By Bob Goemans
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Fishy Bizness 


Montipora capricornis

Veron, 1985

Cup Coral, Plate Coral, Whorl Coral, Bowl Coral

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Widespread.

Natural Environment: Inhabits lagoons and seen from depths between 6 to 65 feet (2 - 20 m).

General Husbandry: Common in the trade and care should be taken as to its position in the aquarium, as this species is basically defenseless against other corals, even those that are not overly aggressive. An occasional strong wave of water movement to help keep detritus from collecting on its surfaces is highly recommended.

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

Adaptable to lower light conditions, yet bright colors may fade.


    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Cnidaria

    Class: Anthozoa

    Subclass: Hexacorallia

    Order: Scleractinia

    Family: Acroporidae

    Genus: Montipora

FYI: In the wild, usually has an encrusting growth, sometimes taking a bowl-shape and/or whorl-shape and usually brown, blue or purple.

Sometimes bothered by a tiny Nudibranch, (Aeolid spp.) which starts feeding at the bottom of the specimen. Once the bottom tissue is removed they start moving towards the upper regions. A freshwater bath of the same pH and temperature for about 30 - 45 seconds will destroy all the pests. A repeat bath should happen in about ten days so any hatching eggs are also destroyed. Sometimes these pests are only seen at night. Requires strong lighting and fairly good water movement, however, is adaptable to lower light conditions.

Cultured specimens exist in the trade that may exhibit very bright colors, therefore ask under what PAR conditions it was grown in so you may continue to see it maintain its health/colors!

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: Moderate

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: 74 - 83°F (23 - 28°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.

 Montipora capricornis (Cup Coral, Plate Coral, Whorl Coral, Bowl Coral)
Photo © Tracy Gray
 Montipora capricornis (Cup Coral, Plate Coral, Whorl Coral, Bowl Coral)
Photo © Wikimedia
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