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Radiant Reef: A Rainbow of Hard Coral

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A colorful coral reef aquarium is like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s a delight to look at and a pleasure to care for. If you want to create a rainbow of hard coral in your aquarium, here are some hues and varieties to look into.

RED: Red Montipora

The Red Montipora is a SPS – a small polyp stony hard coral that is mid-range as far as difficulty. It likes mild water flow and is a peaceful, and it needs moderate levels of lighting to grow. The Montipora is broad, sporting a semi-leaf shape that’s similar to a fungus on a tree.

Related: Top 5 Low Light Corals for a Beginner Reef Tank 

ORANGE: Orange Tube Coral

The Orange Tube Coral is exactly what its name suggest:an orange coral that has a cluster of tubular appendages. Orange Tube Coral is a LPS – large polyp stony coral. It is a moderately hard coral to care for, requiring low lighting and medium- to high-water movement. Because it does not have a symbiotic relationship with algae, like most corals do, it needs to be fed through an eye dropper into each one of the polyps.

YELLOW: Yellow Fiji Leather Coral

The Yellow Fiji Leather Coral is a peaceful hard coral that has crinkly or wavy branches with nodes on them. It is a peaceful coral, requiring medium- to high-water flow, and mid-range lighting. It can be placed anywhere within the tank. This type of coral uses photosynthesis to feed, but also benefits from filter feeding of brine shrimp.

Related: Coral Reef-Safe Fish Species for Saltwater Tanks

GREEN: Green Trumpet Coral

The Green Trumpet Coral is a large polyp stony coral that is bright neon green and resembles the bell of a trumpet. It is a peaceful hard coral that requires moderate care levels. It thrives in midrange lighting and water flow conditions, and thrives in the lower portion of the aquarium. Green Trumpet Coral will benefit from supplemental feeding of baby brine shrimp, plankton and other meaty foods.

BLUE: Blue Hammer Coral

The Blue Hammer Coral is an aggressive large polyp stony coral that has numerous appendages with the ends appearing like the head of a hammer. The blue hammer coral has a sweeper tentacle that will sting anything invading its territory so care should be taken not to place it where other corals may be harmed. It prefers to be in the bottom portion of a reef, and likes moderate water flow and mid-range lighting.

INDIGO/VIOLET: Purple Stylophora

Purple Stylophoroa is commonly called cat’s paw, among other names. It is a peaceful small polyp stony coral that needs moderate- to high-lighting and strong water flow. It is pinkish/purplish in color and has small appendages that are club like. To bring out the best colors, high light is recommended. Purple Stylophoroa does not need supplemental feedings, but will filter feed if the opportunity is presented.

summerSummer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she’s not talking about fish, Summer “spins” her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization.


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