is aquacultured by ORA. These corals are grown in aquariums instead of being collected from the ocean, which comes with benefits that we will discuss later.
Montipora are fairly middle-of-the-road when it comes to difficulty. They are not the easiest nor the most difficult corals to keep. For those that are unfamiliar with keeping Montipora, we’ll go over the basic care requirements to get you started.
Montipora are typically light loving corals, usually requiring 200-300 micromoles of PAR. ORA says that this Montipora does best with moderate light but can be kept under low to high light. Often times, it depends on the coloration you want. You may get a more vibrant coloration when the coral is under moderate lighting instead of high lighting. Regardless, you should always acclimate your corals to the light first. Start the coral in low light and gradually move it to the desired placement. This is done to reduce the chances of bleaching.
Montipora also prefer moderate to strong flow. Flow is important because it keeps the coral clean while providing it with needed nutrients and base elements. Ideally, the flow should be irregular and random to avoid dead spots. While this corals enjoys lots of water movement, there is such thing as too much. When Montipora capricornis grow large plates, the plates can act as a sail for the water flow, causing the coral to lift off the rock. Provide strong enough flow to keep the coral clean and happy but not so much that it is pushed off the rock.
Next, let’s talk about water chemistry. Montipora require elevated and stable levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. Large fluctuations can cause severe damage, so you need to keep it as stable as possible. Maintaining elevated base elements often requires a calcium reactor, dosing, or kalkwasser. While these methods work great, they also cause the most fluctuations if they aren’t used properly. So, be careful and do lots of research.
As for other parameters, keep the temperature at 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable. Keep the nitrates at 1-5 ppm and the phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0.
Lastly, let’s talk about feeding. Montipora get most of their nutritional needs from the products of their zooxanthellae, which is a result of photosynthesis. Like most corals, they can benefit from feeding. Because of the small polyp size, spot feeding Montipora isn’t necessary. It is better to simply dose your aquarium with live phytoplankton and amino acids. This will improve the coloration and increase the growth rate. If you want to feed dry or frozen foods, do so in moderation as these foods can cause harmful nutrient spikes.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: Bottom to middle. Avoid placing this coral above other corals because it may shade them out as it grows.
Lighting: Low 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
Because this coral is aquacultured, it is better adapted to aquarium life and better able to handle the stress of shipping than corals collected from the ocean. Aquacultured corals 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, these corals are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
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