The Three Main Types of Coral: Which is the Best for You?

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The Three Main Types of Coral: Which is the Best for You?

Before deciding on which coral would be best for your tank environment, it is important to note the characteristics of each one

We at Extreme Corals not only want to provide you with the best possible experience when buying coral, but we also want to advise you on the different types of coral and how to best fit them into your reef tank environment.

by Scott Shiles • November 12, 2022

Corals


There are few things better than collecting new corals for your reef tank. We at Extreme Corals not only want to provide you with the best possible experience when buying coral, but we also want to advise you on the different types of coral and how to best fit them into your reef tank environment. Before deciding on which coral would be best for your tank environment, it is important to note the characteristics of each one.

large polyp torch

Large Polyp Stony Corals (LPS)

One of the two categories of hard coral, LPS corals are going to have larger polyps than their SPS counterparts. Large Polyp Stony Corals are one of the most popular options for both experienced hobbyists and beginners alike. Since LPS corals have larger polyps, they are able to absorb more nutrition from their environment than do SPS corals. LPS corals are much less sensitive to higher levels of nitrates and phosphates in their environment than are SPS corals. Furthermore, LPS corals are more conducive to low flow and low light environments, making the setup for beginners much easier. LPS corals are a staple in the hobby, and make a great addition to most tank environments.

small polyp acropora

Small Polyp Stony Corals (SPS)

The other category of hard coral, SPS corals, have much smaller polyps than do LPS corals. SPS corals have a more rocky appearance when compared with their LPS cousins, so they are great for adding a different element to your tank. These corals tend to grow much more quickly than LPS corals due to their small size. SPS corals like faster water flow, more light, and are much more sensitive to nitrates and phosphates. Since they have such small polyps, they tend to be less aggressive toward other corals in an aquarium. SPS corals are slightly more labor intensive than are LPS corals, but they add a completely different element to your reef tank that is ultimately worth it.

soft coral mushroom

Soft Corals

Sometimes referred to as “softies”, soft corals are completely different from the hard LPS and SPS varieties. They lack the hard exoskeletons of the corals mentioned above, and tend to appear more plant-like. These make for awesome additions to reef tanks because they have the tendency to flow in the current, creating spectacular aesthetics. Since the category is so broad, it is impossible to assign general care instructions across all varieties. Make sure to check your specific coral’s needs to make sure they are being met. Generally speaking, softies are great for beginners and are much different from the hard corals mentioned above making for some great pieces in any tank.

We at Extreme Corals believe in giving our corals the best environment possible. We professionally maintain all of our tanks to make sure each animal is in great shape when we ship them to you. Check out our beautiful selection of LPS, SPS, and soft corals today!


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What Are the Differences Between LPS and SPS Corals?

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