Red Montipora Digitata
The Montipora Digitata is a species of branching Montipora. It is also sometimes called a Velvet Coral because its polyps give it a velvety appearance. Montipora Digitata are commonly found in red and green colour morphs but also, more rarely, in a blue colouration. Its dominant colour is determined largely by the colour of its polyps. The skin of the coral is usually a greyish colour. Its branches will generally have white growth tips on the ends, however the Forest Fire colour morph has green growth tips and red polyps.
The Montipora Digitata grows into distinct finger-like branches that will often, in turn, subdivide. While it may take a while for this coral to acclimate to a new tank, once established they grow fairly quickly and this should be taken into consideration when deciding on its initial placement.
This species of Montipora is native to the Indo-Pacific region and is found in shallow reef environments. In a home aquarium, they should be placed in the upper half of the tank on the live rock. They can either be removed from the frag plug and glued directly to the rock or the entire plug can be glued. Over time they will encurst over the plug and it will not be visible. They require moderate to high flow so that the polyps are in motion but not being blown around too aggressively. The flow should also be sufficient to prevent detritus from building up on the coral. They tolerate a wider range of light than some other SPS coral species but still require moderate to high levels of light. If they are going to be placed in a high light area of the tank they should be acclimatized slowly to the higher light levels.
Montipora Digitata are photosynthetic and, through their symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae algae, are able to use the tank’s lighting for their energy needs. However, they benefit from occasional feeding of SPS specific foods.
Fragging the Montipora Digitata is quite easy. Branches can be easily cut with coral cutters and glued to a frag plug. Within a few weeks the new frags will encurst the plug and begin to grow.
The Montipora Digitata is one of the easier SPS corals to keep in a reef aquarium. However, it still requires a mature tank with stable water parameters. It is recommended to monitor Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium and supplement as necessary.