Forest Fire Montipora digitata
Montipora Coral Care
Montipora are one of the most diverse SPS corals. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors and have been a staple in SPS dominated aquariums as well as mixed reef tanks. As for care, they can be sensitive to changes in tank parameters as well as demanding of both high flow and high light for peak health and coloration. Please see below for more care tips for Montipora as well as checking out our Top 5 Tips for setting up a reef.
Indo-Pacific - Montipora have a wide distribution are typically found around the islands of the Indo-Pacific including Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef.
Montipora love light. Intense lighting is recommended for best coloration and overall health. Use either Metal Halide lighting, a large bank of high output fluorescent or LED's. If not provided proper lighting, the colors of Montipora may fade. Like other SPS such as Acropora, Montipora can change colors dramatically depending on the type of light provided. Expect some changes in color when moving Montipora from system to system.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.
Moderate to High water movement is recommended. Like most SPS, reef hobbyists have been keeping Montipora in high flow aquariums for ages with a high degree of success. High water flow helps sweep away detritus from the coral as well as bring vital nutrients to their polyps.
Montipora relies heavily on the products of their zooxanthellae but to a lesser degree may feed on phytoplankton and similarly sized microfauna in the water column. Here at Tidal Gardens we do not go out of our way to feed Montipora, but they may benefit from a light dusting of rotifers or phytoplankton.
This genus for the most part has been propagated extensively in captivity and is an excellent candidate for aquaculture. It is reasonable to believe that a sustainable harvest can be achieved in time.
A Word of Caution
Montipora is a diverse genus of small polyp stony corals. They come in a variety of shapes and colors depending on where they were collected. Provided with proper conditions, they grow quickly and display wonderful coloration. They are much hardier than Acropora in that they do not bleach as readily, and are more resistant to coral diseases. Be careful what you place Montipora near. They do not have powerful nematocysts and will lose just about every territorial battle.
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.