Reef aquariums are universally held up to be the most complicated but also most beautiful types of aquariums. These saltwater aquariums not only have to be a home to their fish inhabitants, but also sustain actual live coral, which immediately ups the ante when it comes to how precise owners have to be about every aspect of their aquarium — temperature, pH, lighting, etc.
As an overview on the topic, here are some of the basic types of corals you can use in your reef aquarium:
Soft corals, such as Tree coral and Cabbage Leather coral, are the easiest to take care of. They grow quickly and are easy to keep alive. Just keep them away from other coral types to prevent them from trying to take over.
Mushroom corals are in many ways similar to soft corals (hard and fast growing), but you know, look more like mushrooms!
Large Polyp Stony (LPS) hard corals are generally larger calcareous (rock-like) corals with large fleshy polyps. These corals produce long tentacles that they use to keep any other organisms at a safe distance.
Small Polyped Stony (SPS) Hard corals feature small polyps on a calcareous skeleton. These are more temperamental than LPS or soft corals, so they are not recommended for beginners.
One last thing to note: as with other species of fish, when you’re purchasing coral for your tank, the provenance of the coral should be readily available to prove that the vendor is not taking the coral from a living reef and degrading that environment. Look for corals certified as “Captive Grown” to ensure you’re doing your part to stop coral reef decimation.
These aquarium varieties should be a good start for reef aquarium planning purposes. But remember, you also have to account for how the other aquarium inhabitants will interact with the specific coral type you choose. If you have any questions about reef aquariums, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.