Pikachu Acropora microclados, a New OG Reef Tank Coral? | Reef Builders

Pikachu Acropora microclados, a New OG Reef Tank Coral? | Reef Builders

With the recent reopening of Maricultured Indonesian corals, we (at Bali Aquarium) finally got back some corals that we terribly missed. Some corals are very popular for brief periods of time but other times like with the Pikachu Acropora which was popular two years ago, is still on top of list now.

The Pikachu Acropora microclados is among these sorts of perennial coral strains. We got lucky in a recent dive in Indonesia to find few more of them and thought it would be interesting to describe where these bright yellow Acros come from, as they are really hot right now.


Acropora microclados is probably one of the most popular reef aquarium SPS corals being available in dozens of color morphs, from Strawberry ShortCake to Pink lemonade, and through the Pikachu.

A classic small corymbose colony of Pikachu

Acropora microclados is a pretty common species which forms large corymbose plates, with short, uniform, evenly spaced, tapered branchlets up to 10 millimetres thick at the base. Axial corallites are tubular and conspicuous and nearby incipient axial corallites are common. Radial corallites down the sides of the branches are irregular, mostly tubular and appressed, with sharp edged nose-shaped or ‘nariform’ openings.

Note the tubular axial corallite and the sharp nariforme radial corallites


A. microclados adapt to a wide variety of exposed habitat but it doesn’t like perfectly still water for sure. While the classic Strawberry shortcake has been thoroughly documented to thrive in crystalline, low nutrient water, the Pikachu Acro prefers turbid water, but slightly exposed as it often colonizes the most exposed part of turbid bays. It’s not a deep water Acro, even if in clear water you can find it all the way to 20 m (60 ft) but in turbid water it seldom settles below 10 m (30 ft).

Maintenance and Coloration:

According to its habitat, it’s just common sense, that the Pikachu Acro coral loves light but also flow, and it should be provided with plenty of it. Some phytoplankton feedings would be highly appreciated too.

Obviously this species reacts very well to deep blue aquarium lighting maintenance. The bright yellow coloration just glow under LED blue light while the brown/pinkish tentacles that we see in wild colonies tend to become red in aquarium. But one of the most crazy feature is space betweens corallites, that become pink in aquarium – the tips tend to stay whitish as it’s where the calcification happens.

Tips of the colony where calcification happens are white.


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