Updated September 24, 2018
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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 nitrates 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 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 : 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.
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.
Pavona Coral Comments
Related Coral Articles
Although individual specimens of Acanthastrea coral can vary, in general they require moderate water flow and moderate lighting.
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.
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.