Updated August 11, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
The Birdsnest Coral is a small polyp stony (SPS) coral that can be challenging to keep if you have never kept sps corals before. The Pink Birsdnest takes the shape of it's common name as it grows. There are also a couple of color variations being marketed as birdsnest corals but not sure if they are just different species. Water requirements are most likely the same.
Many hobbyists will start out with just a frag of it and it will grow well for them provided they can meet a few preliminaries. Price wise, they can be purchased anywhere from $20 - $60 for a small frag and much more for larger coral frags.
Let's get to the conditions needed to keep them. For the water flow in the aquarium you will need moderate (when small) to high indirect or turbulent flow as it grows. Not giving them enough flow can lead to algae growing on the branches or branch tips. Don't blast the pump outputs or power heads directly at them though. You could damage them.
Keep the alkalinity (2.5 meq/L), pH (8.2 - 8.4), salinity and calcium (400 to 450 ppm) on target at all times. Some also dose strontium. But unless you have a test kit for strontium, how do you know if what you are dosing is working or doing any good? Also, I wouldn't even try to keep them if I didn't have a protein skimmer. Keep the dissolved organics as low as possible.
For the lighting requirements, Birdsnest Coral will do great under metal halides and should do fine too under VHO and T5 fluorescent lights. LED's are viable options now too. Power compacts might be ok in smaller tanks and placed higher in the water column so that the most light can reach them.
They have photosynthetic algae (zooxanthellae) growing in their tissue so lighting is critical. The use of activated carbon may be needed to keep the water polished so that the maximum amount of light can penetrate deeper into the water column. Yellowing compounds (which activated carbon removes) can limit the amount of light that reaches the corals.
Once your Birdsnest Coral starts growing nicely for you consider fragging it and trading with other hobbyists at your local aquarium club or online. This SPS coral usually has fairly good demand for it.
Birdsnest Coral Care
Scientific Name : Seriatopora hystrix
Common Names : Pink Birdsnest Coral
Care Level : Moderate to Difficult. Only get a birdsnest frag if your water parameters are in great shape and you can meet all the other requirements mentioned in this article.
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 : Buy Aquacultured frags when you can. They originate from Tonga, the Red Sea, the Indo-Pacific, Fiji, etc.
Temperament / Behavior : It can sting and be stung by other corals and will grow nicely if given the right conditions, so give it plenty of space to grow.
How to Frag : Rather easy to frag. Many hobbyists simply break off a piece of it to frag it, but it's better to make a clean cut and then glue it to a frag plug.
Food : Direct feeding is not completely necessary. Some do try to target feed them and if you plan on doing this use caution and feed sparingly. It can be difficult to feed the coral while not polluting the tank, especially with high output lights. This can bring on algae headaches.
Light : High Lighting Levels - T5's or Metal Halides are recommended. Generally speaking, with metal halides you could place them in the middle regions. With T5 you would need to place them towards the top for faster growth rates and better coloration.
Water Movement : Moderate to High indirect flow is required. While they are small frags it can be easy to get them the flow they need but as they get large it becomes more difficult to give them enough flow. Sometimes you will start to get hair algae growing on the branches. Up the flow and see if it helps.
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.
Birdsnest Coral Comments and Tips
We had some difficulty with our pink birdsnest getting the algae growing on it as it was growing larger. We tried what was recommended in your article and it seems to be working! We also plan on getting a new skimmer soon so that should help keep the organics limited. It started as about a 1 inch frag and now it is the size of a softball!
Related Coral Profiles
They can be quite hardy once acclimated and they come in several color variations ranging from green (pictured) to pink or red to purple to tan. Some grow as encrusting and others are whirling.
A branching SPS coral that is a fast grower.
An encrusting monti coral that grows finger like projections. Fast growing under T5's or metal halides with moderate to high turbulent flow.