You have cycled your brand-new aquarium, added a clean up crew of snails and hermits, and maybe a fish or two, and everything is stable. Now, it’s time for you to start adding some coral frags - but what in the event you get?
Many beginner corals can grow so quickly that they can be a nuisance down the road, so I will reveal some lovely, hardier corals to start with which are probably to thrive without taking over your tank.
What not to begin with:
Common starter corals in many cases are Green Star Polyps, Xenia, and Mushrooms. While all are popular they are able to grow like wildfire in your aquarium, and get beyond control inside a matter of months. You will sometimes hear stories about reef keepers looking to get eliminate these types of corals because they took over their own aquariums.
Zoanthids & Palythoas:
Usually known as Zoas and Palys, these are the ultimate starter coral. Frags can be acquired easily, and common frags is often found for $15 or less (although rare varieties exist, and may be rather expensive).
These coral types grow in a variety of colors and patterns, making them an excellent accessory for a saltwater reef. The majority are water parameter tolerant, and prefer medium lighting and flow. Because they grow well, you can view your colony grow over time, however they generally won’t take over your tank.
Most reefers with have multiple types of Zoas and Palys within their aquariums.
Ricordia is a mushroom variety of coral, and comes in a multitude of color - from subdued to neon - including multi/rainbow coloring. While regular mushrooms can end up beyond control, ricordias are slower growing, and therefore are usually a lot more attractive.
Two varieties of ricordia exist, the Florida Ricordia and also the Yuma Ricordia. The Florida variety is much more common and may usually be found for less than $20 - and reproduces by splitting after producing multiple mouths on a single polyp. By comparison, Yuma Ricordias are less frequent and usually a bit more expensive compared to Florida variety, and reproduce by putting off babies next to the parent.
Both kinds of ricordia prefer lower light and flow, along with a nice ricordia garden is really a sight to behold inside a reef aquarium.
Oftentimes, reef keepers want to enter into SPS coral (Small Polyp Stony coral) - also known as “stick” corals.
When you are sure your parameters are stable and can remain so, a good starter SPS is a Birdsnest. Birdsnests really are a quicker growing SPS, and frags are fairly easy to come by for under $20. They will prefer bright lighting and high flow, so you’ll want to put them full of your tank, near your lights.
Should you opt for SPS corals, you’ll have to maintain weekly water changes, because they will consume calcium from your water to develop their stony body. Water changes will replenish the vital calcium levels in your tank, along with other trace elements that coral can consume.
Starting a reef aquarium can be fun - but making the right choices at first can produce a big difference in both your success, as well as in the long-term health and vitality of your reef.