The Bali Shortcake Acro is a color form of Acropora latistella with a unique tricolor appearance that originated from Bali, although the species is widespread in the whole Indo-Pacific region. It is red along the lower part of the branches then become bright yellow on the radial corallites towards the tips and axial coralites are normally blue.
The color of the Bali Shortcake is reminiscent of the original Strawberry Shortcake Acropora microclados from Australia, and also the more recent Ebeye Special from Kwajalein Atoll. Colonies of the Bali Shortcake form corymbose plates sometime over two to three feet in diameter, with thin and delicate branchlets. Radial corallites have a rosette to nariform appearance, with rounded openings. A very similar species would be Acropora aculeus or Acropora tenuis but branches are more delicate.
This form of Acropora latistella is a not really a deep water species but neither a shallow water one. You can find them as shallow as 15 feet (5m) deep, to 60 feet (20m), but it’s at around 45 feet (15m) deep that their coloration is at its best. They like turbid protected waters, like the one of submerged reef in the middle of calm turbid bays.
It grows thicker branches with washed red coloration although very bright yellow in shallow water. The red becomes more intense as the branches become more skinny and opened in deeper water. The blue tips only appear when the colony is in full growing mode, which can take a while in aquarium until conditions are right, and the coral recovers from transportation and change of environment. You’ll have to be patient to get the full red body coloration to come out but it is well worth the wait, as you can see in these captive photos from Unique Corals.