Fire Coral – Millepora Coral
Common species: M. alcicornis, M. complanata, M. dichotoma, M. exaesa, M. murrayi, M. nitida, M. platyphyllia, M. squarrosa, M. tenella, and others.
Common Names: Branching Fire Coral, Finger Coral, Ginger Coral
Lighting: intense light
Aggressiveness: May grow faster in the direction of nearby corals in order to overgrow them. They can release a proteinaceous toxin, causing a painful sting or burn if handeled (they are actually more related to jellyfishes and hydroids than to corals). Ammonia or powdered meat tenderizer may be effective in alleviating the pain.
M. complanata = strong
M. dichotoma = strong
M. platyphyllia = strong
M. tenella = medium
M. exaesa = medium
M. alcicronis = various current
Hardiness: Fire corals are very resistant to attack and sickness. Highly adaptable and quite hardy.
Color: Uniform mustard yellow to dark brown color. Rarely pink or green. M. squarrosa tends to be pink to cream. They usually have white or lighter-colored tips (or edges).
Predation: Some common predators or parasites are Pyrgomatina barnacles, polychaetes, nudibranchs of the genus Phyllida, aluterus and cantherhines species.
Feeding: Light (75% of there carbon needs is provided by photosynthesis in shallow water). It is also a plankton eater.
Water parameters: Coming soon
Origin: Worldwide. Common from sea level to 40 meter depth. M. dichotoma is most common in less than 3 meter of water.
Propagation: Reproduce by asexual fragmentation and are infrequent sexual breeders.
Growth forms: Colonies posses a varying range of morphologies dependent on habitat. Encrusting collonies are found in turbulent water conditions, but are also the initial form of a new colony in other areas. Lacelike growth forms are vertical arising from an encrusting base under low water flow. Boxlike forms commonly result when it suffer repeted damage from strong water movement.
Millepora species belong to a group known as hydrocorals. They build calcareous skeletons, but have an anatomy that separates them from the tipical stony corals; no polyps are present outside the skeleton. They are all located inside the skeleton. They have fuzzy like hairs that are responsible for prey capture.
It is not a fast-growing coral. Tipically extend their linear growth from 4mm to 20mm every year.
Because there are no visible living polyps, it can be difficult to ascertain the happiness of a specimen in a tank. Other than through a visually maintained robust color without bleaching or algal overgrowth, little else may be apparent to ascertain the corals health. Color changes may be related to improper light intensity or rapid change in light or water conditions. Because they possess zooxanthellae, proper acclimation is as important with these hydrozoans as with any stony coral.
Small bubbles of oxygen are frequently releaced from the brightly illuminated specimen as the zooxanthellae exclude surplus oxygen. This may be an indication of excessive light leve.
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