Also known as “caps” for short.
Montipora Capricornis are easy to grow. The come in a variety of colors with orange being a favorite of many. They are great for beginners and experts alike.
Lighting: They can tolerate moderate light but they like bright light. If placing them under T-5 Florescent lights try to keep them near the top of the tank. Under metal halide lighting, they should be kept in the middle to bottom of the tank depending on depth. They may also turn a different color under different lighting conditions. Orange ones are known to turn pinkish in under metal halides.
Feeding: Montipora don’t need to be fed but a little plankton can’t hurt them. Make sure to maintain reef levels of calcium and alkalinity as spelled out in the Aquatic Castle Coral Care Guide. Montipora are small polyp stony corals that require calcium uptake to grow.
Placement: Montipora will take the shape of whatever they are placed next to, as they grow around them. It’s best to glue them to a rock so they are secure and can’t fall. Also, if anything is placed above them, make sure it is secure and can’t fall on them.
Water Flow: They require moderate water flow, the pattern and direction of which can determine the shape they take on when they grow.
Propagation: Montipora can be broken. Glue the frags to a small rock and place them in a horizontal position. The frag will begin to grow towards the light and water flow and take on its characteristic layered bowl shape.
Aggression: Montipora have sweeper tentacles that come out at night if they are too close to other corals. This generally isn’t a problem but it is something to remember. Generally, Montipora need to be protected from encroachment of other corals.
- Montipora corals are very fragile. They will break off pieces if something drops on them. It’s not such a problem if they occasionally break though. Even if the initial break is unsightly, that empty space will fill back in and the edges will smooth over. Just follow the fragging instructions above to deal with the piece that broke off.
- Montipora are air tolerant. This makes them excellent candidates for placement near the top of tanks or placement on a lone rock out on the substrate. Near the top, they may come out of the water during water changes. You wouldn’t want to place many other corals there but montipora can fill this space. On the lone rock, the whole rock can be lifted out of the aquarium and set aside during bed cleaning. Keep it moist by dripping water on it, every 15 minutes or so, during long cleanings.
Above: This is a fragment of Orange Capricornis that broke off of the mother colony in the picture at the top of this article. The bleached area was caused by a mushroom growing over it quickly. This prompted finding a new home for the montipora, attached to this rock.
Above: This is the same fragment as above; 6 months earlier.
Above: This is the same mother colony from the top a photo, a little less than a year from the original picture. It is about one and a half to two times the size despite having pieces broken from it. If you weren’t told, you wouldn’t know it was broken. Having the front open has allowed sand to get in, which has killed the bottom. This calls for gluing the ceramic disk to a small rock to raise it up a bit.
Above: A fragment of purple montipora capricornis
To see other corals in this series click the link in the side bar that says, A Guide to the Corals and Other Reef Inhabitants.