While artificial coral is always an option and requires little maintenance, live coral add aesthetic value and interest to the underwater landscaping of an aquarium. Only suitable for saltwater tanks, these organisms need proper care in order to thrive. The presence of coral not only enhances the environment of the aquarium but also changes the entire dynamic of the ecosystem.
Tank mate compatibility is of utmost importance to a successful and healthy home aquarium. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure a good match between aquarium fish and coral. Incompatible organisms may increase stress, which can lead to disease or even death. Moreover, make sure the aquarium fish will not eat the coral. In extension, as angelfish tend to assault some varieties, such as open brain corals, these fish are not coral-safe, and their presence in an aquarium results in the coral's decimation. Generally speaking, aquarium inhabitants are least likely to attack mushroom corals.
Although stationary, coral can grow to various dimensions. Make room for adequate space as well as proper placement; improper placement can threaten the life of the coral or their food supply. For instance, large-polyp stony corals are exceedingly aggressive towards other coral types, often burning them with their long sweeper tentacles. Keep them at a far off distance to minimise threat. Still, leather corals produce a toxin that can inflict harm on hard corals; to have these coral types co-exist, you need to use a chemical filtration system in their aquarium.
In order for marine coral to thrive within a marine aquarium ecosystem, proper lighting is required; it supports the growth of symbiotic algae, from which corals receive most of their nutrients. The amount of marine aquarium lighting depends on the coral type. Mushroom coral are a great choice for beginner aquarium hobbyists, as they only require indirect light. Large-polyp stony corals do not require as much light as their smaller counterparts do. On the contrary, too much lighting can cause the vivid colours of Ricordea coral to fade over time.
Water Movement and Temperature
Some marine aquarium coral varieties require little in terms of water movement, while others require turbulent water conditions to bring them nutrients and wash off mucus and other waste products. You can easily maintain mushroom coral with sand substrate, live rock, and an airstone for water movement and oxygenation, while small-polyp stony corals have extreme water requirements. Additionally, keep in mind water temperature, which should meet the chemistry needs of the coral and fish you intend to purchase.