The genus Montipora offers several robust candidates for the beginner (See: Beginners Guide to Keeping Corals) to consider keeping. While these corals are relatively forgiving, calcium, magnesium and alkalinity levels will need to be maintained correctly for these corals to thrive and show their best colouration. Keeping stony corals itself is a step beyond a simple or beginner reef. Having reef-keeping experience is invaluable for successfully keeping hard corals. You can work towards keeping stony corals by starting with some of the less demanding corals, such leather’s and soft corals, mushroom corals, and anemones.
The genus Montipora consists of three major coral types; ‘plating’ (M. capricornis and M. turberculosainto), ‘encrusting’ (M. verrucosa) and ‘finger-like’ (M. digitata). The latter is considered one of the best Montipora species for beginners. Plating montis and M. digitata can be quite fast growing and are readily available as frags.
Montipora corals are ideal beginner SPS corals. If you ensure that calcium, magnesium and alkalinity levels are close to accepted norms, and that new specimens are introduced using correct acclimatisation methods, the corals should thrive. Also ensure that the corals are not placed in overly bright lighting upon first entry into the tank (remember, it is better to put new corals into dimmer lighting and increase the lighting over time than to risk bleaching them).
In general Montiporas are easier to keep than Acroporas. Montipora’s are accepting of a wide range of lighting, and less likely to bleach or get the diseases than Acropora’s. Finally they are easy to propagate. Unlike the finicky Aroproras, many Montipora species are quite hardy once established, and can be fast growing.