By Bob Goemans
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Acropora aculeus

(Dana, 1846)

Branching Plate Coral

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Eastern Africa to the Central Pacific Ocean.

Natural Environment: Inhabits reef slopes and lagoons protected from strong wave action and is seen at depths between 15 to 100 feet (5 - 30 m) where its growth becomes more flattened with depth.

General Husbandry: Usually a bluish green or yellow, yet sometimes seen as blue or brown. Has an upward growth with tips of branches sometimes yellow, lime-green, pale blue or brown.

Even though fully capable of producing all its nutritional needs via photosynthesis, plankton-like foodstuffs fed occasionally may be beneficial/promote quicker growth.

Some forethought needs to be given to newly received specimens as to their initial lighting requirements. Cultured specimens may not have been raised in shallow waters, therefore, begin by placing the specimen where it will receive moderate light, e.g., 250 - 300 PAR. Move to slightly higher PAR levels only after becoming fully acclimated to initial surrounding conditions. Overall, does best with medium to bright light and moderate water movement.


    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Cnidaria

    Class: Anthozoa

    Subclass: Hexacorallia

    Order: Scleractinia

    Family: Acroporidae

    Genus: Acropora

FYI: Cultured frags occasionally available, and in many cases, with intensity of color/colors depending greatly on the lighting/water quality conditions of the culturing areas.

Experience Level: Intermediate

Diet: Photosynthetic/Plankton feeder

Temperament: Peaceful

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Coral Safe: With caution

Fish Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: Yes

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately difficult

Calcium (Ca): 380 - 430 mg/l

Alkalinity: 2.5 - 3.0 meq/l

Phosphate (PO4): <0.05 mg/l

Magnesium (Mg): approx. 1350 mg/l (relate to specific gravity)

Strontium (Sr) 8 - 10 mg/l

Temperature Range: 72 - 82°F (22 - 27°C)

Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons

Lighting: PAR 250 - 450+

Water Movement: WM 2

Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025

pH: 8.0 - 8.4

Iodine/Trace Elements Monitor/as necessary to maintain quality seawater.

 Acropora aculeus (Branching Plate Coral)
Photo © Tracy Gray
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Dr Gs Marine Aquaculture