Originally Posted by ryshark
I think you have a great point there. Typically the frag will start to encrust the frag plug/outwards first before they start growing at the tips.
I think it all depends on a lot of things. I have a stylophora that was in the same spot for a little under a year. It was growing fine at the tips... not tremendously, though. And it wasn't encrusting at the base at all. I ended up moving it because of competition with a torch (the stylo was losing) and moved it to a new location that had lots more flow. Growth at the tips took off like crazy, and it finally started encrusting along the base. Now, not only is it fully encrusted onto the rock, but there are branches growing off that area too.
My point is that there are tons of factors that can influence coral growth. And the folks that do it for a living (ORA, etc) know what factors they need to grow corals that folks will buy. But as far as corals growing in hobbiest tanks, it seems totally normal for new growth to come in white.
Sparky697... you asked "Then what is it that happens during the transit and display tanks at the lfs
that makes them color up all the way to the tips". In my opinion, what is happening is that they're not growing. No growth means the coral has time to color up what used to be new growth. Or maybe it's that just before shipment, the grower might change the lighting to influence coloration over growth.