How to Take Care of Montipora Corals
Montipora corals are a popular choice among reef tank enthusiasts due to their striking appearance and easy-to-care-for nature. They come in a variety of colors, including green, purple, blue, red, and orange. They have three different growth forms, encrusting, branching, and plating. Encrusting montipora will grow onto whatever surface of the tank you place them on. Branching montipora will grow long delicate branches. Plating Montipora, also popularly known as Monti cap, or Montipora capricornis, will grow into rounded plates. In this article, we will discuss how to take care of Montipora corals to ensure they thrive in your reef tank.
Montis requires specific water parameters to thrive. These include a pH level above 7.8, preferably above 8.0, an alkalinity between 7 to 8.5 dKH, and a calcium level between 380 to 450 ppm. The water temperature should be between 74 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, and the salinity level should be kept between 1.025 to 1.026. Regular water testing is essential to ensure that these parameters are maintained at the required levels. Montis are sensitive to drops in nutrients, your aquarium should always have detectable phosphate and nitrate. The preferred range is phosphate of .01 to .50, and nitrates between 5-15 ppm. Avoid sudden drops in nutrients by avoiding GFO phosphate media and excessively large water changes. As with all corals, stability is key and avoid any large swings in water parameters.
Proper lighting is crucial for Montis. They require low to moderate lighting levels, with a PAR range of 60 to 200. LED lighting is the most popular choice among reef tank enthusiasts, as it provides the right spectrum and intensity of light required for the coral’s photosynthesis process. The lighting duration should be around 8 to 12 hours a day.
Montipora corals prefer moderate to high water flow. Adequate water flow helps the corals to get the necessary nutrients and oxygen, and also prevents the accumulation of waste materials around the coral. Water pumps, powerheads, or wave makers can be used to create water flow within the tank.
Montipora corals can receive nutrients through photosynthesis, but they can also benefit from regular feeding. They can be fed with coral foods like Polyp Lab Reef Roids or Benepets once or twice a week. Reduce feedings if nutrients become too high or if there is excessive algae growth.
When you purchase a new Montipora coral for your aquarium, be sure to acclimate it to your aquarium. Float the bag with the coral in your aquarium for 15 minutes to temperature acclimate. Then transfer the coral to a small container and add a small amount of tank water every 10 minutes and allow the coral to acclimate to your aquarium water parameters for 1-2 hours. At this point a coral dip can be used to prevent the spread of aquarium pests. We recommend using a tablespoon of Polyp Lab Reef Primer per 1 gallon of tank water for no longer than 15 minutes. At this point you can now place the coral on a frag rack for light acclimation. The frag rack should be placed mid to lower portion of the tank with good water flow. Keep the Monti there for 1-2 weeks so they can get used to your lighting. After light acclimation they can be permanently attached to your reef. Since they are fairly light weight, super glue gel or aquarium epoxy can be used to cement the frags to your reef aquarium rockwork. Most Montis will prefer spots with good water flow and moderate to low light, usually mid to lower part of the aquarium.
Montis are a hardy coral and can be broken into fragments even by hand! Using fragging tools like snips or diamond blade band saws, they can be easily fragged.
In conclusion, Montipora corals are a popular choice for reef tank enthusiasts due to their striking appearance and easy-to-care-for nature. They require specific water parameters, proper lighting, water flow, feeding, maintaining alkalinity and calcium to thrive.