This coral, like most corals in the hobby, originates from the Indo-Pacific. It can be found off the shores of Fiji, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, and on the Great Barrier Reef. Although, the frags sold here are aquacultured by ORA. Rather than being collected from the ocean, they are grown in aquariums and then fragged to be sold to hobbyists such as yourself. There are lots of benefits to aquacultured corals that will be discussed below. Pavona are generally easy to keep corals. They may require a little more care than the average beginner soft coral, but they are certainly easier than Acropora or montipora. Pavona cactus corals prefers medium lighting, which translates to 50-150 micromoles of PAR. There is no benefit to higher lighting, which tends to bleach the coral instead. If you have higher lighting but still want to keep this coral, it is important to acclimate it to the higher light very slowly. Spend a few months gradually moving this coral into higher light to lower the chances of bleaching. Concerning flow, provide lots of water movement for this coral. Strong flow helps keep the coral clean of detritus and it add allows the tentacles to move and blow around, which looks nice. Ideally, the flow should be irregular and random to avoid dead spots and to promote proper growth. Flow also helps carry nutrients and elements to the coral. Next, let’s talk about parameters. Being a stony coral, Pavona requires at least somewhat consistent levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. These are levels you should test at least once a month or more if you are dosing or using a calcium reactor. If you run into problems with these levels, it will like be from overdosing rather than dosing too little. Keep your nitrates at 1-5 ppm and your phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. The temperature should be between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable. Lastly, let’s discuss feeding. Pavona have tiny polyps that don’t consume coral food well. They are also considered photosynthetic because they contain photosynthetic algae that provide most of their nutritional needs. For these reasons, feeding Pavona can be counterproductive. However, dosing your aquarium with phytoplankton and regularly adding copepods will be plenty to feed this coral and keep it happy.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: You can place this coral anywhere in your aquarium as long as its lighting and flow needs are met.
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
So, what’s the big deal with aquacultured corals? Aquacultured corals such as this Pavona Cactus coral from ORA are well adapted to aquarium conditions such as lighting, flow, and water chemistry. They are also overall hardier than corals collected from the ocean. Along with that, they are far less likely to carry pests and diseases, though you should still dip and/or quarantine them to be safe. These aspects make aquacultured corals much more likely to survive and do well in your aquarium. On top of all that, they are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Keep your aquarium free of pests and do your part to decrease the impact the hobby has on the ocean by choosing aquacultured corals!