Acropora Tenuis are possibly the most popular species of Acropora coral. However, growing A. tenuis is not for the faint of heart and definitely not for new tanks. They are known to be an aggressive coral and can be a bit of a challenge to grow and keep happy. While they are a favorite here at Sunnyside Corals, we may not recommend them for beginners. That being said, once your system is well established, Tenuis are not as hard as some make them out to be. For those of you ready to add Acropora Tenuis to your tanks, here is a guide of some of our favorites and some helpful tips.
What Are Acropora Tenuis?
Acropora Tenuis are part of the Acropora family, meaning that they are an SPS (Small Polyp Stony) coral. They can be found in the Red Sea, northwest and northern Indian Ocean, and the Persian Gulf, among other oceans. Where the Millepora have a rounded C shaped corallite, the A. tenuis corallite have a small dip or point in the lip. Their branches grow close together in a cluster, ball-like form and are typically blue, yellow, green or cream.
Acropora Tenuis are very sensitive to water chemistry and are also very demanding in regards to lighting and flow. So much so that their coloration can change from tank to tank because of the slight difference in their systems. No need to worry though. You can find the right color with appropriate adjustments to your system and a little patience.
Because Tenuis is a shallow-water species it enjoys very intense lighting. Frags should be placed in the top half of your tank. At Sunnyside Corals, we grow all of our corals under both T-5 lighting and Radions. We run our lighting on a modified AB schedule with our T-5s and Radions. Be aware that more damage can be caused by overexposure to light than not providing enough lighting. Be patient and take a couple weeks to let your Tenuis adjust to the lighting conditions in your tank. For more help on lighting, you can see our exact light set up and schedules on our tank lighting post.
Tenuis, like any other Acropora, enjoys a high flow level. For our 200 gal display tank we run about 125x using 5 Mp40 Ecotech pumps along with a small non variable speed in the bottom back corner of the tank. In comparison, our 4×6 ft frag tank runs on the same system but uses 3 Mp40 pumps on one side that runs flow above the frags while the other side runs 2 Maxspect XF280 Gyre pumps; which rake across the bottom under the racks. All our pumps run on a varied schedule that dips down at night – to about 15%- and runs on a combo of reef crest and tidal flow during the day -at about 60%. However, we do run our pumps for a couple hours on full blast around noon for nutrient export. All of our pumps are placed strategically in our tanks to allow for good flow without directly hitting any of our corals.
Acropora Tenuis benefit from a regular feeding schedule for both growth and coloration. We aim to feed as heavy as we can without creating an algae problem. We keep fish in all our systems and feed with a very large variety of foods. We utilize automated pellets to set our baseline and supplement that at random with a variety of frozen foods.
While initially a challenge, with the right level of attention and care, Acropora Tenuis can flourish in any system. Make sure to check out our more in-depth guide to overall Acropora Care. Please, reach out to us if you have any questions and one of our experts will be happy to help you.