Write-Up Wednesday: Red Dragon Acropora


Attention stick haters: this post isn’t for you.

Red Dragon Acropora

Red Dragon Acropora in one of my client’s tanks

The Red Dragon Acropora (Acropora carduus) is a relative newcomer to the acropora scene, at least here in the USA. It was thought to have been imported in Canada about 10 years ago and colonies were eventually sold to US coral farmers. (Who says the USA gets all the good stuff first?)

Red Dragon is easily recognized by it’s longer thinner branches which lead to coralites that are spread out more than shallow water acros. Keep in mind that in higher light conditions, the coralites tend to grow closer together which could throw off your identification of the coral.

While color isn’t the best way to identify a coral, a healthy and fully colored piece of Red Dragon has a deep fuscia color with white or polyps. Sometimes just the coralites retain the fuscia color while the body of the coral is white.

Red Dragon is a “deep water” acro meaning it is found in deeper water (40-60 ft) than most acropora species. Just because it’s a deep water acro doesn’t mean the coral prefers lower light conditions though. Several hobbyists report that this coral does well in high light conditions (PAR > 350). As I’ve always said, each tank is different so if you’re keeping a Red Dragon acro, and it doesn’t like the high or low light conditions you are giving it, try moving it to the opposite light condition and see what results you get.

If you’re looking for a piece of Red Dragon, this coral is widely available as it is aquacultured extensively which also  helps depress the price point.

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Comments for this article (4)

  • Matt says:

    Oh look Reef Stick Porn … nifty little acro write up .. I’d considered a frag of this a while back but completely forgot to follow it up! Thanks for the reminder and the clear info… 🙂

  • jasonandsarah says:

    Love this acro! It’s a great piece and once it’s in a spot it likes it’s normally a fast grower. Can be one of the more finicky acro’s though until you find it’s sweet spot.
    thanks for the write up Mark and glad to see you giving some love to us stick addicts! 🙂

  • Glad I could tickle your fancy Matt!

  • Len says:

    Man I would love to have this in my dwarf seahorse tank!! As long as it not a stinger and eat my teeny tiny ponies (HAHA).

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