Quick Care Facts
Care Level: Moderate
Lighting: Moderate to High
Color Form: Green, Tan
Supplements: Calcium, Strontium, Trace Elements
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Origin: Indian Ocean
Species: SPS Hard Corals
The Pavona Coral is from the classification of Small Polyp Stony or SPS corals. Within the aquarium hobby they are referred to by a variety of names including: Pavona Coral, Lettuce Coral, Potato Chip Coral and Cactus Coral. They vary not only in name, but also in color as they come in green, tan and fluorescent color forms. Pavona Corals are best kept by hobbyists who have at least intermediate level experience keeping corals and reef aquariums. While they are not difficult to maintain, the Pavona Coral does need moderate to high lighting and strong water currents as it is a filter feeding specimen that takes much of its nutrition from organisms filtered from the water column.
Filter feeding species like the Pavona Coral should be kept in mature reef aquariums that have ecosystems capable of supporting the micro-plankton organisms on which most filter feeding species feed. The Pavona Coral should be placed in a location on the reef to ensure that it receives plenty of moderate to high intensity lighting and so that it is well situated within the water column to filter food from the passing currents. Water flow should be strong and intermittent, not directly focused on the Pavona Coral so that it does not create a constant pounding on the coral.
Pavona Corals will spread onto nearby reef rock and will grow upwards and outwards, but do not extend larger sweeper tentacles that would damage nearby neighbors. They should be placed in an area on the reef where their “hairs” do not touch their neighbors and where their neighbors tentacles do not touch the Pavona Coral. As they use calcium to build out their skeletal structure, Pavona Corals will need calcium levels to remain steady between 400 – 440. Consistent high quality water with low nitrates, phosphates and silicates is crucial to their long term health, along with proper water changes and replenishment of trace elements from time to time as their levels decrease.
Feeding & Nutrition
Pavona Corals are a filter feeding species, that in the wild catch plankton and other small organisms from the water column using their hair-like tentacles. In the aquarium environment, they will need to be provided with plenty of strong in-direct water flow from which they can filter plankton, micro-organisms, baby brine shrimp, cyclopeeze and other foods designed for filter feeding invertebrates. They also receive a good portion of their nutrition from the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae hosted within their body, so they will need moderate to strong lighting.