This week I would like to talk about a coral that is dear to my heart, Acropora tortuosa. I’m not sure exactly why this coral is so well loved and collected within the hobby – Is it because it occurs in many stunning shades of blue or because of the growth formation? Maybe it seems rare and so stays popular with reefers. For whatever reason, Acropora tortuosa have remained in high demand throughout the years and two strains particularly have persisted and spread from coast to coast of America – the Cali Tort and the Oregon Tort.
The Cali tortuosa is the most prevalent tortuosa (and blue ‘staghorn’ coral) in the hobby. It is quite easy to keep for an Acropora, grows quickly in well established tanks, and has very bright blue – blue/green coloration. It, like other types of tortuosa has been the subject of debate as there are a few different common names floating around. Acropora can be quite hard to identify because their color and growth pattern can be so variable depending on the light and flow conditions under which they are kept. My Cali tort mother colonies are solid dark blue with powder blue tips under my ATI T5 lamps whereas my frags that grow out under my 20k Radium MH’s have the more customary dark blue with emerald base. Out of all the different torts, I recommend the Cali tort as the best beginner tort.
Oregon tortuosa is probably the other most famous tortuosa, it seems like everyone one wants a frag. For good reason, it is probably one of most true blue acropora in the hobby. There are few acropora that can rival the beauty of a large Oregon tort colony. It is a slow growing coral to start, but then grows a bit faster once it reaches the three inch size. For being a slow growing coral it is actually very hardy, my own colony has been through all kinds of tank ups and downs without trouble. This tort grows well for me under medium high light and good flow. If you have patience you will not be disappointed with this coral.
Tortuosa are pretty hardy corals in general, but they can be more susceptible to red bugs since they have smooth skin. Even though I do quarantine all new corals, I always inspect my established mother colonies about twice a month just to be on the safe side. This makes it easier to catch pests early before they have a chance to infest your whole tank. Next time I will cover some less well known types of tortuosa as well as some similar coral strains.
Residing in Florida, Morgan Moore is a professional coral aquaculturist and the owner of the Reef Gardener, and one of the first announced speaker for MACNA 2013.