Aquarium coral comes in all shapes, types and sizes. A reef tank full of growing coral could be considered the pinnacle of aquarium keeping success. Some SPS corals have extreme water requirements whereas some of the LPS corals can be kept in less than perfect conditions.
Some have high lighting requirements and others will do better under moderate or even low lighting. Figure out what kind of tank you want to keep before buying your equipment. Your equipment will dictate which types of corals you can keep in your reef tank setup.
You should also plan on using a coral dip on any new corals before you place them into your reef tank. There are several coral dip brands currently on the market. Using a quarantine procedure is an even better idea though because eggs can sometimes make it past a simple dip. I promise that you will not want to deal with the headache that coral pests can cause once they get into your display tank.
If you are interested in learning how to set up a reef tank to grow corals, be sure to read the Saltwater Aquarium Setup Guide for details on how to set one up.
Although individual specimens of Acanthastrea coral can vary, in general they require moderate water flow and moderate lighting.
Acropora corals are one of the primary reef builders in world's oceans and they are highly sought after by reef tank hobbyists for their remarkable growth rates and intense colors.
For the water flow in the aquarium you will need moderate (when small) to high indirect or turbulent flow as it grows. Not giving them enough flow can lead to algae growing on the branches or branch tips.
The Blastomussa coral is considered a good starter coral for new reef tank keepers given that it is relatively an undemanding coral. In general, low to moderate and mixed directional water flow along with moderate lighting will be fine for this coral.
The Brain coral is one of the most highly sought after corals. Slow growers that need to be place well away from other corals.
There are a few different color variations including brown, green and cream colors, usually with alternating white stripes. It fluoresces magnificently under blue moon lights.
Tons of different color varieties available and very expensive! Several different coral species are lumped into the chalice coral common name.
They need moderate to high lighting levels, moderate water flow levels and will need to be fed periodically to get better growth results.
This is a fast growing and encrusting coral when given reef like conditions. Moderate to high lighting and water flows are good.
They can be quite hardy once acclimated and they come in several color variations ranging from green (pictured) to pink or red to purple to tan. Some grow as encrusting and others are whirling.
A branching SPS coral that is a fast grower.
An encrusting monti coral that grows finger like projections. Fast growing under T5's or metal halides with moderate to high turbulent flow.
A relatively slow growing SPS coral that has a fuzzy appearance making it look somewhat like a cactus.
Their polyps will pulse or, in other words, open and close. Picture your hand slowly opening and closing and you'll get a good idea of what we're trying to describe.
The Ricordea florida mushroom coral comes from the Caribbean and they often sport amazing corals making them a hobbyist favorite.
Zoanthids are some of the coolest things to keep and also some of the hardiest. These button polyps fall into this category of being both hardy and incredibly beautiful.
Keeping Coral in a Saltwater Aquarium
Coral Reef Zones