Beginner Corals

Nothing builds appreciation of our world’s oceans like the keeping of a saltwater aquarium. Watching the daily life of marine animals and corals as they interact and grow cannot be accomplished on a boat, while snorkeling or diving. It is through creating a reef biosystem that aquarists can really understand this fascinating underwater world. To start this process, there are beginner corals to ease entry into collecting and building a reef aquarium. These corals typically do not require intense lighting, water movement and filtration systems. Specific care instructions are available at each individual coral description.

Soft corals do not have reef-building skeletons but rather have soft tissue that moves and pulses with the flow of aquarium water. These corals grow well in nutrient-rich water and delight both beginners and advanced aquarists. Mushrooms are very easy for beginners to grow. Their growth pattern is like a mushroom with a wide brim and narrow stalk. These corals grow well in a variety of water conditions and with low to moderate light. Zoanthids are common corals in the aquarium hobby because they grow in vibrant colors that create beautiful aquarium carpets. They are easy to grow, less expensive to buy and typically low maintenance to keep in a variety of water and light conditions. Stony-Polyped Corals are beautiful reef-building corals that are highly sought out by aquarists due to their diversity and variation in color. Stony corals are not typically considered beginner corals because they require more care and stable water and light conditions. However, there are several great first choices when beginners are interested in making the transition to keep these corals. Our overall beginner favorites are listed:

Soft Corals (Pulse Corals)
Xeniidae Family, Anthelia Genus (Glove, Pulse Coral)
Xeniidae Family, Xenia Genus (Pulse Coral)
    Soft Corals (Leather Corals)
    Alcyoniidae Family, Alcyonium Genus (Finger Leather, Colt Coral)
    Alcyoniidae Family, Cladiella Genus (Cauliflower Coral)
    Alcyoniidae Family, Sarcophyton Genus (Toadstool Coral)
    Alcyoniidae Family, Sinularia Genus (Cabbage Leather Coral)
      Soft Corals (Tree Corals)
      Nephtheidae Family, Capnella Genus (Kenya Tree Coral)
        Soft Corals (Polyps)
        Briareidae Family, Briareum (Star Polyps, Green Star Polyps)
          Mushrooms
          Discosomatidae Family, Discosoma sp. Actinodiscus (Mushroom Corals, Disc Anemones)
            Zoanthids
            Sphenopidae Family, Palythoa Genus (Button, Moon Polyps)
            Zoanthidae Family, Zoanthus Genus (Zoas, Button Polyp, Stick Polyp)
              Stony Corals - Large Polyped Stony (LPS)
              Faviidae Family, Caulastrea Genus (Candy Cane Corals)
              Euphyllidae Family, Euphyllia Genus (Hammer, Torch, Frogspawn Corals)
              Mussidae Family, Blastomussa Genus (Pineapple Corals)
              Trachyphylliidae Family, Trachyphyllia Genus (Brain Coral)
              Mussidae Family, Acanthastrea Genus (Meat Corals)
              Euphyllidae Family, Catalaphyllia Genus (Elegance Corals)
              Dendrophylliidae Family, Turbinaria (Sun Corals)
                Stony Corals - Small Polyped Stony (SPS)
                Acroporidae Genus, Montipora Family
                Dendrophylliidae Genus, Turbnaria peltata (Pagoda Coral)