Best Corals For Beginners
If you are a newbie to the wonderful world of reef aquariums, then it may be somewhat overwhelming at first to decide which corals to add to your aquarium.
To help you pick out the easiest to care for, we have the best 10 corals for beginners.
But wait… As there is something that we should mention before you dive in!
You will soon realize that shopping for corals can be confusing because of the common names. With names like Reef Titan, Strawberry Shortcake, and Kung Fu Fighter, it can be tough to know what you are actually buying.
And just to make it even more confusing, these fancy names can change between different coral suppliers. So why use fancy names?
Well, these names are often used to describe specific genetics of a coral species and its coloration. Plus, having funky names makes collecting corals fun!
10 Easy Corals Perfect For Beginners
The corals we have listed below are the common names to describe the type of coral. Within those groups, there will be rarer and pricier strains and color variants with weird and wacky names. Let’s take a look!
#1: Green Star Polyps
Green Star Polyps (GSP) are excellent beginner soft corals because they are hardy, fast-growing, and are not fussy in terms of location inside aquariums.
The Green Star Polyp Coral grows in sheets, closely resembling grass. When the polyps open and sway in the water flow, they will provide your aquarium with a vibrant neon green burst of color.
#2: Sinularia Leather Coral
Sinularia Leather Corals are soft corals with gorgeous finger-like branching structures. Their stunning fluorescent colors come in green, pink, purple, red, yellow, and beige, adding variety to any reef aquarium.
Sinularia Leathers are fast growers; they are known to rapidly spread, but luckily they are very easy to frag and cut back. Overall, Sinularia Leather Corals are a common place to start for people wanting to immerse into the reefing hobby.
#3: Xenia Coral
Xenia Corals are probably the fastest-growing soft coral you can get your hands on. If you have heard of Xenia Corals before, you likely came across the most popular variety, called the Pulsing Xenia.
Pulsing Xenia Corals take coral movement to the next level! Not only do they elegantly sway with the water flow, but they also have a unique pulsing movement. During this pulsing movement, the Xenia opens and closes its tentacles in a dramatic display - how epic!
#4: Euphyllia Corals
Frogspawns, Torches, and Hammers are all part of the Euphyllia Coral group. Euphyllia Corals are so popular that we doubt you have come across a reef tank without one showing off. They truly are quite the show-off, with their unique fluorescent tips and funky polyp shapes.
Not only are they stunning, but Euphyllia Corals are also very adaptable and will tolerate pretty much any location inside your aquarium. While they may not grow as fast as other LPS corals, they still grow very well, it just means you will not need to prune them back as often - which in our eyes is a plus!
So, if you are after a unique and easy coral, then a Euphyllia Coral is a great choice!
#5: Duncan Coral
Duncan Corals are beautiful LPS corals that are perfect for beginner reef tanks as they are very forgiving. They are often confused with Zoanthids as they also have very large, fleshy polyps, but as mentioned, they are a popular LPS coral.
Their color morphs range from brown to vibrant green, often seen with pink, purple, or red tentacles surrounding their fleshy base.
Duncan Corals are easy to keep and are good growers, making them the perfect choice if you are after an LPS coral to brighten up lower-light areas inside your aquarium.
#6: Bubble Corals
For many hobbyists, Bubble Corals are one of the most beautiful, exotic, and ‘bubbly’ LPS corals, and I'm sure the rest of the Reefco team would agree!
Their large, inflated, balloon-shaped polyps sway and grow reasonably fast, and can easily be controlled by fragging or pruning them. They are also fantastic beginner LPS corals as they can quickly adapt to aquarium conditions.
There are a few different Bubble Coral strains, but most of them come in light pink or white, however, neon green and yellow color morphs are also available.
#7: Candy Cane Corals
The Candy Cane Coral is an easy coral to care for, allowing the odd “oops” moment to happen - which is normal when you are a beginner reefer.
Candy Cane Corals are not only hardy corals (some even say bulletproof!), but they are mesmerizing, and they have a fast reproductive rate. So, if you want an easy coral that will quickly populate your aquarium and “wow” your reefing buddies, then put a Candy Cane on your shopping list.
#8: Weeping Willow Toadstool Coral
The Weeping Willow Coral is a perfect beginner coral. They are part of the Leather Coral group, yet they differ from their Sinularia cousins.
Weeping Willows are one of the oldest, but least understood soft corals found in reef aquariums. There is actually a large debate about whether there are any original Weeping Willow strains left. What we do know, is that the Weeping Willow is exceptional looking, with graceful polyps which can extend up to 4 inches in length.
They are also tolerant to less-than-perfect water chemistry, and they have a fast growth rate, therefore, they have wiggled their way into our best beginner coral-list.
Zoanthids (Zoas) are an extremely popular group of corals that make a fantastic addition to any new aquarium. Zoanthids are known for having a fast growth rate and wide tolerance range to light and water quality, making them the go-to coral for newbie reefers.
Their small polyps that cluster tightly come in any color you can imagine.
Over the decades, reef hobbyists have been obsessed with collecting Zoas, and creating epic Zoa gardens. Once you purchase one, you will want to collect every morph available - just like the tagline to collecting Pokémon: “gotta catch ‘em all”.
#10: Mushroom Corals
Last, but certainly not least, are Mushroom Corals, possibly the easiest coral group to care for. Mushroom Corals are known for their inexpensive price tag, rapid growth rate, and tolerance to less-than-ideal water conditions (Note: only over a short amount of time).
They come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, offering a Mushroom Coral morph for every reefer in the hobby.
While Mushroom Corals are ideal candidates for less experienced hobbyists, they are known to quickly plague areas inside aquariums, plus did we mention that they can move? Yes, you read that right, Mushroom Corals will move around your aquarium to a location where they feel most comfortable. So, do not be alarmed if you wake up one day and your Mushroom Coral has relocated.
So, there you have it. Now you know the best corals for beginners, but don’t stop reading now, as below, we have three corals that you should avoid if you are new to the hobby. Read on to find out why!
Corals To Avoid If You Are A Newbie Hobbyist
Some corals are more challenging, so you may want to avoid the following:
- Sun Corals: These are interesting, as they do not contain the symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) found in most corals. Therefore they require special care.
- Non-photosynthetic Gorgonians (Sea Fans): These are considered "expert only" corals because they require regular spot feeding, which can quickly cause spikes in nitrates and phosphates.
- Acropora Corals: These corals are temperamental and will not tolerate changes, making them one of the most difficult corals to keep in reef aquariums. So, stick to simple SPS corals before you try looking after Acros.
If you need help with setting up your first reef aquarium, read our article here!
There are many different beginner corals to choose from. If you want something unique-looking, then a type of Euphyllia Coral is a great choice. Or maybe you want a coral, like the Pulsing Xenia to add weird and wacky movement to your aquarium. With our 10 best corals for beginners, there is a coral for everyone!
However, if you are still unsure which coral will best suit your needs, do not hesitate to contact the Reefco team or pop into our showroom on the weekends to take a look at our epic coral displays!