Acropora - Pearl Berry (Acropora sp.)
Family: Acroporidae (Stony Corals)
Habitat: These corals are found in nearly every reef habitat, from lagoons to high tidal surge areas.
Light: High Water Flow: High Space: 100+ gal.
Reef Safe: Yes Care Level: Difficult Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: These corals have zooxanthellae which provide much of their nutrition. It is believed they also feed on microzooplankton and directly absorb some nutrients from the water.
Natural History: The Acropora are the dominant reef builders of the world. They are fast growers, have a high metabolism, and are extremely adaptable. Some species grow in high light and strong water current, while others grow in deeper water and prefer sheltered locations. Their skeletons are porous and lightweight with corallites at the light-colored branch tips. The Acropora includes species that represent nearly every possible color. There are branching (Staghorn), Bushy, Custer, Bottlebrush, Finger, Tabular (Table), Plate, and Column body forms. Large colonies may reach 10 feet tall.
Husbandry: Ironically, the Acropora are difficult to keep in the home aquarium. Strong and mixed water flow combined with high light and difficult food requirements are part of the story. Acropora are vulnerable to nearly every coral disease. They will take weeks to begin to grow (slowly) after introduction to an aquarium and they do not transport easily. Specimens should have growing axial corallites, indicated by the differently-colored branch tips. These corals are very vulnerable to temperature and water chemistry fluctuations. They should be acclimated slowly and not moved frequently in captivity.
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