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Rainbow Pectinia Alcicornis


This post is all about a very attractive newly discovered coral that you are surely going to want in your home aquarium. Rainbow Pectinia are a new breed of the once ambiguous group of corals which are making a huge comeback this year. Even though corals in the wild haven’t quite upgraded itself in terms of features and looks, what you collect for your reef tanks transforms quite a lot and this year, the tricolored rainbow Pectinia alcicornis are all the frenzy. There might not be much new features about them but a difference is sure to be experienced in your reef tank once you have it there.

Last years we’ve heard and learnt about quite a number of new coral species making it into the aquarium trade and catching attentions of aquarists around the world like Australomussa, Symphyllia Wilsoni, plating Pectinia and smaller splashes from Acrhelia, Heteropsammia and Moseleya. Get ready for this year’s best discovered coral species Pectinia alcicornis which is characterized by three colors; its mouths are usually orange to pink, ringed in green and bordered in darker tissue which often appears purple.

It is extraordinary for a coral to be illustrious by its coloration, which for Pectinia alcicornis is illustrated as “Mixtures of greens, yellows and browns with central parts of colonies usually darker than tangential parts.” The other revealing features of this species is the very asymmetrical spiky rim and branches originating from the inside, which fits well in line with the trade name given to these corals long ago of spiny cup chalice coral. Pectinia alcicornis is found mainly in turbid habitats with low visibility to the water which jives with the condensed lighting strength that the rainbow style Pectinia corals gets in our aquaria.

This post was motivated not only by the rising recognition of rainbow Pectinia but also by some nice crop of images of the coral in hub from Quality Marine. Under these hyper-realistic natural lighting conditions you can see the orange, green and purple coloration that makes rainbow Pectinias truly desirable. The corals may look subdued under bright white light but since most of us use a lot of blue LED light these days, you can put on your own mental filter and imagine how eye-catching they will look under “contemporary lighting”.

What is exhilarating about Quality Marine’s rainbow Pectinia is that two of these colonies are maricultured while the other two are wild yielded. With corallites placed atop spindly branches the rainbow Pectinia alcicornis is for the most part easy to propagate, in aquaria and in mariculture. Although big colonies of the tricolor Pectinia are being traded anywhere from $600 up to $1500, it’s essentially probable to get considerable frags in the neighborhood of $150 for one or two big corallites.

The growing demand for the tricolored, rainbow Pectinia alcicornis is in no hurry to go down and with more and more people learning about it, there is sure to be a heavy demand for this coral. If history is any sign, the ocean-side coral suppliers have been quicker and quicker to find the corals that we want and we anticipate to see enough wild harvested and cultured rainbow Pectinia is for most reefers to get a large frag or a small colony with some tolerance over the next year or two, until the next hot coral gets discovered.