Last Updated : 01 February 12

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Choosing Corals and Reefs for your Salt Water Aquarium

The Need for Corals and Reefs

Aside from the delightful array of coloured marine fishes, a selection from the "diverse rainforest of the ocean's" corals and reefs surely plays a huge role in forming your salt water aquarium. Not only will play a key part in decorating and beautifying your salt-water aquarium. but will also serve to provide your fishes a more natural habitat to thrive.

Special Symbiotic Relations

Clown Fish and Sea Anemone, Aquatic Pets, Singapore Pet Articles | Sg Pets Clown Fish and Sea Anemone. From © Steve Kramer

Take for instance the Clown Fish and the Sea Anemone. They co-exist in harmony, having a symbiotic relationship. However. the other fish in your fish tank might just become prey for the sea anemone, which paralyzes small fish with its sting and then consuming it through its mouth. If you are still in favor of having the clown fish with its respective compatible sea anemone, then be sure to choose one that is of the right size (visibly larger than the clown fish) as the clown fish can damage the sea anemone by constantly rubbing against it.

External link to Clown Fish and Host Anemone matches

[Personal Experience: Some clown fishes tend to burrow into the sea anemone very strongly (i think that's dependable on the clown fish's nature, mine was certainly aggressive). In short. my sea anemone once became shrunken-like and unlike its orignally healthy state. In a bid to save the sea anemone, the clown fish was separated from the sea anemone for a while and guess threw a fit! Believe it or not it swam round the tank aggressively and knocked down a live rock larger than itself] 


What do Corals and Reefs need?

  1. Water Quality

    Correct water salinity, temperature, pH levels, mineral and trace elements to provide optimal conditions for your mini-ecosystem to survive.
  2. Food

    Your local aquarium supplies store should sell the food that corals and reefs need, basically a mixture of plankton, minerals and elements which they require to survive. 
  3. Light

    Some Corals and Reefs need more light than others. Soft corals in general require less light while hard corals that undergo photosynthesis requires more light.

    Note that there are different kinds of lights(colour,intensity,types) meant for different kinds of corals and reefs.
  4. Water movement

    Water movement is important in the reef aquarium with different types of coral requiring different flow rates.

Mix and Match?

Corals and Reefs are not a simply case of visually mixing and matching. Certain kinds of corals and reefs just do not go along well with each other. 

Here are some of the main categories of corals(SPS and LPS), featuring some corals.

Soft corals (SPS - Small-polyp stony)

Pink/Red Mushroom Corals, Singapore Pets Article | Sg Pets Joe's Pink/Red Mushroom Corals Photo by Joe Martin

Mushroom corals (Discosoma)

Known as an ideal starter coral as it does not require high levels of light and water motion. However it should not be placed next to other soft and stony corals as it may have a negative effect on them. 



Black corals, thorny corals, Stony Corals(LPS-large-polyp stony)

Brain Coral - Singapore Pets Articles | Sg PetsBrain Coral


Brain Corals usually require moderate water currents and moderate to high reef lighting for it to thrive. Also known as a beginner's coral as it is easy to maintain.










This article is by no means a definite guide, but meant as a brief introduction to the topic to get you started. Please kindly consult your local aquarium dealer for more details about setting up your home aquarium.

Article by Sg Pets - Singapore Pets Articles.
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