Setting-up a reef aquarium is exciting and costly. There are many different species of coral with different care needs so it is best to have some basic knowledge about corals before you make your first purchase. It is even more costly to buy a coral that you can’t keep and dies. It is also important to realize that corals are live animals and require proper care just like your fish.
In a new reef aquarium it is best to go with soft corals and hardy LPS corals. SPS corals are not advisable in a new reef aquarium. Some LPS corals will have tentacles that sting other nearby coral. Bubble coral is one such coral that will need its space to keep it from harming anything close. On the opposite spectrum of the Bubble coral in this LPS group would be the Candy cane coral. A Candy Cane coral does have tentacles but they are usually very short and pose no risk to other corals due to their short length.
Some soft corals can sting, some will have chemical defenses, and others will have very little ability to defend themselves at all. Regardless of the defensive ability of a coral, space should be given so they can grow without interference. Just like a plants in vegetable garden, corals in a reef garden need space too.
Before you start collecting corals you will want to make sure you have fairly good stable water quality. This means having consistent good water parameters for about 4 to 6 months. You want the water parameters of nitrates 20 or less, calcium around 400, and KH of 8 or a little higher. Good KH will help keep your ph more stable and Calcium is needed for coral growth. You also don’t want ammonia or nitrite. Once again don’t forget that corals are animals and they will add to the bio-load. It may not be much but it all adds up in a closed reef system.
Now that you are ready to get that coral it is best to look at the basic care for the perspective coral such as light and water flow. Detail to both is crucial to a lot of coral species. Salty Underground has short descriptions about the coral for sale and gives basic care info to help you make the right choice.
Corals are beautiful living creatures that will add a new level of enjoyment to your saltwater aquarium.