Class Anthozoa, Subclass Hexacorallia, Order Scleractinia, Family Acroporidae, Genus Acropora

top two photos by Mike LaPorte
bottom photo by Gene Schwartz

Common names: staghorn coral, table coral, branching or plating Acropora Natural origin: Indo-Pacific, Caribbean
Sensitivity (Level 3 to 4):
Acropora species are relatively intolerant of unstable and less than ideal conditions.
Sensitivity varies widely depending on the particular species and whether wild or aquacultured. To increase chances of success, do not attempt to keep Acropora sp. in tanks that are less than a year old. Significant fluctuations in temperature and/or water quality can be deadly.
Feeding: These corals have small polyps and poor prey capture ability. They consume foods of very small particle size. For example, oyster eggs, with a particle size of about 50µ, are a good food for these corals. In a well fed tank with a variety of food, additional feeding might not be necessary.
Lighting (Level 7 to 10): Though adaptable, Acropora spp. tend to grow faster and fair better under more intense lighting. The ideal lighting for any particular coral will depend on the species and/or the depth and clarity of the water where it was collected or cultured. As with any zooxanthellate coral, coloration can change in response to changing lighting conditions. And as always, sudden changes in lighting conditions can result in bleaching. Be sure to acclimate properly.
Water flow: Acropora spp. need strong, turbulent water for effective feeding, good health and to prevent sediment damage. Place these corals in the highest area of water flow in the tank.
Placement: Place safely away from aggressive corals and be careful of fast-growing encrusting corals that will compete for space.
General: Acropora spp. are often vulnerable to disease and predation by certain species of coral-eating flatworms, nudibranches, and tiny crustaceans called "red bugs." To prevent an infestation, carefully inspect and quarantine all new corals for 2 to 3 weeks before allowing them into the main tanks. Steady, healthy calcium (400 to 450 ppm) and alkalinity (3.0 to 4.5 meq/L) levels are important for coral health and growth.