Acropora species and their relative care levels (for an acro newbie)

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cdw79

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Hi all, I've been slowly dipping my feet into acros and slowly gaining confidence. The system is about to hit one year old, things are stabilizing, and my "test" acros (PC Rainbow, VooDoo Magic from a friend, and recently a green slimer) have colored up and started actually encrusting, which has been really exciting to see. I've also been having success with a variety of montis for awhile now, with the odd exception. Definitely not a perfect track record, but as the months has passed I'm slowly getting more confident.

I've been looking at getting a battle box from battle corals, and just generally starting to peak into the world of high end acros. Previous advice I was given was to go with "classic" acros that have good success rates, but I have also heard about acros that are much less forgiving. I have tried googling this, looked for YouTube videos, etc., but most treat the genus as a monolith, but I know for sure there is at least some amount of variation.

Could anyone help me understand, or point me to resrouces that explain the difference between acro species? Are these newer named acros that haven't been in the hobby as long generally more delicate, specialized, or otherwise harder to keep? Any species to avoid, and how do I tell (given not all named acros seem to have their species listed after?

I'm excited to take this next step, but want to make sure I'm doing so in an informed fashion. Thank you so much in advance!
 

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Hi all, I've been slowly dipping my feet into acros and slowly gaining confidence. The system is about to hit one year old, things are stabilizing, and my "test" acros (PC Rainbow, VooDoo Magic from a friend, and recently a green slimer) have colored up and started actually encrusting, which has been really exciting to see. I've also been having success with a variety of montis for awhile now, with the odd exception. Definitely not a perfect track record, but as the months has passed I'm slowly getting more confident.

I've been looking at getting a battle box from battle corals, and just generally starting to peak into the world of high end acros. Previous advice I was given was to go with "classic" acros that have good success rates, but I have also heard about acros that are much less forgiving. I have tried googling this, looked for YouTube videos, etc., but most treat the genus as a monolith, but I know for sure there is at least some amount of variation.

Could anyone help me understand, or point me to resrouces that explain the difference between acro species? Are these newer named acros that haven't been in the hobby as long generally more delicate, specialized, or otherwise harder to keep? Any species to avoid, and how do I tell (given not all named acros seem to have their species listed after?

I'm excited to take this next step, but want to make sure I'm doing so in an informed fashion. Thank you so much in advance!
How big and how long has your tank been running, sis you use true live rock or dead rock and bottle cycle?
How about light what’s ya got there?

Personally i’d suggest going to the LFS and find low end SPS frags, if they die you’re not out big bucks. Many times under good lights those lame brown acros will change and color up, had it happen more times than i can count.
 
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cdw79

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Mentioned it a bit above but I'm hitting a year next week or so. I've had a few "starter" acros for awhile now with pretty solid results. I'm just trying to understand the different species of acros and what makes them different, especially on the care side, and any tips on how to ID properly.

The system is a Reefer 300XL (65 display, 15 sump), used Caribsea dry rock with bottled bacteria cycle (though it hasn't seemed to inhibit my success in any way and I'm content with it, although hopefully one day I can scape a new tank with the real stuff). I use two Hydra 32's running essentially full power on the blue side with a bump of white midday- I get mid to high 200's par iand high flow n the area I have in mind for the acros. So as I understand most acros would be set for success in those spaces, unless I'm mistaken. The current ones have done well at least!
 
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Lavey29

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I have the same tank at 1 year 7 months now. I started acros about the same as you did and have over 25 frags now with 99% success rate. I think your par might be low for certain acros that need 350 tp 400 for full color and health. However there are a variety that should grow ok at your par levels. I would just ask battle corals what they recommend for your set up.
 
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cdw79

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A great reference for Acro species is this site: http://www.coralsoftheworld.org/page/home/
Thank you! This looks like a great site to get immersed in, really appreciate the rec!


I have the same tank at 1 year 7 months now. I started acros about the same as you did and have over 25 frags now with 99% success rate. I think your par might be low for certain acros that need 350 tp 400 for full color and health. However there are a variety that should grow ok at your par levels. I would just ask battle corals what they recommend for your set up.
Interesting, I was under the impression that the 250 par range would be solid, but could definitely see something higher helping. What lighting do you use? I've though about trying to install a third light fixture potentially, but I can't help but feel like it would look awkward being different than the other two, and honestly I'm not even sure if I could mount it properly
 

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Thank you! This looks like a great site to get immersed in, really appreciate the rec!



Interesting, I was under the impression that the 250 par range would be solid, but could definitely see something higher helping. What lighting do you use? I've though about trying to install a third light fixture potentially, but I can't help but feel like it would look awkward being different than the other two, and honestly I'm not even sure if I could mount it properly
I use radion XR15 G5 pros at 70% on the AB plus setting. I guesstimate 400 par for my top rocks 6 to 8 inches below the surface. All of my acros in these areas have done well. I have some moderate light acros mid tank getting probably 250 to 300 par that have also done well. I think parameters, then light, then flow in that order are most important for corals.
 

BranchingHammer

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A note on identification: it can be extremely hard to differentiate between acro species, especially when the corals/colonies are smaller in size. Most named acros were never specifically identified as different species unless they are quite obviously one species or another (think millepora or tenuis). There are some general care requirements for species or groups of species like "millepora loves very high light and flow" and "don't dip smoothskins in most dips." But these are also generalizations in themselves. A lot of the care requirements are similar for most species of Acropora because of how closely related they are to each other and how many share the same wild habitat zones. However, each individual is different, and I find observation to be the most useful tool when trying to gauge where to place a coral/maximize growth and coloration.

I would highly recommend Battlecorals as a vendor. The closer a coral is to being from the wild, the less hardy it will be in your tank. This is what makes "chop-shops" sometimes undependable for acros. Repeatedly-aquacultured corals are the best source for hardy frags, which is why I trust places like Battlecorals for my acros. Just tell Adam what you're generally looking for and he will help you out. As for care requirements for different species, some species are harder to keep (ie smoothskins which can be finicky at times), and some definitely grow much slower than others (ie Acropora spathulata).
 

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Thank you! This looks like a great site to get immersed in, really appreciate the rec!



Interesting, I was under the impression that the 250 par range would be solid, but could definitely see something higher helping. What lighting do you use? I've though about trying to install a third light fixture potentially, but I can't help but feel like it would look awkward being different than the other two, and honestly I'm not even sure if I could mount it properly

250-350 should be fine for most Acropora. Some shallow water species may benefit from more PAR, but most simply become oversaturated and cease to have any benefit from the additional light energy. Dana Riddle did a study on this several years ago.

Chronic oversaturation can result in improved coloration in some corals, which is why it is often done.

Regardless, you should be fine to start keeping the vast majority of Acropora and other SPS with your current lighting system.
 
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cdw79

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Thanks everyone for all the insight! I realized I was looking at my PAR ratings picture back when I was at 80% intensity (I took a pic of the display and drew the PAR values over it on each spot for future reference). The updated one has me at upper 200's and a couple 300+ areas, so that's encouraging.

Based on what you all were saying though, which acros are shallow water varieties? I think I recall reading that anything with smooth skin are deep water, but that they're more sensitive to the other parameters involved, so should I be steering clear of them for now?
 

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I have the same tank too. It’s mixed reef running 2 x xr15 g 5 pro. Ab+ 75% intensity. 12pp 2hr ramps either side. Need a par meter. @Lavey29 U have one or guesstimate lol. Keep my acro high up and agree w aquacultured colonies being hardier. Just need quality. I’m a
Fan of Shane @SBB Corals, Dan @TCK Corals Adam @Battlecorals Ann @Living Reef Orlando @Acro76 Cherry Corals the boys @RiptideAquaculture and Jason Fox for good healthy corals and they stand behind their products. They are all in my system. Good source http://www.coralsoftheworld.org/.
good read and reference https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/high-end-tenuis-hoarder.757551/
Current look 2 years in. Moved the middle frag rack to side. Good luck w the acro journey
69DA5912-653D-461C-B6CE-F4976F1ADE62.jpeg
2E9DB59C-CE9D-454A-A0EE-BAC17268481B.jpeg
 

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Thanks everyone for all the insight! I realized I was looking at my PAR ratings picture back when I was at 80% intensity (I took a pic of the display and drew the PAR values over it on each spot for future reference). The updated one has me at upper 200's and a couple 300+ areas, so that's encouraging.

Based on what you all were saying though, which acros are shallow water varieties? I think I recall reading that anything with smooth skin are deep water, but that they're more sensitive to the other parameters involved, so should I be steering clear of them for now?
U can try Hawkins echinata or other dragon type corals which are smooth skins and do well
 
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cdw79

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I have the same tank too. It’s mixed reef running 2 x xr15 g 5 pro. Ab+ 75% intensity. 12pp 2hr ramps either side. Need a par meter. @Lavey29 U have one or guesstimate lol. Keep my acro high up and agree w aquacultured colonies being hardier. Just need quality. I’m a
Fan of Shane @SBB Corals, Dan @TCK Corals Adam @Battlecorals Ann @Living Reef Orlando @Acro76 Cherry Corals the boys @RiptideAquaculture and Jason Fox for good healthy corals and they stand behind their products. They are all in my system. Good source http://www.coralsoftheworld.org/.
good read and reference https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/high-end-tenuis-hoarder.757551/
Current look 2 years in. Moved the middle frag rack to side. Good luck w the acro journey
69DA5912-653D-461C-B6CE-F4976F1ADE62.jpeg
2E9DB59C-CE9D-454A-A0EE-BAC17268481B.jpeg


Such a beautiful tank! interesting you opted for the powerhead on the back wall, mine are on either end of the tank. I was going to ask about Hawkins in particular, as a local reefer had said it was incredibly hardy for him but I saw it was smooth skinned so I shied away from a frag. In what ways should those smooth skinned acros be treated different from the "normal" varieties?
 

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Identification of Acropora species is an interesting topic. Carden Wallace and John "Charlie" Veron were considered the experts on this topic and worked together on the taxonomy particularly of this genus but on corals in general, however, when they released their books (Staghorn Corals of the World and Corals of the World) in 1999 and 2000 respectively, they were quite far apart on how many species there were in the genus Acropora. Identification was done based on structures and there was a fairly high level of hybridisation assumed. A mate of mine now has Carden Wallace's old job and they are reviewing the taxonomy of a range of corals, working particularly on the genera Acropora and Montipora. Identification of species is now much more based on genetics and the level of hybridisation is now thought to be significantly lower than what was assumed and the number of species is likely to be much higher.

A note on identification: it can be extremely hard to differentiate between acro species, especially when the corals/colonies are smaller in size. Most named acros were never specifically identified as different species unless they are quite obviously one species or another (think millepora or tenuis).
Interestingly, A. tenuis was the one species mentioned last time we were talking and this species will be split into different species as the one from Fiji is not the same as the one found on the GBR.
 

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Such a beautiful tank! interesting you opted for the powerhead on the back wall, mine are on either end of the tank. I was going to ask about Hawkins in particular, as a local reefer had said it was incredibly hardy for him but I saw it was smooth skinned so I shied away from a frag. In what ways should those smooth skinned acros be treated different from the "normal" varieties?
Ty. Back is fine and they push a good
Amount of water. Go for it. Get the Hawkins. Love mine. OG sps. Have it high up w an extreme pac man from @Living Reef Orlando on the right side. Ty Ann. Keep the tank stable like u been doing and u should b ok bonus is that they been around for while so are more forgiving Also try a Garf Bonsai A. Secale or a tri color valida
E590270D-76FF-4C5B-AF3D-B7F01B600984.jpeg
 
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sculpin01

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Here's the Dana Riddle article on PAR requirements of corals naturally exposed to very high irradiance. Bottom line is that 200 PAR is all that is needed to reach maximum photosynthesis.

 
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Cheers! So bar the deepwater species that aren't something that's been around for ages like the Hawkins, I'm pretty much good to go as far as having the pick of the lot from the sounds of it? I wasn't sure if there were certain strains that were known to struggle, like certain high end zoas that apparently will just melt out of nowhere
 
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Cheers! So bar the deepwater species that aren't something that's been around for ages like the Hawkins, I'm pretty much good to go as far as having the pick of the lot from the sounds of it? I wasn't sure if there were certain strains that were known to struggle, like certain high end zoas that apparently will just melt out of nowhere
I have had frags just go south overnite. Happens and I try to keep my tank stable. So I just stick to the ones that do well. Same w zoas.
 
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