Are you looking to start a reef tank? Did you know that fish are the third most popular pet in the US, next to cats and dogs?
Most people start with freshwater fish and then explore new aquariums. A reef tank consists of invertebrates, corals, and various fish that help the ecosystem.
Apart from making the reef tank colorful, corals add dimension and balance to it. Maintaining aquarium corals can be hard for beginners. However, there are plenty of beginner-friendly corals that you can add to your reef tank today.
Read on to discover the different coral species you can put in your reef tank.
1. Green Star Polyp
As a new reef tank hobbyist, you can’t go wrong with having Green Star Polyps as your first coral. These are encrusting corals that grow and stick to hardy rock surfaces. Whether you place them near the glass or on a rock, GSP corals can thrive and bring life to your reef tank.
One thing that makes GSP beautiful is the contrast between its base and polyps. GSP corals wave their neon green polyps while they encrust in a brilliant purple mat.
GSP corals are great aquarium corals because of their low maintenance needs. You can mount them anywhere in the tank and expect them to grow fast. With good water flow and lighting in your tank, your GSP corals will thrive.
Bear in mind that GSP corals grow fast, making them occupy the whole aquascape. With this, place them where they cannot out-compete other organisms. You can control their growth by trimming them, too.
2. Velvet Coral (Montipora spongodes)
In an aquarium, structured habitats are essential for your fishes and invertebrates. Marine organisms need it for sheltering and as a source of nutrients. To support their needs, you can put small polyp stony corals in the reef tank.
Small polyps are reef-builders as they use calcium in the water. However, most SPS coral species are hard to maintain because of their demanding needs. When keeping them, use more precise water parameters, nutrition, lighting, and water flow.
Although some are not good as corals, Velvet corals make a perfect SPS coral for beginners.
Velvet corals are easy to maintain and are disease-resistant. Unlike other Montipora corals, they can thrive with low light and water flow.
For aesthetics, velvet corals are available in green, pink, pale cream, deep gray, and dark brown. Velvet corals have contrasting polyps, allowing you to experiment with different color themes.
3. Bird’s Nest Coral (Seriatopora spp.)
A birds nest coral is a great option if you want a low-cost yet colorful aquarium coral. Many hobbyists have bird corals in their tanks as they’re easy to take care of.
Bird’s nest corals continue to adapt to home aquaria. Some can thrive in low light, moderate water flow, and less contaminated water. However, bear in mind that there are other bird’s nest coral species that exist today.
A bird’s nest coral can give your reef tank the beauty you want. Like velvet corals, you can get bird’s nest corals in different colors, such as green, red, purple, and pink. They can appear in combinations of these colors, too.
When placing a bird’s nest coral, ensure to put it a few centimeters apart from other corals. It can occupy more space and intrude on other organisms as they grow fast. Bird’s nest corals also have fragile tips.
4. Xenia (Xenia spp.)
Flexible corals can bring more life and movement into your marine aquarium. The lack of an exoskeleton makes soft corals appear like plants as they sway with the current. If you want your aquarium to look alive, put a soft coral.
One of the best soft coral specie to have in your aquarium is Xenia. Apart from swaying, Xenia corals can open and close their polyps. Their small pulses add unique movement to the reef tank and can be great for fish to play in.
Xenia is available in white, grey, tan, and light pink. However, unlike other coral species, it has a uniform color. To enhance the aesthetics of your tank, you can choose a specific color of Xenia that suits the color theme.
Xenia corals have a high tolerance for different conditions. They thrive in low to medium light and water movement.
5. Elegance Coral (Catalphyllia Jardenei)
True to its name, elegance coral provides a soft but beautiful touch to your reef. It’s popular among hobbyists for its majestic appearance. Elegance corals come in a variety of color combinations.
Some corals have a bright green body, while the tentacles are pink. Further, the bright-colored tips glow under blue lights. With this, having a Catalphyllia Jardenei creates a vibrant atmosphere.
Elegance corals can thrive in medium light, water flow, and supplemental feedings. However, they need more space as they are sensitive. When their tentacles reach neighboring corals, they can sting them.
Elegance corals need good water conditions to survive. Use clean water with stable pH, temperature, salinity, and nutrient levels.
The Zoanthids are the best to have in your reef tank among all coral species. They are fast-growing, low-maintenance, easy to frag, and affordable aquarium corals.
If Xenia has a more plant-like appearance, Zoanthids look like colorful flowers. You can place them anywhere to emphasize other corals.
Zoanthids can thrive in almost any condition, too. They only need enough space and low light and water to keep growing. If you’re new to reef tank hobby, zoanthids are the best corals to put in your aquarium.
Knowing Your Options for Aquarium Corals
As a beginner, it’s hard to identify which aquarium corals to put in your reef tank. We hope this guide has given you some ideas on different coral species to put in your aquarium. Consider getting these corals if you want a vibrant and alive reef tank.
Want to learn more about reef tanks and taking care of saltwater fish? Check out our other blog posts and start adding ideas to your aquarium today!