13 Easy Saltwater Aquarium Reef Corals

  • 01 of 14

    Great for Beginners - These Marine Corals are Almost Bulletproof

    Open Brain Coral
    Open Brain Coral. M. Caruana

     Many novice (and experienced) saltwater aquarists are a bit leery about starting a Reef Tank with marine corals. Their requirements not being very well understood, corals used to be almost impossible to keep for any length of time in a marine aquarium. Over time and with many successful and failed experiments along the way, the knowledge, products and information are now in place, so that many corals can now be successfully kept in even mini, micro and nano aquariums. Some are now considered...MORE "easy" to maintain while many other corals are still deemed difficult to nearly impossible for the average Reef Tank hobbyist.

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  • 02 of 14

    Mushroom (Actinodiscus) Coral

    Pink Mushroom Coral
    Pink Mushroom Coral. Joanne Adam

    The Mushroom (Actinodiscus) Coral does not respond well to bright lights or heavy currents. To allow for maximal expansion and reproduction, these Mushroom corals are best kept under lower lighting conditions (fluorescent lighting is ideal) with little water movement.

    Safe with fish, crustaceans and motile invertebrates, but should not be placed next to other soft and stony corals and sessile invertebrates, because of the detrimental effect they can have on them.

    Read More Information about...MORE Mushroom (Actinodiscus) Corals

     

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  • 03 of 14

    Mushroom and Leather (Cladiella) Corals

    Pink Mushroom Leather Coral
    Pink Mushroom Leather Coral. Phyllis Daniels

    Commonly known as Leather Corals and Mushroom Corals, these are excellent saltwater aquarium starter corals, being adaptable to most light & current conditions. Moderate light & current is usually optimal for these beautiful species.

    Read Information about Mushroom and Leather (Cladiella) Corals

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  • 04 of 14

    Star Polyps, Green Star Polyps and Daisy Polyps (Pachyclavularia)

    Green Star Polyps (Pachyclavularia sp.)
    Green Star Polyps (Pachyclavularia sp.). R. Tebben

    Commonly known as Star Polyps, Green Star Polyps and Daisy Polyps, these corals are tolerant of both intense and low level light as well as a range of currents. Being sensitive to iodine & aluminum oxide which are found in some phosphate removing sponges, caution should be taken when adding these materials to your tank.

    This coral is very fast-spreading, to the point where it can overgrow other corals. It is tolerant of both low and high level lighting as well as varied water currents. This coral...MORE should be blown clear of detritus occasionally to prevent slime and filamentous algae from gaining a foothold.

    These are very good starter corals.

    Read Information about Star Polyps, Green Star Polyps and Daisy Polyp Corals

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  • 05 of 14

    Sea Mat and Button Polyp (Palythoa) Corals

    Button Zoanthids (Palythoa sp.)
    Button Zoanthids (Palythoa sp.). John Stevenson

     Commonly known as Sea Mat and Button Polyps, these corals prefer bright light, but are tolerant of lower light. Preferring moderate to strong current, Palythoas have a high reproductive rate and are very aggressive. Some of these species contain a strong neurotoxin which affects humans.

    While most of these corals are brown to dark brown in color, a fair number of them contain elements in their tentacle tips, which fluoresces beautifully under actinic blue lighting.

    These species are good starter...MORE corals.

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  • 06 of 14

    Finger Leather and Colt (Cladiella) Corals

    Colt Coral
    Colt Coral. Chris Young

     

    Commonly known as Finger Leather and Colt these corals are excellent starter corals. While adaptable to most light and current conditions, these beautiful corals prefer moderate light and current.

    Most Finger Leather and Colt Corals are found at mid-water levels in the ocean, so moderate light and current levels are optimal for them in captivity.

    Read Information about Finger Leather and Colt (Cladiella) Corals

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  • 07 of 14

    Sea Mat and Button Polyp (Protopalythoa) Corals

    Multi-Coloured Zoathids (Zoanthus sp.)
    Multi-Coloured Zoathids (Zoanthus sp.). Cynthia

    Commonly known as Sea Mat and Button Polyps, these colorful corals prefer bright light, but are tolerant of lower light. Preferring moderate to strong current these very aggressive corals have a high reproductive rate. Some of these species contain a strong neurotoxin which can affect humans.

    These are considered to be good starter corals.

    Read Information about Sea Mat and Button Polyp (Protopalythoa) Corals

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  • 08 of 14

    Toadstool, Leather and Mushroom (Sarcophyton) Corals

    Leather Coral
    Leather Coral. Peggy Nelson

    Common names of these corals include: Toadstool Coral, Leather Coral, Mushroom Leather Coral and Trough Coral.

    These are great beginner's corals which adapt well to most lighting schemes and low to moderate current levels. These corals grow rapidly and are considered excellent for propagation.

    Read Information about Toadstool, Leather and Mushroom (Sarcophyton) Corals

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  • 09 of 14

    Zoanthid, Sea Mat and Button Polyp (Zoanthus) Corals

    Zoanthids (Zoanthus sp.)
    Zoanthids (Zoanthus sp.). Keoki and Yuko Stender

    Common names of these corals include: Zoanthid, Sea Mat and Button Polyps. While these corals prefer bright light, they are tolerant of lower light and prefer moderate to strong current, making them a good starter coral.

    These aggressive corals have a high reproductive rate and can spread rapidly in an aquarium. Some species in this genus contain a strong neurotoxin which can affect humans.

    Read Information about Zoanthid, Sea Mat and Button Polyp (Zoanthus) Corals

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  • 10 of 14

    Closed and Dented Brain (Symphyllia) Corals

    Green Closed Brain Coral (Favites sp.)
    Green Closed Brain Coral (Favites sp.). Daniel Ross

    Common names include: Closed Brain Coral, Dented Brain Coral, Meat Coral, Brain Coral and Pacific Cactus Coral.

    These corals are highly successful in captivity, being very tolerant of different light and current conditions, but prefering bright, indirect light and moderate to low currents. These corals are sensitive to the presence of some soft corals, i.e. Xenia and Litophyton and are very reactive to food (Zooplankton, Phytoplankton and algae) in the water.

    Considered an easier coral to keep.

    Read...MORE Closed and Dented Brain Coral Information

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  • 11 of 14

    Moon, Pineapple, Star (Favia & Favites) Corals

    Bubble (Plerogyra sinuosa) and Moon (Favia species) Corals
    Bubble (Plerogyra sinuosa) and Moon (Favia species) Corals. Roberto Marion

    Common names include: Moon Coral, Pineapple Coral, Brain Coral, Closed Brain Coral and Star Coral.

    These corals prefer bright lights, however they will tolerate much lower levels. Preferring a gentle current, some Favites will attach to substrate if not moved for several months. Favites can be fed and seem to appreciate a squirt or two of brine shrimp at night.

    Care should be taken with placement of these corals as they can send out transparent sweeper tentacles at night. Considered by many to be...MORE an easier coral to keep.

    Read Information about Moon, Pineapple, Star (Favia & Favites) Corals.

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  • 12 of 14

    Honeycomb, Star, Wreath and Moon (Goniastrea) Corals

    Brain Star Coral (Goniastrea sp.)
    Brain Star Coral (Goniastrea sp.). Lucia Galvan

    Common names include: Honeycomb Coral, Star Coral, Wreath Coral, Moon Coral, Pineapple Coral, Brain Coral, Closed Brain Coral.

    Considered a good coral for novices, these corals thrive under strong water current and bright lighting.

    In the photo above, note the sweepers protruding from the coral. These are poisonous and are used for both defense and offense.

    Read More Information About Goniastrea Corals.

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  • 13 of 14

    Fox, Jasmine and Ridge (Nemenzophyllia) Corals

    Fox (Nemenzophyllia turbida) Coral
    Fox (Nemenzophyllia turbida) Coral. R. Tebben

    Common names include: Fox Coral, Jasmine Coral and Ridge Corals.

    These corals prefer a gentle current, calcifying and expanding best in dim to moderate light. Specimens in this genus do not produce feeding tentacles and therefore receive their nutrition from absorption.

    Does best without heavy skimming or highly efficient water filtration.

    Considered an easy coral to keep.

    Read More Fox, Jasmine and Ridge Coral Information.

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  • 14 of 14

    Lobed, Flat, and Open Brain (Lobophyllia) Corals

    Open Brain Coral
    Open Brain Coral. M. Caruana

    Common names include: Lobed Brain Coral, Flat Brain Coral, Open Brain Coral, Meat Coral, Modern Coral, Large Flower Coral.

    These corals do best with bright direct light and calm currents however if minimally adequate light and water movement is provided, it will grow well in a tank.

    This coral normally feeds actively at night, however the tentacles occasionally extend during the day and readily take food offerings, feeding almost exclusively on zooplankton and bacterioplankton which consists of...MORE free-living bacteria, detritus, particulate (POM) and suspended organic matter (SOM).

    Lobophyllia are not normally aggressive however there have been reports of sweeper tentacles being formed when they come in contact with other corals.

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