As I said two posts ago, I pulled a montipora capricornis “off the shelf” of the aquatic castle store to be the next mother colony because a tongue coral killed the first mother colony.  The top picture and bottom left are of the same piece of coral.  It has grown since it separated from the mother colony and I attached it to a rock.  I believe you have seen the older picture before and I recently featured this coral in the a guide to the corals.  It’s the one that once had a mushroom touch it and bleach a spot.  It’s about the same size but slightly less complex that the mother colony was when I got it.  An early picture of the mother colony can be found in the header of

The bottom right picture is the one piece that remains in the store.  You can see this one tangled with a mushroom too.  That’s what the dead spot is on the back.  I’ve moved it to the top tier tank where it is less likely to get moved around and pushed into something that can kill it than in the biocube where it came from.  If you ever buy a piece of coral loose like this, you should immediately glue it to one of your rocks.  I’ve only kept it unattached to a rock in order to allow someone to glue it to a rock already in their system.  

Orange Montipora Capricornis

Ever since I bought that PH probe and raised the PH in this display tank.  This orange Capricornis has really taken off.  The large one is the mother colony that the ones in the store came from.  The small one is one of the ones in the Aquatic Castle Store.  These pictures were taken under actinic blue light, which makes everything glow or change color a bit.  If you remember, the small one is one shown in the coral profile.  It had a bleached spot from some mushrooms lying on it.  The bleached spot has gone and the coral has grown.  

Coral Profile: Montipora Capricornis

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. 

Other Information:  

  • 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