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Starter Coral You'll Love in Your New Reef Aquarium

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You've cycled your new aquarium, added a clean up crew of snails and hermits, and perhaps a fish or two, and everything is stable. Now, it’s time to start adding some coral frags - but what in the event you get?

Many beginner corals can grow so quickly that they can become a nuisance in the future, and so i will highlight some lovely, hardier corals to begin with which are most likely to thrive if you don't take over your tank.

More to begin with:

Common starter corals in many cases are Green Star Polyps, Xenia, and Mushrooms. While each one is popular they are able to grow like wildfire inside your aquarium, and get beyond control within a few months. You will often hear stories about reef keepers looking to get rid of these kinds of corals simply because they took over their very own aquariums.

Zoanthids & Palythoas:

Usually known as Zoas and Palys, these are the ultimate starter coral. Frags can be obtained easily, and customary frags is often found for $15 or less (although rare varieties exist, and may be quite expensive).


These coral types grow in a number of colors and patterns, which makes them an excellent accessory for a saltwater reef. Most are water parameter tolerant, and prefer medium lighting and flow. Because they grow well, you can watch your colony grow with time, however they generally won’t dominate your tank.

Most reefers with have multiple types of Zoas and Palys within their aquariums.


Ricordia is a mushroom variety of coral, and is available in a multitude of color - from subdued to neon - including multi/rainbow coloring. While regular mushrooms can eventually get out of hand, ricordias are slower growing, and therefore are usually a lot more attractive.

Two types of ricordia exist, the Florida Ricordia and the Yuma Ricordia. The Florida variety is much more common and can usually be found for less than $20 - and reproduces by splitting after producing multiple mouths on a single polyp. By contrast, Yuma Ricordias are less frequent in most cases a little more expensive compared to Florida variety, and reproduce by postponing babies near the parent.

Both kinds of ricordia prefer lower light and flow, and a nice ricordia garden is truly a sight to behold inside a reef aquarium.


Oftentimes, reef keepers are looking to get into SPS coral (Small Polyp Stony coral) - also known as “stick” corals.

Once you are sure your parameters are stable and can remain so, a good starter SPS is really a Birdsnest. Birdsnests really are a quicker growing SPS, and frags are simple enough to find for less than $20. They'll prefer bright lighting and high flow, so you’ll want to put them high in your tank, near your lights.

If you go with SPS corals, you’ll need to maintain weekly water changes, because they will consume calcium from your water to grow their stony body. Water changes will replenish the vital calcium levels in your tank, as well as other trace elements that coral can consume.

Starting a reef aquarium can be fun - but making the best choices in the beginning can produce a big difference in both your ability to succeed, and in the long-term health insurance and vitality of the reef.

Posted Sep 21, 2012 at 3:01pm