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Orange Cap Coral: Montipora capricornis

Phylum: Class: Order: Family: Genus: Species:
Cnidaria Anthozoa Scleractinia Acroporidae Montipora M. capricornis

Common Names:  Orange Cap, Orange Leaf Plate Montipora

Scientific Name:   Montipora capricornis

Veron Corals of the World:
Characters: Colonies are flat plates in tiers or whorls, sometimes with columns, sometimes encrusting or forming irregularly contorted laminae.  Corallites are immersed.  There is no tuberculae or papillae.  The coenosteum is coarse.   Color: Uniform purple, blue or brown.  Similar species:  Montipora turgescens which has smaller corallites and a finer coenosteum.  See also M. florida which is much more delicate with thinner fronds and smaller corallitesHabitat:  Mostly lagoons  Abundance:  Sometimes common.

Description:
M. capricornis grows in upwards facing whorls or outwards facing plates with multiple tiers.  They may also encrust onto nearby surfaces.  The surface of the coral is bumpy with inconspicuous polyps.  Color is a uniform orange color that can range from light orange to a dark reddish-orange color.  The growing edge of the coral if often lighter in color.

Natural Environment:
Lagoons and similar environments.

Hardiness
M. capricornis is one of the hardier SPS corals and can usually adapt to sub-optimum conditions.

Lighting
Moderate to intense lighting.

Water Current:
Moderate to fairly strong water current.

Aggressiveness:
Low.  If the M. capricornis comes into direct contact with another SPS coral, it will tend to be the loser.  These battles limit the growth of the coral in those areas and may cause some die-back, but it will not cause significant harm the coral.

Feeding:
M. capricornis is photosynthetic and require no direct feeding.  It is unknown whether they will take any offered foods.

Supplements & Water Chemistry:
Salinity should be maintained between sg 1.024 and 1.026.
Alkalinity should be maintained in the dKH 7-12 range
Calcium should be maintained at 400 ppm or higher.
pH should be maintained between 8.1-8.4

Temperature:
Does well within a range of at least 74º to 84º F

Tank Positioning:
Best positioning is in moderate to fairly strong but not laminar water flow, in a moderate to bright light area of the tank placed placed so that the coral can grow out horizontally unencumbered.  It has a fairly weak skeleton and is best positioned where it won’t get bumped during tank cleaning.  Also keep in mind that as the coral grows and the plates extend out, they will shade whatever is below them.

The large plates are susceptible to catching debris on the top or bubbles on the bottom which can cause small areas of die-off if not removed.

Propagation:
The branches of the coral can be broken or cut into small fragments and glued flat (usually) or on a cut edge to a suitable substrate.

Acknowledgements:
All photos by ReefCorner © All Rights Reserved

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