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Acropora Coral Care Guide - A Beginners Guide

by Brian Dunleavy
Acropora Coral Care Guide - A Beginners Guide

Acropora corals (Acros) are labeled as the king of reef tanks, and are prize jewels of the SPS reefing world. There is no other SPS coral that has a sheer number of types as Acropora corals, from the famous homewrecker to the vibrant Strawberry Shortcake, there is an Acro for every hobbyist! 

Acropora corals are no walk in the park and are one of the most challenging corals to keep. However, with the correct level of care and patience, Acros thrive in all types of reef aquariums

Acropora SPS Coral

What Are Acropora Corals?

Acropora corals are a type of small polyp stony (SPS) coral. They have light calcium carbonate skeletons and a fast metabolism, making them fast-growing corals. 

In the oceans, Acropora makes up the majority of coral reefs, and they are the building block in marine ecosystems for corals. There are many different types of Acros, found in the Indo-Pacific regions. 

The most popular choice is Staghorn/Elkhorn Acropora, but there are also Table Acropora available. 

While Acropora Corals typically are tougher than other types of stony corals, they can be a little finicky when it comes to their environment. Therefore, your reef aquarium needs to have the right conditions for them to thrive. 

Acropora Coral Placement

Acropora needs good lighting and water flow, which is typically near the top to middle regions of most reef aquariums. The ideal placement depends on where your lighting fixture and powerheads are placed. However, never blast your Acro with direct water flow. 

In terms of attachment, it is best to mount your Acro to a rock within the aquascape to limit direct flow and allow it to grow naturally. As Acropora Corals can become aggressive if corals invade ‘their space’, allow enough space between other corals that could sting your Acro. 

Acropora Coral Lighting Requirements

Acropora Corals have high lighting requirements due to their high metabolic rate, so it is important to provide them with the right type and amount of lighting. 

LED lighting is the most popular form of lighting used in reef tanks and is well suited to Acropora, as it provides high-intensity light that can be adjusted to suit the specific needs of your coral.

When choosing LED lighting, it is important to consider the PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) output of the lights. PAR is a measure of the amount of light that is available for photosynthesis, and it is essential for the growth and health of your Acropora.

How many hours of lighting do Acropora Corals need?

The amount of lighting required for Acropora corals can vary depending on the species, but most will require around 7-9 hours of light each day. It is important to avoid exposing your Acropora to too much light, as this can cause them to bleach or die.

To ensure that your Acropora is receiving the right amount of light, it is important to monitor the coral's growth and coloration. If the coral is growing well and has good coloration, then it is likely receiving the right amount of light. However, if the coral is not growing or has lost color, then it may be necessary to adjust the lighting or water flow in your tank.

Acropora Corals Water Flow Requirements

Acropora corals require high water flow to maintain their health and growth. This is because they are found in nature in areas with strong wave action and water flow. In your aquarium, it is important to ensure that your Acropora is receiving enough water flow to keep it healthy.

The best way to achieve this is to use a powerhead or wave maker to create a turbulent flow of water around the coral. It is important to avoid directing water flow directly onto the coral, as this can cause damage to the delicate polyps.

Acropora Coral Water Chemistry

Acropora corals are sensitive to changes in water chemistry, so it is important to keep the water in your tank stable and within the correct parameters. The ideal water parameters for Acropora corals are:

  • Temperature: 75-82 °F
  • Salinity: 1.025
  • pH: 8.0-8.4
  • Alkalinity: 8-12 dKH
  • Calcium: 400-450 ppm
  • Magnesium: 1250-1350 ppm
  • Nitrate: <5 ppm
  • Phosphate: <0.01 ppm

It is important to test your water regularly to ensure that the parameters are within the correct range. If the parameters are outside of the correct range, it may be necessary to make adjustments to your tank, such as adding calcium or magnesium supplements.

Feeding Acropora Corals

Acropora corals are photosynthetic, which means that they rely on light for their energy needs. However, they also require additional nutrients to maintain their health and growth. In the wild, Acropora corals feed on plankton and other small organisms.

To ensure that your Acropora is receiving enough nutrients, you can feed it with phytoplankton or other small food particles. It is important to avoid overfeeding, as this can lead to poor water quality and algae growth in your tank.

Acropora Compatibility and Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates for your Acropora, it is important to choose fish and invertebrates that are compatible with the coral. Some fish, such as butterflyfish and angelfish, may nip at the delicate polyps of Acropora corals, so it is important to choose fish that are known to be reef-safe.

Invertebrates such as snails and crabs can be beneficial in a reef tank, as they can help to keep the tank clean and free of algae. However, it is important to avoid adding any invertebrates that may be harmful to your Acropora, such as certain types of starfish, crabs, or shrimp.

Common Acropora Diseases

Acropora corals are susceptible to a number of diseases, including white band disease, black band disease, and brown jelly disease. These diseases can be caused by a number of factors, including poor water quality, stress, and injury.

To prevent these diseases, it is important to maintain good water quality in your tank and to avoid exposing your Acropora to any stressors. It is also important to quarantine any new corals before adding them to your tank, to prevent the spread of disease.

5 Popular Acropora Corals

  1. Homewrecker 
  2. Greg’s Lemon Drop
  3. Bill Murray
  4. Strawberry Shortcake
  5. Pink Panther Tenuis


Overall, Acropora corals are stunning additions to any reef tank, but they do require a bit of extra care and attention. By following the care tips outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your Acropora thrives in your tank and provides you with years of enjoyment.

If you have any questions regarding Acropora corals, or what Acro corals we have to offer, get in touch with the Reefco team

by Brian Dunleavy