Acropora are one of the most prominent corals in the ocean. They are also one of the most popular coral genus in the reef aquarium hobby. Although Acropora are found all around the world, most species in the hobby originate from the Indo-Pacific. The Orchid Berry Acropora was collected from the ocean at some point, but is now aquacultured by ORA. Many ORA corals have spent considerable time in the hobby before becoming aquacultured. These corals are grown in aquariums and then fragged to be sold to hobbyists such as yourself. They are better adapted to aquarium life, making them easier to care for.
While aquacultured Acropora are easier to care for than those that are collected from the wild, they are still challenging to keep. However, with proper knowledge, determination, and practice, anyone can keep these beautiful corals successfully. In case you are unfamiliar with Acropora, you can read on to learn the care requirements.
To start, Acropora require moderate to high lighting. Most Acropora species do best under 200-300 micromoles of PAR. There are some hobbyists that give there Acropora 500+ micromoles of PAR, but this requires experience and caution. To decrease the risk of bleaching and color loss, you should acclimate your Acropora before placing them under intense lighting. Start the coral in dim or moderate light. During a period of a few weeks or months, gradually move the coral into higher light until the ideal placement is reached.
Water movement is crucial for the health of Acropora. It removes detritus while providing essential ions and nutrients required for growth. Provide your Acropora with moderate to strong flow. Ideally, the flow should be irregular and random to promote proper growth and prevent dead spots.
Acropora are fast growing stony corals, one of the fastest. Because of this, they require elevated levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium that are also stable. To achieve this, you will likely need to implement a dosing system or calcium reactor. These supplementation methods are effective, though they can cause stability issues if you use them improperly. Test your water chemistry frequently and take extra caution to provide the most stability possible.
Keep your nitrates around 1-5 ppm and phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. This is a safe range to be in, though many hobbyists have had success outside this range. Maintain a stable temperature between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Acropora do not need to be fed because the zooxanthellae algae within the coral provide a large portions of its nutritional needs. However, Acropora, along with other corals, may achieve better coloration, faster growth, and greater overall health with external feeding. Live foods such as live phytoplankton and copepods are ideal food sources because they are extremely nutritious but don’t cause nutrient spikes, unlike many frozen and dry foods.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2″
Placement: This coral should be placed in the middle or top of the aquascape.
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 Australian Orchid Berry Acropora from ORA are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Purchasing aquacultured corals instead of those collected from the ocean helps to discourage further collection from already delicate reef environments. Aquacultured corals are also better adapted to aquarium life, hardier, easier to care for, and less likely to carry pests than corals collected from the ocean.