Ser-N001: This Seriatopora species is commonly called the Phonape Birdsnest. It was quite the rage a couple years ago with even some LE versions appearing here and there but it’s evidentially a rather fast growing and hardy coral which means everyone who wants some has some. Still though, it’s a very stunning piece in both form and color and makes a wonderful contrasting piece within both the LPS and Acro dominant ‘landscape’. My colony is positioned very low in the tank and in somewhat diffused light due to the cloudy top above it. The water flow is moderate and it seems relatively content there as its growth rate has been pretty good. Like many ‘birdsnests’, the larger it gets the more its growth form stifles any water movement deep within its branches. Add a little organic matter and problems can develop. Now, for some reason, a very prevalent problem with these corals in particular is that they seem to be a breeding ground for Valonia (Bubble Algae). In fact, on Reef Central, I remember an entire thread concerning this issue; Phonape Birdsnests and Valonia, as if they were communal like wild caught acros and their crabs. Several months after I had successfully won my battle with this pest, I found one deep within the recesses of this coral; perfectly healthy, mocking me. It was the only one in the entire tank and remained there for quite some time, almost daring me to come destroy the coral in order to dig it out. I didn’t of course and after awhile, it was gone. I wouldn’t be surprised though if another took its place though. According to the RC thread, this is bafflingly common occurrence. Of far less concern is that due to the inherent fragility of this coral, accidental fragging is just about inevitable. It seems as though all a fish has to due is swim by to knock off a piece, perhaps another reason it became so prevalent that its Limited Edition status was so short lived. Other than those two issues, I cannot think of a reason NOT to have this coral under serious consideration when putting together a reeftank wish-list. Just try to keep it as free of debris as you can and your rewards will be very much worth the effort.
Ser-N002: The ORA Bird of Paradise Seriatopora. This was one of the very few spotainious purchases I made while visiting my LFS and probably one of the best. Although, in color, it is similar to the Phonape variant listed above, it seems to draw much more attention than the other one does. I have it positioned right on the bottom, shaded from direct light, where it receives good, alternating water flow. It seems to grow a bit faster than the Phonape and has a more open form which leads me to believe it will be far less susceptible to trapping detritus. In fact, so far, I haven’t had any problems with this piece at all other than my tendency to hit it lightly when I’m cleaning the tank. Due to its coloration, it’s hard to see from the top down. This has caused two accidental fragging incidents so far but absolutely no lasting damage to anyone or anything. I think in a much smaller tank, this coral could be a showpiece. I have yet to see a truly huge colony, but if it lends itself to growing that large AND manages to keep its color, I think ORA would have develop a coral that could fetch the paper if it wanted to top itself any time soon.