On this page you can find some easy coral care guides for some of the
most common found corals in the trade today. Enjoy!
Orange Lace Sponge
Sponges are not corals, they are simple and primitive immobile invertebrate that spend their life filtering food particles from the water using their many pores. Being filter feeder, means they can actually help filter aquarium water. Sponges are somewhat hardy but do not stress them or expose them to air.
Devil’s Hand Leather Coral
If you’re uncomfortable calling them Devil’s Hand, you can just simply call them finger leather, since identifying exact species in leather corals can be difficult. Their care requirements though is not different from other of its kind. As with any leather corals they are very adaptable to any aquarium conditions.
Another less difficult SPS to care for, making them excellent for hobbyists who want to jump into SPS keeping. The branches clump together like Cauliflower. Uniquely to this coral, when stressed, their polyps can ‘bail out’ of their skeleton home, and will form new colony wherever the little polyps settle.
The pulsing Xenia can be a very attractive addition to the reef aquarium. At first glance they look like clove polyp (Clavularia) but the two are not related. What makes xenias special is that their polyps can open and close, like waving hands. It is an act of respiratory gas exchange. Xenias are a very hardy beauty.
Cat’s Paw Coral
Their name comes from their stubby rounded branches with blunt tips, often covered with Polyps that make it look fuzzy. Moderately difficult to keep. Other names include club finger, or smooth cauliflower coral. They can be green, blue, purple, or pink and sometimes can have contrast polyp colour.
These deadly beauties can get very large in the aquarium. Packed with numerous potent stinging tentacles they may not be for the reef aquarium. It is advised to have aggressive clownfish hosting them to chase away other fish for their own sake. But some have reported even the clownfish getting eaten.
A vibrant and cheerful species of soft coral, and also easy to keep. Their polyps resemble flowers, which they use during the day to photosynthesize. They are peaceful species with no stinging tentacles, However they will grow and spread rapidly. Will also feed on micro food.
This stunning LPS coral is hardy and fast growing, along with its small size makes them perfect for any nano reef keepers. They are not aggressive coral. Photosynthesis is their primary source for nourishment. Though a direct feeding of meaty food once a week is appreciated. Adapts to any light condition.
The Sun Polyp brightens the deepest parts of the reef – this is because they do not photosynthesize, thus bright light is not necessary for their well being. Not the easiest coral to keep, they require daily feeding by the owner. Most of the time they only bloom in the evening, or, when they need nourishment.
These are easy soft corals to keep and propagate. They mostly get their nourishment by photosynthesis. Very adaptable to many aquarium condition. Grows and reproduces in fast pace, often forming colonies that grow so close to each other, their ‘leaves’ overlap, looking like attractive cabbage field.
Clams are not coral, but they have the same sessile behaviour and requirements. originating from shallow seas, they love high lighting but moderate flow. Heavy Calcium user, and usually nourished by its zooxanthellae. But smaller specimens under 10cm also filters food particles. Overall they’re not too difficult.
Flower Mushroom Coral
Flower Mushroom corals are, like the discosoma – a corallimorph. Easily distinguished because they have stubby tentacles. Like discosoma, they’re hardy. Usually nourished by their symbiotic zooxanthellae. However, their little tentacles can actually hold onto food items, which they happily consume.
Hodag’s Montipora Coral
This montipora species is one of the easier species to keep. They can live in a variety of light but do better under strong light. Like most SPS, strong flow is needed. The name ‘confusa’ was given because at first discovery they were mistaken for acropora due to their branching form. Grows fast and likes Phytoplankton.
Hydnophora corals are a little bit difficult to care for. Although they should do well in a proper aquarium condition with high light and high water flow. These corals are known to be aggressive, they will sting and kill other corals in its proximity. So mind their personal space when placing in the aquarium.
Bird of Paradise Coral
Famously known as bird nest coral, the seriatopora group have attractive colours and branching form. Well known amongst reef keepers for being easy to care for. Grows better in high light and high flow to encourage good branching form and colour. These corals are fast growers. Appreciates micro foods.
A massive colony of branching hard corals that forms horizontal table like form, which gives them their name. Not to be confused with plate montipora. Their intricate form becomes a refuge for fish and small animals. Can grow really big in the wild, Only keep acropora in a mature tank at least one year old.
Leaf Plate Coral
Montipora corals are famous for plating form. Found in bright sun-lit areas of the reef, meaning they require strong light and strong flow, like typical SPS corals. They are peaceful species so can be kept close. This species is moderately difficult to keep so best kept to experienced aquarists.
Guaranteed to add colours and bedazzle your aquarium, Button Polyps come in a huge range of vibrant colours. Easy to care for and propagate. Caution must be taken when handling, members of these corals contain patytoxin which is hazardous but only when swallowed or enter the bloodstream.
Bubble Tip Anemone
Easily the best anemone for any aquarists interested in observing the symbiotic relation of clownfish and anemone. They look good and are quite hardy. Partially nourished by their zooxanthellae, though still need meaty food. Anemones are not recommended for reef tank, since they are mobile stinger.
Finger Leather Coral
These are easy soft corals to keep and propagate. They mostly get their nourishment by photosynthesis. But can be fed tiny food for filter feeders. Available in many attractive colors. They do not sting, but if disturbed they can release toxin that slows the growth of other corals.
Despite their anemone like form, they are actually an LPS species. Moderately easy to care for, but is quite predatory and will prey on snails in the aquarium. Best placed on the bottom on the sand and kept distant from other corals. This is because they are quite aggressive and will sting anything nearby.
Candy Cane Coral
These are appealing and hardy corals. They tend to do better without intense reef lighting or excessive strong flow. grow fast with proper reef husbandry. Although their zooxanthelae will provide for them, they do love to eat. food of any size – whether it be small piece of meat or tiny plankton are appreciated.
Toadstool Leather Coral
Found in various shades of brown, tan or green, with white or gold polyps. They mostly get their nourishment by photosynthesis aided by their algae. Easy to care and propagate. They do not sting, but when disturbed will release toxin that slows the growth of other corals.
This LPS is moderately difficult to keep, but are still hardy. Easily distinguished by their very long flowing tentacles with rounded tips. Photosynthesis is their main source for nourishment, however they will eagerly eat whatever meaty food is given to them. They have stinging tentacles.
Bottle Brush Acropora
As far as acropora go, the Bottle Brush Acros are slightly easier to maintain. Though they require the same condition of strong bright light and surging water flow. In the right condition they can grow fast and form dense colonies of branches. Appreciates feeding. Only keep acropora in mature reef tanks at least one year old.
Sponges are not corals, they are simple and primitive immobile invertebrate that spend their life filtering food particles from the water using their many pores. They are shaped like Japanese handheld fans, which is how they got their name. Zooxanthellae bring out their colour but filtering is their main feeding method.
Green Star Polyp
Another easy soft coral to keep. They have no stinging tentacles and their main source of food is zooxanthellae which they farm within their green polyps. Both pachyclavularia species and briareum species are similar in looks and care so are represented together. Fast Spreading Corals and easily propagated.
Speckled Birdnest Coral
As far as SPS go, the seriatopora or bird nest coral group are easier to care for, making them perfect for beginner aquarists to ease into the SPS domain. Easily distinguished from other birdnests because of the blunt tips and contrast colour of polyp and body. Hence named “guttatus”, which is Latin for “speckled”.
Purple Tipped Acropora
This is a very diverse species in terms of colour. Despite the name, they don’t always have purple tips and their branches are also available in many attractive colours. Like most acros, they get nutrients mostly from photosynthesis but also by capturing zooplanktons. Only keep acropora in mature reef tanks that are at least one year old.
War Favia Coral
Often Referred to as Pineapple/brain/closed brain/star/honeycomb coral. Favites are among the most common and prolific corals in the world. Said to be easy to keep in the aquarium and their colours are sure to add interest. They do become aggressive at night when they put out their tentacles.
Sponges are not corals, they are simple and primitive immobile invertebrate that spend their life filtering food particles from the water using their many pores. The blue sponge is very popular in the reef hobby. They are not hard to keep. They rely on water flow to deliver their microscopic food, also need a bit of light.
Flower Pot Coral
They’re certainly attractive, long stalks of ‘flowers’ rising from holes on rounded skeleton. Available in many colours, green and pink being most common. But these LPS corals are not for beginners. Though they photosynthesize, they require plenty of microscopic food. Also they are aggressive stingers.
These close relatives to anemones are probably the easiest corals to care for. Extremely hardy, fast spreading, and available in many colours and patterns. They are peaceful species and will not harm neighbouring corals. Appreciates some feeding and it is fascinating to watch their feeding response.
Bubbles expands with water, maximizing light area for its zooxanthellae to photosynthesize and produce its food. Bubbles retract and is replaced with feeder tentacles that seeks meaty items and stings any nearby corals.
Green Button Polyp
Hardy and easy to care for. They are still related to the famous zooanthus (which are also called button polyps). Photosynthesis is their main sustenance. Caution must be taken when handling, members of these corals contain palytoxin which is hazardous but only if swallowed or enters the bloodstream
Jeweled Finger Coral
Though rarely found in stores, they are actually one of the most common corals found in the sea. Loves strong flow – almost like crashing waves, and high light. Available mostly in yellow or yellow-green. What separates them from other SPS is that they host bisma worms – a kind of fan worm, in commensalism relation.
Very popular among beginners and available in many colour choices from pastel to exotic drab, donut corals are easy to care for and less hassle. In the aquarium they’re best placed on bottom, & famously used to decorate the sand bed. Keep away from other corals since they have stingers.
Colt Leather Coral
Leather coral species are numerous and often similar in looks, which makes it hard to identify. Cladiellas are easier to identify due to their short fingers. Known by names: Cauliflower Coral, Seaman’s Hands, or Blushing Coral. They aren’t hard to keep, and are fine nourished by light.
This is a newly discovered deep water coral from indonesia. They have attractive and exotic growth pattern, with Polyps concentrated on the bottom part. Acropora suharsonoi’s care is not much harder or different than other acropora. Except they need moderate light with more blue to mimic deep water.
Open Brain Coral
Often shaped like figure 8, but sometimes has a lot of folds. This LPS Coral is available in Myriads of vibrant colour choice, and frankly not so hard to keep. In the aquarium they’re best placed on bottom, & famously used the decorate sand bed. Appreciates filter feeding food & put out stingers at night.