This Site Uses Cookies
This site uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, you agree to the Privacy Policy and accept the use of cookies.
Reef Stable is a small business focussed on educating and providing the best coral for beginner reef keepers

Disclaimer: This page contains advertisements and/or affiliate links. We receive compensation from clicks and/or purchases made through these links. Though we may not have tested the specific product(s) mentioned, we do our best to recommend products that are beneficial to our visitors.

Mariculture vs Aquaculture Coral

Share this article:
Pin it!

Last updated on November 17th, 2023


Mariculture vs Aquaculture Coral

Aquacultured and Maricultured Coral

While I'm sure this article will cause some heated debate, I think it's important to teach you the difference between Aquacultured Coral and Maricultured Coral. While you may not see these terms much, you should really ask your coral store if their coral is aquacultured or maricultured. The difference between Mariculture vs Aquaculture may be the difference between a successful and crashed reef tank.

Shop Coral at Reef Stable

What is Maricultured Coral?

Coral Mariculture is when a coral collector, usually wholesaler but not exclusively, sets up a growout platform in shallow water in the ocean and grows coral frags and small colonies in the ocean. Think of it as a large frag rack right in the ocean itself! This comes with a number of positives and challenges as well.

Benefits of Coral Mariculture

One of the benefits of coral mariculture is that it minimizes the effect of coral collection on the reef. A small frag of a coral is collected from the reef and then grown in these mariculture farms. These coral can then be fragged and sold after that. This makes mariculture a much more sustainable option than coral collection, and minimizes the risk and damage to the coral reefs.

Another mariculture benefit is that you don't have to worry about running an aquarium. No heating, lighting, flow, or any other things to think about. Nature grows the coral for you! This is far cheaper and simpler than running an aquaculture facility, but comes with its own challenges.

Challenges with Coral Mariculture

Some of the challenges with mariculturing coral is that you must work with CITES and third-party auditing groups to ensure that you are meeting regulations. The challenging part seems to be finding these requirements. I did some digging, and without contacting CITES themselves, I wasn't able to find any guidelines. If you find any however, please let me know so I can update this article!

Disadvantages and Risks of Maricultured Coral

The real reason you are likely reading this article. Maricultured coral come with a lot of risks for hobbyists. The initial risk is that this coral is not adapted to tank life. Maricultured coral is accustom to the ocean. Perfect conditions, perfect stability. So when they are introduced to a reef tank, the coral becomes stressed and my die more easily.

Another risk with maricultured coral is that they carry unknown pests, parasites, and bacteria. There are a lot of things in the ocean that we just don't understand. This includes the unknown pests, parasites, and bacteria that come with the coral. Unfortunately, we don't even know what might come with this coral. Once it's in your tank, it's there to stay. If you don't know what it is, you won't know how to fix it! Which is a much bigger risk than you would think.

Shop Coral at Reef Stable

Aquaculture Coral

Coral aquaculture is far simpler than mariculture. Coral aquaculture is simply growing coral in a controlled environment. Most coral has to be something called "F2" to be aquacultured. This means a coral from the ocean is grown and a frag is cut from this coral. The frag is F1. All of the frags that come from that frag are now called F2. That means that the coral frag you are getting has never known ocean water and was captive grown.

Most coral farms and online retailers, including Reef Stable, are aquaculturing coral. A frag tank, growout tank, or really most hobby grown coral are aquacultured.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Aquaculture Coral

While the advantages of aquaculture are simple, there are other disadvantages as well. The advantages of aquaculture are hearty coral that are accustom to tank life. Aquacultured coral are typically less likely to die in the reef tank, and don't tend to carry the unknown pests and bacteria.

The disadvantages of aquacultured coral are all in the process of the coral farming. For example, if the coral farm has a specific pest, the coral may also have that pest come with it. If the farm uses water from the ocean, any bacteria or pollution in the water collected comes with the coral. So it's best to ask questions before you buy! Know what you're buying, ask about what kind of salt, dipping techniques, and overall how the coral has been acclimated to the store!

If you would like to start aquaculturing coral in your own coral farm, read more about How To Set Up a Small Coral Farm.

Shop Coral at Reef Stable

When you're ready for some high quality aquacultured coral, visit the Reef Stable Coral Store.


In essence, maricultured coral are higher risk for the hobbyist, but still a dramatic step forward compared to wild coral collection. If possible, you would always want the aquacultured coral though. This will give you higher success rates and lower risks. Regardless of whether you you choose mariculture vs aquaculture coral, make sure to dip your coral. Treat these coral for pests with a dip like Beyer, and bacteria with dips like hydrogen peroxide and iodine. This will minimize the risk even more!

Recommended Reading:

Share this article:
Pin it!

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!

Swim With Us!

Follow Reef Stable on your Favorite Social Media Platforms!

Reef Stable Facebook PageReef Stable Instagram PageReef Stable Pinterest PageReef Stable Youtube Page

+1 (414) 810-7878

© 2019-2021 Reef Stable, LLC. All rights reserved.