The Best Beginner Saltwater Reef Coral to Start With

Starting a reef in your saltwater tank can be challenging at first so it is best to begin with easy corals that are more tolerant of water parameters.

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This post is directed towards those who are rookies in the live coral keeping hobby. This article should help, whether you have a nano saltwater tank or a larger tank. Deciding on the type of coral to start with is the first step.

Before purchasing any coral make sure to have adequate lighting and water flow for the coral of your choosing. If you are purchasing coral directly from us then this information is provided to you on the product page. Another aspect you must consider is the existing fish and invertebrates in your tank. You want to make sure that your tank is fully cycled before introducing coral.

Live rock is a crucial aspect to successful coral-keeping. Live rock is fragments of coral reef that has beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that biologically filter your tank’s water and provide nutrients for the coral. You can attach the coral frag to the live rock in order to spur coral growth onto the live rock. Sometimes live rock will come with species of coral that is embedded into the live rock. One time I even found a feather-duster in my live rock!

Mushroom Corals  (Actinodiscus or Discosoma species)

Other names of the mushroom coral are: flower coral or mushroom anemones. These are the most popular soft coral and easiest to keep as well. They come in a wide spectrum of colors, textures and shapes.

Zoanthids / Button Polyps (Family Zoanthidae and include genus Palythoa, Protopalythoa, and Zoanthid) 

Button Polyps are another great starter coral because they can thrive in a wide range of lighting and water flow rates.

Leather Corals (Family Alcyoniidae, Genus Alcyonium, Cladiella, Genus Capnella, Sarcophyton, Sinularia and Family Nephtheidae)

Another soft coral is the leather coral. These corals are typically in a branching shape. They prefer moderate light and depending on the specific species they either get their energy from their zooxanthellae or phytoplankton, nanoplankton, and bacterioplankton.

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