How Long Can Montipora Be Out Of Water?

Montipora (montis) corals are a popular SPS (small polyp stony) coral that can be found at all depths of coral reefs. Some are found in deep coral reefs below 33 feet, while some are known to dominate shallow reefs, therefore, during tidal changes, they are forced to spend some time out of water.

In aquariums there are no tidal changes, however, there are times when your montipora may be out of the water which may make you wonder – how long can montipora be out of water?

Are Montipora Corals Easy To Keep?

Montis are one of the easiest species of SPS corals you can keep in an aquarium, however, they should only be kept if you have already successfully kept LPS (large polyp stony) and soft corals. Once you have tackled the husbandry needs for these types of corals, then you are ready to take on more challenging corals like montipora.

Montipora corals are the perfect entryway to keeping an SPS coral reef tank. With their different varieties, colors, and shapes, there is a monti out there for every coral enthusiast. Montipora corals are also the perfect stepping stone to caring for more advanced SPS corals like acropora

SPS Corals For Beginners:

  • Montipora digitata
  • Montipora caps
  • Green Bali Slimer
  • Birdsnest coral

How Long Can You Leave Montipora Corals Out Of Water?

There will be times when your coral will be out of water. These include:

  • Treating your coral for pests 
  • Fragging your montipora
  • During a water change
  • Moving corals to a different reef tank
  • Rearranging your aquascape

But, do not worry, as your montipora coral will survive out of water for up to 30 minutes, depending on where your type of monti originates from in the wild. 

Montipora corals found in shallow reefs will tolerate longer exposure than montis found in deep water (>33 ft). If your montipora comes from deeper coral reefs, you should not exceed 15 minutes out of the water, but if your monti comes from the top of the reef, it will survive out of water for 30 minutes. Many hobbyists will push the recommended 30 minutes, and while some have not lost any corals in the process, many have ended up in coral fatalities, so, the less time the better! 

What To Do When Your Montipora Is Out Of Water?

When your montipora coral is out of the water, you mustn’t let your monti coral’s tissues dry out. To prevent this from happening, squirt your coral with aquarium water now and then, or fill a container with aquarium water and leave it fully submerged until you place it back into your aquarium. 

You also need to consider the surrounding environment when your monti is out of water. Ensure no fans are blowing on them and switch off any AC units while they are out of the water, otherwise, this will cause them to dry out faster. 

Temperature changes also can affect your montipora’s health. If the room is much hotter or cooler than the aquarium water, it can be very stressful for your monti, and it may result in your coral expelling the zooxanthellae, causing your coral to start bleaching or turning brown. If possible, change the room temperature to match your aquarium water to prevent thermal shock. 

What Happens To Corals When They Are Out Of Water For A Long Time?

Most of the time corals are fully submerged, however, corals that live in shallow reefs are frequently exposed to air at low tides. While these corals can stay out of the water for hours, air exposure puts a lot of strain on them. 

Most corals during the low tide period will ‘slime up’ as a mechanism to protect themselves and prevent their tissues from drying out. Even if your montipora is found in shallow reefs in the wild, as already stated, it is not recommended to leave them out of water for longer than 30 minutes at a time. 

Corals that originate from deeper waters will really suffer if you leave them out of water for too long. If your montipora closes its polyps and starts producing lots of mucus to retain moisture, you must get it back into the water immediately to prevent thermal stress and desiccation. 

Where To Place Your Montipora Coral Inside Your Aquarium?

Montipora corals thrive with medium to high lighting and water flow, therefore the perfect location for your monti is in the middle to the top region of your aquarium. 

Before placing your monti on its permanent rock or mounting it to your tank’s glass, start lower down your aquascape and gradually move it up to its final spot. This allows your monti to acclimate to its new home. 

How To Know If Your Montipora Is Healthy?

A healthy montipora will show off its bright coloration and will exhibit good growth with ‘puffy’ tissues. As your montipora coral grows, it will either display white tips (branching montis) or white edges (encrusting and plating montis), and the polyps will be extended, usually towards your aquarium lighting. 

How Much Light Do My Montipora Corals Need?

Your monti will thrive under medium to high lighting with a PAR between 250 and 400 and a color spectrum between 14 and 20K. 

Remember, as montipora corals are found at different depths, always check the lighting requirements for your particular montipora species. 


Montis can be found at all depths of coral reefs; some in deep coral reefs and some in shallow reefs, therefore, during low tide, some corals have to spend a certain time out of the water.

Montipora corals can survive out of your aquarium water for 15-30 minutes, however, always try to get your monti back into the water as soon as possible, and keep it as wet while it is exposed to air.

  • Roy Lee

    I have an unhealthy obsession with reef keeping and maintaining successful tanks. If you haven't noticed from the website, I love everything related to saltwater tanks like coral, fish, and everything else in between.

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