Sometimes called Cabbage or Plated Coral, the Montipora foliosa, is an abundant coral that is relatively easy to maintain in a reef aquarium. The Montipora foliosa forms very large encrusted colonies of leafy plates that can even grow into one reef of the same species. The plates can grow steadily off one another creating a very large domination of plates from this coral. The ridges are made from fused turbuculae. Some whole reefs are made entirely of plated Montipora foliosa varieties.
They are usually a rich brown color that can be accented with pink, blue and grey. The polyps are characteristically rich in color and contrast remarkably with the deep green pigmentation of the corals plates. Some of the polyps are even white or turquoise with a dark star pattern in the center of the polyp.
In The Reef Aquarium
For reef tanks, they are usually sold in small pieces (4-5 cm in diameter) but can grow rather quickly into a large coral. Some reef tank owners have complained that their montipora foliosa has dominated their tank their characteristic flat large plates need space to grow. In this case, Montipora foliosa might not the best choice for a smaller tank or may need to be substituted with a smaller coral if it gets too large.
Montipora foliosa are commonly found in calm, relatively turbid waters. This is commonly for most montipora. The montipora coral is most often found in shallow, warm waters, and typically in lagoons. When integrating a Montipora foliosa into your home reef tank, first, be sure to have plenty of space for it to grow. Second, ensure a light to moderate water movement is present to compliment the montipora foliosas natural environment. The montipora foliosas origin is the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Like all montiporas, the Montipora foliosa needs light to survive. They require medium to high light and react well to all types of lights including fluorescents, LEDs and metal halide lighting. However, the Montipora foliosa is very low maintenance and grows well under lower light as well. Also, note that the lights should only stay on for six or seven hours a day. Longer exposure to light may cause the coral to become covered in algae. Excess algae can cause the coral to decay.
Regarding water temperature, Montipora foliosa need warm water temperatures in the 70s range, but no warmer than 80 degrees. The typical range for a saltwater reef tank is 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range will suit Montipora foliosa well and promote its health and growth. In addition to proper water flow, temperature and lighting, typical chemical balance maintenance will help keep the Montipora foliosa healthy. This includes proper levels of calcium, strontium and other trace elements. The proper balance of these chemicals will help a smaller coral or fragment of Montipora foliosa grow in a reef aquarium tank.