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What are the Best Beginner Coral?

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Last updated on November 17th, 2023


The Best Coral for Beginners

Best Beginner Coral

While there are a number of lists, I felt the need to compile a list of what I felt were some of the best beginner corals. I'm not saying that coral outside of this list are not beginner friendly, nor is this list everything a beginner can pick up safely for their reef tank. Frequently, new hobbyists ask me what the best beginner coral are, so I made this list of coral I would personally recommend. I considered details such as difficulty, lighting, flow, and growth rate when putting together this list of the best beginner coral!

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Best Beginner Corals - #7 Hammer Coral

Best Beginner Coral - Hammer Coral

Hammer Coral are a large fleshy polyp coral that like low light and low to moderate flow. The reason they aren't closer to the top of the list is just because they can be slower growing coral because of their calcium skeletons. Hammer coral, like many coral varieties, come in many color variations! Additionally, they are cheaper than Torch coral, and tend to grow faster and have less difficulty. One of the best parts is that hammer coral are great in all euphyllia tanks and add flowy-ness to any reef.

How to Care for Euphyllia Coral

Best Beginner Corals - #6 Micromussa Coral

Best Beginner Coral - Micromussa Coral

Micromussa are large fleshy, and stoney coral that like low light and don't require a lot of flow. These coral will eat when offered, and come in a great deal of colors! Very few Micromussa coral have names, meaning lower cost! All of this make Micromussa one of the best beginner corals I can think of!

How to Care for Micromussa Coral

Best Beginner Corals - #5 Sinularia & Nepthea Leather Coral

Best Beginner Coral - Sinularia & Nepthea Leather Coral

Sinularia & Nepthea Leather Coral are a thick, fleshy, tree like coral that can grow relatively quickly and drop babies or be fragged. A common example is the Kenya Tree coral, though there are a number of varieties. These leather coral, like most coral on this list, require less light, however, they do seem to like a bit more flow than the other coral.

How to Care for Leather Coral

Best Beginner Corals - #4 Large Clove Polyps

Best Beginner Coral - Large Clove Polyps

Firework Clove Polyps, and other LARGE clove polyps are some of the best beginner corals! They are colorful, flow in the water, and grow fast! These clove polyps grow fast, but are not nearly as invasive as Green Star Polyps, and not a pest like Blue Clove Polyps. Simply keep them on and island and enjoy!

There are a number of different colors of large clove polyp coral, and most make the best beginner coral list! While Firework Clove Polyps are a personal favorite, there are green, pink, orange, yellow, and a number of other options available!

Best Beginner Corals - #3 Mushroom Coral

Best Beginner Coral - Mushroom Coral

Mushroom coral are fast growing coral that look like mushrooms (as you would guess). There are a number of different types such as smooth discosoma, bumpy riccordia mushrooms, fuzzy rhodactis mushrooms, and more such as the yumas. With the exception of Yuma (Riccordia Yuma) mushrooms, the rest of these mushroom coral are great beginner coral.

Mushroom Coral don't need much light, or even much flow. The biggest thing to remember is that if you try to glue down a Mushroom, it will likely detach and float off into the rocks. If it is attached to a plug or rock, place that in your tank and it will grow and spread onto your other rock work.

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Best Beginner Corals - #2 Toadstool Leather Coral

Best Beginner Coral - Toadstool Leather Coral

Coming in at number two for the best beginner corals is the Toadstool Leather Coral. This fast growing leather coral has beautiful flowy polyps and can handle a wide variety of conditions. Leather corals don't require much light, nor flow. Additionally, leather coral are easy to frag and recover from a lot! Making them one of the best beginner corals.

How to Care for Leather Coral

Best Beginner Corals - #1 Zoanthids

Best Beginner Coral - Zoanthid Coral

Zoanthids, better known as zoas, are a great coral for beginners and common for even advanced reef keepers. Zoas come in nearly every color and pattern you could ever want! With thousands of options, the zoanthid pokedex, or "zoadex", will likely never be filled.

Zoas are easy to care for, grow relatively fast, don't have high light requirements, and while they prefer higher flow areas to keep algae and waste off of them, you don't need expensive pumps or WaveMakers to keep them happy!

How to Care for Zoanthid Coral

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In the end of the day, you need to pick the coral that are best for you and your reef tank! While the common theme is that most of the coral on this list are soft coral, you're not limited to that kind of coral. Fleshy coral simply make for the best beginner coral as they care the least about alkalinity, lighting, and flow. If you're ready to up the game, check out some other LPS and SPS coral!

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About the Author

Reef Stable Founder John Krenzer

John is a Software Engineer with a passion for saltwater aquariums, as well as the founder and president of Reef Stable. He started in the aquarium hobby as a child with a 20 gallon freshwater aquarium. His interest in aquarium life grew and in 2008, John set up his first saltwater aquarium.

Today, John maintains an over 300 gallon reef tank system, consisting of a 120g reef and a 210g reef. These large tanks are contained within the same system, sharing a sump as a means to reduce total maintenance and increase total water volume.

John writes articles for the blog as a means to learn about more reef aquarium topics. These articles act as a reference for the readers as well as himself. John updates these articles frequently to provide additional information or make corrections as new information becomes available.

If you would like to request an article, tank tour article, or to collaborate, let me know via the Contact Me Page!

About Reef Stable

Reef Stable was initially founded in 2019 as a reef tank parameter log to fill a need. Reef Stable quickly grew, becoming a location to solve all of your reef tank problems as well as a place to learn.

Reef Stable now provides a Reef Blog, Reef Aquarium Guides, Coral Care Guides, Identification and Solutions for Pests and Algae, and Reef Dosing Calculators, in addition to the original Reef Parameter Log.

Reef Stable continues to grow, striving to provide a single location for all your reef tank needs!

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