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Acan Coral

(Acanthastrea echinata)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Waterflow: Medium
• Placement: Bottom to Middle   • Lighting: Moderate   • Color Form: Orange, Red, Purple, Blue, Pink
 • Supplements: Calcium, Strontium, Trace Elements   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4; dKH 8-12
• Origin: Indo-Pacific   • Family: Mussidae   • Species: LPS Hard Corals

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Acan Coral native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Acan Corals (Acanthastrea echinata) have become extremely popular within the reef aquarium hobby due to their bright striped color combinations and ease of care. They are generally widely available and are sold under multiple common names including: Acan Coral, Acan Brain Coral, Acanthastrea Coral or simply Acans.

Acan Corals are available in an extensive variety of vivid color combinations and patterns, which allows reef hobbyists to inject any desired colors into their reef tank. Beyond simply boasting amazing colors, Acan Corals are also very hardy and adapt quickly to the reef aquarium environment.

They will tolerate a fairly wide range of water conditions and once acclimated are known for their rapid growth rates. Acan Corals have only moderate lighting and water flow requirements that consist of moderate lighting intensity and medium amounts of indirect water flow.

While Acan Corals are perfect for beginning reef hobbyists, they are also highly sought after by advanced reef hobbyists for the splash of color they bring to even the most established reef aquarium system.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Acan Coral in the home aquarium.

Whether a beginning or advanced reef hobbyist with anything from a nano reef to large reef system, the Acan Coral is right at home. Their modest care requirements and brilliant coloration make the Acan Coral the perfect addition to almost any reef aquarium. While they are easy to care for and have modest care requirements, there are some specific requirements for keeping Acan Corals.

First off is placement, Acan Corals need to be kept at least a couple of inches from any neighboring corals. This is because the Acan Coral is an aggressive species that will fight for its position on the reef. They can extend their stomachs out onto neighboring corals in order to attack them, which they will do in order to acquire more room to grow.

Secondly, Acan Corals need medium, indirect water flow in order to both provide filter feeding opportunities and to remove waste products from the coral. This is best achieved through the use of a wave maker or through alternating powerheads that create laminar water flow within the aquarium.

Lastly, Acan Corals need proper lighting in order to provide feeding opportunities via the zooxanthellae algae hosted within their body. The catch here is that unlike other corals that receive most of their nutrition this way, the Acan Coral only utilizes photosynthesis for a portion of their nutrition.

This effectively means that they only need moderate lighting intensity and will bleach out or die if over exposed to intense lighting. It is for this reason that Acan Corals are best placed in the lower to middle areas of the average reef aquarium, where lighting levels are substantial but not as intense as the upper portions of the reef.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Acan Coral.

Acan Corals receive a portion of their nutrition through photosynthesis from the zooxanthellae algae that they host within their body. However for long term health and faster growth they will need filter feeding opportunities.

Well established larger reef aquariums will often have zooplankton present in the water column that the Acan Coral can filter and consume, or hobbyists can target feed them with foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates. Ideal target feeding foods include Cyclopeeze and MicroVert or ZooPlex from Kent Marine.

Acans can be fed every other day for rapid growth, but typically only need to be fed twice a week for normal sustained growth.

Target feeding is best performed by mixing the coral food in tank water in a separate container, then using a turkey baster or target feeding device to shoot the solution directly onto the coral. The Acan Coral will sense the food in the water around them and catch it with tentacles that they extend into the water column.

Once the food is attached to the tentacle, it will be retracted back to the mouth of the coral and consumed. It is often suggested that Acan Corals be fed during nighttime hours; however, this is not necessary since acclimated Acan Corals will readily feed at any time of the day.

Keep in mind that specimens that are newly added to the aquarium will often not eat for a few weeks, which is completely normal. Once they are fully acclimated and settled into their new environment they will begin feeding.

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