So your reef tank is cycling perfectly, you have tried out a few easy corals like softies and LPS (large polyp stony) corals, and now you are ready to go the next step and get yourself one of the most popular SPS corals, infamously known as Acroporas (Acros).
Now, you may have heard that Acropora corals can be a little demanding when it comes to lighting, flow, and water chemistry, which is why they are often overlooked by beginner reef hobbyists. While their particular needs are true, there are a few Acropora that are perfect for any beginner reef tank!
Tips For Beginner Reefers When Selecting Acropora Corals
When selecting an Acropora coral, it is important to select a healthy specimen. To help you out, below are the recommended livestock sources in order of successful fragments.
- Local hobbyists/local fish stores (LFS) that have successfully aquacultured Acropora corals.
- Third-party aquacultured corals.
- Third-party maricultured corals.
- Specimens from the wild.
Wherever you buy your Acropora coral from, it is critical to still quarantine the specimen before adding it to your reef tank. This reduces the chances of pests hitchhiking their way into your aquarium, potentially infecting other corals and aquatic life.
Beginner Acros, Perfect For Reef Tanks
With so many coral fragments available at local fish stores, there has been a boom in Acropora corals to choose from. The following Acroporas have been selected for their hardiness, making them great for both beginners and coral experts.
Acropora yongei – Bali Green Slimer Acro
Bali Green Slimers are a brightly colored green Acro that has been an SPS favorite for hobbyists for a very long time. When hobbyists search for a beginner Acropora coral, the Bali Green Slimer is usually at the top of the list for recommendations, as they are arguably one of the best Acros for ‘newbie’ hobbyists.
Once established, Bali Green Slimer Acros grow very fast, sporting beautiful wide branches, like most Acropora Corals.
Acropora valida – Tri-color Valida Acro
A classic among Acropora corals is the Tri-color Valida with its unmistakable green and violet polyps. Similar to their Green Slimer relatives, Tri-color Valida corals are rapid growers, making them desirable guests in beginner reef tanks.
Just a word of warning… If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of these brilliant Acropora corals, be aware of Acropora Eating Flatworms (AEFW) as these guys love to infest Tri-color Valida Acros.
Acropora tenuis – Walt Disney & Homewrecker Acro
Walt Disney and Homewrecker Acroporas will simply blow your mind when you see their mesmerizing colors! Not only does their popularity come from their rainbow coloration, but they are known to reward reef hobbyists with rapid growth, should tank stability be maintained.
Acropora microclados – Strawberry Shortcake Acro
Not only is it the name that catches your attention, but the Strawberry Shortcake Acro also has strong fuchsia and green contrasting polyps, living up to its adorable name! This particular Australian Staghorn coral is also fairly rare, which increasingly drives the popularity among reef hobbyists to collect them.
Acropora tortuosa – Oregon Blue Tort Acro
Considered the bluest Acropora you can buy, the Oregon Blue Tort Acro is a unique and “true-blue” coral – so there goes our “injected at birth with artificial pigmentation” theory! When you see these epic Acos, you will see why they blow the minds of pretty much every coral enthusiast.
Their hardiness compared to other common Acropora corals, makes them a must-have for beginner reef tanks.
PC Rainbow Acro
PC Rainbow Acros are beautiful staghorn Acropora corals, bursting with color. Their regal red and golden yellow colored base creates a unique look among other corals, which is why they are one of the most popular additions for reef aquariums.
So, if you are after a colorful coral that is easy to grow and care for, then a PC Rainbow Acro would be the perfect choice for your beginner reef tank.
Acropora spathulata – Aussie Dragon Scale
Another Australian staghorn coral is the Aussie Dragon Scale Acropora, which gets its name from its decorated pillow-shaped branches. Each branch is covered in scale-like radial corallites, resembling the neck of a dragon.
It is not only their appearance that makes them “dragon-like”, but they are also a pretty hardy SPS coral. The Aussie Dragon Scale is an adaptive species because it is found in a diverse range of habitats, from turbid shallow reefs to deeper offshore reefs with crystal clear waters. Therefore, the Aussie Dragon Scale’s ability to live in different environments makes them a more-forgiving Acro for newbie reef hobbyists.
Probably the most popular Acropora species after Acropora tenuis is the famous Acro millepora, commonly known as “millepora coral”. If you have been looking for Acropora Corals with crazy coloration, millepora acros will not disappoint with their color spanning the entire rainbow – millepora pretty much own the whole color spectrum!
Just a word of warning, before adding a millepora acro, it is extremely important to only place them in an established reef tank, as they are slightly more demanding than the others.
Acroporas are popular small polyp stony (SPS) corals because of their fast growth and show-stopping features they provide to any reef tank. Often, Acropora corals are overlooked among beginner reef hobbyists because of their care requirements. However, do not let this put you off, as some Acropora corals are fantastic for beginners, and it is the challenges you take which makes you a more experienced hobbyist!