Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Leaf Plate Montipora

Leaf Plate Montipora, (Montipora capricornis), also known as Vase Coral, Cap Coral, or simply Montipora, is a species of stony coral found in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is also found in reefs in the Red Sea. It usually inhabits the top half of the reef where photosynthesis can occur. It branches out from the foundation into an area with adequate sunlight.

This species forms flat, plating colonies. The colonies expand by adding to their foundations and further spreading out. Individual polyps appear as small bumps on the surface of the skeleton. At night, the polyps emerge from the skeleton and feed on plankton. The polyps are typically transparent with slight patches of color due to symbiotic algae that lives within its tissue.

This is one of the more common stony coral species that is available in the aquarium market. It has various color variations including red, green and orange. It is a good beginner’s coral, due to the fact that it is much more tolerant of under-ideal conditions than its relative, Acropora. In captivity, it grows best in reef settings and prefers temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees F. Strong lighting should be used.

This species relies mainly on currents to bring it food, so moderate to high current should be provided in an aquarium setting. Supplementary feeding is not generally necessary as the coral’s photosynthesis brings in ample energy for the coral and its polyps. However, it will benefit from phytoplankton. If moderate lighting is used, this coral should be placed near the top of the tank, always on a rock base, and not on substrate.

Leaf Plate Montipora