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Cauliflower Coral

(Pocillopora damicornis)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Waterflow: Strong
• Placement: Middle to Top   • Lighting: High   • Color Form: green, brown, tan, pink
 • Supplements: Calcium, Strontium, Trace Elements   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
• Origin: Indo-Pacific, Fiji   • Family: Pocilloporidae   • Species: SPS Hard Corals

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

The Cauliflower Coral (Pocillopora damicornis) is from the classification of Small Polyp Stony or SPS corals. Within the aquarium hobby they are referred to by a variety of names including: Lace Coral, Cluster Coral and Brush Coral. They vary not only in name, but also in color as they come in green, brown, tan or pink fluorescent color forms. Cauliflower Corals are best kept by hobbyists who have at least intermediate level experience keeping corals and reef aquariums.

While they are not difficult to maintain, the Cauliflower Coral does need moderate to high lighting and strong water currents as it is a filter feeding specimen that takes much of its nutrition from organisms filtered from the water column. The Cauliflower Coral is also intolerant of poor water conditions, which makes them better candidates for well established reef aquariums. However, they will grow quickly in aquariums with adequate lighting and filter feeding opportunities.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Cauliflower Coral in the home aquarium.

Filter feeding species like the Cauliflower Coral should be kept in mature reef aquariums that have ecosystems capable of supporting the micro-plankton organisms on which most filter feeding species feed. The Cauliflower Coral should be placed in a location on the reef to ensure that it receives plenty of moderate to high intensity lighting and so that it is well situated within the water column to filter food from the passing currents.

Water flow should be strong and intermittent, not directly focused on the coral so that it does not create a constant pounding on the coral. Cauliflower Corals will spread onto nearby reef rock and will grow upwards and outwards, but do not extend larger sweeper tentacles that would damage nearby neighbors.

They are considered to be a semi-aggressive coral species, which means that they do not have long sweeper tentacles but do grow outward towards their neighbors. They should be placed in an area on the reef where their "hairs" do not touch their neighbors and where their neighbors tentacles do not touch the Cauliflower Coral. As they use calcium to build out their skeletal structure, Cauliflower Corals will need calcium levels to remain steady between 400 - 440.

Consistent high quality water with low nitrates, phosphates and silicates is crucial to their long term health, along with proper water changes and replenishment of trace elements from time to time as their levels decrease. Once acclimated into the aquarium, the Cauliflower Coral is considered one of the more hardy SPS coral species.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Cauliflower Coral.

Cauliflower Corals are a filter feeding species, that in the wild catch plankton and other small organisms from the water column using their hair-like tentacles. In the aquarium environment, they will need to be provided with plenty of strong in-direct water flow from which they can filter plankton, micro-organisms, baby brine shrimp, cyclopeeze and other foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates.

Well established reef aquariums may contain enough naturally occuring micro-plankton to satisfy the needs of the Cauliflower Coral; however, most reef aquariums will require supplemental feedings twice per week. Cauliflower Corals also receive a good portion of their nutrition from the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae hosted within their body, so they will need moderate to strong lighting.

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