Montipora Capricornis

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

Classification: SPS

Light Level: Moderate to High

Water Flow: High

Disposition: Peaceful

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.

Another Image of Montipora Capricornis growth rings.

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 )




21 thoughts on “Montipora Capricornis

  1. I achieved very interesting encrusting and growth pattern by glueing a frag directly to the glass of my tank in a vertical position with the polyp side pointing to the front of the tank. The frag grew vertically then encrusted to the glass of my tank and now I am seeing a “shelfing” growth occur from the glass encrusted part. Keep in mind a reef tank can become art if you experiment with placement. Remember you dont just have rocks….. coral grows on glass too in a healthy tank.

  2. I have had an orange one that has not grown at all. It is in a high flow area and high light, the color is bright orange with the white edge but no noticeable growth. It has been atleast 2 months and the middle looks like it is getting taller but it’s so hard to tell cause it looks almost the same as when I bought it. Any help would be great!!!

    1. Hi Jason,
      Sorry for the delay in replying. 2 Months for a newly added sps isn’t very long. The Monti has probably been acclimating to the new environment and spending all it’s energy on making sure it’s staying healthy. If the color is good and not bleaching then i would say you have nothing to worry about. However I would check your calcium/alk/mag to make sure that it’s level is correct to just make sure that when that monti is ready to grow it has everything it needs!
      Good Luck and hope this has helped.

  3. I’ve purchased a big plate of this great montipora sps. I would like it to grown upwards in my tank, in a swirling way not continue to grow its plate. Is there a way to accomplish this?

    1. The way to get them to grow in this pattern is for the coral to start growing “up” toward the light. This normally happens faster when the coral is lower in the tank. However make sure you do not put the coral so low that it is not within a healthy level of light just because you want it to grow in a vase shape. If the coral keeps growing in a plate shape after a month or two you could try lowering it, however make sure you do this slowly. Nothing good happens from moving corals around too much.
      Good luck!

  4. note: website, is not up to date. no time. question, my mantipora is growing too much, is there a way to stop it. i have had to cut down twice now, it is impossible to remove off back wall of tank, i need to remove a lot, is there a way to control it???

    1. Hi Judy,
      As far as I know there is no healthy way to scale the growth of your coral back. Besides breaking pieces off I’m not sure what advice to give. If you lowered the light or lowered the calcium I can only see that having a harmful effect to the coral not just slowing growth.

  5. I have a yellow mantipora which is becoming more light in color. I have T5HO lights and have them close to the top of the light. I am concerned that my lighting may be to weak. Any thoughts? I do have polyps and it is growing. Also, My mantipora, first week in the tank, broke in half. I just took the part that fell and glued on another piece of rock (For Judy).

    1. Hi Susan,
      Its possible that it could be your light however I believe if your light was too weak it would brown out your coral first instead of bleach it. Now if it is too high and close to your light , meaning it’s getting to much PAR, that could bleach it.
      If you have polyp extension and it’s growing i would either leave it alone or try to lower it just a bit and see what happens.

  6. Hi,

    I have been having the hardest time with montiporas in the last 6 months where other sps do fine. anytime I drop a monitpora in th tank the slowly decline, where as before i had more than my share in growth.i have looked for pests, but the problem began shortly after I trialed biopellets, almost right after I started all my montis went down hill. and it hasnt been right ever since. I hope someone can offer me some info.All prams are perfect, well established aquarium thank you

    1. jason, i had a similar situation happen to me when i tried bio pellets. mine was i used too many pellets too fast. meaning i researched found out to use X amount of bio pellets for X amount of gallons. well that stripped out all of the nutrients my tank was thriving on and lost a lot of prized corals. since then ditched the pellets and use a algae scrubber instead and only protein skim about 6 hours a day. i now can put anything in my tank and have it flourish. if you want to go bio pellet route i suggest like everything else in this hobby ….go slow, maybe a quater of the recommended pellets to start and slowly incresing over time. remember what works for some doesnt work for others. our tanks all have their own personalities and require different techniques . unfortunatly it requires some trial and error to dial it in….but once you do ….what a beautiful hobby!

  7. I purchased a frag with both a green and red Monti attached. The frag has been in my tank for over a month and the red is showing signs of growth, however, the green is getting paler, it’s not bleaching just lost its vibrance and is not showing nearly as much growth. I also have a Hollywood Stunner that is growing like crazy but also not a vivid in color as it was.

    Tank: 40g Bow (Been up 6 months)
    NH3, NO3, NO2 = 0
    1.026 sg
    Alk 9.8
    Cal 400
    Mag 1450
    Phosphates 0
    Temp 78

    Tank is a mixed reef and everything else is doing phenomenally well except my Leather Toadstool. It just sits there like a lump most of the time. Polyps come out for 30 – 60 minutes then go back in.

    1. It’s very possible that the light spectrum you have is geared more toward a natural look, which would cause the corals to lose some color. However this could result in a healthier coral but just not as vivid. If you want the vivid back you would need to add some extra blue into your lighting spectrum.

  8. Where do you recommend putting a brand new frag, I’ve been told to start out in a less lighted spot and gradually move it in to the stronger light, but to me that makes no sense. The coral was under intense light just hours before getting into my tank, so question is, why light acclimate.

  9. I have a monti and every now and then my Clownfish sleep on it and it has lost some spots of color ,but the rest looks as good as when I bought it. I was just wondering if anyone has had the same thing happen to them? And if the spot came back? Should I flag some of the good color areas or leave it be

    1. Hi Ryan,
      If the clowns leave the spot alone it will grow back. You could break off a small piece and move it away from the clowns just to make sure you keep a piece safe from them.

  10. I seem tp have no luck with montis what soever i had a green plating about 6 inchs across which died after a month, i have a red plating frag which hasnt grown at all, still bright colour and has white edges which i presume is growth tips but absolutely no growth. I have a an ecrusting monti and a digiata which are doing great and seriotopa and hystrix which are booming.

    Salinty 25
    Ph 8.3
    Mg 1350
    Ca 450
    Kh 7.7
    Nitrate <2
    Phosphate untraceable
    Running a tmc Iluninaire v2 on full in the day
    2x8000lph powerheads on variable wave setting 395litres aquaone reef 120

    Any suggestions?

  11. I am having problems in one tank in which had phenomenal growth and heath from star polyps and wood’s polyp and then they started not expanding and then died. A possible problem seems to be that my alkalinity is too high. It read 12 KH when I had it tested. Could this be the problem? I have done two very large water changes since discovering this but it is still at 9.5 KH. I discarded my old product for raising KH and Calcium as it had developed lumps in it and had turned yellow! It was Purple Up. My other parameters are good. Any ideas on my problem?

    1. Yes, Montipora can quickly die if your alk is too high. Try googling ALK burn. Basically if alk is too high and the lights are too bright they can bleach out your corals.

  12. I have a monticap which I was told to put at the top of my tank. It has not grown at all it is verging on the brown side at this point. Do I move him to the bottom of the tank? He has been in the tank for about 4 months now. TIA

    1. If it’s at the top of the tank and still brown it’s probably getting enough light.
      I would maybe check more at having high nutrients turning your coral brown.

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