Stylophora: Achieve that SPS Aesthetic with Less-Demanding Corals

Stylophora are branching small-polyp stony corals from the Family Pocilloporidae. Stylophora shares that family with Pocillopora and Seriatopora, and the three together are the only genera in the family. As a result of their close relationship to one another, all three of these genera share quite a lot in common. What is immediately obvious is … [Read More]

Ricordea florida: an Underappreciated Caribbean Beauty

As an American reefkeeper, it’s all too easy for me to forget that some truly gorgeous invertebrate livestock originates relatively close to home in the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean. I was reminded of this recently when CC entrusted several of his Caribbean specimens to my care in advance of his pending move to the … [Read More]

Symphyllia: So Stunning, Yet Success Eludes Me!

Symphyllia are some of the most colorful large-polyp stony corals out there. Their bodies resemble Lobophyllia in many ways, but unlike lobos, they have a much more diverse color arrangement. I’ve seen them come in just about every color imaginable, and it is very common for them to have large bands of colors. Unfortunately, I … [Read More]

The Hammer Coral: A Sizeable Stinger with Showpiece Potential

Several of the so-called large-polyp stony (LPS) corals offer the advantages of being very hardy, adaptable, and beautiful and, thus, make excellent reef aquarium candidates, even for relatively new reefkeepers. The hammer coral (Euphyllia ancora), however, I would characterize slightly differently. There’s no question this coral is gorgeous, but I would rate it as rather … [Read More]

Pocillopora Corals: Hardy, Adaptable Reef Architects

You may not be aware, but Pocillopora, despite being among the less popular stony corals in the reef aquarium hobby, are second only to Acropora in reef-building productivity in the wild. Their skeletons make up a huge portion of the reef’s structure in the ocean. Pocillopora are also among the most adaptable SPS corals in … [Read More]

Sarcophyton Leather Corals: Attractive, Toxic, and Tough as Nails

When it comes to hardiness, ease of care, and general adaptability, few corals can compare to those of the genus Sarcophyton—the so-called toadstool, or mushroom, leather corals. Despite their lack of chromatic brilliance, they’re also pretty neat looking to boot. Physical traits As their common name implies, Sarcophyton spp. are typically mushroom- or toadstool-shaped—a solitary … [Read More]

So Much to Dig about Montipora digitata!

As I grew to love SPS corals, one in particular stood out and caught my eye: Montipora digitata. I have found M. digitata to be a fast-growing, hardy SPS coral that, once established in a well-balanced reef tank, can really take off in growth. This coral also has very unique growth patterns and comes in … [Read More]

Leptoseris: A Stunning Newcomer to the Reefkeeping Scene

When you have been in the hobby a long time, you tend to see a lot of the same things over and over again. I often become desensitized to some of the most beautiful fish in the world because I’ve seen them so many times over the course of 30 years (mandarin dragonets, for example). … [Read More]

Astreopora and Cyphastrea—So Similar, Yet Different

A few years ago, if you asked me about Astreopora or Cyphastrea, I probably would not have a whole lot to contribute to the discussion. They were (and still are to a large degree) some of the most rare corals imported and seldom seen in stores. I still remember the first time I saw a … [Read More]

The Beautiful, Beginner-Friendly Bubble Coral

Recently, I found myself musing over the livestock lineup I had in my first reef tank many years ago. Along with a variety of easy-to-keep soft corals and a handful of hardy fish, I fondly recalled that I also had a solitary large-polyp stony (LPS) coral that brought me a lot of enjoyment—a bubble coral, … [Read More]