Acclimating New Corals to Your Current Lighting

Congrats, few things in our reef-keeping hobby are as exciting as bringing home a fancy new coral! But now that you have your new coral, how do you ensure the safest transition to its new home?

There are many things to take into consideration prior to dropping your newly prized, purple polka dotted dumbo eared T-Rex Acropora into your tank… From tank pests (like red bugs, flatworms and aiptasia), to proper water chemistry (including salinity and alkalinity), to water flow and, of course, acclimating it to your lighting… There’s a lot to account for!

Corals don’t do well with change, so before placing it in your tank you’ll want to carefully consider how to introduce it to your tank’s lighting without bleaching it, or worse, killing it by exposing it to too much light.

Where to Place Your New Coral

To keep it as simple as possible, we recommend starting your coral low in the tank either directly on the sand bed or in a frag rack a few inches up from the bottom. Whichever location you choose, please make sure it has good flow as this will also be critical to your new corals health. The bottom of an aquarium generally has much less light than the top, so the risk of hurting your coral is significantly reduced compared to a location higher up in the tank. We recommend keeping the coral at the bottom of the tank for at least a week and then gradually raising your coral up a couple inches per week until it is getting roughly the amount of light you expect it to have in its permanent home. Once it is acclimated to its new home, secure it in place with your favorite coral glue.

Pro Tip: We like to secure corals in their new home by using a combination of super glue and epoxy putty; the super glue holds the coral in place at the beginning, giving the epoxy a chance to set-up and make a more permanent bond with the rock.

Should I Make Any Changes to My Lighting?

Generally we do not recommend making any changes to your lighting. While changing your lighting can certainly help your new coral, it generally has a negative impact on the other corals in your tank that have already been acclimated to the lights. If you have a new light fixture, please see our techniques for acclimating your tank to a new light that were outlined in last week’s blog article.

In addition to helping your new coral acclimate properly to its new home, the recommendations above also help minimize the amount of handling, thus giving your new coral a better change of thriving.

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