The Different Types of Coral for Reef Tanks: A Helpful Guide

The Different Types of Coral for Reef Tanks: A Helpful Guide

Coral reefs are some of the most beautiful environments on Earth. So it’s not hard to understand why one may wish to create their own reef tank filled with live coral. Reef tanks can be beautiful and lively additions to your home or office space filled with bright colors and flourishing aquatic life.

If you are a marine life lover, you may have thought about having one of these tanks yourself. But after a bit of research, you may have also discovered that they aren’t always easy to maintain.

Different types of coral have different environmental needs, leaving some coral easier to take care of than others. When setting up your own reef tank, it’s important to keep these factors in mind so that you can ensure success. Keep reading for our guide on the different types of coral!

Two Main Types Of Corals

As a generality, corals are divided into two main subgroups, hard corals and soft corals. Hard corals are typically made of limestone and often have a rocky appearance. They grow very slowly and don’t tend to be as colorful as many other varieties.

In fact, much of the color they do develop comes from various types of algae that grow on their tough exterior. This type of coral grows from an internal skeleton, which will stay intact after the coral dies.

Soft coral is also made from calcium carbonate, or limestone, but contains much more protein which leads to its more limber structure. Actually, soft corals don’t have an exoskeleton at all which is why they look fluid in movement.

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This movement is caused by the flow of water within the tank. Soft corals tend to be a bit easier to care for than hard corals, and are often more tolerant of changing water conditions.

Regardless of the coral you choose, it’s important to ensure proper care to avoid coral tissue necrosis.

Hard Corals

Corals grow in small colonies made up of polyps. And within the hard coral variety, there are small polyp stony and large polyp stony species, each needing a unique amount of sunlight and care.

Popular hard corals found in reef tanks are bubble coral, brain coral, and daisy coral. Bubble coral requires moderate lighting and water flow and is easily identified by its bubbled polyps.

Brain corals are also relatively easy to take care of, but beware that this coral variety tends to sting other corals. Daisy coral has a beautiful structure that looks like stars or open flowers. They are a peaceful species, but they do require a moderate degree of care.

Soft Corals

As mentioned above, soft corals tend to exhibit movement due to their fleshy skeletons. Not only are these corals more flexible in their structure, but they are also more flexible in where they can be placed within your tank.

As long as these corals are receiving the proper nutrition, they can often thrive in lower-light. Popular soft corals include tree corals, pipe corals, green star polyps, and blue corals. All of these corals are relatively easy to care for and can be a great addition to any tank.

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Choosing From Different Types Of Coral

There are many different types of coral that can make great additions to your reef tank. Before choosing, do some research on the specific needs of each species to ensure that the tank you have set up will be the right environment.

Taking care of a coral reef tank is a delicate but rewarding process. For more articles like this, check back on our blog!

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