You've cycled your brand-new aquarium, added a cleanup crew of snails and hermits, and maybe a fish or two, and everything is stable. Now, it's time to start adding some coral frags - but what in the event you get?
Many beginner corals can grow so quickly that they can become a nuisance down the road, so I will highlight some lovely, hardier corals to start with that are probably to thrive without taking over your tank.
What not to begin with:
Common starter corals are often Green Star Polyps, Xenia, and Mushrooms. While each one is popular they can grow like wildfire inside your aquarium, and get beyond control within a matter of months. You will often hear stories about reef keepers trying to get rid of these kinds of corals because they have taken over their very own aquariums.
Zoanthids & Palythoas:
Usually known as Zoas and Palys, fundamental essentials ultimate starter coral. Frags can be obtained easily, and common frags is often found for $15 or less (although rare varieties exist, and may be rather expensive).
These coral types grow in a number of colors and patterns, which makes them a great addition to a saltwater reef. The majority are water parameter tolerant, and prefer medium lighting and flow. Simply because they grow well, you can view your colony grow over time, but they generally won't take over your tank.
Most reefers with have multiple varieties of Zoas and Palys in their aquariums.
Ricordia is a mushroom variety of coral, and comes in a multitude of color - from subdued to neon - including multi/rainbow coloring. While regular mushrooms can eventually get out of hand, ricordias are slower growing, and are usually much more attractive.
Two varieties of ricordia exist, the Florida Ricordia and the Yuma Ricordia. The Florida variety is much more common and can usually be located for under $20 - and reproduces by splitting after producing multiple mouths on one polyp. By contrast, Yuma Ricordias are less frequent and usually a little more expensive than the Florida variety, and reproduce by postponing babies next to the parent.
Both types of ricordia prefer lower light and flow, and a nice ricordia garden is truly a sight to behold inside a reef aquarium.
Oftentimes, reef keepers want to get into SPS coral (Small Polyp Stony coral) - also known as "stick" corals.
When you are sure your parameters are stable and can remain so, a good starter SPS is a Birdsnest. Birdsnests really are a quicker growing SPS, and frags are fairly easy to come by for less than $20. They'll prefer bright lighting and heavy flow, so you'll wish to put them full of your tank, near your lights.
Should you opt for SPS corals, you'll need to keep up with weekly water changes, as they will consume calcium out of your water to develop their stony body. Water changes will replenish the vital calcium levels in your tank, along with other trace elements that coral can consume.
Starting a reef aquarium can be fun - but making the best choices in the beginning can produce a huge difference in both your success, and in the long-term health insurance and vitality of the reef.