Updated September 24, 2018
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
Acropora corals are one of the primary reef builders in world's oceans and they are highly sought after by reef tank hobbyists for their remarkable growth rates and intense colors.
Fragging acropora can be a fairly lucrative hobby if you have a good base to start with. You can trade acropora coral frags in at the store for credit, trade with other reef tank keepers and even sell them online. There is a demand for this coral, especially tank grown acropora since it helps lessen the burden on the reefs and most educated hobbyists nowadays will pay a little more knowing that it was captive grown.
There are literally tons of different species of Acropora (pronounced ah-crop-or-ah or ak-roh-pohr-ah). You can find them sporting colors all across the board such as baby blue, green, purple, brown, yellow, etc. Care wise the majority of the different acro species require the following:
- High lighting levels
- High, variable and turbulent water flow from power heads or wave makers.
- Stable water temperature - 75°F - 82°F (24°C - 28°C)
- Very low levels of nitrate and phosphate - unchecked, these two can really decrease the growth rates in acros
- Stable and high levels of calcium (400 - 450 ppm), magnesium and alkalinity
- Keep marine pests such as crabs and acropora eating nudibranchs to a minimum
Keeping your water parameters in line and stable using the above recommendations will help increase the growth rate of your sps corals. Along with good flow, high lighting levels, proper calcium and alkalinity levels, keeping nitrate and phosphate levels low have really helped increase the rate of growth in the acroporas I've personally kept. You need good water flow to both wash away waste and bring food to your corals.
Light helps the zooxanthellae living within the coral provide food/energy which helps convert calcium and carbonate ions into new coral. So keeping all of these where they should be is vital.
It goes without saying, but keeping marine pests such as acropora eating nudibranchs and invertebrates such as hermit crabs out of the tank will help in growth rates. When buying acro frags try to get the biggest one possible. Tiny frags (like 1 cm sized) take forever to start growing and I personally avoid any frags under 3 to 4 inches. Another tip is to place your acros on their sides to get better growth. Many hobbyists will place them vertically but that can limit the amount of direct light that they receive. Positioning them horizontally in my own tanks I've noticed a noticeably higher rate of growth!
Try to keep this coral in sps only tanks. If you mix them in with anemones and lps corals you may have trouble getting them to grow and color up. Although unseen with the eye, chemical warfare amongst the corals is happening inside the tank and the corals may be using energy just to survive. Running activated carbon can help remove these chemicals released by the corals and the AC will help clean the dissolved organics out of the water which in turn will help increase light penetration.
Once these acropora coral establish themselves in your tank and provided that you have the correct water parameters they can be very fast growers. You will have no troubles unloading some of your frags to friends.
Acropora Coral Care
Scientific Name : Acropora spp.
Common Names : tons of different common names such as staghorn, green slimer, etc.
Care Level : Moderate to high. SPS coral often require more specialized equipment such as high output lighting, calcium reactors or two-part dosing (calcium and alkalinity) and increased water flow. In general, high water flow, high lighting levels and optimal water conditions are required.
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, Pacific Ocean, etc
How to Frag : SPS corals are some of the easiest to frag. Even though many reef tank keepers just simply break off frags it's a better to idea to make a clean break using sharp pliers or other suitable coral tools.
Food : Weekly feeding sessions of rotifers and dissolved marine organics have proven beneficial.
Light : High light levels are usually required. Adjust as needed though. Seems to do well under T5's and Metal Halides. If you are using T5's or power compacts you may have to place it higher in the tank. We've grown them for years in the middle to upper levels of the tank under T5 lights.
Water Movement : High turbulent flows are needed. Too much flow in one direction is not good. Check the vortech pumps which can provide a really good turbulent and varied flow pattern.
Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk
Site 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.
More Acropora Types
Acropora spp. Bali Slimer
Acropora spp. deepwater
Acropora spp. Tri-color
Acropora Coral Comments and Tips
High flow, high lighting levels, high calc and alk (calcium reactor FTW) are key with Acropora. I have about 7 different acro species and sell 1 inch frags for about $25 a piece to my local store and online.
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