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Our Top SPS Corals For Your Aquarium

by Brian Dunleavy
Our Top SPS Corals For Your Aquarium

Are you ready to add some Small Polyp Stony (SPS) corals to your aquarium? SPS corals are not only stunning to look at, but they are also the quintessential reef-building corals that you’ll find in the oceans. They add dimension and balance to your aquarium and can turn it into a beautiful and thriving coral reef.

But, before you dive into the world of SPS corals, it’s important to understand what they are and how to care for them. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at SPS corals, and highlight our top SPS corals for your aquarium.

What Are SPS corals?

SPS corals are a type of stony coral that are small in size and have a hard, rock-like skeleton. They have small polyps that extend from their hard skeleton. SPS corals come in a wide range of colors and shapes, making them a popular choice for reef aquariums.

In the wild, SPS corals are responsible for building coral reefs, and they’re found in shallow waters in tropical regions. Keeping SPS corals in an aquarium can be challenging, but with the right care and attention, they can thrive and become a centerpiece in your reef tank. Let’s check out some epic SPS corals!

Bird’s Nest Coral

Bird’s Nest Corals, also known as Seriatopora, are a popular choice for reef aquariums. These corals have thin branches that grow upward, creating a bushy appearance. Bird’s Nest Corals come in a variety of colors such as green, pink, yellow, and purple.

When it comes to caring for Bird’s Nest Corals, they require moderate to high lighting and water flow. When introducing the Bird’s Nest, allow its branches to thicken before increasing the water flow. However, if it’s too late and their needle points have come off, do not stress as they can regenerate. 

If you provide the right conditions, Bird’s Nest Corals can grow quickly and become a beautiful addition to your reef aquarium, plus they are budget-friendly! As Bird’s Nest grow quickly, it is important to provide them with enough room to thrive and avoid conflict with their neighbors. 

They are also sensitive to changes in water chemistry, so it is key to keep your tank parameters stable. 

Stylophora Corals

Stylophora Corals, also known as Cat’s Paw Corals, are another popular choice for reef aquariums, typically found in shallow ocean waters. These corals have small branches that grow in a zig-zag pattern, giving them a unique appearance. These branches can grow up to 30 cm in length, so place them in the middle region to prevent their tips from extending beyond the water’s surface. 

Stylophora Corals come in a variety of colors, including green, pink, and purple. They have long and thin tentacles and a large disc-like body, making them very unique corals for aquariums. 

When it comes to coral care, Stylophora Corals require moderate to high lighting and moderate water flow. They are also sensitive to changes in water chemistry, so, remember to test the water parameters and perform regular water changes. 

The most popular for beginners is the pink neon-colored Stylophora. The pink Stylo needs to be well-nourished. Therefore, with these types of SPS corals, you will need to supplement them with marine snow or zooplankton as they will not thrive inside your aquarium on a zooxanthellae-only diet. 

During feeding times and at night, Stylophora corals are not shy to spread their tentacles. So, provide them a good amount of room away from other corals to prevent competition for food.

Montipora corals

Montipora Corals are a diverse group of SPS corals from the family Acroporidae. They are commonly referred to as Montis and are known for their fast growth and hardy nature. This makes Montipora Corals a preferred choice among coral reef enthusiasts, especially beginner reefers. 

They come in a variety of colors and forms, ranging from encrusting mats to large branching formations. Montipora requires moderate to high lighting and moderate water flow. However, the degree of water flow needed is contingent upon the structure of monti corals. Monti Corals with a smoother consistency need gentler water flow than those with a more rough surface.

Montipora digitata

Montipora digitata is a popular type of Monti coral that has thin branches that grow upward. 

Montipora capricornis

Montipora capricornis is another popular type of Monti coral that has thicker branches that grow in a bushy pattern. 

Porites Corals

Porites Corals are a type of SPS coral that has a round shape and grow in a clumping pattern. In every beginner’s reef tank, it is worthwhile to display Porites because of their impressive capacity to be one of the world's longest-lived organisms.

Being long-lived, Porites are very slow-growing, so you needn’t worry about them taking over your reef tank. However, they do require special care. In the ocean, Porites are accustomed to choppy waters, so they need a strong flow to obtain food, get enough lighting, and also to help flush out pollutants from the water.

Another thing we should mention is aggression. The Porites coral may suffer harm if an aggressive neighbor is placed too near, yet these corals are generally peaceful. Fortunately, should they receive damage, their hardy nature gives them excellent recuperative abilities!

Green Bali Slimer

Green Bali Slimer is a popular Acropora coral type with thin branches that grow upward. As the name suggests, this coral originates from Indonesia and is renowned for its vibrant neon green branches. 

Its name has another giveaway…slime! The Green Bali Slimer releases a slime-like substance if it is handled or disturbed, a defense mechanism. Interestingly, even with the presence of this protective slime, it is usually quite tranquil around other corals.

This particular type of Acropora is renowned for its rapid growth rate; they are considered to be one of the quickest species in the world. To maintain its mesmerizing green hue and rapid growth rate, the Green Bali Slimer requires high lighting and moderate to high water flow. 


SPS corals are a beautiful and rewarding addition to any reef aquarium. While SPS corals can be challenging to care for, with the right conditions and care, they can thrive and become a centerpiece in your tank. 

If you’re ready to add some SPS corals to your aquarium, consider some of the top choices we’ve highlighted in this article. Happy reef-keeping!

by Brian Dunleavy