Updated Oct 23/2020
Acan Coral Care Guide – Best Tips For Keeping Acanthastrea
Overview and appearance
Acan Corals are an LPS (long polyp stony coral) which are available in a wide range of colors and are considered to be easy to keep in a reef tank.
They come in many different color patterns and styles and it is easy for reef keepers to choose ones that suit your tank.
The most common Acans are from Australia and are a bright multicolor with red and orange. Some of the more non-common Acans can be from Indonesia and Vietnam.
They are all very vibrant and colorful regardless of their origin.
Acans are great corals for beginners and advanced hobbyists. They are one of the most desired corals in the hobby. They are also very hardy and tend to adapt to your aquarium environment easily.
Although it’s important to maintain proper water parameters, the Acan coral is a bit more forgiving than others and can handle less than perfect conditions.
Normal appearance for Acans includes a round and puffy shape. They generally won’t have any of their skeleton showing if they are healthy.
When buying a new Acan for your tank, ensure that no part of the coral skeleton is showing.
Types of Acan corals
Acan Corals (Acanthastrea Echinata) are very popular within the reef aquarium hobby. They are famous for their brightly striped colors and ease of care.
Acans have many different names including Acan Coral, Acan Brain Coral, Acanthastrea Coral.
A few different types of Acans include:
Ideal water parameters
As mentioned above, the Acan coral will adapt well to your aquarium environment and doesn’t need pristine water conditions to stay healthy.
Even though they are easy to care for and are a hardy coral, there are some specific requirements for keeping Acan Corals healthy.
Specific Gravity: 1.023-1.025
Magnesium: 1200 – 1350 ppm
Temperament and compatibility
The Acan coral is an overall peaceful coral but it can sting if it feels threatened. It’s always best to provide plenty of space for them to grow. Acans should not be placed near other Acan Enchinatas.
Even though the two are from the same family, Acans can sting each other.
Feeding Acan corals
Acan corals will receive some of their nutrition through photosynthesis from the zooxanthellae algae. It is not required to feed these corals but it is highly recommended.
Target feeding will allow them to show their amazing colors and provide for better growth and overall health.
If you decide to target feed, it’s best to mix the food in a separate container with your aquarium water. Then use a target feeder like this one to make feeding a breeze.
You can even use a turkey baster if you like.
Once you push the food over the coral, it will sense the food in the water and catch it with their tentacles. Excellent food for feeding Acans is the Polyplab reef roids.
You don’t need to feed Acans every day. It’s recommended to feed 2-3 times per week for normal growth. It’s normal for Acans that are new to the tank to not feed for a few weeks.
Once they are established and comfortable they will begin to eat.
Fragging Acan corals can be done but I wouldn’t say they are the easiest coral to frag. If you have the proper tools it will be much easier. The difficult part is you will need to cut down on its skeleton in between two heads.
You will need to make a precise and quick cut to avoid damaging the coral.
Fragging Acan corals video
It’s important for Acan corals to have proper lighting in order to ensure growth and overall health. It’s true that Acans feed via the zooxanthellae algae hosted within their body.
The difference between Acans and other corals is the Acan coral only utilizes photosynthesis for a portion of their nutrition and others use it as the main nutrition source.
This means that they only need low to moderate lighting intensity. They do not like high lighting and will bleach out or die if placed under intense light.
It’s best to keep your Acans in the lower to middle areas of your reef tank where lighting levels are not as intense.
Acan corals prefer to be in low to medium lighting areas of the tank with low to medium water flow. This water flow should be indirect and not pointed directly on them.
Using a wavemaker or alternating powerheads with variable strength and settings will allow for laminar water flow patterns.
This provides better filter feeding opportunities and removes waste from the coral. If the water movement is too strong, the coral will not open up and will show signs of stress.
It is recommended to keep Acan corals in the bottom to the midsection of your tank. Some people will place them in caves or around rock formations to avoid high lighting or water movement.
Keep Acans at least a few inches away from other corals. As mentioned, they can sting other corals nearby. But if you provide enough space between corals and place them accordingly in the tank, there should be no issues.
The Acan coral is known for its rapid growth rate. Once they are acclimated to the tank, it’s common for them to produce new heads on a regular basis. These heads will form the oval dome shape that they are famous for.
The great thing about these corals having a high growth rate is you can frag them to trade or sell with other hobbyists, or let them form into a stunning colony!
Illness/signs of dying
If you notice your Acans are not looking normal, there is a chance that its health is failing and death could result. Look for the following signs:
- The apparent loss of color
- Shrinking in size
- Bleaching from too much light
Keeping your water parameters in check and ensuring proper lighting and water movement will help prevent these signs from showing.
Acan Coral Care Chart
Keeping Acan corals healthy is not difficult and they are a great coral for beginners. With so many varieties available, you are sure to find the right ones for your tank. They don’t require pristine water conditions and you can easily feed them a few times per week if you are looking to grow them a bit faster than they normally grow.
They are one of the most popular coral in the hobby and they are commonly found in most saltwater shops at great prices.