Pocillopora (and Stylophora)

Class Anthozoa, Order Scleractinia, Family Pocilloporidae, Genera Pocillopora and Stylophora


top photo by Mike LaPorte
bottom two photos by Charlie Ehlers

Common names: cauliflower coral
Natural origin: Indo-Pacific
Sensitivity (Level 3 to 4):
These corals can be quite sensitive and intolerant of unstable conditions. Though not impossible to keep, they require experienced care and well established aquariums.
Feeding: Small polyp corals, they have poor prey capture ability and need food of very small particle size. In a well fed tank with a variety of food, additional feeding might not be necessary.
Lighting (Level 6 to 10): Though adaptable, Pocillopora 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 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 with all corals, sudden changes in lighting conditions can result in bleaching. Be sure to acclimate properly.
Water flow: Like Acropora spp. and Montipora spp., these corals need strong water flow for effective feeding, health and growth.
Placement: These are not aggressive corals and can be overgrown or out-competed by faster growing or more aggressive neighbors.
General: Some species are confused for branching Montipora spp. Fortunately, care requirements are mostly similar for both corals. Steady tank parameters and calcium levels of at least 420 ppt will promote coral health and growth. Pocillopora spp. can grow relatively fast under favorable conditions. A brooding coral, Pocillopora can sexually reproduce in captivity.