Common Name: Favites
Other Names: Favites Brain Coral, Pineapple Coral
Origin: Widely found in the Indo-Pacific region
Care Level: Easy
Placement: Low- often on the sandbed
Colours: Red, green, orange, cream are the most common
Growth Speed: Slow to Moderate
Favites are a common coral found all over the Indo-Pacific oceans. They are readily available in the aquarium hobby and imported often from many different countries.
What Are Favites?
Favites are a very popular and easy to keep large polyp stony (LPS) coral. They are a reef building coral and are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Because they are easy to grow and propagate may that are available for sale in the reefing hobby have been aquacultured. This is particularly true of the more vibrant and popular colour morphs. Favites are very closely related to the more well known favia corals and are easily confused with them. However, there are a few easy to spot differences. First and most obvious, the mouths of favites share a common wall with the neighboring mouth. This differs from favia corals, where each mouth is surrounded by its own wall. The mouths of favites tend to be smaller than those of favias, but this is more of a generalization than a hard and fast rule. Some hobbysists also argue that favites tend to have brighter colours than favias.
Favites Lighting Requirements
Favites do best in low to moderate lighting of about around 100 PAR but will be fine in las low was 50. Like most LPS corals favites can be accustomed to higher light levels over time. If favites are showing light or bleached colors they are usually getting too much light and being overexposed. The intensity of favites coral can really be appreciated under strong blue actinic LED lighting. The key is to remember these are not lighting demanding corals and be grown under quiet light conditions.
Favites are photosynthetic corals, meaning they get nutrients from the products of photosynthesis that is carried out by symbiotic dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae living in their flesh.
Favites will remain pretty consistent in terms of color and won’t color up like some corals do, incorrect lighting or nutrients can cause them to bleach or brown out.
Favites Water Flow Requirements
Flow is not as important a factor or favites as it is for health as it is for some other lps corals. They are tolerant to a wide range of flow patters and strengths. For best results aim for medium about of flow to keep the body of the favites free of detritus and dead spots. Too much flow and you can actually damage the corals body. If you are seeing exposed skeleton it may be getting too much current.
For placement keep favites low on the rock work away from direct light or even on the sand bed if you like. Keep in mind favites are an aggressive coral and will need some space from other corals ( about 1”) Favites can encrust but sometimes also grow in a dome shape.
Favites have many different species and their growth varies. In large they are not considered a fast growing coral but they are not the slowest either. There are a few species that grow explosively fast like the Spicy Lemon Variety They need time to calcify and extend their skeleton. With proper car you can expect .5-1” growth monthly.
Growth Pattern and Colors
The growth pattern of favites depends on where they are placed in the tank. Specimens placed in the sandbed will typically grow as a mound, whereas a small frag placed on the rockwork may encrust as well as growing into a smaller mound. Growth patterns are also impacted by flow and lighting and can be somewhat difficult to predict, especially on the rockwork. Favites can be quite aggressive, sending out sweeper tentacles from their bases that can sting neighboring corals. For this reason, initial placement is important to prevent them from damaging less aggressive corals. They cannot be placed in “gardens” like corals such as acans, blastos or zoas, as they will sting each other.
Favites are most commonly found in variations of red and green, with the walls and mouths being contrasting color . However, recently other color morphs have begun to be available, such as purple, orange and pink. As the coral becomes more popular it is likely that more and more color morphs will become available.
Favites Coral Aggression
Favites like almost all LPS corals are aggressive, in that they have tentacles that string other corals. It is not recommended to try and create gardens of favites, although it has been done can be created, it can be difficult to know which species will play nicely with each other. Favites need about 1” of safety space from other corals to avoid stinging them.
Favite Care and Propagation
Favites are easy corals to care for, especially for an LPS coral. They are photosynthetic and are able to meet their energy needs by using aquarium lighting. They can, however, be spot fed an LPS specific coral food, which will improve their growth rate and may improve coloration. They can also be fed mysis shrimp or other meaty foods. They are fairly adaptable to a wide range of lighting and flow but generally prefer moderate levels of both. If they are placed on the sandbed it is important that the level of flow is sufficient to prevent the buildup of detritus on the coral. Too much light may cause favites to begin to bleach, and in this case they should be moved to a lower light area of the tank.
Favites require the same general water chemistry as other stony corals. They do consume alkalinity and calcium (and to a lesser degree magnesium) to build their stony skeletons, so it is important to monitor the levels of these elements and dose as necessary.
WIth the proper tools favites are fairly easy to propagate. Unlike branching corals, they generally can’t be cut using coral cutters so a bandsaw or dremel should be used to carefully cut through the walls, avoiding cutting the mouths if possible.
One of the most underrated aspects of coral care is feeding. Favites are are photosynthetic and can survive on light alone but for best results we recommended feeding them a high quality food like reef roids. Many people keep favites long term with no spot feeding, but for faster growth and better coloration feeding is a real game changer. Favites take a few minutes for the feeding response to begin and are best fed with the flow off. They release feeding tentacles at night so it can be best to feed them when the lights are off actually. You can feed them every other day if you like and will notice a dramatic increase in growth and size.
The reason that I recommend only 3 days a week starting out is to give the corals an opportunity to expel waste when they are done digesting. Sometimes piling food on corals like this goes great at first but then goes south when the food isn’t properly expelled and the food starts to rot. Three days a week is plenty.
Favites does not have any known pests that attack only favites. It is suspectable to pests like bobbit worms that eat all corals but there is no specific pest to look out for. Like with all new coral additions to your aquarium its always a good practice to dip your corals with a high quality dip to avoid any issues.
Because the ease of care and relative growth speed of favites, it makes a great candidate for aqua culturing. There are many species that grow incredibly fast and are often farmed.
Favites are a type of brain corals and these stony corals require consistent levels of calcium, alkalinity and magnesium in order to grow their skeleton. like with almost all corals we recommend keeping your levels close to natural sea water. Consistency is more important than any of the actual values.
- Salinity 1.025
- Alkalinity 9.0
- Calcium 450
- Magnesium 1500
- No3 ~10
- Po4 ~0.06
Favites are an easy to keep LPS coral that is available in an increasing variety of colours. Provided they are given space they make a great addition to a home reef tank..