Darth Maul Porites Coral
Certainly one of our classic corals that we have had for about many years is the Darth Maul Porites coral. This coral came to us way back in 2006 completely by mistake in an online auction on ebay but has since earned a spot in our top 5 corals of all time. The back story on this coral is a familiar one. Coral keeper sees something labled as something its not and curiosity forces them to buy it. With this particular coral, it was mislabeled as a montipora undata and was 100% white when it was auctioned off. It had a smooth looking surface with polyps that didn’t initially show any extension at all. Being a white coral that otherwise looked healthy, we started it out with fairly gentle light and flow.
Coral Rehab upon receiving this coral in the mail
Continuing to look pale white, we finally started to see some very wide polyp extension over the first few weeks, which alerted us to our earlier hunch that this was no undata. We tried target feeding these polyps with some fine zooplankton in order to try and accelerate the corals’ return to health. Still seeing very little change in its color, we finally we decided to move it up where it would get a little more direct light and flow and almost overnight we started to see an almost rose hue appear in the otherwise white tissue. This was very exciting to see, and as we continued target feeding and increasing the light over the next few months, the coral finally started to show off its true and amazingly bright coloration which is somewhere between hot pink and purple. It now regularly has a skin covered in extended polyps when observed from an angle and will take food up to small mysis shrimp if the flow is reduced. Now with the color and the polyp profile completely revealed it was easy to identify this coral as some type of Porites. Further than that though, it has been difficult to key out this coral since there are many subtle characteristics to the Porites family.
Preferred Conditions For The Pink Panther Porites
Based on our observations, this coral thrives in medium to high light and medium flow. It likes occasional target feeding with plankton which is fun to do since the corals’ dark colored background makes it easy to see the polyps retract as they catch food. The fairly slow growth and rare appearance of this coral have made it a rarity to the reef keeping hobby. While we would love to change that overnight at ReefNation, we are only able to get 5-10 frags a year out of this one. As we grow our inventory through growth of our mother colonies, the appearance of this coral at your local reef ship should increase over time.
Have you ever kept the Darth Maul Porites? Have you dialed in the conditions it likes to live in?