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Kingdom: Animalia
Sub Kingdom: Eumetazoa
Super Phylum: Radiata
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Sub Class: Hexacorallia
Order: Scleractinia
Family: Acroporidae
Genus: Acropora
Group: Acropora (Group 1) - Acropora (Group 2) - Acropora (Group 3) - Acropora (Group 4) - Acropora (Group 5) - Acropora (Group 6) - Acropora (Group 7) - Acropora (Group 8) - Acropora (Group 9) - Acropora (Group 10) - Acropora (Group 11) - Acropora (Group 12) - Acropora (Group 13) - Acropora (Group 14) - Acropora (Group 15) - Acropora (Group 16) - Acropora (Group 17) - Acropora (Group 18) - Acropora (Group 19) - Acropora (Group 20) - Acropora (Group 21) - Acropora (Group 22) - Acropora (Group 23) - Acropora (Group 24) - Acropora (Group 25) - Acropora (Group 26) - Acropora (Group 27) - Acropora (Group 28) - Acropora (Group 29) - Acropora (Group 30) - Acropora (Group 31) - Acropora (Group 32) - Acropora (Group 33) - Acropora (Group 34) - Acropora (Group 35) - Acropora (Group 36) - Acropora (Group 37) - Acropora (Group 38)


The genus Acropora has more species than any other genus of coral. The exact number of species is unknown and there is much debate as to which species are valid or not. For example, Wallace (1999)[1] recognises 113 species, whereas Veron (2000) [2] recognises over 300 nominal species.


Acropora colonies are unique among stony corals in possessing two distinct types of corallites and polyps. Each branch can have one (subgenus Acropora), or more (subgenus Isopora) axial corallites and many radial corallites. The axial corallites are the growing tips of the branches and radial corallites arise from behind the axial corallites.

Captive Requirements

Acropora have the same general requirements as any zooxanthellate coral:

Additionally, most species do better with undetectable nitrate and phosphate. As to how much light and water movement is sufficient, that will depend very much on the species.

Some species are found in shallow water and so need a fair amount of light and can tolerate a lot of light. Some are found in deeper water (as deep as 70m) and don't need as much light, although these are less likely to be available in the hobby. Providing a "medium" amount of light will allow you to keep most species. "Medium" amount of light can be provided as follows:

You could go for slightly lower light using T5 or even NO lamps, but you would need a few lamps and they'd need to be on for 12 to 16 hours per day. It is worth noting that Acropora species can acclimate very well to different amounts of light. You don't have to provide them an exact amount of light.

For flow, there is also quite a bit of variation. Acropora with long thin branches generally come from areas of low flow. Acropora with short thick branches come from areas of high flow. In a tank, I would class low flow as around 10 time the tank volume in water movement per hour. For example, on a 200L tank, 2000 litres per hour of in tank circulation is 10X. High flow would be 30-40X. If you settle on around 20X you should be able to keep most species but will need to place them in the tank appropriately.


The Acropora genus can be split into the following groups based on the structural characteristics of the colonies and corallites[2]:

Grouping of the genus can also be / is based on sub genera[3]: Acropora (Acropora) - Acropora (Isopora).


Miscellaneous Images



  1. (Wallace 1999): Wallace, C., Staghorn corals of the world: a revision of the genus Acropora, CSIRC Publishing: Collingwood, 1999.
  2. 2.0 2.1 (Veron 2000): Veron, J.E.N., Corals of the world, Australian Institute of Marine Science: Townsville, 2000.
  3. (Veron 1986): Veron, J.E.N., Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific, Angus & Robertson: North Ryde, 1986.