If you’re new to the saltwater aquarium world, you’ve probably heard that soft corals are the way to go for your first build. Hardy and tolerant of most minor water changes, these specimens can easily survive the hurdles you deal with as you’re starting up your first tank. However, even though this is the case, there are still conditions that they prefer over others and specifications that’ll better help them thrive. This is how to care for soft corals in a saltwater aquarium.
Low to Moderate Lighting
Soft corals require a low to moderate amount of light in order to do well in a tank. This is due to the algae that make their home within the coral exoskeleton. Known as zooxanthellae, this alga is what gives corals their color by feeding on energy from sunlight. As such, it’s recommended that you place soft corals towards the middle layer of your tank if you want them to develop bright and vibrant colors. Should you have a stronger lighting system, you can even place them towards the bottom of the aquarium.
Moderate to Low Water Flow
Soft corals also need a moderate to low amount of water flow to properly distribute nutrients. Since these specimens tend to grow quickly in waters that contain a lot of nutritional value, they don’t need as much water flow to sweep these particles away. In fact, it’s recommended that you feed them occasionally to promote faster growth. But the current also shouldn’t be so strong that it prevents the corals from opening up. So, finding a balance here is key.
Another part of caring for soft corals in a saltwater aquarium is the overall salinity of the water. Ocean waters are where corals thrive—meaning that mimicking the ocean environment as much as possible is a priority. Most corals need water salinity levels that measure at or around 1.025. As such, it’s important that you keep this in mind both when you’re mixing your tank’s saltwater and when you’re regularly checking its chemical levels.
Temperature is something you should keep in mind as well. When the water in a tank becomes too hot or cold, it can start affecting how your coral takes in and processes nutrients. Because of this, keeping it somewhere between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is crucial for their survival. Placing a thermometer in your tank is a great way to monitor this aspect of the environment without needing to constantly test it.
At World Wide Corals, we carry a plethora of different soft corals for you to use in your beginner coral aquarium. As such, we’re confident that we can provide you with organisms that suit your tastes in color as well as appearance. Upon shipping your order, we’ll even send you detailed instructions on how to best acclimate these corals into your tank and ensure their growth.