Seriatopora hystrix Birdsnest Coral

Phylum: Class: Order: Family: Genus: Species:
Cnidaria Anthozoa Scleractinia Acroporidae Seriatopora S. hystrix

Common Names:  Birdsnest Coral

Scientific Name:   Seriatopora hystrix


Branches are thin and tapered to a sharp point thus having a needle-like appearance. Branches may be widely spaced or tightly compacted in the colony.  The branches grow in an irregular manner and often fuse together where they touch.  Branches tend to be thicker and shorter on colonies exposed to strong water currents.  Corallites are arranged in neat rows along branches.

Natural Environment:

Shallow reef environments, often within the tidal zones where they are exposed to the air during low tide.


Example Color Variants and Growth Forms

Color is most often a shade of pink, but may also be green or blue or have combinations of all 3 colors in a color morph referred to as 'rainbow birdsnest'.

Care Information


S. hystrix is one of the hardier SPS corals and can usually adapt to sub-optimum conditions.

Moderate to intense lighting.

Water Current:
Moderate to strong water current.

Moderate.   Birdsnest coral does not possess a powerful sting, but they can be fast growers under good conditions and may encroach on their neighbors thus requiring occasional pruning to keep them in check.

Birdsnest is photosynthetic and require no direct feeding.  Like all SPS corals, their small polyps can take in very small filter feeder size foods if available.

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.  May drop to 7.8 at night.

Optimum is 76º to 80º F, but does well within a range of at least 74º to 84º F

Tank Positioning:
Best positioning is in moderate to strong but not laminar water flow, in a moderate to brightly lit area of the tank.  They should be placed so that the coral has room to grow in size unencumbered.  It has a fairly weak skeleton and so is best positioned where it won't get bumped during tank cleaning.

General Care:

The often tightly spaced tangled web of branches may show some die-off on the inner branches.  This generally causes no issues for the coral as long as algae does not tank hold in those areas.  If that becomes the case, selective pruning may be needed to excise the area where the algae is growing.


Identification Characteristics

 AIMS Coral Database Fact Sheet

There are a number of species in the Seriatopora genus.  S. hystrix is most easily recognized by the sharp tapering branches.



Propagation of Birdsnest corals is straight forward.  It is accomplished by fragmentation of branches using cutting plier.  The fragments are then attached to a substrate such as a reef plug or rock using gel type cyanoacrylate glue (Superglue).

Picture below shows an example of a Birdsnest frag.


All photos by ReefCorner © All Rights Reserved