• LIGHT: MODERATE-HIGH (150-200 par) Lighting we find best, although they can probably tolerate as little as 100. It is easy to damage coral with too much lighting so in our opinion when it comes to lighting, less is often more for LPS corals. You can learn more about Lighting and it's overall impact on your reef tank in our article Lighting and your Reef Tank

  • FOOD: SPOT FEED. Acanthastrea Echinata are moderate eaters with capable tentacles. They will catch and consume most food types including frozen, liquid and even pellets. Like most corals they capture nutrients from the water column and will do best when supplied a healthy amount of food. Our method is high import, high export. You can learn more about Feeding and Filtration in our article Feeding, Filtration and your Reef Tank.

  • FLOW: MODERATE. We have had good luck giving Echinata varying flow patterns with good success. We have kept one variety of Echinata in our Acropora grow out system which has the most flow in our entire facility. That said it is always INDIRECT flow. Too much flow, especially direct flow, can cause damage to the corals tissue or an inability to capture food. You can read more about Flow and its overall impact on your reef tank in our article Flow and your Reef Tank

  • DIFFICULTY: MODERATE. Although not considered the fastest growers certain specimens have been seen to do well in captivity when the right combination of Food/Light/Flow and Filtration are achieved. We rate them at moderate difficulty as there is not a ton of variety of aquacultured specimens which tends to mean they do not grow fast or do well enough long term in captivity.

  • PRICE: MODERATE-HIGH. Like most corals, depending on size and coloration Echinata's can be valuable. Although not the most popular corals in the hobby, their slower growth rate and limited availability of aquaculture tends to keep the price up. Some absolutely striking colors and patterns can be seen in Echinata corals and often time it is slept on by the general hobbyist.

  • COLLECTION ZONE: Indo-Pacific

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Acanthastrea Echinata

  • AGGRESSION: AGGRESSIVE. You would not want to place them too closely to anything that you don't want to get stung. As the acan echinata coral grows in health and size so does it's aggressive nature. We recommend at least 4" away from other species, potentially more. You should monitor as it grows.

  • NATURAL TEMPERATURE: 82 °F / 28 °C  although most corals can adapt and survive in temps as low as 77 degrees and as high as 84 degrees. You can read more about temperature and how it affects your reef tank in our article Temperature and your Reef Tank.

  • PH: Recommend 8.0-8.4, we tend to run around 8.2-8.3 over 24 hours. You can read more about pH in our article pH and your Reef Tank

  • NITRATE: 5-10, try to keep stable. You can read more about nitrate and our approach to maintaining it in our article Nutrients and your Reef Tank

  • PHOSPHATE: 0.05-0.1, try to keep stable. You can read more about Phosphate and our approach to maintaining it in our article Nutrients and your Reef Tank

  • ALKALINITY: Recommend 8-9 dKh. You can read more about how we maintain our alkalinity in our article Alkalinity, Calcium and your Reef Tank

  • CALCIUM: Recommend 400-450. You can read more about how we maintain our calcium in our article Alkalinity, Calcium and your Reef Tank

More About Acanthastrea Echinata Corals

The Acanthastrea echinata, also known as the "starry cup coral," is a species of coral in the Lobophylliidae Family. Once grouped closely with Acan Lordhowensis, it is now considered the only true acan as the former has been reclassified as Micromussa Lordhowensis. Acanthastrea Echinata is also a large polyp stone (LPS) coral. The thick-walled, circular corallites of the Acan can appear joined directly to one another by fused walls (cerioid) or joined by fused compound walls (subplocoid). The vertical plates in the walls (or septa) have large toothy projections. The skeleton is covered with folded, fleshy tissue. Appearing uniform in color or mottled, the Acan can be found in seemingly endless color combinations and patterns. Acans are a truly beautiful addition to any reef. 

When introducing an Acan into your reef, location is important regarding lighting and waterflow. Acanthastrea echinata can be kept under a variety of light conditions ranging from low to moderate. Lighting that's too high can damage an Acan. We recommend around 100 PAR. We recommend keeping your Acan in a low to medium flow area of your reef. High flow could cause the polyps to not fully extend or could cause tears in the fleshy tissue. Lower flow also provides more opportunities for your Acan to catch a meal.

Through their symbiotic relationship with a photosynthetic algae, known as zooxanthellae, they receive many of their nutrients. They also filter-feed on the nutrients in the water column. It is a good idea to provide them with additional foods like microplankton or other foods designed for filter-feeding invertebrates. Acans benefit from targeted feeding of meaty foods. To maintain good health, calcium, strontium, and other trace elements should be monitored and added as needed.

Acan echinata are aggressive corals - even with other Acans. They need their own personal space.  At night, stinging sweeper tentacles will emerge from the Acan and insure nothing is encroaching on that personal space, so make sure to give this coral room to grow and thrive.

Acan echinataAcanthastreaCoralCoral care guideLobophylliidaeLpsReefReefchaser

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