As saltwater aquarium owners progress further and further into the hobby few will take on the challenge caring for SPS corals. Many SPS corals are categorized as Difficult to care for as they need an advanced understanding of water chemistry and generally very clean tank water. However, if you are looking at getting into SPS corals there are few corals more suited to ease the transition to the SPS world than Montipora corals.
Montipora corals come in various shapes and sizes. Three types most commonly found in the hobby are Montipora Capricornis, Montipora Digitata, and Encrusting Montipora.
Montipora Capricornis, generates a vast colony of plating structures as it grows outward. Color combinations include orange, purple, red, and even highlighter green. Care should be taken when locating a place for this coral to reside. As Montipora Capricornis corals grow they will cast a shadow on corals that have been placed below it.
Montipora Digitata, is considered a branching style SPS coral. Their growth structure is not uniform and can be considered more abstract rather than symmetrical. These corals can range in color as well with the color residing in the polyps more so than the coral structure its self.
Encrusting Montipora are a type of coral that will grow (encrusting) over what ever substrate it is attached to. This style of Montipora can have some of the most amazing color displays in the reef world.
These corals are considered to have a Moderate care level and tend to be the more hardy, lending them to be attractive to beginning through intermediate level reef keepers. Montipora prefer to be in the upper half of the tank, and enjoy a higher output lighting system such as Metal Halide, LED fixtures, but have been known to do well under T5 High Output fixtures as well. Moderate to High flow is recommended for all the Montipora species. These corals tend to be a more Peaceful coral, and have been known to be damaged by other more aggressive types of corals. However, once established these types of corals can become a main building block, even a showpiece coral in an amazing SPS or mixed reef tank. Overall, if you are looking at getting into SPS corals do yourself a favor and start here.
Check out this quick video, created by Tidal Gardens, on the different types of Montipora corals and their care requirements.
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