I’m often asked, what is my favorite coral, and I have to admit, most of the time, an Acro crosses my mind. But yesterday, I came across one more time, of a coral, Pavona varians that I’ve seen quite many times in the wild, but have never seen it in a tank. So I started to wonder, what makes a coral special?
Why is it underrated?
Probably first because it’s very rarely imported, if not at all. It’s not very common and only the trained eye will spot it, and see it’s potential. They don’t appear on many quota system, so legally it’s not easy to import. Then like all Pavona, they are quite stingy. It will spread it’s long sweeper tentacles at night and damage its neighbours.
All Pavona are pretty much underrated, even though species like P. explanulata, can be quite colorful.
What makes Pavona varians is so special?
Well first of all we love these starry shape polyps. They are stunning, and the ones of P. varians are probably the nicest ones. Then the ridges are unique in the genus, most other members of the genus are flat. Some large colonies of P. varians can become laminar, and even take a cup like form, which again is unique in this genus.
Then the coloration of these rainbow style colonies we find here in Bali, Indonesia is just out of this world. The mouth is blue sometime, the polyps are red, the coenosteum is green and the ridges are yellow.
Habitat and Care of Pavona varians:
We always find these colonies quite deep, below 45 feet (15 m), always on vertical surface, like on the side of boulders. In the deeper part of calm and protected bays. Where the water is often turbid, rich in suspended food. So probably that in aquarium, very gentle indirect lighting and flow is the best option, with the addition of regular feeding.
Hopefully in a few months, mariculture exports from Indonesia will start again, and we will be able to grab a few of these! We are very curious the result of proper aquarium husbandry, and increased lighting and feeding can have on these.