Pavona Coral Care
Pavona are commonly referred to as Cactus Corals as several of their growth forms resemble cacti. They are a fast growing SPS Coral and can quickly form a large colony from a single frag. They are considered one of the easiest SPS corals to care for. Please see below for more care tips for Pavona as well as checking out our Top 5 Tips for setting up a reef.
Indo-Pacific - Islands of the Indo-Pacific including Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef.
Pavona do best in Medium lighting. Pavona generally do not change color as much as other SPS corals, and do not really benefit from higher lighting than they need. Lights that are too bright tend to bleach the coral. If you already have strong lighting, it may require a longer acclimation period to intense lighting such as metal halides and higher wattage LED's.Low Light
Low light translates to about 30-50 PAR
Medium Light is between 50-150 PAR
High Light is anything over 150 PAR
Lighting is a loaded topic, so for a more in-depth discussion of lighting, please see our Deep Dive article.
Strong water movement is recommended. This is for two reasons, first it both carries food to the colony better and keeps detritus from building on the colony. When detritus settles on the coral, it can die back and unfortunately the different growth forms all can fall victim to dead flow areas. The second reason is aesthetically it looks nice to see the tentacles blow around. One of the major criticisms of SPS dominant aquariums is a lack of movement in the corals themselves. You kind of have to find movement when you can, so in the more furry examples of Pavona, a good strong current can produce a nice aesthetic.
Pavona relies heavily on the products of their zooxanthellae but also may feed on rotifers and similarly sized microfauna in the water column. Placing a Pavona colony does require a bit of forethought because this type of stony coral has sweeper tentacles that can damage nearby corals.
This genus for the most part has been propagated extensively in captivity and is an excellent candidate for aquaculture. Pavona are very fast growing and it is reasonable to believe that a sustainable harvest can be achieved in time. See the video below for tips on propagating this SPS coral.
Proper acclimation is extremely important considering the stress imposed on the animals by the shipping process. Please take a moment to review our Acclimation Guide.
The images were taken with a Canon 5D mk II and 100mm macro lens under T5 Fluorescent lighting. Quite a lot goes into how we go about shooting the corals and anemones you see on Tidal Gardens. For an in-depth look at our methods, check out our comprehensive Reef Aquarium Photography FAQ.