Fragging, Mates, Tank Flow and Light

If you are fascinated by the colorful and mesmerizing beauty of Acan corals, you have come to the right place. Acan corals are sought after by reef enthusiasts for their vibrant hues and intricate patterns.

In this guide, we’ll explore the fundamentals of lighting, water quality, and placement, ensuring you have a solid foundation for successfully caring for your Acan coral. Let’s embark on this Acan coral care journey!

Species Summary

The scientific name for Achan coral is Acanthastrea spp.and belongs to the Lobophyllidae family.

Its common names are:

– Acans
– Lords Achan
– Micromusa
– Microphones
– Micro-lords

Acan corals were originally found in the Indo-Pacific, specifically throughout Australia, Japan, Tonga, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and the Red Sea. They can be found in large colonies on shallow reefs up to 98 feet deep.


It is not uncommon to confuse the Achan Coral with species of the Mussidae and Merulinidae families. However, Acan corals look like suckers with their round, puffy edges and deep, smooth interiors. Plus, they can be found in a range of beautiful patterns and colors, including purple, blue, green, red, yellow, and orange.

An Acan coral showing its colors in a saltwater aquarium

When deciding which Acan coral to add to your aquarium, the three most popular are:

Acanthastrea echinata. These corals exhibit an elegant appearance with colors commonly found in shades of green, orange, and red. Compared to Micromussa lordhowensis and Acanthastrea bowerbanki, they have medium sized polyps and flatter colonies.

Acanthastrea bowerbanki. If you are looking to add an oddly shaped coral to your aquarium, you can take advantage of the Acanthastrea bowerbanki. Although their polyps are larger and more swollen than other species, their bodies are also flat and bumpy to create a unique shape.

Micromussa lordhowensis. It’s a good choice if you want the smallest of the three species. They feature a variety of beautiful patterns and colors, with detailed lines and gradients.

Author’s note: Micromussa lordhowensis was formerly known as Acanthastrea lordhowensis. After being reclassified in 2016, it is no longer considered a type of Acan coral, but many aquarists still refer to this coral as a “lord” Acan variety.


Assuming proper care is provided, Acan coral could live for hundreds of years.


The size of your coral will depend on the lighting conditions, and on average Acan corals have 0.5 to 1.5 inch polyps and a coral structure 10 millimeters in diameter.

Acan Coral Care

When it comes to caring for Acan corals, they have an easy to moderate level of difficulty. You must follow specific guidelines for factors such as tank size, tank configuration, and water parameters.

tank size

You may be able to place your Acan coral in a 5 gallon tank assuming you meet their lighting and water flow requirements. Otherwise, it is best to place your corals in a tank of 10 gallons or more. This way they have ample room to grow and thrive in their aquarium.

Water parameters

It is important to provide stable water conditions to ensure that your corals receive enough nutrients, which promotes growth. Acan Coral thrives best in an undisturbed environment, so you want the water parameters to be as close to the target range as possible.

water temperature: 72–82 degrees Fahrenheit (22.2-27.8 degrees Celsius)

pH levels: 8.0-8.4

Water hardness: 8-12 dKH

Specific gravity: 1.025

Calcium: 350-450ppm

Magnesium: 1200-1350ppm

Nitrates: 1-10ppm

Phosphates: 0.01-0.05ppm

Tank configuration

Properly installing your tank will be the key to success with your Acan coral. They are not too demanding, but the environment plays a role in their size and color.


Acan corals prefer to grow on rock and do well on or near sand beds, so you want to provide both in their environment. Just be careful not to place your Acan coral on a main rock, or it will grow as much as the conditions allow, causing problems for other corals.

It is best to leave at least 6 inches between your Acan corals and other corals. Acan corals are semi-aggressive and can disturb other corals in your aquarium. Remember that they have sweeping tentacles and need plenty of room to grow.


It is essential to keep your Acan Coral’s natural habitat in mind when adding light to their aquarium. These corals stay away from intense sunlight, so using too much light to show off their colors can cause stress. The result is a coral that no longer expands its polyps, leading to starvation.

Low to moderate actinic lighting with a PAR of 25 to 50 is a safe choice because it allows photosynthesis without unnecessary stress.

Author’s note: Although different types of lighting, such as T5HO and LED lights, can create different looks, you should always monitor your Acan corals’ response to determine what works best for them.


You need to make sure your tank has low to moderate water flow. If the water flow is too intense, you risk retracted polyps, discoloration or other damage to your Acan coral..

Additionally, since Acan corals are filter feeders, the right flow is essential to push food towards them and it also prevents debris from building up between your coral colonies.


When acclimating your Acan Corals, you want to start by submerging them in a mixture of their carrier water and your aquarium water for 30-45 minutes. This eliminates bacteria, parasites, and protozoa that can harm your other corals. It also keeps your Acan corals healthy.

You should also lower the light and water flow for several days. Spend the next week gradually increasing the light and water flow to a normal level. This way you can avoid placing them in too much lighting and flux.

Possible common diseases and prevention

Although Acan corals are hardy and do not easily fall victim to common diseases, poor conditions can still cause problems.

If you notice a retracted polyp, exposed skeleton, or bleaching, your coral may be stressed or dying. A retracted polyp is especially bad because it means your coral is not eating.

Now you need to identify the source of the problem by inspecting the tank configuration and conditions. For example, intense light and water flow, lack of nutrients, and fighting with other corals are all factors that negatively impact your Acan coral.

Fortunately, you can correct most problems by following and adapting to the recommended water parameters.

Author’s note: If you can’t or don’t want to adjust the settings, you can also move your coral to a location with moderate light and flow, but still isolate it from the main rock to avoid conflict with other corals.


These photosynthetic corals feed on the zooxanthellae that live in their tissues. Acan corals also feed on nutrients in their water column, but this is not enough. Targeting feeding your corals two to three times per week will ensure they are fully fed. Although these corals generally feed at night, they can adapt to daytime feeding.

You can provide your Acan corals with a diet of brine shrimp, copepods, chopped seafood, and even some frozen foods like pellets and flakes.. It’s exciting to watch your corals extend their polyps to catch their food.

Author’s note: Targeted feeding prevents waste from building up in your tank and causing poor conditions for your entire aquarium.

Acan Coral Tank Mates & Predators

You can place your Acan Coral in a tank with most species, as long as you remember to isolate their rock from other corals to avoid conflict.

Good teammates include:

Shrimp and other invertebrates should only be added to your aquarium if they are reef safe. Peppermint and Sexy Shrimp are two reef-safe options.

It is essential to avoid placing species that are not reef safe in your aquarium, especially if they pose a threat to your coral or other species.

Blennies and gobies are reef-safe fish that should be avoided as their attempt to perch on your coral can stress and retract it. For example, the Diamond Goby can disturb living coral by constantly sifting and digging, and the Bicolor Blenny could turn its appetite towards coral if not properly fed.


You should never fragment Acan corals until they have fully acclimated to their new environment.

It is also essential to ensure that you have the right tools and knowledge, as these corals are more difficult to fragment than other species. Their skeleton is connected throughout the colony, so you must use a power saw to fragment these corals. If you’re careful, you can fragment it with a bone cutter.

Author’s note: When you fragment your coral, you need to make a simple cut around the polyp. You never want to cut through the polyp as this action could kill your coral.

After making a clean cut, soak the fragment in iodine or coral solution to prevent infection and heal potential wounds. Then glue the fragment to a piece of rock and give it time to heal.

Once your shard has healed, place the piece in its new location in your aquarium.

Learning how to fragment your Acan Coral is useful for reproduction and disease control.


Acan corals can be an exciting addition to your marine aquarium, enriching your underwater world with their vivid colors and intricate patterns. By following the care tips outlined in this guide, you can ensure the well-being and longevity of your Acan coral.

Remember to stay alert for any signs of stress or change in appearance, and act quickly if necessary. If you need more information, feel free to check out our other Coral Care guides.

By the way, don’t forget to tag us on Facebook when you share great photos of your Acan Coral. Good luck, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us (if we don’t have the answer, we’ll find it for you).

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