Gumball Acanthastrea echinata XL
Acanthastrea echinata Coral Care
Acanthastrea as a genus got considerably smaller recently when the Acanthastrea lordhowensis got reclassified as a Micromussa lordhowensis. That leaves the echinata and bowerbanki as the most commonly seen species of Acans in the reef keeping hobby. Acanthastrea bowerbanki have the largest polyps of any Acans. These Acans do not have any special care requirements however they have a strong sting so it is advisable to give them plenty of space in your aquascape. Please see below for additional care tips for Acans as well as checking out our Top 5 Tips for setting up a reef.
A Word of Caution
It is important to note that this coral is aggressive to other Acans. They cannot be kept in contact with other types of Acanthastrea.
Acanthastrea are found around the islands of the Indopacific including Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef. Our Acanthastrea typically come from Australia.
Acanthastrea can be kept under a variety of light conditions ranging from dim to medium-high lighting. Here we have them under very low light T5 bulbs and relatively low light LED's. It is important to note that these LPS change color dramatically depending on the light they are provided. Despite the change in appearance from light, it does not appear to affect the health of the coral, just the aesthetics.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.
We recommend keeping the coral in a low to medium flow area of the reef display. Too much flow could cause this particular species to become stressed and not extend fully. Lower flow also provides more opportunities for feeding which we feel is an important part of keeping Acans healthy.
Acanthastrea in our opinion must be fed for long-term health. There are a variety of frozen fish foods available that make outstanding meals for Acans. We like to feed a mixture of meaty foods such as shrimp, fish, and squid with vitamin additives and highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA). Our Acans almost always have their feeding tentacles out (even during the daytime), which we view is a sign of good health.
In terms of propagation, this genus has been successfully fragmented. If you are interested in propagating them, take a look at our Acan propagation video below. The coral in the video is a Micromussa lord, but the same sort of care applies to echinata.
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.