So you have seen the incredible tanks posted on forums, seen your friend's tank, or just have been inspired by seeing ocean life and now looking to get your own. Reef tanks can be pretty intimating for a newcomer and we have written articles about tank selection and easy saltwater fish to keep. But what about corals?
I will write an article later on about soft corals, but I want to talk today about the LPS Coral. These corals are the big show stoppers in the tank with their colors and their varieties, but not all LPS corals are created equally. Some of these corals are difficult to keep, but we have a list of corals here that you can safely pick from if you are looking to get into coral keeping.
Before we get started, let's talk about requirements of LPS corals. What makes corals "difficult" in the hobby is stability. Corals like stability. They don't want temperature swings, they suffer from salinity changes, and hate high nitrates. The good thing is that technology and best practices from experience hobbyist have made it easier to keep LPS corals.
Below is our list from the easiest to care LPS corals readily available in the market. While there could be many others on this list, we felt these were the best candidates based on their beauty, ease of care, and uniqueness. Feel free to comment if your favorite has been left off the list:
This is the most aggressive coral on the list, but it is readily available and very popular. It is also more difficult to keep than the other corals on this list, but it is still pretty hardy compared to many SPS corals. The main thing with the frogspawn is giving it adequate space as they are known to stretch 6" beyond their base at night and will sting other corals nearby.
This pretty coral originates from the Indo-Pacific. It is relatively easy to care for with the major issue being its aggressiveness and preferring calming flow. As long as you can find a less flow area near the bottom of your tank spaced away from other corals, it should do well.
Acans are great coral additions as long as you place them correctly. They need to placed a few inches away from other corals as they are known for attacking other corals by extending their stomachs out! They are widely available in many colors and patterns.
A very easy to maintain coral that requires a bit of care when handling. This is because it has a fragile skeleton so it must be handled gentling when placing. It is a very peaceful coral that lacks stinging tentacles
Pagoda Cup Corals do vary in the amount of care they require. You will want to avoid such species with thin plates or convoluted shapes. Pagodas like the one picture above are the ones we are looking for. They make excellent additions to a reef tank being very peaceful and easy to keep. The only thing with these corals is that it growth fast.
This is a very hardy coral that will add color to the bottom of your tank. It prefers to live on a fine sandy substrate and known for being easy to care for.
The button coral is a peaceful coral that is easy to maintain. While not aggressive, it still requires some spacing as it can expand to twice its size. Since they tend to like lower flow current, they tend to get placed near the bottom of the aquarium.
A hardy coral that can be placed anywhere in the aquarium. They are on the aggresive side so care must be taken when placing. They are plentiful in the wild and available from local fraggers and shops. The favia brain coral overall great coral for beginner.
An excellent LPS coral for a beginner. This is a hardy and peaceful coral with very short sweeper tentacles. They are a number of colors available and they are not overly expensive. They stay small enough to be good candidates for smaller tanks.
The number one LPS coral on our list hits all the checkmarks. A peaceful coral than can be placed anywhere in the aquarium and needs moderate flow and lighting. It's short sweeper tentacles allow it to be placed in close proximity to other corals and it is a generally hard coral.
We will note that your tank must be setup with a healthy system before you begin placing corals in your aquarium. All corals require careful observation while they are establishing in your tank. Check for signs of stress like lack of opening up, discoloration, or damage to other corals. Stay patient and make adjustments as necessary. One you have your first set of corals established you will be on your way to a successful and enjoyable reefing experience!