Staghorn Coral (Common Name) [Lower part of picture]

Acropora Cervicornis


Suborder: Astrocoeniina

Family: Acroporidae




Size: 1-8 feet colonies, 1/2”-1 ½” diameter, Branch to 2’ (Personal Observation)

Known Depth Ranges: 1-160 Feet (Published data-Deeper only in clear waters)

Known Temperature Range: 76-92 F (Estimated)

Known Current Range: 0-4 knots (Personal Observation)

Known Silt Tolerance: Moderate to low tolerance (From site conditions/observations)

Known Salinity Range: 1.021-1.026 (Estimated)



Transplant Documentation:


70%-80% Overall Success Rate.  Hardy once established, antibiotic suggested during transplant directly on surface of concrete and flesh to be put under the concrete-Amoxcillin or Doxycycline or Tetracycline.  Suggest gloves and sterile conditions when working with especially if in a tank setting.   Wounds heal quickly when in good water quality, may develop very rapid death in low quality water when wounded…typically a white or light brown slime like appearance.

First signs of creaping bacterial rot…do not transplant a coral that looks like this…


  Grows 2-6 inches per year—one of the most rapid growing of all hard corals.  Rapid attachment to plugs…sometimes in as little as 7 weeks.  Takes longer to grow over cracks…therefore putty up to plug or use plug the same depth as the hole when possible.  Best placed on it’s side in small pieces (15-50 corallites)   Good Species to demonstrate fast hard coral growth.  Can be fragile in storms.  Researchers in Puerto Rico report better fragmentation success when taken from higher energy rather than lower energy areas.  May harbor Acropora Nudibranchs….dip for 30 seconds in pH balanced fresh water to eliminate.

  (Highly magnified…only .05-.1 inches long)


Nudibranchs appear as white Corallites, identifiable when they leave coral with magnifying lenses or by careful naked eye.


Morphology can change corallite size so don’t plant upright especially if moving from current location.

(Photo of changed morphology after transplant….Note Larger Corallites)


Propagation Documentation:


Propagates easily with wire cutters.  In addition to RBDG plugs, can be wire tied, monofilament tied, or epoxy into place.  May slime and should not be stressed into sliming more than once per 24 hours if possible.  Start with at least 10-25 corallites.

More difficult to spot sickly stock due to corallites not being very visible…often closed during the day and feed at night.  White tips indicate active growing.  Success reported of transporting in wet newspaper for up to 48 hours in P.R.


Other Notes:


Can make complex cover quickly to increase juvenile fish habitat.  Likes calmer clear waters but tolerates moderately rough waters if still clear. 


Grows faster when calcium levels are increase in water (tank conditions)

Grows faster when well fed –feed at night.

Grows faster with higher light

Requires high quality water


First Transplanting on Reef Ball in Nov. 1996…Dr. Austin Kirby Bowden for Reef Ball Authorized Contractor Coralations in PR.

First RDBG transplanting in 2001, Curacao. Pacific Species tried at Four Seasons in Maldives.

20 Transplants by RBDG

20% Deaths to Transplants (Bacteria in tank before transplant or after my have been attacked by cynobacteria)

0% Deaths to Mother Corals.

Last Transplant Nov 2001-Maldives.


Physical & Algae Overgrowth Damage Resistance


Madracis and Acropora  (Finger and Staghorn Corals) are very fragile and easily damaged (mechanical damage e.g. kicking of fins). Madracis recovers very fast. Growth tips of Acropora as well.


Branching corals are very susceptible for breakage and therefore developed the capability to recover fast. New tissue grows on broken parts and new colonies originate this way. This capacity of fast asexual reproduction highly contributes to recovery of damaged reefs. Because recovery starts right away, there is less chance that substrates will be overgrown by other benthic species (High Smith 1982 uit Brown and Haward)