Montipora Capricornis Corals are considered to be a fast growing SPS coral. Once the coral is established in your reef tank its growth can dwarf other corals when provided the right water flow, light, food and the addition of calcium and other trace elements to the water. Montipora Capricornis can grow in many different shapes and colors.
Common Names: Montipora Capricornis , Monti, Monti Caps
Skill Level: Moderate
Light Level: Moderate to High
Water Flow: High
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Montipora Capricornis for the most part is a “plating coral”. This means it will either grow out in a plate shape or if seeking more light it will grow up in a swirling vase shape (The picture at the top of this article is of a monti growing in a vase shape) then plate out once it gets to the desired light range. I have personally seen plating Montipora caps larger than a trash-can lids in personal home reef tanks!
Even though this coral is considered to be peaceful a few things have to be kept in mind. Montipora corals can grow fast, and they can collide into your other corals causing them to compete for space. With the Montipora being able to grow so quickly it’s risky to let them continue to fight. Be sure to place your Montipora far enough away from other corals to allow it room for ample growth. You also have to keep in mind that as the coral plates out in growth, it can shade the corals growing underneath it. This can cause you to be forced to re-arrange your tank or let the corals below the Montipora suffer from low light. In the image below i did not follow my own advice and you can see that i have to keep fragging this Montipora so that it does not overtake the Yellow Tort coral growing next to it.
A helpful tip when looking at your Montipora Capricornis is to notice if your corals outer edge has a white hue to it. This means that your coral is growing. In the picture below notice how both the red and the green Montipora have growth rings. This is a good indicator that the coral is
happy and growing.
There are so many colors and different patterns of Montipora Capricornis, it is impossible to mention all of them in one blog post. However, the most common colors are green, red, orange, and purple. On top of that, the colors all exist in several different shades and the outside edges of the coral can also grow as different colors. It is also possible that the coral will have different color polyps. The picture below will show a Green Montipora with a purple rim. There are also a few pieces of red Montipora connected to the Green colony. The image below that shows a
purple Montipora cap frag with blue polyps.
In regards to placement of this coral, high water flow and moderate to strong lighting. I prefer to put Montipora at the lowest possible point in my tank that they can still stay healthy. This way the coral will grow upwards in interesting shapes and the likelihood it will shade corals below it is lessened. High flow is required to keep debris from settling on the Monti and to help the coral filter feed.
Montipora corals are a photosynthetic coral and do not need to be directly fed. The coral can produce its food from the lights on your tank. Even though feeding this coral directly is not needed, you will notice a happier and faster growing coral if you do add some type of coral food to your tank. You will notice in the picture below that this particular coral has its polyps extended hoping to filter feed on some drifting food.
Propagation of the coral is handled like many other SPS corals. Propagation of this coral is particularly easy. Grab a piece of the coral and break it off. Once the piece is removed I glue it onto another piece of live rock or a frag plug. It’s okay to have your coral out of the water for several minutes. Once the glue is dry place your rock back into the tank.
–Added this section 02-10-2013 – Will keep updating as Montipora Capricornis grows.
Montipora Capricornis is a very hardy coral as far as SPS corals go. If at some point your coral suffers and even dies down to a very small size eventually the coral can bounce back and flourish once again if the water conditions are good. This particular red cap was given to me because it was dying in the tank it was in. You can see over time the Montipora cap recovered and began to grow out even though the amount of tissue left was smaller than half a dime.
02-10-2013 (added a green frag on the top of the rock )