Photograph by ORA

Pink Birdsnest Coral

Pink birdsnest coral, also commonly known as Brush coral or even by its taxonomic classification Seriatopora Hysterix, is a common sight among the coral reef ecosystem. These corals get their pink hue from a combination of water nutrients, available light, and adaptability to the environment. Unhealthy corals that are bombarded by the growth of excess algae will turn brown before eventually dying. Pink birdsnest coral is a more sensitive variety than the closely related green birdsnest coral, and the bright pink stalks can be very fragile.

One key factor in determining the strength and health of the pink birdsnest coral comes from acclimating the specific strain to the depth at which it is most comfortable. There are three extant strains of pink birdsnest coral that are found at various depths in nature. In the wild, these strains form specific communities in their ecosystem, meaning that different strains can be found at the depths representative of the Ryukyu islands in southern Japan, or the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia. A coral that is adapted to a specific depth will not grow in another environment.

Two major factors go into allowing a healthy pink birdsnest coral to achieve optimal coloration: water nutrients and light. Calcium and strontium are two of the most important mineral elements necessary for corals to achieve bright and beautiful pink hues. Phosphates are a real danger that these corals cannot tolerate and even a tiny amount will negatively affect their ability to grow. It is also important to know that the presence of magnesium is necessary for calcium to be properly metabolized by the coral.

These particular corals exist in a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic algae that provide nutrients for the corals in exchange for a safe place to grow. Natural sunlight, filtered through the clear waters of the reef, provides the best conditions in which this algae can grow without smothering the coral. Many amateur keepers of aquariums either provide too little or too much light, both of which will have the effect of browning the coral by providing an environment in which the algae cannot thrive. When the coral and algae are in harmony, bright and beautiful coloration will ensue naturally.

Blane Perun

Diver - Photographer - Traveler

Whale in Ocean