Acropora carduus is a fast-growing, thin-branching species of SPS coral which comes in a huge range of color forms, none more popular and widespread in the reef keeping hobby than the venerable ‘Red Dragon Acro‘. First introduced to the reef aquarium scene in the early 2000s by Indonesian mariculture its unique light pink coloration and blue to lilac tips is unique among Acropora and it really shines under broad daylight spectrum lighting.
One thing that we love about the Red Dragon Acro is that it is very tolerant of a wide range of aquarium conditions and can grow well under lower light and can be downright weedy under very strong light and high energy conditions. It’s this latter environment that has fostered pretty explosive growth from our pink Acropora carduus which has grown completely out of proportion with everything else in the tank, necessitating a very heavy handed pruning session which we completely documented on video.
We were very fortunate that this colony of red dragon and another deepwater style Acro which also needed some attention were both grown on a rock that is not attached to the main aquascape so we were able to pull out the whole assemblage and work on it out of the tank. Getting both corals out and into the workshop really allowed us to get a good look at it and to demonstrate how we groomed up this rock, scrpaed off some undesirable Valonia, Xenia, and a couple persistent Palythoa polyps.
We didn’t intend to prune the colony down to a nub but once we were left with a mangled, bushwhacked stump we decided it would be better to just reset the colony with a nice large upper branch of both the Red Dragon and the bluetip, teal Acro next to it. Both of these corals were grown out from small frags less then two years ago so restarting them from large frags/mini colonies will give us the chance to regrow them with better shape, and to share and spread out the pruned corals throughout our other reef tanks.
We’re very excited that the Studio reef tanks and the corals within them are finally reaching a stage of maturity where we can share this kind hands on coral care and grooming such as this, as well as last week’s coral grafting video. We still have a good amount of ‘coral scaping’ to do on many of our various reef tanks so make sure you’re subscribed to the Reef Builders YouTube channel if you never want to miss this flavor of reef aquarium content.