Montipora Digitata Corals are considered to be a fast growing and hardy SPS coral. Once the coral is established in your reef tank and with proper reef husbandry this coral can take off in growth. Montipora Digitata corals can grow in very unique growth patterns and come in a variety of colors adding some very nice eye candy to your reef tank. Most colors combinations are usually available for purchase online or at your local reef store.
Common Names: Montipora Digitata, Digitata, Digi
Skill Level: Moderate
Light Level: Moderate to High
Water Flow: High
Water Conditions: 75-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.024-1.026
Montipora Digitata for the most part is a branching coral. This means it will encrust a solid base and then begin growing up toward the light. I have noticed that the thickness of the branches seems to be determined by how much flow the coral is getting. To test this I had once placed a frag of green digitata close to a power head, and then another more in the middle of the tank where the flow was less. These frags were both from the same monther colony. They both grew healthy but the frag next to the power head had grown thicker branches with more of a unique curvy pattern, while the frag in the middle of the tank grew thinner branches that grew strait up. The Forest Fire Digitata pictured at the top of this article is close to a power head and you can see the growth pattern is very unique.
I traded off the unique looking green digitata before I thought to take pictures but here is the green digitata with the branches growing thin and for the most part strait up.
Even though this coral is considered to be peaceful a few things have to be kept in mind. Montipora Digitata corals can grow fast, and they can collide into your other corals causing them to compete for space. Be sure to place your Montipora far enough away from other corals to allow it room for ample growth, this has to be thought of in both the branching growth aspect as well as an encrusting base which can spread quickly as well.
To understand if your Montipora Digitata is healthy and happy in your reef tank is to look to see if it has polyp extension and white growth tips. Polyp extension generally indicates that you have good water quality and the coral is happy. The white tips at the end of the coral indicate that it is getting enough light and nutrients to grow. In the image below notice how the polyps are extended from the coral and the tips are white.
There are many colors Montipora Digitata. The more common colors are green, red (sometimes called orange), purple, and blue. On top of that, the colors all exist in several different shades and some of them have a different color “skin”. The more rare colors or patterns usually come with some special name such as the picture above a Digitata with green skin with red polyps has been named “Forest Fire Digitata”.
In regards to placement of this coral, high water flow and moderate to strong lighting. I prefer to put Montipora Digitata at about the mid point in my tank in a very high flow area resulting in thicker branches with interesting growth patterns.
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 such as oyster feast or reef chili.
Propagation of the coral is handled like many other SPS corals and is very simple. Just grab a branch of the coral and break it off. Once the piece is removed I glue it onto a 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.
Montipora Digitata is a hardy coral as far as SPS corals go and a good beginner coral to try your hand at SPS. Another good use for this coral is to watch this coral particularly as one of the early warning signs that Alk may be getting to low. If my Alk is low the Digitatas in particular are one of the first corals to have closed polyps or a receding base. If i see these signs that’s when I make sure to test my Alk and adjust if needed.
Below are some Forest Fire Digitata Growth pictures which I admit the growth on this particular coral was not very fast, but still interesting to see the growth.