Acanthastrea Lordhowensis (Acanthastrea sp.) Type: Large Polyp Stony Family: Mussidae Origin: Indo Pacific Aquarium Needs: Lighting: Acanthastrea Lordhowensis are a hermatypic/photosynthetic coral. They require moderate to high lighting. Power compact lighting may be used but ideally T-5 & Metal Halide fixtures will prove more beneficial. Water Quality: Acanthastrea Lordhowensis are more tolerant of changes water quality making them an excellent coral for beginners. Though they are more tolerant, a stable environment is obviously better for the prolonged health & well being of these creatures. Due to the heavy feeding requirements, a strong protein skimmer is recommended. Activated carbon as well as items such as ozone generators can help as well. Current: Acanthastrea Lordhowensis require medium to strong water movement. Excessive flow on the animal can cause polyp retraction or in worst-case polyp bailout (polyps actually detach from their skeleton). Temperature: 74 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit Temperament: Acanthastrea Lordhowensis are a more aggressive species. They may be kept close to other Acanthastrea Lordhowensis, but give plenty of room to other corals. Supplemental Feeding: Acanthastrea Lordhowensis will readily accept feedings of minced meaty foods such as shrimp, mysis and squid. Though not regularly required, these feeding will also help growth. These animals also seem to react better to higher levels of magnesium 1250-1350ppm. Please test prior to the addition of any chemicals. Frag Difficulty: The propagation of Acanthastrea Lordhowensis is very easy. They simply love to be cut. Wet tile saws, band saws and dremel tools may be used to make appropriate cuts. Simple agitation of the coral will cause the polyps to retract. At this point you may cut out the desired amount of polyps. The only concern is that depending on the cut, you don’t go to shallow and actually cut into the corallites. Once the frag is made, it can be left as is in the sand bed where it will grow its own calcium skeleton or affixed to a piece of live rock where it will encrust over the rock. The preferred and more desirable method due to accelerated growth is to attach the frag to live rock and let it encrust over. Personal Observations - Each of these corals are unique. Some like high flow some like low. Some color up better under metal halides while some like it in the shade. You have to watch them and learn what to look for. I’ve found that the Indonesian species seem to handle the warmer waters 79-80 degrees while others seem to prefer the colder temps, 76-77. Acan lords love to eat. They actually seem to eat better than I do. A varied diet a couple of times a week will help them remain happy and healthy as well as promote faster growth. A friend of mine woke up the other morning to one of his lords swallowing his pipefish. They are a hardy coral with amazing coloration. They are my personal favorite.