10 Easy LPS Corals for Reef Tank Beginners 4

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Corals encompass a broad and interesting range of species. Some of the most popular corals for beginners in the saltwater aquarium hobby include LPS corals; which is simply an acronym for large polyp stony corals.

There are a few SPS corals (small polyp stony corals) that are also recommended for beginning enthusiasts, but these require a lot more care than their large polyp stony coral relatives.

Difference Between LPS vs SPS Corals

The main defining differences between an LPS coral and an SPS coral are (obviously) the difference in the size of their polyps, and the difference in their light and food requirements.

The larger the polyps on the coral are, the easier it is for the coral to feed appropriately. This is because the polyps on the coral contain the incredibly tiny organism known as zooxanthellae, within their tissue.

This zooxanthellae; or photosynthetic algae; provides the coral with food; but only if there is enough light absorbed through the polyps.

Why LPS Corals?

Large polyp stony corals are popular amongst beginner aquarists for several different reasons.

They require far less light than many other species, and therefore require less expensive lighting equipment for their aquarium set up.

They are far more likely to breed or successfully fragment in captivity than small polyp stony coral are.

They require less maintenance, such as; water changes, chemical adjustments, temperature regulation, etc… This is not to say however that they are easy to care for.

Like any salt water marine animal, these LPS corals are rather sensitive and will not thrive unless all of their needs are met consistently.

10 Easy LPS Corals to Start With

I’ve constructed a short list of very aesthetically pleasing, easy to care for, large polyp stony corals that are great for beginners. Don’t feel limited by this list by any means however; as there are dozens of others that are equally easy to establish and care for.

There is a lot of research involved in putting together a well balanced, healthy salt water coral aquarium. This list is just a helpful starting point for those who have enough knowledge that they’re prepared to just jump right in and get started.

1. Trachyphyllia sp.

1Trachyphyllia-aquarium

The Trachyphyllia sp. (commonly known as a Brain coral) is a bright, relatively small species.

It is semi-aggressive towards other fish and invertebrates.

It prefers to be placed at the bottom of the aquarium, where it has access to medium water flow.

It requires moderate light; meaning that a basic salt water aquarium light set up should be sufficient.

2. Caulastrea furcata

2CandyCaneCoral

The Caulastrea furcata (commonly known as a Candy Cane coral) is a little less flashy than some of the other corals, ranging from tan to pale orange in color, and being rather small.

It is a peaceful species for the most part, however observation to ensure this behavior is recommended.

It requires moderate light and medium water flow.

It is comfortable being placed almost anywhere in the aquarium.

Pix Source: Seth McGrath (Flickr)

3. Caulastrea curvata

3Caulastrea-furcata

The Caulastrea curvata (commonly known as a Trumpet coral) is aptly named; shaped like a small yellow trumpet.

This is yet another peaceful species of coral that does well with others.

It prefers to settle in somewhere between the bottom and the middle of the aquarium.

It requires moderate light, and medium water flow.

Pix Source: Wiki Commons

4. Plerogyra sp.

4BubbleCoral

The Plerogyra sp (commonly known as a Bubble coral) is a very unique coral.It looks like a pink cluster of grapes upon first inspection.

Do not let its gentle and soft appearance fool you however, this species is rather aggressive.

It requires open space somewhere between the bottom and middle of the aquarium, where it is unlikely to be able to attack other specimens.

It requires moderate light, and low to medium water flow.

Pix Source: Caffeine_Obsessed (Flickr) 

5. Fungia Repanda

5FungiaRepanda

The Fungia repanda (commonly known as a Short Tentacle Plate coral) is an unusual coral.

It is relatively flat, and disc shaped with hair-like tentacles.

It is semi-aggressive towards other invertebrates and fish.

It prefers to reside at the bottom of the aquarium.

It requires moderate lighting, and low to medium water flow.

Pix Source: Jarin Udom

6. Lobophyllia sp.

6LobophylliaCoral

The Lobophyllia sp (another species that is commonly known as a Brain coral) is a magnificent, bright orange species that is semi-aggressive as well.

It is comfortable being placed almost anywhere in the aquarium, but it does require moderate to high lighting; meaning that it should probably reside closer to the top.

It prefers medium water flow.

Pix Source: SaltGeorge (Flickr)

7. Favites spp.

7FavitesSppBrainCoral

The Favities spp (another species that is commonly known as a Brain coral) is one of the few aggressive species recommended for beginners.

It does not typically cause problems as long as it is given space.

It is comfortable being placed anywhere in the aquarium.

It requires moderate lighting, and medium water flow.

Pix Source: Wiki Commons

8. Nemenzophyllia turbida

8FoxCoral

The Nemenzophyllia turbida (commonly known as a Fox coral) is a spectacular display coral.

It is very uniquely shaped and textured; typically a pale pink, velvety looking creature with dozens of folds in its body.

This species is very peaceful. It prefers low to moderate light, and does well on the bottom of the aquarium.

It requires low water flow as well.

Pix Source: Meerwasser-lexikon.de

9 . Cynarina sp.

9CynarinaSp

The Cynarina sp (commonly known as a Button coral) species is known to be peaceful towards other invertebrates and fish.

It is a small, round coral with variegating shades of red, purple and blue.

It is most comfortable somewhere between the bottom and the middle of the aquarium.

It requires moderate lighting, and low water flow.

Pix Source: Marcelo Kato

10. Turbinaria peltata

10PagodaCupCoral

The Turbinaria peltata (commonly known as a Pagoda Cup coral) is yet another aptly nicknamed coral.

It is typically green, and is shaped like tiny pagoda cups.

It is a peaceful species that prefers to dwell at the bottom of the aquarium.

It requires moderate lighting, and medium water flow.

Pix Source: Rendos @ Reef Central

Final Words on LPS Corals

It should also be noted that your tank must be set up and have a healthy, well established eco system before you begin placing corals of any kind in the aquarium.

You may have to adjust things like water turgor, flow and quality after placement of your large polyp stony corals; they require careful observation during their settling period. If they do not colonize, keep an eye on them to make sure that they are not damaging or harming one another.

Many species have long ‘sweeper’ tentacles covered in cytoplasts that they use to clear the area around them and establish their territory.

About Dennis Hanson

Dennis is an experienced aquarist with many years of knowledge and experience in keeping successful tanks. He also has no relations to the pop group Hanson.

4 thoughts on “10 Easy LPS Corals for Reef Tank Beginners

  1. Reply Gregory Mar 7,2015 5:20 pm

    Seems like many corals perform optimally at the base of the tank where the flow rate is less turbulent. We should also feed them with some supplements to improve their health, like calcium and even micro-planktons.

    • Reply Joakim Feb 24,2016 6:41 am

      actually you do not need to feed them at all. Keep your water parameters up to snuff and you should be golden. Or dont care about them hardly at all and most of these would probobly still survive for extended periods of time.
      Feeding corals “coral food” is a good way to get no3 and po4 problems unless you are running an ultra low nutrient system and i am going to bet you are not if you are a beginner.

  2. Reply R Olsen Mar 8,2015 8:35 am

    Caulastrea furcata is a pretty peace-loving coral; I haven’t seen it battle with other species for nutrients and space, but it does need to be fed frequently to grow well.

  3. Pingback: 5 Beautiful Beginner Corals - Reef In A Box

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