The (Almost) "Full Monti": A biased and overly-opinionated look at Montipora

Discussion in 'Unique Corals' started by Unique Corals, Jan 31, 2014.

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  1. Unique Corals

    Unique Corals 3reef Sponsor

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    OK, 3 Reefers...

    One of the things you're gonna learn about us is that we are not gonna do it like everyone else on this forum. That means you're not going to see tons of posts that say, "Check out our newest LE Chalice release!" or "We'll release 10 new Zoa Morphs for 4 cents each if we hit 3,000 likes in the next hour on Facebook!"

    No, actually- we like dialogue. You know we sell corals. You know our website is here:

    Unique Corals Home Page

    Sure, I might show some cool pics of a new piece that we're excited about now and again, and announce a sale, but on any given day, we're going to have content. Yup, stuff to read and discuss...And more than 140 characters. I mean, UC has a Twitter feed and Instagram...This is about interaction and fun. I think that you're capable of digesting more than a Tweet's worth of information, anyways..

    You will be challenged. You might be bored. You may be ticked off. But you won't be getting hammered with calls to buy stuff all the time.

    Oh, we do have a blog on our website, too-

    Blog

    So, check it out for more cool content..Now and again, I might "tease" you with the start of something, then have a link to see the rest of it to bait you into our site...An evil marketing ploy!

    So, here we are. I'll give you today's little gem. A rather opinionated piece on the genus Montipora. Feel free to respond, critique, attack, repost, etc. Just do SOMETHING with it, ok?

    UC sells coral (oops- I said it again)- and you know that. This forum is about dialogue...So here goes:


    Ahh, the genus Montipora…Popular, yet somehow always seen as the forgotten little brother to the genus Acropora, right? They don't get all the glamour and press of the Acros, but the Monties are certainly interesting and worth keeping in their own right. The sheer variety of species and colors in the genus alone make it worth keeping. They range from the simply super easy to keep to the challenging. Some are just dumb, though. Really. I've made that conclusion.

    I distinctly recall that, in the So Cal area, when you started a reef tank, you were literally “issued” at least a few frags of Orange Montipora capricornus, and a couple of digitata as well! Our little ritual..Sort of like getting the keys to your first car, or getting your first razor…. A right of passage as a reefer! And, when your colony grew large enough, you fragged it and “paid it forward” to someone else. It could be argued that the basis for the modern frag swap as we know it evolved around the genus Montipora!


    [​IMG]
    No! No! No! No! No!

    One thing I must admit: What used to turn me off the most about this genus is the obligatory “Monti Cap Blend” that every reef tank in the history of the hobby has tried: You know, the result of mixing a Green and an Orange Monti Cap together to swirl into each other….If I see another one of those, I swear I’ll hurl on my keyboard…total reef FAIL, if you ask me. Just LAME!

    (OK, the “insult portion” of this piece was dispatched early, for a change…!)

    Ahh- random fact: Did you know that Charlie Veron named M. capricornus in 1985? Kinda cool, huh? A product of the cool decade..but I still am kinda over this species...

    Oh, I hate M. digitata, too! It was the first species I actually "fragged." In the wild, no less. Unintentionally, actually. Yeah, ran over it with my surfboard in Fiji in 1987, and it destroyed the bottom of my brand-new board, and gave me a nice permanent scar on the bottom of my ankle...on day TWO of my 14-day dream surf trip...Had to ride my backup board after the third-world-style stitch job on my foot..Perhaps that's why I have severe anger management issues with this genus? Maybe. But I digress...

    Rather than a detailed taxonomic and scientific review of every aspect of the genus and it's care, which you would stone me to death for anyways, let’s do it MY way, and just skip around all over the place in my typical ADD fashion ( meaning that we cover an aspect of keeping this coral when it pops into my head), and briefly review some of the practical aspects of Montipora care in the reef aquarium.

    Oh, my spell check on my MacBook constantly corrects M. digitata to "digital." Apparently, Apple hates this species, too!

    First off, most Montipora don’t like to get just blasted with light. I say this while biting my tongue, because, as you know- making sweeping general statements just horrifies me. The reality is that some species can take bright light quite well. Although, I have to tell you, we found through hard-won trial and error that some species and color morphs, such as the Sunset Monties, were not particularly thrilled being placed right under 400 watt halides, and they let us know their displeasure rather overtly. Others, like Montipora aequatuberculata, and Montipora capricornus, seem to like baking a bit. I’d throw M. digitata, M. confusa, and M. spongodes into that category.

    [​IMG]
    Sanjay...we still have your M. confusa!

    Gadget freaks rejoice, because Monties benefit from respectable Ca levels, which means that you get to keep the calcium reactor going. All the joy of regulators, bubble counters, and media replacement! Woo Hoo!

    Most Monties seem to tolerate strong water movement okay, but they definitely do NOT like getting slammed with current directly onto their tissues. When we say “moderate” flow, we mean areas of your reef where water movement is significantly reduced from the volume it’s at when it emerges from your returns or powerbeads. Flow is still important to Montipora, as it helps keep them sediment- free, provides gas exchange, and encourages growth.

    Ohhh- random fact: Monties are like the wimpiest corals around, the proverbial geek on the playground- and most just get the crap kicked out of them by more aggressive corals, so be sure to provide them with space between them and their neighbors!

    We talk a lot in this forum about keeping your reef clean, but not sterile, as most corals seem to do well under these conditions, and Montipora are no exception. They show the best colors and growth in water than has some nutrients in it. Again, this is not a call to kick the nitrate up to 50ppm and phosphates to 10ppm- it’s a call for some common-sense, slightly more relaxed husbandry, where you won’t run off, screaming into the night when your Salifert indicates 5ppm nitrate!

    Montipora respond beautifully to the addition of amino acid supplements (We LOVE AcroPower!) and potassium in their water. You’ll notice a darned-near “miraculous” change in their growth and coloration when you do the “before/after” comparison, trust me! The encrusting varieties, like M. undata, M. danae, and the like really show a great response!

    [​IMG]
    "Excuse me, while I kiss the sky..." The "Purple Haze", M. danae rocks!

    Most Monties frag really easily, and recover well. The key is to give them a gentle dip after fragging, and allow sufficient time for them to recover before you start giving them to friends or trading them at the next swap. “Fresh cut” Monties are particularly susceptible to bacterial infections, so this is quite important. Colonies typically are non the worse for wear after fragging, and this includes the poster child M. capricornus, unfortunately...

    Random thought #13,454: I think it would be cool to create a “Montipora Tank”, because there is such variety and contrast between members of this genus. Not just species, but color morphs and even growth forms within a species. Ok, do it…But no Monti Cap “Blends!”

    Some of the real weirdos of the genus include Montipora mollis, AKA the “Pink Cadillac Monti”, which has a cool color and a “strawberry-skinned” appearance that’s just plain cool, Montipora confusa, which looks simply alien (if SPS existed on Mars, they would be confuse, for sure), and my personal fave, Montipora stellata, which looks almost Acropora-like. And then, there is the “Sand Dollar Monti, M. venosa...A crazy looking coral, too. I like M. setosa because reefers get true "grafts" out of different color morphs, which is cool. hey, "venosa" and "setosa"- Sounds like a law firm, huh?


    [​IMG]
    The "Pink Cadillac..."

    ORA produces the "Elkhorn" Montipora, M. hirsuta, which is pretty funky as well. Not to be outdone by the "Sunset Montipora", M. danae, which has become an "LE" coral in some parts...That's funny, because they are found in the ocean- not sure why they are "LE". Someone must have been at it genetically engineering a new coral again...Oh, wait, no- someone just found a couple of really colorful pieces in a wild shipment, hoarded them and named them, and charged a much higher price for them because...um, because..? Well...whatever...Not sure why, actually. Besides, it's a Monti...Man, even I'm dissing this genus.

    [​IMG]
    The "Sunset Monti." They call it "LE." Science calls it M. danae.

    I haven't taken my morning run yet, so I'm obviously wound up here...

    One of the nicest things about Monties is that they are remarkably adaptable. In our experience, adaptation to new lighting regimens seems to be the only real challenge we encounter with different species. Other than that, they cheerfully acclimate to new systems with an ease that I should envy. And, they do have remarkably rapid growth in many cases, which is a benefit for us commercial types, and a real benefit to- well- themselves- because if we really are on our game, we can count many Monties among the species that we will ultimately not need to bring in from the wild reefs any more to satisfy demand.

    Okay, I can go on and on about this genus, and I would, seriously, but I'm just still ticked off by my recollection of the Fiji/digitata thing, so I'm calling it for now...

    As always, this is ridiculously open source, so feel free to inject your stories, pics, and observations on Monties! I know at least a few of you wise guys/girls are gonna post up your Monti Cap swirls just to tick me off....LOL

    So go hack up your Caps, glue your Digis, and drool over your setosas. And most important of all..

    Stay Wet!

    See you Monday!


    Scott Fellman
    Unique Corals
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
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  3. mikejrice

    mikejrice 3reef Affiliate

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    Hey!!! Monti swirls never get old.

    Awesome article though. Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. Unique Corals

    Unique Corals 3reef Sponsor

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    LOL I love ripping on them though!

    -Scott
     
  5. jbraslins

    jbraslins Teardrop Maxima Clam

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    Awesome article. Thanks so much!
     
  6. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    What a fantastic post. I learned a lot about the Monti weirdness going on my tank from your observations Scott. I am going to make some adjustments based on this. Love your humor too. This should be a sticky.

    matt
     
  7. Unique Corals

    Unique Corals 3reef Sponsor

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    Glad you're enjoying it...we'll keep throwing some good stuff out there for you to enjoy (hopefully!)...

    Thanks!

    Scott
     
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  9. Va Reef

    Va Reef Giant Squid

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    Found my new favorite sponsor...

    You might like my tank, while I was keeping a whole bunch of SPS, m. capricornus never did well in my tank lol

    I agree with the LE sunset monti., one of my favorites is pokerstar monti and rainbow.

    Btw, nice selection and prices to match on your site ;D
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  10. zesty

    zesty Sailfin Tang

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    wow, those are really bright!
     
  11. Unique Corals

    Unique Corals 3reef Sponsor

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    Hey, we're happy to be here! Thanks for the kind words!

    The Sunset is a really pretty coral, just the LE thing drives me nuts! We received 1,000 Bali maricultured SPS and LPS today, and one of them was a HUGE maricultured colony of undata- screaming blue!

    Even I like that!

    Scott
     
  12. Va Reef

    Va Reef Giant Squid

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    lol why pay $100 for 2" X 2" of sunset when you can have that undata. when will it be up on your website?