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Soft Coral

The Secrets Of Soft Corals

Beautiful, colorful, soft coral can be easily cared for in saltwater reef aquariums. The soft coral species listed below are good choices for any reef keeper and are suitable for starting reef keepers. These are hardy varieties that usually respond well to aquarium life and do not need extreme light; most do well with low to moderate lighting and water movements or equivalent reef tank conditions. And because many corals receive a large portion of their energy from the ingestion of nutrients from the water, they actually thrive in less than ideal water environments.

What Is The Difference Between Soft Coral And Hard Coral?

Strong corals, such as LPS and SPS (which stands for Large Polyp Stony and Small Polyp Stony), have a large outer skeleton composed of calcium carbonate. Soft corals, by contrast, have very large, soft, fleshy polyps with tiny fragments of calcium carbonate skeleton in their tissues. These small skeleton parts, called sclerites, appear like little crescent moons.

Varieties Of Soft Coral

Zoanthids 

These are tiny polyps that come in a large range of colors and mimic a bouquet of small flowers. They occur in tight clusters of individual polyps that share a mat of tissue that ties all the polyps together. Aquarists have been known to be so intrigued by Zoanthids that they set out to capture potentially hundreds of different color morphs. Zoanthids are ideal for beginner aquarists because they can handle a wide variety of light and water temperature.

 Leather Coral

Leather corals are another very hard coral that makes them a very popular choice for people who are new to the hobby. They are readily available in the hobby and can also evolve to be a fantastic looking addition to any set-up if held under the right conditions. These corals are very popular with both new hobbyists, beginning with corals for the first time, and experienced hobbyists, as well as making them one of the most popular corals in today's hobby today.

Mushrooms

Mushroom Corals or Corallimorphs are perfect beginner corals, and they are some of the simplest species to look after. At any level, I suggest mushroom corals for hobbyists. They are hardy, tolerant of any less than optimal reef tank parameters or environments, thrive in areas of low light, and can be easily fragged, or they reproduce on their own.

Palythoas

With names like Icey Hot, Magician, Mohican Sun and Dreamsicle, it really sends a crazy imagination, imaging the colorful color varieties available in this genus. If your reef aquarium lacks a range of vivid color patterns and you need a fast-growing species to cover your rock, get some Palythoas for your saltwater tank. They will add charm and bright colors, making an enticing atmosphere. Make sure you buy a small frag, so it can develop easily. You should never touch the tissues of the Zoanthid or the Palythoa coral, particularly Palythoa. Always handle the frag from the frag plug and the colony from the rock's underside.

Ricordea

In the wild, this coral gene can be seen growing on rocky surfaces, on rubble, or even growing on dead corals. Ricordea is vividly colored, and others are so intense that they appear neon. Due to the brilliant variety of colors and patterns, the Ricordea genus is one of the most common mushrooms in the world today. There are no two of Ricordea the same. In reality, many experts agree that there is no other coral that can be comparable to Ricorde's illustrious color combos, speed of growth and ease of treatment. Ricordea requires mild care and can withstand lighter conditions. If the coral doesn't get adequate illumination and/or water, they'll either float around the tank until they reach an ideal location that matches their tastes, or have a very unpleasant experience with the pump.

 

Soft Coral Care

It's a bit difficult (or imprecise) to try to provide advice on how to group corals as large and complex as this.  They are very popular because many of the species are known to be beginner corals. What's a beginner coral? They are hardy, which means they grow well, they are tolerant of aquarium conditions, maybe a little accepting of minor fluctuations of water temperature, and require only a small amount of light and water flow.

The trick to improving the growth of your soft coral is to (gradually) improve the quality of the light (meaning to give it more PAR or higher PAR value) and to feed your tank a few days a week. I fed my tanks with rotifers and baby brine shrimp (which, in turn, were fed healthy phytoplankton, as above), as well as freeze-dried cyclops, and even only blast-thawed frozen foods in the powerheads to make a range of food sizes available.

You certainly won't have to handle complicated dosing of supplements if you want to keep your soft corals happy and healthy. If you have difficulties maintaining calcium and alkalinity up, your tank can benefit from the addition of a 2-part additive.

In addition to having a decent source of reef-building aquarium light, you may want to feed your corals as well. While there is a popular misconception that soft corals do not need food, that is, in truth, a fallacy and is very untrue. Although the polyps of your typical soft coral species do not have stinging nematocysts, or even the same dramatically noticeable capture-response as you would find in some other SPS coral species, that doesn't mean they don't feed.

These corals need daily feed to survive and are not recommended for inexperienced aquarists. The trick to feeding any coral species is to supply it with the correct size of the particle. Many soft coral species will consume nutrients right out of the water, and others can feed on nanoplankton or bacterioplankton.

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