What Are the Most Attractive Corals for a Reef Tank?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Broccoli, bubbles and… open brains? These are just a few coral types that will bloom in your aquarium and give your reef environment life.

Nothing compares to the beauty of a thriving reef environment – just look at pictures of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or the Rainbow Reef in Fiji. But what makes these environments so unique and colorful? In many cases, it is a variety of thriving corals that gives a reef environment its beautiful color and movement.

The Top 5 Most Beautiful Coral Species

There are more than 2,500 different species of coral in the world, about half of which are the hard corals that make up the skeleton of the world’s coral reefs. Soft corals are those that bend and sway with the flow of the water around them, giving the reef its beautiful movement. If you want to capture the beauty of a reef environment in your tank at home, consider some of the top 5 most beautiful coral species:

  • Open Brain Coral (Trachyphyllia geoffroyi): This type of coral has a conical base with a heavy oval-shaped skeleton – it is also known as crater coral or folded brain coral. Open brain coral comes in various shades of red, green, blue, yellow or brown and they are entirely photosynthetic.

Related: Colorful Tips for Starting a Nano Reef Tank

  • Broccoli Coral (family Nephtheidae): Though these corals are bright yellow they resemble broccoli crowns with their unique shape. Broccoli coral
  • Bubble Coral (family Euphyllidae): These corals develop water-filled bubbles that inflate and expand in accordance with the light. During daylight hours, they look like grapes or bubbles and they are very fragile. Bubble corals are mainly found in the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and the Pacific Ocean.
  • Mushroom Coral (family Fungiidae): These corals are amongst the largest polyp corals, growing up to 12 inches wide. Mushroom corals exhibit amazing Technicolor variations and they are amongst the only coral species to feed on jellyfish.

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

  • Cup Coral (family Dendrophyllidae): These soft corals live in the deeper regions of coral reefs feeding on zooplankton that they filter from the water around them. Cup corals are also known as “flowers of the sea” because they grow in a beautiful bouquet-like formation and they come in a wide range of brilliant colors.

Tips for Keeping Corals in a Reef Tank

Corals are some of the most beautiful and unique-looking creatures in the natural world which is why they are so popular amongst reef tank hobbyists. In addition to being beautiful, they are also something of a challenge to keep. Not only do you need to make sure that your corals get enough food, but they also require a certain amount of light and a certain degree of water flow.

The ideal tank parameters for corals varies from one species to another so you need to do your research to determine what you need to do to keep the kind of corals you like best. You will definitely need a high-quality filtration system to keep your tank water clean and to facilitate flow – you will also need a good lighting system to provide your corals with the energy they need to facilitate the process of photosynthesis.

If you are an experienced aquarium hobbyist looking for a new challenge, consider adding some corals to your reef tank! Corals come in all kinds of shapes, colors, and patterns so you can mix and match them to create a unique and custom look in your 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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