Overview and appearance
Green Birdsnest Corals are an SPS (small polyp stony) coral and they are one of the most popular SPS corals in the hobby. Some SPS corals are more difficult to keep than others but the Birdsnest coral is considered to be one of the easiest to keep.
You will be able to keep these corals healthy and vibrant if your tank is mature and the water parameters meet all the necessary requirements. The Birdsnest coral will grow fairly fast and it’s easy to see a small frag grow into a huge colony.
Also known as the Seriatopora Bird’s Nest, these corals originate from the east coast of Africa, Madagascar, the Red Sea and around parts of Australia. The Green Birdsnest coral’s appearance is mostly all neon green polyps with a brown or golden base. They have a very unique feature which will allow them to grow and intertwine their branches together to form amazingly shaped colonies. They can grow to 12-18 inches tall.
Another interesting fact about these corals is they will form a bond with certain crabs that can build and shape the coral’s branches in order to protect themselves and live in. Most times this will be a female crab building a space for the male to enter for breeding.
Birdsnest corals are a stunning coral and one of my personal favorites. They are not recommended for beginners but intermediate and advanced hobbyists will enjoy them. They are one of the most desired corals in the hobby.
They are considered to be somewhat hardy and can accept minor water parameter changes but it’s best to keep your water levels as consistent as possible to keep them healthy.
Normal appearance for Birdsnest corals includes a branching and sometimes intertwined shape.
Ideal water parameters
As with all SPS corals, the Green Birdsnest will require specific water parameters in order for them to grow and stay healthy. Once they are fully acclimated and comfortable with your aquarium environment, they will grow at a normal rate and stay very colorful.
I won’t say that they need pristine water conditions to stay healthy, but the closer you can keep your water levels to the ideal parameters the better they will be. Even though they are not considered a difficult coral to care for, there are some specific requirements for keeping Birdsnest Corals healthy.
Specific Gravity: 1.023-1.025
Temperament and compatibility
The Green Birdsnest coral is an overall peaceful coral and they don’t normally sting each other or other corals. But it is possible. There are no long sweeper tentacles to worry about and they don’t leak toxins that are harmful to others. It’s always best to provide plenty of space for them to grow as they can tangle and grow fairly tall. They need space to expand.
Birdsnest corals can survive without feeding. They will receive their nutrition through photosynthesis from the zooxanthellae algae. It is not required to feed these corals but they will appreciate it. 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. An excellent food for feeding Birdsnest corals is the Polyplab reef roids.
Fragging Birdsnest corals can be done easily. If you have the proper fragging tools it will be much easier. Honestly these corals can even be fragged with a common pair of cutters. They are very fragile and can even frag themselves. It’s common to see small branches fall off if you are moving the colony or bump it.
Most Birdsnest corals are sold in frag sizes of 1-2″. So very small. But they will grow quickly into larger pieces that you can frag if desired. Because of their thin branches, they are easily glued to a frag plug or disc.
Lighting and tank placement
It’s crucial for Birdsnest corals to have proper lighting in order to ensure growth and overall health. The Green Birdsnest will require higher lighting intensity than many other corals. A quality LED or T5 lighting is popular for these corals. The Kessil A160 LED light is a great choice.
It’s important since they require higher lighting conditions, that your lighting schedule is consistent and not too intense for long periods of time. This can cause the coral to bleach out or die.
It’s best to keep your Birdsnest corals in the middle to upper areas of your reef tank where lighting levels are suitable for them. Keep them at least a few inches away from other corals. As mentioned, they are not an aggressive coral but you should still provide enough space between corals and place them accordingly in the tank.
Birdsnest corals prefer to be in medium to high flow areas of the tank where they can receive plenty of water movement. 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. But ensure that the coral is not being blasted with too high water flow as if its too strong, the coral will not open up and will show signs of stress.
The Birdsnest coral is known for its fast growth rate. Once they are acclimated to the tank, it’s common for them to grow approx 1″ every month. But of course, that depends on many factors.
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!
Green Birdsnest coral care chart
If you are new to SPS corals, the Green Birdsnest coral is a great choice for your first one. They are not as finicky as some other SPS corals and it will give you something to build on when starting an SPS coral tank.
Be careful when moving these corals around as they are very fragile and their branches can easily break. As long as you make sure your water parameters are in check and you can provide proper lighting and water movement, you should have no trouble keeping these corals.
Also remember to acclimate them slowly to your tank. Don’t rush to properly acclimate and they will thank you for it with their amazing appearance!