The Acropora Staghorn Coral resembles the antlers of a deer, and is also referred to as Antler Coral. Acropora Corals can also be found in other shapes: bushy, clustered, bottlebrush, finger, table, columnar, or plate. It is a small polyp stony (SPS) coral and it is very difficult to identify the exact species of any one specimen. Its genus name, Acropora, comes from the combination of the words akron (extremity, Greek) plus porous (pore, Latin), meaning that its calcium skeleton is porous at the extremities or tips of each branch. It is found in a variety of colors, and may change color forms while in the reef aquarium. Acropora Corals are among the fastest growing corals on a reef, and are responsible for the majority of reef formations. Aquacultured specimens are available.
The Acropora Staghorn Coral can be difficult to acclimate, however, once established in the proper environment, it will grow. The growth rate of the Acropora Staghorn Coral is much more rapid than most of the other corals found in an established reef aquarium. It can also be cultured and grow into a new colony from living fragments or broken pieces, if conditions are ideal. The Acropora Staghorn Coral prefers a high light level combined with a strong water current within the aquarium. For continued good health, it will require the addition of supplemental calcium, strontium, and other trace elements to the water.
The symbiotic algae zooxanthellae are hosted within its body, so it receives the majority of its nutritional requirements from photosynthesis. While it does not require additional food to maintain its health in the reef aquarium, it will feed on micro-plankton or foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates.