Aquarium Fish

Pavona Coral

The Pavona coral is an SPS coral that has similar requirements to acropora. They pavona pictured below is Pavona decussatus. They encrust what they are originally attached to and form fuzzy plates which sort of makes them look cactus like and one of the common names it has - cactus coral. This coral is usually sporting green, brown or light brown colors. They are fairly common and are easily fragged.

If you are used to keeping SPS corals then this will be an easy coral for you. If your water parameters are not in excellent condition or if you don't have the proper lighting or water movement devices you will want to pass on this coral. Give it plenty of room to grow when placing the frag in your reef tank. I have one that is slowly taking over a montipora digitata and appears to be more aggressive and potent than the montipora.

General Pavona Coral Care Requirements
  • Moderate to High lighting levels
  • High, variable and turbulent water flow
  • Water temperature - 75°F - 82°F (24°C - 28°C)
  • Very low levels of nitrate and undetectable phosphate levels (get a hanna phosphate checker) - these two can really decrease the growth rates
  • Maintain calcium level (400 - 450 ppm), magnesium and alkalinity

Pavona Coral Pictures

Pavona Coral Pavona decussata Coral

Pavona Coral Video

Pavona Coral Care

Scientific Name : Pavona decussata

Common Names : Cactus coral, Cabbage coral

Care Level : Moderate to high. Considered an SPS coral and will do well in moderate to high lighting with moderate to hight turbulent water flows.

pH : 8.2 - 8.4

Temperature : 75°F - 82°F (24°C - 28°C)

Water Hardness : 8° to 12° dH

Calcium : 400 - 450 ppm

Origin / Habitat : Indo-Pacific, Australia, Indian Ocean, along the middle to upper East coast of Africa

How to Frag Pavona Coral : Very easy, you can break off a piece and super glue it to a frag plug. Place the frag back into the same water it was in on the mother colony and let it heal up and encrust the frag plug if you plan on moving it to another tank.

Coral Food : You can try target feeding special SPS coral foods, but don't over feed and pollute the tank. They will get most of their nutritional needs from their symbiotic zooxanthellae.

Coral Light : Moderate to High light levels are needed. Metal halides, T5-HO and high output LEDs. If the coral is coming from a lower lighting environment acclimate it slowly to higher lighting levels by placing it lower in the tank and slowly raising it over a period of weeks.

Water Movement : High turbulent flows are preferred. Avoid one-way flows into this coral because it cause the polyps to stay retracted and eventually cause damage. Check the vortech pumps which can provide excellent turbulent and varied flow pattern.

Author : Mike FishLore

References :
- Borneman, Eric (2004). Aquarium Corals, Selection Husbandry and Natural History. T.F.H. Publications
- Calfo, Anthony (2007), Second Edition, Book of Coral Propagation. Reading Trees Publications.
- Sprung, Julian (1999), Corals: A Quick Reference Guide. Ricordea Publishing.





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