Pavona frondifera is a mini version of the considerably more common Pavona cactus, popularly named the Potato Chip coral. We’ve been growing a few pieces of the Mini Potato Chip we got from Julian Sprung about a year ago but recently we saw a most impressive example colony of this species. While gawking at the incredible two-year old tank of Jason Brockett in South Florida we spied this gorgeous Pavona frondifera sitting on the bottom of the tank in perfect view for our eyes and our camera.
Although it is possible to find the classic Potato Chip coral Pavona cactus in the American aquarium scene, their mostly encrusting and infrequently branching growth form has made it slow to distribute through captive grown frags. Pavona frondifera on the other hand has a much thinner and more frequently branching growth form which is why Julian Sprung has been very successful at growing and sharing this coral. We even hear that ORA’s been growing some of the Mini potato chip coral for a while and it shouldn’t be too long now until we see this coral available to hobbyists on a commercial scale.
If you’ve got a full blow SPS coral tank with killer light and flow, stay away from Pavona frondifera because like related Pavona and Leptoseris species the Mini potato chip prefers reduced light and flow. Reduced lighting and moderate flow like that provided for many Acans, scolies and chalice corals is just about right for this species and it looks especially great when the light spectrum is skewed towards the blue end of the spectrum.