This brilliantly colored coral has a base intense orange pigmentation with very large
polyps that are colored bright fluorescing green. The coral is currently being called the
'Sunset Monti' within the collectors market. It also has some very unique additional
characteristics. Polyps are twice the size
of average Montipora polyps and they extend regularly during the day. Additionally, when
heavily stressed the corals living tissue will retract deep inside the skeleton and it can
appear almost completely dead. This coral however can recover from heavy stress quickly
and can grow new encrustation quickly. It is quickly becomming a brilliantly colored staple
of stony reefs. Polyp size leads one to suspect the coral to be either a Poritidae or one
of the larger polyp sized Montiporas (such as M. foveolata or M. venosa). As can be seen in
the corallite structure image below, when tissue is stressed and retracted the corallite
structure has a slight funnel shaped pattern. When properly identified this coral will
probably turn out to be Montipora foveolata, Porites australiensis or a similar species. We
may formally label the speciation of this coral as a Montipora or Porites, but for now the
general hobby is calling it the Sunset Monti. The brilliant orange coloration the coral has
on its main base is reminiscent of sunsets on the Pacific. The brilliant fluorescent green
polyp coloration contrasts incredibly with the orange. For now we formally call the coral the
'Green Polyped Sunset Coral', awaiting a more accurate species ID.
This coral was originally found by Tong's Tropical Fish of Fountain Valley California.
Hugo Zuniga (SNIPERSPS) spotted the coral at the reef shop and convinced Steve Tyree of
Reeffarmers and Frank Burr of Tropical Reef Oasis into a trip to Tong's Tropical Fish.
The three of us negotiated a purchase of a small section of this coral from Tong's. The
coral was then cut into three even sections. Reeffarmers acquired one of the sections
and is now distributing fragments on a limited edition basis. Since acquiring this
coral we have seen other specimens of this species that lacked the brilliant orange
coloration. It appears that the bright orange base color is rare for this species.
Some aquarist might mistake the similarly colored Montipora effluorescens with this
coral. That Montipora however has smaller polyps which have never developed the intense
fluorescing green that this particular coral specimens polyps have developed.
Steve Tyree is maintaining this coral for reeffarmers.com in a 225 gallon naturally
filtered QuadZonal system. This system is naturally filtered with a cryptic zone, a semi-cryptic
zone, a filter feeder zone (semi-exposed) and a reef flat exposed zone. In Steve's captive reef
the coral is positoned 15 inches away from a 400 watt 20,000 K radium metal halide. The orange
base coloration is being easily maintained with moderate light levels. Water current is moderate
to weak. Price is currently $110 per small sized fragment. Please note - We dropped the price
on June 8th to $110 per small fragment. This is mainly because the coral has experienced
a slightly wider captive distribution and it is growing very well now in captivity.
The monthly limited edition
reservation schedules can be found below. Please note effective January 2009 we have
changed the harvesting and reservation schedule to bimonthly. This better matches the
corals long term growth rate in captivity.
Sunset Montipora Coral Corallite Structure Photo
Coral in image was heavily stressed and tissue partially retracted. February 2005 (Faded Color Image)