So Much to Dig about Montipora digitata!

Multuiple varieties of Montipora digitata

Multiple varieties of Montipora digitata

As I grew to love SPS corals, one in particular stood out and caught my eye: Montipora digitata. I have found M. digitata to be a fast-growing, hardy SPS coral that, once established in a well-balanced reef tank, can really take off in growth. This coral also has very unique growth patterns and comes in a variety of colors, adding some nice coral “eye candy” to your reef.

Here is some general info on this SPS wonder:

  • Scientific name: Montipora digitata
  • Common names: Digitata, Digi
  • Skill level: easy/moderate
  • Light level: moderate to high
  • Water flow: high
  • Disposition: peaceful
  • Water conditions: 75-78°F, 8-12 dKH, 8.1-8.4 pH, SG 1.024-1.026

Montipora digitata

Growth and placement

M. digitata is, for the most part, a branching coral. It will encrust a base and then begin growing up toward the light. I have found that the growth of these corals is very strong under my T5 lights and that the thickness of the branches seems to be determined by how much flow the coral is getting. This coral seems to like strong water movement that causes thick and curvy growth patterns. So, ideal tank placement for this coral is where it will receive high water flow and strong lighting. Also, while Digi is considered peaceful, keep in mind that it still requires ample space to grow.

Signs of a healthy Digi

I have learned that this coral will exhibit certain “signs” when it’s happy and healthy. For instance, a healthy Digitata will have excellent polyp extension and white growth tips. The white tips at the end of the coral indicate that it’s getting enough light and nutrients to grow.

One of the warning signs I’ve observed in this coral is closed polyps, which signals low alkalinity in the system.

Notice the excellent polyp extension and white growth tips

Notice the excellent polyp extension and white growth tips

Feeding

Since this coral is photosynthetic, it’s not necessary to feed it directly. However, I feed the other SPS corals in my tank twice a week and the Digitata doesn’t seem to mind the extra food in the water column.

Fraggin’ is friggin’ easy!

Fragging of this coral is very simple: Simply cut or break off a frag and glue it to either a frag plug or a rock.

Digi colors

M. digitata is available in many different colors, the more common being green, red/orange, purple, and blue. Some have a different color “skin” also. The “Forest Fire Digitata,” one of my favorites, has a green skin with red polyps.

A closeup view of Forest Fire Digitata

A closeup view of “Forest Fire Digitata”

Beginner-friendly but favors stability!

Overall, M. digitata is a good beginner coral that is hardy enough to take a little abuse, though I’ve found that stability is key to success with all SPS corals. We all have ups and downs with our reefs, but these beautiful corals will thrive in systems with excellent nutrient control and the right water parameters.

Photo credits: Joe Garza

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About Joe Garza

Joe Garza is a U.S. Navy veteran who was bit by the saltwater bug while exploring the oceans of the world during his service. He began in the hobby during the 90’s when he kept a FOWLR tank, which later developed into a passion for SPS corals. Joe currently maintains 500 gallons of reef aquariums, shares his love for the hobby with his three children, and enjoys helping his fellow reef hobbyists.

Comments

  1. Hi Joe,
    I really enjoyed your article on Digitata. Kudos.
    I just picked up a digitata for my 4 foot 4×65 T5 setup. I think you have created a monster….I must get some more colorful ones! Gonna stick’em on the side with the MP40.
    Thanks again for the great write up. And, oh, the pictures!
    -Greg

    • Hi Greg…
      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the article. You can definitely find some very colorful ones out there. Even the smaller frags will grow very quickly. As I had mentioned in the article good flow and lots of light will make these take off like a rocket. Make sure you post some pictures when you can of your new corals. Good Luck!
      Joe

  2. Christian says:

    Great article! As a reefer having a new Digi specific tank, its always great to see these corals get love these days.

    • Christian says:

      I should have asked earlier, where are those pics from? They are great!

      • Hi Christian,
        This is the one SPS that caught my eye in the beginning. I find them incredible looking. The pictures that you see posted are from my 120 gallon reef savvy tank.
        Good luck!
        Joe

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