As I grew to love SPS corals, one in particular stood out and caught my eye: Montipora digitata. I have found M. digitata to be a fast-growing, hardy SPS coral that, once established in a well-balanced reef tank, can really take off in growth. This coral also has very unique growth patterns and comes in a variety of colors, adding some nice coral “eye candy” to your reef.
Here is some general info on this SPS wonder:
- Scientific name: Montipora digitata
- Common names: Digitata, Digi
- Skill level: easy/moderate
- Light level: moderate to high
- Water flow: high
- Disposition: peaceful
- Water conditions: 75-78°F, 8-12 dKH, 8.1-8.4 pH, SG 1.024-1.026
Growth and placement
M. digitata is, for the most part, a branching coral. It will encrust a base and then begin growing up toward the light. I have found that the growth of these corals is very strong under my T5 lights and that the thickness of the branches seems to be determined by how much flow the coral is getting. This coral seems to like strong water movement that causes thick and curvy growth patterns. So, ideal tank placement for this coral is where it will receive high water flow and strong lighting. Also, while Digi is considered peaceful, keep in mind that it still requires ample space to grow.
Signs of a healthy Digi
I have learned that this coral will exhibit certain “signs” when it’s happy and healthy. For instance, a healthy Digitata will have excellent polyp extension and white growth tips. The white tips at the end of the coral indicate that it’s getting enough light and nutrients to grow.
One of the warning signs I’ve observed in this coral is closed polyps, which signals low alkalinity in the system.
Since this coral is photosynthetic, it’s not necessary to feed it directly. However, I feed the other SPS corals in my tank twice a week and the Digitata doesn’t seem to mind the extra food in the water column.
Fraggin’ is friggin’ easy!
Fragging of this coral is very simple: Simply cut or break off a frag and glue it to either a frag plug or a rock.
M. digitata is available in many different colors, the more common being green, red/orange, purple, and blue. Some have a different color “skin” also. The “Forest Fire Digitata,” one of my favorites, has a green skin with red polyps.
Beginner-friendly but favors stability!
Overall, M. digitata is a good beginner coral that is hardy enough to take a little abuse, though I’ve found that stability is key to success with all SPS corals. We all have ups and downs with our reefs, but these beautiful corals will thrive in systems with excellent nutrient control and the right water parameters.
Photo credits: Joe Garza