Top 5 Low Light Corals for a Beginner Reef Tank

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
You want to start a coral reef tank, but you’re not sure where to start. Here are five types of coral that are great for beginners.

If you want to achieve a beautiful, natural look in your reef tank then you should consider adding some corals. There are many different types of corals to choose from, but some of them are very difficult to keep in the home aquarium – especially if you are a reef tank beginner. Keep reading to learn about the various types of coral that are easy for beginners and to learn about the top 5 low light coral species that are easy for beginner reef tank aquarists to work with.

What Types of Corals are Best for Beginners?

Like most invertebrates, corals can be very sensitive to changes in water parameters such as water temperature, pH level, and salinity. If the conditions in your tank fluctuate even a little bit, it could kill off all your reef tank inhabitants – this is why it is important for reef tank beginners to choose their tank inhabitants carefully, to give yourself a small margin for error.

Related: Coral Reef-Safe Fish Species for Saltwater Tanks

When it comes to corals, certain types are hardier than others and some corals are less demanding in terms of their requirements for lighting, filtration, and nutrients. Soft corals, for example, are fairly easy to care for because they have low light requirements and they will feed on any free-floating food in your tank water.

Star polyps are another type of coral that is fairly easy to keep because they are adaptable to various levels of light. Some other corals that are good for beginners include zooanthids, mushroom corals, tree corals, and leather corals.

Related: Open Your Tank to Clams

Top 5 Recommended Coral for Beginners

Now that you have a better understanding of which types of corals are easier to maintain, here are some specific species you should consider if you are a beginner reef tank hobbyist:

  • Hammer Corals: These corals grow uniquely shaped tentacles that look like hammers or anchors – hence the name hammer coral. Hammer corals grow in either branching or wall formations and they come in many colors ranging from yellow to brown to green. These corals are easy to maintain but they may sting other corals.
  • Mushroom Corals: Mushroom corals exhibit a wide variety of colors or textures which makes them a unique addition to the reef tank. These corals prefer low to moderate water flow and they do well in low lighting. In fact, they prefer to be in a shady area.
  • Button Polyps: These are one of the easiest species of coral to care for because they require no supplemental feeding and they do well in low-light conditions. Button polyps range in color from brown to green and they are generally peaceful with other corals.
  • Sun Coral: This type of coral has a bright orange color and a spherical shape which is where they get their name. Sun corals are hardy and adaptable to various levels of light, though they can be a little tricky to feed at times.
  • Leather Corals: These corals are low-maintenance so they do not require high levels of lighting – they also tend to grow quickly. Some types of leather coral can grow large so they may not be right for a nano reef tank, but they usually don’t bother other corals.

There are hundreds more species of coral out there, many of which require relatively low lighting. But these five are a safe bet for beginners, and they’ll provide a building block for your beautiful coral reef tank.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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