Colorful Companions: A Guide to Aquarium Corals

By Julia Brown | Published on 2023-03-12

Aquarium keeping is a hobby that promises endless fascination and wonder. Adding coral to your aquarium makes it even more captivating. These wonderful creatures are not only pleasing to the eye, but they also contribute to the health of your tank's ecosystem. Corals come in a wondrous array of colors and shapes, each with its unique characteristics to explore. In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the most colorful and fascinating corals and guide you through their care. So, whether you're a seasoned aquarist or a newcomer, prepare yourself to be enchanted by these colorful companions.

This image shows a vibrant and colorful coral reef in an aquarium, with a variety of different species of coral living in harmony. The bright colors of the coral create a stunning display, and provide a beautiful backdrop for the fish that inhabit the aquarium

Types of Aquarium Corals

Aquarium corals are known for their vibrant and stunning colors which make them a favorite among aquarium enthusiasts. There are various types of aquarium corals, each with its distinct characteristics, colors, and shapes. Choosing the perfect type of coral for your aquarium can be a daunting task considering the numerous options available. In this section, we will discuss some of the most popular types of aquarium corals available in the market. Soft corals are known for their delicate and flexible nature. They are easy to maintain, which makes them perfect for beginners. Unlike other types of corals, they do not have a hard skeleton, which means they cannot form reefs. Examples of soft corals include leather corals, mushroom corals, and polyps. Leather corals have distinct colors and shapes and can be a great addition to any aquarium. Mushroom corals, on the other hand, are small and come in different colors and shapes, making them perfect for small aquariums. LPS (Large Polyp Stony) corals are another popular type of aquarium corals. They have a stony skeleton and large polyps. The polyps open and close, giving a beautiful appearance and water movement to your aquarium. Some of the common LPS corals include torch coral, brain coral, and bubble coral. These types of corals require more care than soft corals and are perfect for experienced aquarium keepers. They are also known to grow larger, making them a great addition to large aquariums.

Choosing the Right Corals for Your Tank

Choosing the right corals for your aquarium is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. Your selection will not only impact the overall appearance of your tank, but it will also affect the health and wellbeing of your aquatic animals. When it comes to choosing corals, important factors to consider include compatibility, lighting, and water conditions. Compatibility is essential in any aquarium, and it's no different when it comes to corals. Certain corals are more aggressive than others, and they can potentially harm other species in your tank. It is essential to do your research and select corals that can coexist peacefully with your aquatic community. Also, keep in mind that some corals require more maintenance than others, so choose the ones that fit your schedule and skill level. Lighting is another crucial factor to consider before selecting corals. Different corals require different levels and types of lighting, so it's essential to know your tank's light source. Some corals require more direct light, while others thrive in indirect light. You'll want to choose corals that are compatible with the lighting conditions of your aquarium. Lastly, water conditions are important to consider when choosing corals for your tank. Different corals require distinct water temperatures, pH levels, and specific water parameters. It's essential to research the specific needs of the coral species you're interested in incorporating into your aquarium to ensure their health and wellbeing. By keeping these factors in mind, you're on your way to creating a colorful and healthy coral reef aquarium.

Tips for Maintaining Colorful Coral

Maintaining the beautiful colors and health of your coral is key to a thriving aquarium. Here are some tips to keep your coral in top shape. Firstly, make sure the lighting in your tank is appropriate for the species of coral you have. Some coral requires intense lighting, while others prefer a softer light. Make sure to research the proper lighting for your coral and adjust accordingly to ensure it maintains its color. Another important aspect of coral care is water quality. It is crucial to maintain proper water parameters such as pH, temperature, and salinity. Regular water changes and testing can help keep the water quality stable and free of harmful pollutants that can harm your coral over time. Coral nutrition is also important, as they require proper levels of calcium, magnesium, and other trace elements to remain healthy. Finally, be cautious when introducing new coral to your tank. It is crucial to quarantine new coral for a few weeks before introducing it to the main tank to avoid introducing any diseases or parasites. With these tips in mind, you can ensure that your aquarium coral remains healthy and vibrant for years to come.

Understanding Lighting Requirements for Corals

Understanding the lighting requirements for corals is crucial to their survival and growth. Since corals contain photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae, they need light to thrive. The intensity and spectrum of the light should mimic their natural habitat, and it is important to provide a balance between light and darkness for their proper growth. Different corals have different light requirements. Soft corals, for example, require less lighting compared to hard corals. Hard corals may require more intense lighting to support their growth and coloration. Depending on the type of coral, lighting requirements may vary from low to high, so it’s important to research what type of lighting your coral needs to ensure its long term health and vitality. In general, it is recommended to gradually increase the lighting intensity of your aquarium coral to prevent shock and bleaching.

Common Coral Diseases and How to Prevent Them.

While aquarium corals are undoubtedly aesthetically pleasing, they are also vulnerable to various diseases. Some of the most common coral diseases include White Band Disease, Brown Jelly Disease, and Rapid Tissue Necrosis. These diseases can have disastrous effects on coral and can spread rapidly throughout an entire tank if not addressed in a timely manner. One of the easiest ways to prevent coral diseases is to maintain a clean and healthy tank environment. Ensure that you are maintaining proper water parameters and regularly performing water changes to prevent the buildup of harmful toxins. Additionally, be sure not to overfeed your fish as this can lead to an increase in nitrates, which can harm the coral. Introducing new fish or coral to your tank can also be a source of disease, so it is important to properly quarantine any new additions before introducing them to your tank. By taking steps to prevent disease, you can help ensure that your aquarium is a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for your corals to thrive in.


In conclusion, aquarium corals are truly remarkable creatures that add color, texture, and life to any marine environment. Not only are they visually stunning, but they provide shelter for fish and other marine inhabitants, as well as contribute to the health and balance of the aquarium's ecosystem. It's important to research and choose compatible coral species for your aquarium, and provide proper care and maintenance to ensure their longevity and growth. With patience and dedication, your aquarium can become a beautiful kaleidoscope of colorful companions.