Acropora horrida is hands-down, one of the most beautiful and colorful species of Acropora available to aquarists, and it is also fairly common throughout Indo-Pacific reefs. ‘Horrida’ was one of the first Acros we drooled over from pictures of this species in the wild, and in the intervening years our passion for this coral has only grown.
Besides the ORA Purple Plasma Acro, A. horrida has not really established many captive grown strains of itself in the aquarium hobby. However while scouting the reefs of Bali and especially on the recent Sumbawa Expedition, we spotted a gorgeous version of this coral which is an intense pink color with neon green highlights.
Our sighting of the green-tipped Acropora horrida was not an isolated observation, and in fact Bali Aquarium has already been farming this coral at several of their near-shore coral farms. In several of the reefs around Sumbawa Island we were able to observe how this coral’s appearance changes with depth and related lighting intensity.
In deeper waters this Acropora horrida strain is mostly pink to magenta colored, appearing mostly blue until it is illuminated by our camera’s accessory lights. In shallower water the neon green tips of the axial corallites and higher radial corallites also light up green, but the base coloration becomes subdued to a more lavender blue color.
It was an intermediate depth and corresponding light level that the green tip pink Acropora horrida looks particularly stunning, with an equal degree of pink branches and green highlights. This feature bodes well for an aesthetically gifted aquarium coral as it will look its best in what aquarists consider moderate to bright lighting.
As good as these images illustrate the vivid chromatic pigments of Acropora horrida, they were all taken in the absence of blue lighting. Under aquarium LED lighting that includes a diversity of blue LEDs, the neon green tips are accented to a really intensely fluorescent degree.
Thankfully, since Bali Aquarium is already intensively culturing this species there is ample supply for the aquarium market and SPS collectors shouldn’t have to try to outbid each other in order to get a nice seed frag of their own. Look out for this exceptional strain of Acropora horrida to hit your local reef scene in the coming weeks and months and you really love “playing” with the colors of SPS corals, you will especially like how this Horrida can vary its coloration based on lighting intensity and spectrum.