The Turquoise Staghorn is a staghorn Acropora with lots of open space between its branches. The corallites are uniform and close together. adding a pleasant texture to the coral. Of course, the star factor of this coral is its color. It boasts bright blue growth tips and an amazing turquoise coloration that looks great up close and from the other side of the room. Keep in mind that Acropora often changes color depending on the lighting and other tank conditions. Sometimes the coral may appear more teal or even gray.
Acropora are one of the most common corals in the ocean. They can be found all over the world, but are mostly collected from the Indo-Pacific. The Turquoise Staghorn is aquacultured by ORA. Instead of being collected from the ocean, these corals are grown in aquariums and then fragged to be sold to hobbyists such as yourself. Aquacultured corals come with many benefits that we will discuss later.
For many hobbyists, Acropora are one of the hardest corals to keep. This challenge is also part of the reason they are so popular, along with the amazing coloration and fast growth, of course. In case you’re unfamiliar with keeping Acropora, let’s go over the basic care requirements to help you determine if this coral is right for you and your aquarium.
To start, let’s talk about lighting. Acropora are light demanding corals. In order to display the amazing coloration that we all want, these corals require high light. It is best to give these corals 200-300 micromoles of PAR. If you are experienced with keeping Acropora, you can give them even higher light, but there is some risk involved with this. Before placing your Acropora in high light, you need to acclimate them. Do this by starting the coral in more moderate light and gradually moving it into higher light during a month or even a few months. This will greatly reduce the risk of bleaching and color loss.
Acropora require strong water movement. Water movement is important because it keeps the coral clean of detritus and algae while also providing it with needed nutrients and macro elements. Ideally, the flow should be irregular and random. This will prevent dead spots and promote proper growth. Acropopora really love flow and benefit from higher flow. If you think you are providing enough flow, you probably should still provide more. While you could hypothetically give these corals too much flow, you are much more likely to give too little.
Moving on, let’s discuss water chemistry next. Acropora are fast growing stony corals, and because of this, they consume a lot of elements require for calcification. To keep this coral happy and healthy, you need to maintain stable levels of calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium. For new hobbyists, this may present challenges. Maintaining these ions often requires the use of a calcium reactor, dosing system, or kalkwasser.
As for other parameters, keep the temperature around 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable. Keep the nitrates around 1-5 ppm and the phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0.
Lastly, let’s talk about feeding. Acropora get most of their nutritional needs from the products of their zooxanthellae. For this reason, they do not need to be fed. However, feeding can promote overall coral health, better coloration, and faster growth. If you want to feed your Acropora, ensure that the food particle size is small enough and don’t over do it. Too much feeding can cause nutrient spikes, which is counterproductive. A safe method for feeding is dosing live phytoplankton and amino acids.
Purchase Size: 1 – 2 “
Placement: Middle to top.
Flow: Moderate to strong.
Parameters: 72-78° F, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 32-35 ppt
Calcium: 350-450 ppm
Alkalinity: 8-12 dKH
Magnesium: 1,250-1,350 ppm
Aquacultured corals such as this Turquoise Staghorn from ORA are hardier and better adapted for aquarium life. They are far less likely to carry pests and disease, but you should still dip and/or quarantine to be safe. On top of all that, these corals are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.