The Large Polyp Stony (LPS) coral Acanthastrea spp. is still expensive even as of 2012. We've been watching the prices on these acans corals for years and for some reason they are still one of the more expensive out there even though they are fragged relatively easily.
Although individual specimens of Acanthastrea coral can vary, in general they require moderate water flow and moderate lighting. Being photosynthetic they need light. For T5's, VHO's and metal halide owners, when you first get them it's a good idea to acclimate them to the bottom of the tank and slowly work them up the rock work until you find the right spot for them. You could probably keep them with power compacts too if you placed them towards the top of the tank. Again, this being a general care profile on Acanthastrea some species may want different lighting levels. Experiment and see what works best for your coral.
Along with the right lighting, Acanthastrea coral will do well when kept fed. You can feed them tiny pieces of marine origin foods. Foods like mysis, brine shrimp, minced oysters or clams fresh from the seafood bar are just a few ideas. Turn off the power heads and use a feeding device such as the sea squirt or a turkey baster to slowly release the food over their polyps.
Acanthastrea coral can expel mesenterial filaments for defensive or offensive actions upon neighbor corals. Give them space with stable water conditions, i.e. calcium, alkalinity, pH, salinity, magnesium and temps, offer them appropriate foods periodically and they should do fine. Once they are growing nicely for you consider fragging some and trading or giving them to friends in the hobby. See the notes on how to frag Acanthastrea below.Acanthastrea Coral Pictures
Scientific Name : Acanthastrea spp.
Common Names : Acans, Moon coral
Care Level : Easy to moderate. Although still pricey, this could be a good first LPS coral. Moderate lighting and moderate flow with supplemental target feedings periodically will work well.
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
Acanthastrea Coral Temperament / Behavior : A Large Polyped Stony (LPS) coral that will grow when fed and given moderate flow and moderate lighting. Give them plenty of space to grow and so they are not bothered by more aggressive tank mates. They can also be aggressive as they get larger and grow more polyps.
How to Frag Acanthastrea Coral : Although the initial price tag of this coral can make you wince or induce a case of the dry heaves at the thought of fragging it, it can be quite easily propagated when kept in good conditions and fed frequently with tiny pieces of marine meaty foods. You can cut the corallite below the polyp and then attach to a frag plug. Some have even halved polyps with a razor blade with success. Keep the frags in optimal saltwater conditions, feed them and they should start growing nicely.
Acanthastrea Coral Food : Will grow faster and do much better when kept well fed. Target feedings with very small (tiny) pieces of fresh marine origin foods offered when lights are out and the feeding tentacles are extended. Gently push the food towards the feeding tentacles.
Acanthastrea Coral Light : Moderate light levels are usually fine. Adjust as needed though. Seems to do well under power compacts, T5's and Metal Halides. If you are using power compacts you may have to place it higher in the tank.
Water Movement : Moderate flows are good to keep the polyps expanded. Too much flow could make it more difficult for them to feed at night.
Author : Mike FishLore
- 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.
- Acanthastrea Coral on CoralLore.com
- Good Lordhowensis! - nice article by Calfo and Borneman on the ridiculous price tags of some acans.
Mine are kept in the bottom half of the tank under metal halides. I've given them plenty of room to grow without competition from neighboring corals. I'd like to note that I don't feed mine. Grow rates are rather slow it seems, but I'm going to start feeding them and see if there is a difference in growth rates. I don't have any plans to frag them at this time. Thanks! TBone.
I just bought what I thought was a blasto welsi (blastomussa), after getting home and putting the frag in my tank, the polyps fully extended and its a acan 7 heads pink and white striped and paid 29.00 dollars. I am hooked though its awesome coloring.
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