For many years, we’ve been intrigued by an Acropora tenuis look alike, a convincing impersonator with skinny tapering branches. This is a coral we occasionally encountered from time to time, in many different places around the Indonesian archipelago but for the longest time, we really thought that it was simply a deep water form of Acropora tenuis.
Since A. tenuis has been the Number 1 cultured Acropora in the aquarium hobby for over 20 years now, it’s nice to be able to add a bit of diversity in this very large and commercially important group of coral.
But after finding another colony recently, taking many pictures, going through all the Acropora species that were revised from the hard copy version Corals of the World, we found out, quite many species were actually changed. Conveniently, one species seemed completely revised, Acropora striata, and it now seems to be a perfect match for the coral we’ve long been calling the ‘skinny Tenuis’. The illustrations of Acropora striata are now totally different between the hard cover book, and the completely overhauled online version.
Colonies of Acropora striata consist of dense thickets, that can also form thin branches in very calm, protected waters. Axial corallites are small. Radial corallites are irregular in size and shape; exsert corallites have prominent lower lips. This flaring lip is a characteristic shared with A. tenuis. Radial corallites are also arranged in semi-rosette like, also very similar to A. tenuis, but in a much lower density. Basically the main difference is the colony shape, and the thickness of branches.
Acropora striata prefers semi-protected reef slope, from 8 m (25 ft) to 25 m (75 ft). Usually in pretty turbid environment, so very rich in food. If there is a bit of current from time to time, Acropora striata adopts a cushion shape, with shorter branchlets which is very similar the corymbose shape colony of A. tenuis. If the water is very protected, it will take a very thin branching form somewhat reminiscent of Acropora echinata.
The main coloration is cream or green with or without blue tips.
Acropora striata is a very hardy Acropora species, and could be a good starter species for beginner reefers with Acropora. It doesn’t require a large amount of light or flow, and will adapt to various conditions. The only requirement really, is a good water quality.