Stylophora pistillata Domain: Eukaryota Kingdom: Animalia Subkingdom: Radiata Infrakingdom: Coelenterata Phylum: Cnidaria Subphylum: Anthozoa Class: Anthozoa Subclass: Zoantharia Order: Scleractinia Suborder: Astrocoeniina Family: Pocilloporidae Genus: Stylophora Specific name: pistillata Scientific name: Stylophora pistillata Status: Near threatened by IUCN, listed in CITES Appendix II Common names: Cat’s Paw, Club Finger Coral, Hood Coral, Smooth Cauliflower Coral Range: Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea to the Central Pacific Habitat: Shallow reef flats Care Level: Moderate Recommended parameters: Specific gravity/Salinity – 1.024 to 1.027 or 34ppt to 36ppt Temperature – 78 to 84 PH – 8.1 to 8.3 Ammonia – 0 Nitrite – 0 Nitrate - <5 Phosphate - <.03 Calcium – 380ppm to 450ppm Alkalinity – 7 to 12dKH, 2.5 to 4.3meq/l Magnesium – 1250ppm to 1500ppm Temperament: Semi-aggressive, sweeper tentacles although I have never seen any Lighting: Moderate to high, this coral has been under 130W power compact, 192W power compact and from 216W to 324W T5HO lighting. It has always been placed at or near the highest point on the rocks. It did not show a lot of the current coloring under the 130W PC, but did show a fair amount of the coloring under 192W PC, the color maximized under 216W to 270W T5HO and faded under 324W T5HO (photo inhibition). Flow: Strong Growth: Rapid for SPS coral given parameters are maintained in the preferred ranges. Growth is affected by the flow the coral encounters. Light flow it will grow thinner and more spaced apart, heavier more compact and thicker. Feeding: In our aquariums the majority of food comes from light, its polyps can capture small prey items commensurate with their size such as small copepods, rotifers, Cyclops, bacteria and phytoplankton. I only recently have starting regular weekly feedings of Coral Frenzy. I cannot tell if it has contributed to increased growth or not due to other husbandry changes in conjunction with the new feeding regime. I feel it most likely does have a hand in the growth though. Hardiness: I would rate this coral hardy. It has experienced extended low calcium levels, high specific gravity levels, and some photo shock from too much lighting. During these times its growth has slowed and color faded but showed no sign of dying off as some of my other corals did. I feel that this would make an excellent first SPS for all reefers. Frag difficulty: While I have not attempted to frag this coral given the hardiness it has displayed I would expect it to recover quite well and start growing quickly. Given its growth style I would expect that cutting frags could be difficult with standard frag cutting tools. It has a dense growth to the skeleton. Personal observations: This is an easy, hardy, forgiving, fast growing coral that can become a center piece of your aquarium. In my research on this coral I have found corals of this species offered with pink, purple, green, blue and white polyps. I have seen flesh colors available besides the rainbow you see on this coral of pink and green. This one is called Rose Stylophora by some retailers. This was the first intentional SPS coral I bought and it has been a joy to have. Here is a photo of the coral shortly after I got it. All of the rest of the photos were shot yesterday, so you are seeing 14 months of growth. Without aquarium lights, just the camera flash. Without light correction for tank lamps.