Fragging, Placement, Size and Mates

If you are passionate about creating a beautiful and thriving reef aquarium, Birdsnest Coral is a great addition to your underwater oasis. Known for its intricate branching structure and vibrant colors, this captivating coral is a favorite among reef enthusiasts.

Whether you’re a seasoned reef keeper or a beginner looking to venture into coral farming, this guide will provide you with the information you need to create a thriving environment, so let’s get started!

Species Summary

The Birdsnest Coral is a small polyp stony coral (SPS) originally found in the Indo-Pacific region, typically Madagascar, East Africa, the Red Sea, and the northern and western coasts of Australia. They live in areas ranging from shallow areas to depths of 120 feet.

This SPS coral is part of the Pocilloporidae family. Its scientific name is Seriatopora hystrixand its common names are bird’s nest coral, brush coral, needle coral, and finger coral.

Appearance

Birds Nest Coral’s tentacles resemble colorful needle-like branches, and some species expand fully after dark.

The designated area of ​​your coral impacts the thickness of its branches. Corals that live in areas with low water flow have thin branches, while branches are thicker on corals that reside in more intense waters.

A Birdsnest coral showing its colors in a saltwater aquarium

Species and colors

There are seven species of Birdnest coral, and most of these species have a lot in common in terms of appearance.

Animalia (Kingdom)
Anthozoa (Class)
Cnidaria (Phylum)
Hexacorallia (subclass)
Pocilloporidae (Family)
Scleractinia (Order)
Seriatopora (Genus)

Author’s note: The wide choice of species makes it easy to create your ideal aesthetic, because the choice is yours. Colors vary by species and typically include purple, pink, green, orange, pale yellow, cream, and brown. In some cases you can find corals in a combination of these colors.

Lifetime

The lifespan of bird’s nest coral depends on whether it is wild or non-wild. There have been instances of wild corals of the Pocilloporidae family living up to 5,000 years old.

It is best to look for non-wild corals for your aquarium. Wild corals do not adapt well to captivity and can only live seven to eight years.

Midsized

The branches of the Birdsnest Coral can reach between 12 and 18 inches. These branches can be blunt or needle-like, and the deeper the depth, the thinner the stems.

Bird’s Nest Coral Care

The Birds Nest Coral requires moderate care, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced hobbyists. For the best care, be sure to follow the recommended guidelines below.

tank size

Plenty of space is recommended for your coral’s branches to grow and develop. SO, THE the tank size to house your Birdsnest Coral should be at least 15 gallons.

Water parameters

Part of proper care is making sure the water parameters are as close to the recommended range as possible. The goal is to keep your coral thriving by providing necessary nutrients and a stable environment.

Tank configuration

The most effective way to ensure your Birdsnest coral thrives is to set up its tank correctly. Your coral’s environment makes a difference in its growth and survival.

  • Water temperature: 74-83 degrees Fahrenheit (23-28 degrees Celsius)
  • pH levels: 8.1-8.4
  • Water hardness: 8-12 dKH
  • Specific gravity: 1.025
  • Calcium: 400-450ppm
  • Magnesium: 1200-1350
  • KH levels: 8-12
  • Strontium: 8-10
  • Nitrates: 10ppm
  • Nitrites: 10ppm
  • Ammonia: 10ppmPhosphates: close to 0

Placement

The Birds Nest Coral prefers to grow on a rock slab or substrate in the middle of the tank or closer to the surface. These corals grow up and out rather than down, so you should use just enough glue or epoxy to secure them to their base. Otherwise, the adhesive may show and disturb your aesthetic.

You should also place your coral in a location away from other corals and fish in your aquarium. This way you can protect your other corals while ensuring that your Birdsnest coral is not stressed.

Author’s note: Be sure to keep corals of the same species at least two inches apart to prevent their branches from becoming tangled as they grow.

Lighting

It is important to place your Birds Nest Coral in an area with moderate to high lighting. The right lighting mimics his natural habits and helps him feel comfortable enough to grow. Let’s also not forget that lighting is essential to corals for photosynthesis and nourishment.

Author’s note: When introducing them to your aquarium, start with lighting at 50% intensity. Pay attention to your coral’s response and gradually adjust the lighting as needed.

Another way to provide the right lighting is to move your coral to different depths in your aquarium and monitor its response. Their current location may not provide them with the light they need to thrive.

Filtration / Water flow

Moderate to high water flow is ideal for encouraging faster growth of your Birdsnest Coral. It is recommended to start with a moderate flow to learn how it affects your coral while avoiding environmental shocks. Then you can adjust the filtration to a higher water flow as needed.

Acclimatization

Start by making sure you are adding your bird’s nest corals to a mature reef tank as they are too sensitive for a new saltwater tank.

The key to good acclimatization is patience. Your coral needs time to adjust to captivity, so it’s recommended that you wait until your tank is at least six months old before adding them to your aquarium (18 months would be best).

Author’s note: Failure to properly acclimate your coral can lead to bleaching, stress, or even death. It’s best to take it slow and make sure your coral is doing well in its new environment. Once your coral is in comfortable and stable water parameters, you can enjoy its growing branches and beautiful appearance.

Possible common diseases and prevention

Birdsnest corals are more susceptible to stress and death from poor conditions than from disease. For example, a coral that is uncomfortable or unaccustomed to its conditions may not open its polyps, which can result in the death of your coral unless you immediately adjust its environment.

Other ways your coral could become stressed or bleached are with dirty water and sudden changes in parameters. Fortunately, all of these problems can be easily avoided by allowing your coral to adapt to a mature tank and providing clean, stable water parameters.

Food and diet

Bird’s nest corals can receive most of their nutrients from a diet of zooxanthellae, planktonic organisms, dissolved organic matter, and small food particles.. You can provide enough organic matter by adding shrimp, fish, crabs, and snails to your aquarium. As for the fish, they must be well fed and capable of depositing food particles on the coral. Plus, your corals create a home for the very species that produce organic matter, so it’s a win-win situation for the entire tank.

Author’s note: You should also target feeding your corals at least once a week to ensure they are getting the nutrients and supplements they need, including magnesium, calcium, strontium, and trace minerals. Start by buying a bottle of coral food to carefully shoot directly at your coral. There’s nothing quite like watching your coral stretch out its polyps to catch its food.

Bird’s Nest Coral Tank Companions and Predators

The Birdsnest Coral can act aggressively towards corals outside of its family. Rather than using toxins or darts, they grow on corals placed within two inches of their space.

Besides providing enough space for growth, you can create a peaceful environment by finding the best tank mates for these corals.

The Hapalocarcinus marsupialis crab is an excellent example of a safe tank mate, as it influences bird’s nest coral. The female crab uses the branches as a cage, where she mates with the male crab and produces larvae.

Author’s note: Part of choosing good tank mates is knowing which species to avoid adding to your aquarium. Stay away from corals that eat and chew fish like butterflyfish, parrotfish, and triggerfish like picasso and clownfish.

A Seriatopora hystrix enjoying the water flow

Fragmentation

Fragmentation is the best way to help your bird’s nest coral reproduce, and it is easier to fragment this coral than other coral species. It’s natural to feel a little nervous when first cutting the fragment, so we’ve created the 8-step guide below.

  1. The first step is to prepare your fragmentation tank because your coral does not return to its original tank right away.
  2. Once your fragmentation tank is ready, choose the healthiest coral in your colony. This is known as Mother Coral because it will replicate your new coral.
  3. Next, place your Mother Coral on a rock outside the tank and mark the shard you plan to remove. This is to avoid stressing fish and invertebrates.
  4. Using a razor blade, carefully cut the cap off the coral, leaving the rest on the rock. Don’t worry about the white and brown slime as this is a normal reaction.
  5. The next step is to gently wash the cut made on your coral fragment.
  6. Stick the fragment on its side to a surface such as a rock for sufficient water and air circulation and wrap it with plastic netting. To hold it in place, you can use a rubber band.
  7. Place the fragment in a separate tank while it heals and grows. You might see a disc-shaped head emerging from the stem.
  8. Keep an eye on the fragment and provide appropriate care, such as food and clean water. Feel free to remove the mesh once the frag is fully attached.

You can follow this guide to shard healthy coral whenever you want.

Wrap

Bird’s Nest Coral is an exciting and rewarding addition to any reef aquarium. Remember to be patient as these corals can take time to adapt and grow, so avoid rushing or abruptly changing their environment.

We hope you have found this care guide useful for your future aquarium projects, and if you are looking for additional information, check out our other care guides. Don’t forget to tag us on Facebook when you share pictures of your beautiful corals.

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